Editors' Picks - Top Online Poker Sites for US Players
US Online Poker Sites: Real money poker for US players (residents)
Some online poker sites allow players from the United States. Others don’t. The laws for real-money online poker in the U.S. are always changing but at this point there are a select group of sites that still offer games for poker-starved Americans.
Despite a smaller selection of sites there are some good online poker sites for U.S.-based players that offer decent software, competitive bonuses and a variety of games including No-Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. We’ve compiled a list of the best U.S. online poker sites that are still open to residents of the country that invented the game.
As with all our online poker site reviews we meticulously test each site and rank them based on their software, security, playability, bonuses, tournaments, traffic and overall skill level of opponents. We also investigate the various ways of depositing cash on the online poker sites and the best way to get playing quickly.
About the Best US Poker Sites and UIGEA
The United States is still the most popular country for online poker players in the world.
Due to some confusing legislation over the last 5 or 10 years, however, there are thousands of U.S. poker players who are still unsure about the legality of playing poker on the internet.
Before making their first real-money deposit online, U.S. poker players should understand a number of factors including the UIGEA, individual State law and some of the ins and outs of depositing money on U.S. online poker sites.
We're going to break it all down for you below in our guide to playing online poker in the U.S.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in the U.S.?
Yes. The confusion stems from the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) bill in 2006 as part of an unrelated port securities bill.
Although the UIGEA did make several large poker sites leave the U.S. due to concerns over the legislation, poker fans are not doing anything illegal by playing online poker.
There are still many top online poker rooms for U.S. players and most of the world's best poker players are still coming from the USA.
What is the UIGEA?
The UIGEA was signed into law by President Bush in mid-October, 2006, and makes it illegal for online gambling sites to accept funds or wagers from the United States if the underlying gambling activity violates existing federal, state or tribal law.
The law does not make the player liable in any way, but makes the site liable for accepting funds or wagers associated with illegal Internet gambling.
As an online poker player located in the United States, you are not violating the UIGEA or any other federal law, but you may be violating state or tribal law depending on the laws of the state or Native American Reservation where you are located. It is the player's responsibility to determine the legality of playing Internet poker under the law where he is located.
When the UIGEA was passed in 2006 there were a number of online poker sites that pulled out of the market due to the unclear legality of online poker in U.S. PartyPoker, Titan Poker and 888 Poker were among the biggest sites to leave the USA in 2006. It's worth noting that most of the companies that left were publically traded.
Meanwhile, prominent online poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt that are privately owned and don't offer other forms of online gambling continued to offer online poker to American players.
A recent effort to enforce the UIGEA has resulted in the temporary closure of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker to US players, but several sites remain open.
How Do I Deposit Money on Poker Sites in the U.S.?
Check out our Online Poker Deposit Options guide for more information, but in a nutshell there are a variety of ways to get money on to poker sites from the U.S.
The best U.S. poker sites still accept credit cards and bank drafts, while others rely primarily on third-party online payment processors and similar methods.
Each website allows for several different methods of deposits and withdrawals, so be sure to check out the options on the site's payments page before you put cash on a site.
Some poker operators even accept Bitcoin if you prefer to put your faith in crytocurrency although fluctuating value can always be an issue.
Will Online Poker Ever Be Fully Licensed and Regulated in the Entire United States?
It looks that way, although no one knows exactly when it will happen. There have been numerous bills over the last few years that if passed would allow for regulated, legalized and taxed online poker.
Organizations like the Poker Players Alliance and the newly former FairPlayUSA continue to lobby hard for fully legal online poker. There has been some positive work done on a state-level but thus far USA-wide fully-licensed online poker has eluded fans of the game.
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