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>> Skip to: legal status of US poker online & top US poker sites for real money.
- 888poker: Best real money site for new players and beginners with a small bankroll.
- PokerStars: Biggest poker site with the largest selection of poker games and low buy-in tournaments.
- Tiger Gaming: For experienced players and pros seeking the best real money poker bonus.
- GGPoker: Fastest-growing poker network with great software and strong cash bonuses.
- PartyPoker: Has the best rakeback offers for grinders and decent tournament fields.
- Bet-at-home Poker: Home of some big sign-up bonus offers and weakest competition online.
- Ladbrokes Poker: Britain's most popular poker site and largest online sportsbook.
- Betfair Poker: Ranks among the best sites for real money poker grinders with a good VIP club.
- Greysnow Poker: Great tournaments and overlays available round the clock.
Ready for Real Money Poker?
So maybe you've tried a play-money poker app and did pretty well. Or you sat at play-money tables of poker sites like 888poker, Full Tilt, Partypoker, or Betfair and crushed the leaderboards. Truthfully - if you've done well in free online poker games you've got what it takes to win real-money poker games.
Let’s answer your questions first:
- What's the difference between play vs real money poker sites?
When the stakes are real - even low stakes - poker becomes a different game. Players are more cautious with their chips - less loose calls and incessant all-ins. And of course there’s the chance to take home some real cash.
- How good are the players at real money poker sites?
You don’t have to sit and play against a table full of pros. Online poker rooms attract plenty of beginners and amateurs that you can exploit - if you play your cards right.
- What are buy-ins like for average real money games?
Don’t worry - real money online poker doesn't even have to be for high stakes. In fact, 50% of poker games on an online poker site cost under $10 to buy into.
- Can I actually win playing real money poker online?
Online poker for real money is not as unpredictable as play money poker - which makes it more exploitable. So, yes this can possibly mean more success and real cash wins.
# Success: Real vs. Play Money Poker
Real money poker is less unpredictable
- which makes it more exploitable
Why Play at Real Money Poker Sites?
Play-money games are good for one thing: picking up the basics. You need a couple of hours at these tables to get a good feel for the online poker game. Like understanding the order of play, how to make bets, adjusting to the pace, learning the controls - and more. But real money online poker games are where the real action is.
To learn effective poker strategy - you need to step away from loose, careless play money players. Because they can simply reload if they run out of chips. So they make crazy bets and calls while feeling like they have nothing to lose.
Although there may be the occasional loose cannon at your table, real money poker players generally aren’t like that. Even at $0.01/$0.02 micro stakes - players are far more cautious with their chips. This makes them so much more exploitable. So there’s no doubt that online poker for real money is the best poker available.
Online Poker Buy-ins and Costs
Real money online poker isn’t the exclusive domain of the high-stakes pros you see on live streams. Actually, almost all poker games - cash, tournaments, Sit & Gos, Hyper Turbos, what have you - run at accessible prices. As we’ve mentioned - online real money poker sites today mainly cater for the average, recreational poker players.
# Most real money online poker
games have entry under $10
If you play cash, you can find tables with 1c/2c to $1/$2 stakes any time of the day. Not only are buy-ins small, but you're under no obligation to re-enter 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.
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 1,000x the buy-in making them extremely profitable ventures.
Huge events, low entries
The PokerStars MicroMillions is just one example of a major online tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of millions. Yet buy-ins are predominantly $11 or less, which is proof that real money poker online is rarely high-risk. Of course, the fields are massive in these microstakes events, which makes them more difficult - but that’s a different story.
You can also play more casino-style poker games for real money, such as:
Just check our Casino Poker Games page for more info on all the casino poker games you can play, including video poker and and live dealer poker games. We can also recommend the top casinos which offer some of our favorite, popular poker games:
#You control your bankroll
You pick your comfort level and decide which
stakes and games are best for you.
How to Get Ready to Play Poker
Real money strategy becomes interesting, the players consistent, and the games more beatable. At least - if you know what you're doing.
- How to Play Poker: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
- How To Get Started Playing Poker Online
- Poker Strategy Section including specifics like Coin Flips
- Rules and Tips for Tournament Poker
You don't have to spend too much learning the ropes. All the real money poker sites on this page offer hundreds of low-limit real money options. Starting from $0.01/$0.02 cash games and $1 single-table tournaments. And yes, it’s fast - I mean you’re shooting off to your seat almost instantly after creating an account. But don’t worry - these real money online poker sites are really recreational-player driven these days. So you're protected from more experienced players and have plenty of time to get adjusted.
Your Payment Options
Minimum deposits at most real money poker sites are also as low as $10. So getting involved in an online poker game costs as much as two fancy coffees. You can deposit using a variety of options and start playing real money poker online within minutes. Find more info here:
But to sum up, here are the most popular poker payment methods in these locations:
+ More payment information
Remember that 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 share with a poker site is also entirely confidential according to strict licence regulations.
If you 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. They offer help or self-exclusion if you're ever concerned about playing too much.
The Online Poker Situation in the US
US sites are more limited than European Poker rooms.
At this point, just four states offer poker games to US players:
- Pennsylvania and
- New Jersey
If you’re accessing this page in these states, you’ll see the best legal US poker sites available to you for real money. So you’re eligible for bonuses & freerolls - and your money is 100% safe. Just click “Play Now” on the respective review page to create your new account.
As with all our top online poker sites, we thoroughly test each US poker site and rank them. All based on software, security, playability, bonuses, tournaments, traffic and soft competition. Unfortunately, if you're outside these jurisdictions, we can suggest our #1 play-money poker option - Appeak Poker. Or, you can go for the virtual currency model - like in the US poker site: Global Poker.
# Global Poker for US Players
The unique Sweepstakes model allows US players
to play for real winnings, converted to cash by PayPal.
In May 2018, all legalized US states also signed a pact to share online poker player traffic. Hence a huge step in re-uniting the US poker market.
US Online Poker Laws: UIGEA & Wire Act
The Wire Act is an old federal law from 1961 which prohibits betting operations using wire communications. The aim was to eliminate organized crime through gambling and hence carried over to US poker even decades later.
Then, UIGEA came into effect in late 2006, making it illegal for banks to process transactions from unlicensed online gambling sites. It’s the bank not the player who is liable here for breaking federal law. However, you may violate state or tribal laws if you play on an unsanctioned poker site.
Multiple top online poker sites pulled out of the market due to the unclear legality of online poker in US. However, PokerStars has returned to the US poker market in New Jersey (2016) and Pennsylvania (2019).
New Jersey was one of the first US states to offer regulated Online Poker after the Black Friday when then governor Chris Christie signed legal online poker into law in early 2013. It’s now one of the biggest US jurisdictions for legal, regulated online poker - Hence, many big poker sites operate here:
As well as casinos which offer casino poker games:
New Jersey Online Poker Laws
- Age: Must be 21+ to sign up and play
- Location: In NJ - whether you’re a resident or just visiting doesn’t matter
- Tax: Operators have to pay 15% tax on revenue
- Verification: Poker operators must verify each player's identity
Legal PA online poker launched in 2019 - making Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online poker. This after much legal maneuvering in the state since the bill passed in 2017. Now, with 13 million residents, PA online poker could become the largest online poker market in the country. Even PokerStars officially launched PA online poker in November, 2019.
Nevada and Delaware
Nevada and Delaware both legalized online poker in 2013 and solely poker sites could start operating. WSOP is one of them. And since 2018, WSOP.com and 888 have shared their player pools with other states that have regulated online poker. So this would include Nevada, Pennsylvania, NJ and Delaware. Both Delaware and Nevada laws state that players must be within the borders and above 21 years of age.
WSOP & 888
Have been sharing their player pools
in licensed states since 2018.
West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019, but isn’t expected to go live until 2020 - or even later. This would be the fifth state to legalize online poker - under the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. However, lottery officials still need to regulate it. So, it seems we’ll still need to hold on a little longer for poker sites to launch here.
California, New York, Massachusetts & Illinois
Legislation is progressing however, and several states have moved closer to legalized online poker over the past few years. There are some strong considerations to legalize online poker in California and online poker in New York. Even Michigan has pushed for legal online poker - and online gambling in general, in 2018 and 2019. So if you’re eager to legalize online poker in your state, you can lobby for it.
Global Poker - Anywhere in the US
Besides licensed sites in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the only real option for US players is Global Poker. This poker site uses a unique sweepstakes and virtual currency model. As a result, it’s not considered an online gambling site per se - and it’s available all over the US. So you can then play for real cash prizes which you convert via PayPal, for example.
Poker for real money in the UK
Since 2014, it’s been legal to operate and advertise poker to UK players. In fact, the UK is one of the poker havens of Europe. So if you’re accessing this page from the UK you’ll find multiple poker site options and bonuses to choose from. They’re all compliant with the UK Gambling Commission and are 100% safe to play at.
UKGC licensing laws make the whole poker experience more secure for players, from registration to playing at tables to transactions. Top poker sites like PokerStars even use a specific domain for UK players to monitor activity and for taxation purposes. Regulated UK poker sites must segment player funds from poker business funds, so they can always pay out winnings.
Here's our approved list of the Best Real Money Poker Sites in the UK:
Playing Real money poker in Canada
No surprise that some top online poker pros have emerged from Canada - case in point: Daniel Negreanu. Canadian players who wish to follow suit have tons of real money online poker sites to try on this page. And they’re not just Canada-friendly - but also top poker sites worldwide. This makes them totally safe and reliable, so you can carry on and play. Just remember that, like many countries worldwide, winnings are subject to tax.
Here's our approved list of the Best Real Money Poker Sites in Canada:
Free Poker Bonuses, Tickets and More
If you're not entirely confident in your game yet, you can take advantage of the bonus offers on this page. If you’re new to a poker site, you can get real money bonus funds to practice with. Or the real money bonus can be free tickets to tournaments with a smaller prize pool. Feel free to use any exclusive poker bonus on this page when you’re signing up to a new site. Just be sure to register through the link on the review page to be eligible. If you're still not quite ready for real money online poker, you can play for free on these poker sites!
Look through our real-money poker sites reviews on this page because your options are limitless for many poker variations. The best part is how quickly you can learn all you need to know and start making a small profit. Check our free strategy guides for the basics and more:
- Check out our poker strategy section - Beginner & Advanced
- Get the best Poker Sign up Bonuses we can find
Good luck - and enjoy the ride of real money poker!
Playing Poker on Various Devices:
Real Money Online Poker FAQ
How Secure is Real Money Online Poker?Very. Real money poker sites use the latest encryption technology to ensure every transaction between you and the poker site is secure. You can withdraw all your balance at any time, except the site’s bonus money - which you’ll need to wager first. Simply go to the cashier, provide ID details to verify it’s you, and you’ll receive it in a few days.
Licensed poker sites process thousands of secure transactions daily and are monitored by government and financial bodies. Ensuring game integrity, safe transfers and data protection for players.
Is Online Poker Legal in the United States?Yes. The confusion stems from the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) bill in 2006. This makes it illegal for banks to process online poker transactions in the States for fear of money laundering. So in 2011, the US Department of Justice shut down the poker sites still operating in the US.
However, now there are four states which allow real money poker: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can play on PokerStars NJ and PartyPoker NJ using our exclusive bonus codes. Or at Global Poker using Sweepstakes coins.
When Will Online Poker be Legal Across the States?It seems legalization may happen slowly since there have been multiple bills over the last few years. Meanwhile, organizations like Poker Players Alliance and the former FairPlayUSA continue to lobby hard for fully legal online poker. There has been some positive work state-level, but nationwide - we’ve got a way to go.
Can I Play on PokerStars in the US?You can play real money poker at PokerStars NJ if you live in or are visiting New Jersey and are 18+. Or PA online poker if in Pennsylvania. This means you’ll only be playing against other PokerStars NJ and PA players with daily SnGs, MTTs and cash games.
Otherwise, you can’t play real money poker sites in the US at the moment. Unless you’re playing for Sweepstakes on Global Poker. However we expect more states to be licensed in the near future, including West Virginia, NY, California.
Can I Play Poker Online if Outside Licensed States?You can play when you’re within the borders of a licensed state. For those who live close to one, you can simply pop over. Like New Yorkers going to Jersey for a weekend or visiting Atlantic City. Same for Californians who visit Nevada.
Otherwise, don’t be tempted to use a VPN to play on licensed poker sites because their security is very strong. If you get caught, your account will be closed and your funds confiscated.
Can I Play on Unlicensed US Poker Sites?There are some unlicensed poker sites that let US players sign up and play against other US players. But obviously there’s a ton of risk involved. Because with no governing body to regulate them, there are no best practices, fairness and safety measures enforced. Plus, they can easily go out of business and take player funds with them.
So, honestly - we strongly advise against playing on unlicensed/unregulated poker sites still accepting US players.
How Do I Make a Deposit at a Poker Site?Your real money online poker deposit options always depend on where you’re located - but it’s all very easy. Check out our Online Poker Deposit Options guide for more information. But in a nutshell you can use major credit cards, bank transfers and third-party wallets like PayPal and Neteller.
All eWallet real money poker deposits are anonymous and don’t show online poker site details on statements. Some US poker operators even accept Bitcoin. Just be sure to check the options available before you put cash on a site.
Can I Play Poker on My Phone?Definitely. Most top real-money poker sites now have downloadable apps you can use to play real-money online poker. Or, you can play from browser whether it’s on iPhone, Android or iPad. You'll get nearly all standard features plus the full range of games. Depositing and withdrawing money is also very secure. For the best mobile experience, we recommend Fast Fold poker or its variations if they're available to you.
Can I Play Free Online Poker in the US?Absolutely - Unless you’re playing real money poker or depositing in an unlicensed state, this is no problem. You can play free poker online at virtually every poker site. Either by playing the in-browser free play version or downloading the full-featured software and sticking to the play-money tables.