Online poker has always been a favorite game for Americans, with pretty much its origin back in the US. Today, grinders are just a few clicks away from getting into a gripping card game. However, when choosing between the best US poker sites, users can feel intimidated. To help you find a legit, reputable & friendly online poker room, we’ve compiled a list of the best brands that freely welcome aspiring players from the States.
Recommended US online poker rooms
Currently, there are no concrete federal laws that prohibit online poker in the US. Therefore, some of the most sought-after poker rooms in the States are based offshore. Licensed by their host country, they continue to accept players from all over the world, including US customers.
While the virtual site might sound great on the surface, we delve into each room to present you with the actual scenario ranking each site depending on various factors. Once the room meets our stringent requirements, we rank them accordingly & recommend them to our readers.
Every site we list passes through the following criteria:
- Reliability. To earn a spot on our selective list, a cardroom must possess a valid license or be highly self-regulated. You will only find rooms that are safe & secure to play with protective security measures such as SSL certifications, high-end firewall & certified Random Number Generators (RNG).
- Bonuses and promotions. We know that bonuses can sweeten the deal, therefore we are constantly on the lookout for poker sites offering the latest welcome bonuses & reward programs.
- Game variety and traffic. On our recommended sites, you’ll come across a wide array of games right from the Texas Hold’em to Draw Poker & Razz, with the best range of tournaments & cash games.
- Game softness. Another important factor that we consider when reviewing poker sites is the ease of play. We experiment with the games at different levels to provide the player with the rooms that strike a balance of skill levels.
- Deposit. Packed with assorted payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets & cryptocurrencies, only the best poker rooms with lightning speed & hassle-free withdrawals makes to our list.
One of the most trusted & reputable names in the US-friendly poker rooms, Americas Cardroom, has been vowing players from all over the world, including the USA. A subsidiary of the Winning Poker Network (WPN), ACR is headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica. The platform is known for its lucrative promotions, super-fast payouts, great variety of tournaments & various online payment options, including Bitcoin.
Delivering a fair rakeback of 27%, Sunday tourneys with guaranteed $50,000 to $150,000 in winnings & much more, ACR is perfect for grinders looking for the most challenging games with the highest guarantees.
If this isn’t enough, you can also use a VIP offer from our site to get more rakeback, curated especially for true grinders. Popular poker games include Texas Hold'em, Omaha & Seven Card Stud that can be accessed anytime through the website. Delivering bigger & better tournaments every year, the Venom event, held several times per year, guarantees a several million dollars prize pool.
BOL Poker belongs to the Chico Poker Network, a US-friendly poker network with about 20 years of experience on the market. As with other sites operating in the US, they have adopted cryptocurrencies as their main payment method.
In the BetOnline cashier, you will find Bitcoin and altcoins like Ethereum (ETH), Stellar (XRM), USDCoin (USDC), etc. Payments and withdrawals via crypto are commission-free and usually processed within 24 hours.
A relatively new entrant in the poker league, today Ignition Poker is one of the most popular cardrooms that accept US residents. Part of the PaiWangLuo Network, Ignition was created in 2016 with the purchase of the Bovada Poker room. A staple room for US grinders, they host the highest traffic with bigger cash games.
New users get a $1,000 deposit bonus with an increased bonus to 150% with Bitcoin.
A top-notch website for the recreational player, it lets you play up to 4 cash games simultaneously & up to 20 tournament tables. With weekly tournaments worth more than $1.5 million, getting your money on board with Ignition is easier with Bitcoin & Credit cards.
The newest feature on this platform is the no-download instant play option with mobile gameplay & live chat support. Currently, Ignition offer games only in a few countries, including the US & Australia. You won’t find any European grinders as the platform caters mostly to Asian customers. Since Ignition is strictly based on the “recreational model,” it’s impossible to track who you’re sitting at a table with.
The latest version of the mobile poker app, PokerBros, is the youngest version of PPPoker and Upoker. Launched in 2019, it has now become a popular platform in the mobile gaming industry. A play-money app, it is used by agents & affiliates to offer real money games. PokerBros takes the concept to a new level with evolved graphics, a friendly interface, and a customization option for regular members.
Designed for casual grinders, the agents or the club offer soft games with top Rakeback deals, daily events & guaranteed prize pools.
Are USA real money online poker sites legal?
The truth is the legality of real money online poker rooms open to the USA player varies from one state to another. While the federal law prohibits online operators from transacting within the country, most US operating rooms are in a gray legal area. Residents are not punished for taking part in foreign-based platforms. Therefore, it is safe to play the game in most of the states with licensed & reputed US-friendly poker rooms.
Essentially, the Wire Act of 1961 was passed decades before the existence of the internet. It banned certain forms of gambling, including sports betting, while loosely covering other forms of wagering. The second law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), passed in 2006. The Act banned all forms of online gambling in the country & ultimately pushed many renowned operators from the US market. However, the winnings from the virtual rooms are taxable like brick-and-mortar venues.
Currently, five states offer legal poker rooms for US citizens based in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan & Delaware. The legislation fully protects residents of these states over the age of 21.
A leading legit gambling state, New Jersey has shared liquidity with Nevada and Delaware-based users.
West Virginia has also legalized online poker & is expected to go live later in 2021.
Several other states, including California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, are regulating online poker over the past few years.
Also, in 2020, New Jersey signed an interstate compact with Delaware & Nevada to share poker player pools. So if you are living in or visiting one of these states with legit gambling sites, you can easily play for real money. Some of the renowned companies operating in legal American states include 888Poker, PokerStars, PartyPoker & WSOP.
Offshore poker sites for US player
Brands that offer games to players from a certain region without being located in that region are better known as offshore sites. In short, they are the ones that do not fall under the US jurisdiction. These days most of the largest US poker rooms are based offshore. With a global user base, these operators are a viable option for American punters.
The lack of federal legislation in the US has allowed most offshore operators to thrive in the country.
As long as cardrooms have a decent background, provide a built-in tool to check randomness & make an effort to get a license to operate legally, your deposits are in safe hands. Besides, big communities in renowned forums also help to “self-regulate” the market.
Noted operators in the industry include Americas Cardroom, Ignition Poker & PokerBros. These offshore cardrooms are reputable & have been in the industry for years. Though there is no taxes player still need to verify their virtual account for internal reasons. However, before signing up anywhere, it is recommended to check your local laws.
Deposit & withdrawal options for US player
Owing to the restrictions, the deposit and withdrawal option for US-based users is slightly limited. It is easy to top up your online poker account and withdraw money with a handful of payment options.
An utterly swift way to make online payments is through cryptocurrency, which lets you stay anonymous & still access your favorite poker rooms. A lengthy wallet address of the Bitcoin wallet makes it hard to trace any transaction or the user behind it. You can use the coins from your digital wallet or pay in exchange for some fiat currency.
Other payment methods available to the US player include a Visa or MasterCard credit card, money transfers & prepaid credit cards. Depending on your financial institution, you can send a certain amount to your chosen poker site. While the success rate of credit cards may vary from room to room, players need to bear extra charges on the transactions.
Therefore, we’d recommend playing through cryptos over anything else if you’re playing from the United States.
Brief history of US online poker
The poker game has been around for a long time in the United States, was first played as early as the 19th century in the Mississippi region. Gradually things started turning around with the age of the Internet. Around 1997, the first-ever online poker room, Planet Poker, went live & soon, it became the world's biggest real-money cardroom. One of the most pivotal years in the history of online gambling, PokerStars & PartyPoker, helped shape the game’s landscape back in the early 2000s.
In 2003, Chris Moneymaker qualified for the WSOP main event & won the tournament with a jackpot of $2,500,000 via a $40 satellite tournament. Dubbed as the "Moneymaker effect," his story became a catalyst in the history of American poker. Eventually, tournaments gained momentum & online traffic flooded with professional poker players becoming household names. This period is famously labeled as the "poker boom" when the game became a national obsession.
It was not until 2003, the UIGEA act made it unlawful for American residents to play online poker. It certainly pushed several operators from the US market while a few still found their way around. In 2011, three renowned operators, PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker, were charged with gambling crime & violating the UIGEA. Also referred to as "Black Friday" in the history of online poker, it marked the shutdown of these sites.\
Shortly after the event, the same year marked the reversal of the Wire Act, making it applicable only to sports betting. It paved the way for many states to legalize poker, following which New Jersey became the first legalized state to offer online poker games. In the meantime, avid gamers resorted to offshore sites accepting cryptos, including Bitcoin, owing to its privacy & lack of control by any government.
Nowadays and perspective
Online poker in the US is still complex, with some states offering regulated poker while other states have little or no legislation. While the Wire Act is still under review, stating the prohibitions extending beyond sports betting & covering all forms of online gambling, the impacts are yet to be seen this year.
That said, we can hope for a regulated online poker market across the country as time progresses. It is unlikely that gambling will be banned again; legalization in the US still has a way to go.
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Now let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about American online poker:
✅ What is the best US-friendly poker room?
✅ Are my funds safe if I deposit with offshore poker sites?
Basically, self-regulated sites use robust software & offer secure poker games. So a player can be rest assured their investment is made in the right cardroom.
✅ Is it legal to play online poker from the USA?
Yes. Online poker is perfectly legal in the US in the states that have passed the legislation. Players are free to choose a site at their disposal provided it is adequately licensed & safe to play.
✅ Are PokerStars & PartyPoker coming back to the USA?
Currently, PokerStars and PartyPoker offer licensed services in the states of New Jersey, Michigan & Pennsylvania. However, the launch in other states is yet to be confirmed.
✅ Are offshore poker rooms safe to access?
The term offshore doesn't make any operator less legit. Just like the local cardrooms, their safety depends not only on a license but in their background.