Best Real Money Poker Sites
If you want an authentic poker experience just like you've seen on TV without having to hit up your local casino, real money online poker is the way to go.
It doesn't have to be for high stakes or with a table full of pros. But when the stakes are real (even just for pennies - almost all real money online poker games are under $10), poker is a completely different game.
If you want to test the waters at the best real money online poker sites our editors have put together a guide below.
Sign up and create an account via the "Play Now" link or via one of our review pages and you'll be eligible for an exclusive bonus up to $1,000. (That's real money, too!).
Our #1 recommended site for real money online poker in 2019 is 888poker.
Where to Play Online Poker for Real Money
|Rank||Poker Site||Rating||Best Sign-Up Bonus||Why?||Play Now|
|1.||7.7||Regular: Flat $500||
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So you've tried out Facebook poker or a play-money poker app and done pretty well. Or you've even played at the play-money tables at online poker sites like 888poker, PokerStars or partypoker and crushed the leaderboards.
You're now probably asking yourself a few questions:
- What's the difference between play-money and real-money poker sites?
- How good are the players at real-money poker sites?
- How much are average real-money games?
- How little money can I actually real money online poker for?
- Will I win at real money poker online?
Diving in to real money online poker can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be.
And while online poker for play money is definitely a different game than online poker real money, if you've done well in free online poker games you've got all the skills you need to win in real-money poker games.
In fact, you may even find more success with online poker for real money as the unpredictability of play-money (since it's not real money players don't care about losing their chips and therefore make pretty ridiculous moves) becomes much more predictable - and much more exploitable.
Real Money Poker Sites: Why Play for Real Money?
Absolutely everyone who starts out in play-money poker before moving on to real money agrees play money games are great for one thing: learning the poker basics.
A few hours at the play tables are indispensable for getting a feel for the online poker game - the order of play, how to make bets, adjusting to the pace of the action, how the controls work and more.
If you're hoping to learn effective poker strategy in those games, though, you're barking up the wrong tree. Why? Play-money players are ridiculously loose and careless - and why not?
They have nothing to win and nothing to lose so they freely make crazy bets and crazy calls. Once they run out of chips, they simply get more. And then go and waste them the same way.
This just doesn't happen in online poker for real money - even at the 1¢/2¢ microstakes (although you will still find a few loose cannons, numbers are drastically reduced).
There are plenty of terrible players, sure. But they're not hell bent on losing their chips as fast as they can. In fact, despite how small the games can be - and how little the financial risk - some players hold on to their chips for dear life.
This means they're absolutely 100% predictable at the tables. And virtual money in your pocket. Either way, there's just no comparison - online poker for real money is the best poker available, by far.
Can I Play Real Money Online Poker Now?
Real-money online poker games are where the "real" action is. The strategy is more interesting, the players are more consistent and the games are even more beatable - if you know a bit about what you're doing.
You don't have to waste a lot of money learning the ropes either. Most real money poker sites - including all of the sites listed above - offer hundreds of low-limit real money options from 1¢/2¢ cash games to $1 single-table tournaments.
They start up almost instantaneously in some form or another and you can find yourself in a seat literally minutes after you create your account.
Even better these days, most real money online poker sites have moved to a recreational-player driven model where you're protected from the more experienced players on the sites.
You'll play at beginner-only tables, have plenty of time to get adjusted to the game and don't have to worry about getting in over your head too quickly.
You can also deposit money with Debit or Credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD etc). The process is easy and you will be at the tables, playing real money poker, before you know it.
Can I Play Real Money Poker Online in the USA?
Two of the most common questions new real-money poker players ask are:
- "How do I know my money is secure?" and
- "How do I know if a real-money poker site is legal where I live?"
The answer for that, of course, depends on where you live. In most jurisdictions around the world, and especially across most of Europe, real-money poker online is regulated, licensed and consumer-protected by multiple organizations including state governments and regional licensing authorities.
Real-money poker sites in the United States, however, are in a transition period. Prior to 2011 US players (meaning geographically located inside the United States) could play on many of the top international poker sites including PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
After Black Friday those sites were shut down by the US Department of Justice (although all player money was rightfully returned to players).
Now, real money online poker legislation is moving forward state-by-state with Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan currently the 5 states where real-money online poker is officially "legalized" (although real-money poker games have yet to be launched in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
California and New York are close behind with online poker legalization and it appears 2019 and beyond will be breakthrough years for real money poker sites in the USA. All of the current licensed poker sites in the US have also now agreed to a player-sharing agreement so prize pools and player fields are growing.
Can I Play PokerStars Real Money in the USA?
If you're a huge fan and would like to play real money poker on PokerStars in the United States we have good and bad news for you.
The good news is you can play real money PokerStars if you live in or are visiting New Jersey (and are above the legal age of course). Despite the player-sharing among states, though, that's it.
PokerStars only currently has a license to operate in New Jersey, although it's expected to eventually get licenses across all US states once they legalize. That means you will only be playing against other PokerStars players in New Jersey - not across the US or connected to their international poker pools.
It's still super fun, though, and they have lots of great daily SnGs, MTTs and cash games for all bankroll levels. Try PokerStars NJ via our review page and get $30 free to play right now!
If you live in New Jersey, Delaware or Nevada you can also currently play legal real money online poker (against all players on the platform in all three states) at:
For a complete list of the Best Real Money Poker Sites in the USA, Canada or the UK, check our toplists here:
- Best Real Money Poker Sites for US Players
- Best Real Money Poker Sites for UK Players
- Best Real Money Poker Sites for Canadian Players
Again, for most countries in the world, online poker for real money is a fully sanctioned, government- or privately-operated industry with the proper regulation and protection protocols you'd expect. It works just like any other online business and you can be assured your real money is safe and secure.
How Do I Make a Deposit at a Real Money Poker Site?
100% / $400
It depends on where you live and your own personal banking or credit options but getting money onto a real money poker site is a very simple undertaking. If you live in the UK or Europe, making a real money online poker deposit is as easy as taking out your credit card and making a purchase as you would at any other online retailer.
Another popular option is a local bank debit card or any number of pre-paid debit or credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, paysafecard or entropay. Poker players in the US and elsewhere also like to use third-party eWallets like Skrill, PayPal or Neteller where you can fund a separate account you can then connect to your online poker account.
All of your real money poker deposits are then anonymous and there is no connection between your bank account or credit card details and the real money poker site. No matter where you live, visit our Online Poker Deposit Options page to see your options for real-money poker deposits:
How Secure is Real Money Online Poker?
In a word? Very. Real money poker sites use all of the latest encryption technology to ensure every transaction between you and the poker site is secured.
All of the money in your poker account is also kept entirely separate from the poker site's operating funds, meaning you can withdraw all of your balance at any time. The exception might be any poker bonus money you may have earned which you'll need to clear.
When you'd like to make a withdrawal you simply make a request through the poker site cashier, provide any ID details required to confirm it is your account and your money will be returned to you within 2-5 business days.
888poker, for example, processes thousands of secure transactions daily via over 20 different payment methods. It's also certified by McAfee, GameCare & ICRA and monitored by sophisticated algorithms to ensure the integrity of its games.
PokerStars, partypoker and Tiger Gaming are similarly licensed and regulated by government agencies, process thousands of real-money transactions a day and are monitored by financial oversight committees to ensure game and transaction integrity as well.
IF you use a third-party eWallet or pre-paid credit card none of your bank information (or personal information for that matter) is exchanged with the poker site. All information you do share with a poker site is also entirely confidential.
If you've have any concerns about your transaction and whether the money has arrived in your account, the best real money online poker sites have 24/7 customer service support to assist you. Real money online poker sites are also committed to responsible gambling principles and can offer help or self-exclusion if you're ever concerned about playing too much.
In short, playing real money online poker in 2019 and beyond is as safe and secure as any retail Internet transaction.
How Much Do I Need to Play Real Money Poker?
If you're thinking you have to be a millionaire to play real money online poker, we've got great news for you:
- Most real money poker games played online are for less than $10!
You read that right. Real money online poker is NOT the exclusive domain of the rich and famous or the high-stakes poker pros you've seen on TV. In fact, very little of it is.
Real money online poker is decidedly the domain of the "average joe." Almost all the poker games running - be it cash games, tournaments, Sit & Gos, Hyper Turbos, what have you - run at price points more than accessible to the average poker player.
If you play a lot of them, of course, the total can add up quickly. But real money online poker is NOT an exclusive club for just the well heeled by any stretch.
If you're a cash game player you can find tables and stakes from 1c/2c to $1/$2 virtually any time of day. Buy-ins for the table are very small and you're under no obligation to buy back in again if you bust.
With stakes available so low you can make $5 to $10 last a really long time - and have a ton of fun in the process. Minimum deposits at most real money poker sites are also as low as $10 meaning you can get in and get involved with online poker for the price of two fancy coffees.
At the same time the potential is there to turn that small investment into a lot of money. If you like to play big, low buy-in MTTS (multi-table tournaments), the prize pools can often be up to 1000x the buy-in making them extremely profitable ventures.
The PokerStars MicroMillions, for just one example, has buy-ins predominantly below $11 or less and yet has guaranteed prize pools worth millions of dollars.
It is, of course, rare to win one of those big microstakes events but the point is simply that online poker with real money is not a high-risk enterprise by any means. You pick your comfort level, you decide the stakes and games best for you, and you remain in control of your bankroll at all times.
Free Real Money Bonuses for Real Money Poker
If you look through our real-money poker sites reviews above you'll soon see your options are virtually limitless when it comes to the style of poker games you prefer.
The best part is you can quickly learn all you need to know to become a winning player for, at most, a few bucks a day. Check our poker strategy section for the basics you need to start making a small profit online.
If you're not entirely confident in your poker game yet and you're worried about losing some of your own money, you can take advantage of quite a few bonus offers at poker sites for new players.
Generally speaking, if you've never had an account at a real money poker site before you can create a new one which makes you eligible for a real money bonus added to your account before you ever play a hand or make a deposit.
This can come in several forms, like free tickets to tournaments that have a small real money prize pool, or in the form or actual bonus money you can use at the poker tables right away.
One popular example is the $88 free no-deposit bonus at 888poker. Look for details in our review page here:
Be sure when you're signing up for a new poker site to use the link provided on our review page to be eligible for our exclusive bonus offers. If you're still not quite ready for real-money online poker learn more about playing for free on free poker sites!
Can I Play Real Money Online Poker on my Phone?
You definitely can. All of the top real-money poker sites now have downloadable apps you can use to play real-money online poker on your iPhone, Android Phone (Samsung Galaxy, etc) or iPad.
Almost all of the standard features are available plus the full range of games and stakes offered in the full software client. Depositing and withdrawing money is also very secure. We recommend playing Fast Fold poker for the best mobile poker experience.
Good luck - and enjoy the ride of real money poker!