Editors' Picks - Top Online Poker Sites for US Players
US Online Poker Sites: Real money poker for US players (residents)
The laws for real-money online poker in the U.S. are always changing but at this point there are just three States that offer games for poker-starved Americans. If you're accessing this page in one of those States - Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey - you'll see the full list of legal, regulated online poker sites below.
As with all our online poker site reviews we meticulously test each site and rank them based on 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.
Despite a smaller selection of sites they all offer very decent software, competitive bonuses and a variety of games including No-Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. All of the sites listed are fully licensed and operated by official providers vetted by State gaming organizations and your money is 100% safe and protected
If you reside in a State outside of those three, however, unfortunately we can only provide you with our #1 play-money poker option, Appeak Poker. Legislation is progressing though and several states - including Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts and New York - have moved closer and closer to legalized online poker over the past few years.
When more States have officially regulated online poker you'll see all sites available to residents and visitors listed below.
We expect a fully operational, shared player pool, national poker network functioning in the United States within the next few years, so keep your hopes up! And write your local representative to express your interest in fully regulated online poker for Americans!
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 hundreds of thousands U.S. poker players who are still in limbo with regards to the legality of playing poker online with the borders of the US.
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.
However, as of the end of 2015, just three States offer officially licensed and regulated online poker - Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
If you are a resident or visitor physically within the boundaries of those States - and of course you're over the age of 18 - you are legally entitled to play online poker on any poker site licensed and sanctioned by State Gaming Authorities.
If you are located outside of those state boundaries and considering playing on an unsanctioned poker site, know that you are treading into questionable territory with regards to Federal law.
What is the UIGEA?
The UIGEA was signed into law by President Bush in mid-October, 2006, and makes it illegal for banks to process transactions from unlicensed online gambling sites.
The law does not make the player liable in any way, but makes the bank liable for accepting funds or wagers associated with Internet gambling.
As an online poker player located in the United States you are not violating the UIGEA or any other federal law when you play online poker. But you may be violating state or tribal law depending on the laws of the state or Native American Reservation where you are located if you choose to play poker on an unsanctioned online poker site.
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 publicly 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 resulted in the closure of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker to US players, but several sites do 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 legal, state-sanctioned U.S. poker sites still accept credit cards and bank drafts along with 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 cryptocurrency 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.
New York, California, Massachussets and Pennsylvania are just a few of the sites that appear to be on the verge of offering legal, licensed online poker in the coming months.
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