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Best poker sites for american playersTop 10 US Poker Sites: Best legal Real Money USA Online Poker websites for 2021 by Adrian Sterne Updated: July 1, 2021 Ancestors to the game of poker may have come from the Middle East and China, but the game as it stands today is thought to pretty much have been born in the United States Best Poker Sites Accepting American Players Although things aren't as. The best payment method that US poker players can make use of is a cryptocurrency.
Are you looking for the best US legal online poker sites or a real money poker app? If the answer is yes, then you came to the right place. This is one of our many online poker reviews where you can find more about the best online poker options.
- Texas Hold’em dominates the poker world, and that certainly includes online poker. But Omaha has seen its stock rise in recent years and most online poker sites now deal plenty of Omaha games online for real money. Players looking to expand their repertoire of poker games will.
- Jul 21, 2021 The platforms offered by these brands operate as US-only poker sites, not connected to any kind of international player pool. Regulated US poker sites offer many of the same cash games and tournaments as their overseas counterparts, however. The Best Online Poker Sites In The US. BetMGM Online Poker: 100% Deposit Match Up To $600 + $25 deposit.
Without further ado, keep reading to discover how to play the best online poker for money and how to form an online poker strategy. So, let’s get started!
Best Legal Online Poker Sites
- Pala Poker
- Global Poker
Is online poker legal? It's not always the same as legal online casinos and legal online sportsbooks. All new players who decide to explore the vast universe of real money poker sites should know that federally, online poker sites are illegal. However, on the individual level, online poker is legal in some of the states.
Some websites such as Global Poker (which is a sweepstakes poker site) are allowed in 49 out of 50 US states. Only Washington does not allow it. At the moment of writing our online poker reviews, only four states offer legal online poker websites in the United States. These are the following: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
For more information about some of the available sites, make sure to consult our Global Poker review.
US Legal Online Poker: State by State
Is online poker legal in your state? If the answer is no, keep in mind that the situation can change pretty quickly. Unsurprisingly, Nevada was the leader of regulated online poker. Once the ice was broken, the domino-effect followed.
One by one, many states tried or are still trying to pass the legislation. As you can see, some of them even succeeded. The last one to recently pass online poker is West Virginia, and we expect more legal US poker sites to be launched in the future.
When it comes to future predictions, we believe that chances are pretty good for some of the states to overcome all the legal obstacles and finally launch real money poker sites so their residents become able to play legal online poker.
Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, New York are some of the states that’ll probably make some innovations when it comes to the possibilities of playing poker online. These are the states that have active supporters of online poker in the state senate.
What’s more, regulated real money poker sites in neighboring states can only have a positive effect on public opinion. Additionally, within the borders of the aforementioned states, you can find a considerable number of land-based casinos.
Many of them come with the best online poker rooms where you can play various variants of poker, including the most popular one - Texas Hold’em. In other words, these poker offline options make it easier to launch legal poker sites and eventually start to offer legal online poker.
States Where Legal Online Poker Seems Like a Distant Dream
From this point of view, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah are just some of the states where we can see a certain legislative hostility towards online gambling. Therefore, we don’t believe that we won’t be able to play Texas Hold’em online there for quite some time.
Sweepstakes Legal Online Poker - Play Poker Free No Matter Which State You’re In
As said before, Global Poker, a sweepstakes legal online poker site, can be accessed in all US states except for the state of Washington. This legal online poker platform was launched in 2106, and since then, many players use its services. The virtual currency gaming business model is what makes it unique.
Instead of playing for real money, players play poker free, using gold coins or sweeps cash. That’s why Global Poker often appears when players search for “play poker free” or “play poker online, free”.
To understand how sweepstakes poker works, let’s start with some poker basics and make sure to understand sweeps poker terminology clearly. There’s a difference between gold coins and sweeps cash, and there’s a reason for which “play poker online, free” is actually a bit of a misnomer here.
Gold Coins are the name for the virtual currency in Global Poker, and they are equivalent to what regular legal online poker sites usually call “play money”. In other words, you can’t cash them out, but you can use them to play Texas Hold’em online or participate in some of the available tournaments with other players. On the other hand, “$weeps cash” is a promotional, virtual currency that can be cashed out through PayPal.
To sum up, you can buy gold coins that don’t have any monetary value and can’t be cashed out. “$weeps cash” is obtained as free of charge once you buy Gold Coins. Because of this virtual currency online poker model, Global Poker is not quite considered an online gambling activity. Therefore, it’s allowed in almost all of the US.
Where Can I Play Legal Online Poker in the US?
Pennsylvania is the last state where online poker had become legal when PokerStars was launched there at the end of 2019. Right now that’s also the only available option to play online poker for money in Pennsylvania.
If we don’t count Global Poker, which can be accessed in 49 states, all the other legal online poker sites come with pretty restricted access. For example, Pala Poker and PartyPoker are only available in the state of New Jersey.
However, they are not the only NJ poker sites one can access. WSOP, America's top legal online poker site, is available in the Garden State, and it’s also accessible to all Nevada online poker fans as well. Likewise, PokerStars NJ, available both independently and within the FOX Bet appClaim the WSOP promo code in New Jersey and Nevada to get a $1,000 signup bonus!
Where Can I Play Poker Live?
Most of the land-based casinos across different states include special poker rooms where you can play live poker. Playing Texas Hold’em online is definitely the most popular option. After all, poker is an American thing, so it’s no wonder to see it available in the vast majority of mortar and bricks casinos.
In fact, instead of listing all the states where you can sit back, relax and try out your luck with live poker, it’s better to list all those where you can’t play poker online. It’ll be easier to remember this list:
- New Hampshire
We must add that in Texas, private poker clubs aren’t forbidden. As long as no house makes a profit from the game, poker can be played in private places for fun.
US Online Poker Basics
When talking about the current status of legal US poker sites, there are two especially important laws that you should be aware of. Let’s take a look at these two federal laws that govern online poker in the country.
The Wire Act
The first one is the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, often called the Federal Wire Act. As you can see, it passed long before online poker or even the internet existed. However, it prohibits certain types of betting businesses to operate via wired communications.
In 2011, the US Department of Justice concluded that the scope of the act was limited to sporting events. Therefore, states, where online poker is now regulated, found that the bill didn’t apply to online poker nor other forms of gambling.
However, in 2019, the US Department of Justice reversed its opinion. The new opinion concludes that the Wire Act applies to all types of online gambling.
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The other relevant law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) from 2006. This law made it illegal for US banks to proceed with transactions for offshore gambling companies. That’s how they were pushed out of the market.
History of US Legal Online Poker
Online casinos started to appear back in 1994. They were usually situated in Antigua or the Isle of Man. However, the vast majority of their users were US-based customers. Two years later, in 1996, online gambling was also brought to the North American market soil.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established just outside Montreal. They started issuing licenses, and pretty soon, it was possible to find hundreds of new online gambling websites.
Once again, two years later and again in Canada, the first-ever poker online website saw the light of day. Planet Poker was the favorite source of fun to thousands of Americans who were spending endless hours playing the first real-money online Texas Hold’em.
Over the next few years, thanks to technological advances, better online poker software was developed, while the number of websites kept increasing. These online poker operators also started to offer various tournaments and cash games and got a solid fan base all over the world.
The Industry Kept Growing & Then It Collapsed
Even though there were different interpretations of the law, especially of the famous Wire Act, the newly developed industry kept growing.
The year 2003 is especially important in the evolution of online poker. Using an account from Tennessee, Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker after participating in the event through an online satellite. In Chris Moneymaker's case, we guess, it's okay to say that name determines destiny.
This online poker strategy was live-streamed on ESPN. Suddenly, the whole nation knew about Chris's story. A good number of Americans were hoping to be the next. All of a sudden, poker was everywhere on TV. Live games were followed carefully, and commercial breaks had one purpose: promoting online poker for money and playing Texas Hold 'em online.
The great number of promoted sites were, in fact, offshore online poker sites. A lot of them disappeared from American browsers after Congress passed the above-mentioned UIGEA in 2006.
However, even though a lot of sites weren't accessible anymore, online poker couldn't be erased that easily. Some of the offshore gambling companies had found a way around the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, but not for long.
In 2011, some of the largest online poker operators, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet, were accused of violating UIGEA and money laundering. These websites were definitely excluded from the significant US online poker market, which seemed to come to an end at the time.
Legal Online Poker Sites Rise Again
Also in 2011, the DOJ released a legal opinion that the Federal Wire act exclusively applied only to one form of gambling: sports betting. A few states saw this as a possibility, paving the way to regulated online casinos and legal US poker sites.
In 2012, Delaware was the first state that managed to do just that. Then, in December 2013, Nevada followed the example of passing online poker legislation. A week later, the Garden State became the third to legalize online gambling, and plans for NJ poker sites were made.
The first-ever regulated US online poker site was launched in Nevada in April 2013. Delaware and NJ poker sites went live that same year, a few months later. In 2017, Pennsylvania became the fourth state to join this group. West Virginia is the fifth state where online poker was regulated in 2019. Probably, more states will try to do the same thing in the near future.
Which State is Next?
Is online poker legal in California or New York? This is one of the frequently asked questions that people search for in the USA. They also search for different terms of poker terminology that sound unfamiliar to them. However, that’s another question that we could discuss on some other occasion.
Let’s get back to our question of legal online poker sites and the possible new markets in the USA. Michigan has made significant efforts to legalize online gambling, particularly online poker, while California, New York, and Massachusetts also seem to be moving in the right direction.
Real Money Poker App: How to Find the Best Poker App
It doesn’t matter if you are a Pennsylvania online poker fan or a regular visitor of NJ poker sites, the good news is that you can play poker whenever you want, anywhere within the borders of one or the other state.
Many of the best online poker websites have launched a dedicated real money poker app that you can easily download and install on your device. The best poker apps are available for both iOS and Android operating systems.
In order to find the best poker app, make sure you visit one of the websites we listed at the beginning of our review.
Also, before you replace your poker offline adventure with the one that can be found on the internet, make sure to read some of the online poker reviews and get to know the poker terminology used by the players worldwide. After a brief introduction to the poker basics, it’s time to create your own online poker strategy and join one of the legal online poker communities!
State-regulated, legal online poker sites in the US operate in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Delaware. West Virginia is slated to launch legal online poker as well.
The US online poker landscape includes operators like BetMGM, PokerStars, WSOP.com, 888poker, and partypoker. The platforms offered by these brands operate as US-only poker sites, not connected to any kind of international player pool.
Regulated US poker sites offer many of the same cash games and tournaments as their overseas counterparts, however.
The Best Online Poker Sites In The US
- BetMGM Online Poker:100% Deposit Match Up To $600 + $25 deposit bonus
- PokerStars (MI, NJ, PA): 100% Deposit Match up to $600 + $50 Free Play Bonus
- WSOP.com (NV, NJ, PA): 100% Deposit Match up to $1,000
- 888poker (NJ, DE): 100% Deposit Match up to $1,500, $20 No-Deposit Bonus
- partypoker (BetMGM & Borgata Poker, NJ): 100% Deposit Match up to $600
BetMGM Poker is available in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. BetMGM is one of the best platforms in the US for sports betting and online casino gaming. It’s backed by MGM Resorts, so you can use the app with confidence knowing it has the support of one of the most reputable casinos in the world.
BetMGM Poker offers a 100% deposit match up to $600 plus a $25 deposit bonus when signing up. It features games like No-Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Poker enthusiasts will also find daily tournaments.
PokerStars competes against both the WSOP/888 network and partypoker NJ in the New Jersey market. The platform operates as an online poker site in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
PokerStars debuted in a second US market in November 2019, with the launch of PokerStars PA. PokerStars PA functions as an in-state-only poker client and operates as the only state-regulated online poker site available to Pennsylvania players.
The most recent addition to the PokerStars lineup is its online poker app in Michigan. PokerStars MI launched in January 2021.
New players at PokerStars can get a 100% deposit match bonus up to $600, as well as a $30 free play bonus after depositing at least $20.
With a debut in 2013, The World Series of Poker became one of the first brands to launch a regulated online poker site in the US. WSOP.com went live in both Nevada (September 2013) and New Jersey (November 2013) within a couple of months of each other that year. WSOP.com went live in Pennsylvania on July 15, 2021.
WSOP.com offers its New Jersey players the unique opportunity to compete in the official World Series of Poker bracelet events each year. The 2018 WSOP yielded the first New Jersey player to win a bracelet in the nearly 50-year history of the event.
WSOP.com shares player liquidity between its Nevada and New Jersey platforms. The WSOP network also connects to the 888poker Delaware network player pool.
This interstate network functions as the only online poker network in the US with a shared player pool across multiple states.
888poker debuted US platforms within weeks of each other in November 2013. 888poker Delaware marked the brand’s first foray into the US market, with 888poker New Jersey launching later that same month.
The WSOP.com network is powered by 888poker software, making WSOP and 888 partnered sites in some ways. The 888poker Delaware network includes skins offered by the state’s three casinos (Delaware Park, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway), which all link to the same 888poker platform.
The 888poker Delaware network shares player liquidity with WSOP Nevada and New Jersey network. New Jersey entered into the first phase of this shared player pool agreement with WSOP Nevada in February 2014, in a compact known as the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement )
The MSIGA was expanded in September 2017 and now includes both WSOP platforms and Delaware’s 888poker network.
Like PokerStars, partypoker was a major player in the original “poker-boom” era of online poker in the US. It voluntarily left the US market after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, however.
The brand came back to American shores with the launch of partypoker NJ in November 2013. The partypoker NJ network shares player liquidity with a pair of other New Jersey online poker skins, BetMGM and Borgata Poker.
Partypoker rebranded this New Jersey online poker network as the partypoker US Network in January 2020. Along with this rebranding came an increase in major tournament series offered on the network.
The World Poker Tour cross promotes with the partypoker US network to bring WPT online events to New Jersey players. The welcome bonus on the partypoker US network includes a 100% deposit match up to $600.
Partypoker is approved in both Pennsylvania and Michigan and is expected to launch platforms in both states in 2021.
Bonuses At US Online Poker Sites
Deposit Match Bonuses
Online poker sites, along with other kinds of legal mobile gambling platforms, often offer a deposit match bonus as a welcome offer. A deposit match bonus matches a percentage of your first deposit with an equal amount of bonus funds, sometimes doubling the amount of your initial deposit.
All of the US-facing legal poker platforms have some kind of deposit match bonus in place. WSOP.com, for example, extends a 100% deposit match bonus up to $1,000 for new players.
Using this bonus, you’ll get a 100% match from WSOP on your first deposit at the site, up to a maximum of $1,000 in bonus funds. The WSOP.com deposit match, like virtually all bonuses of this kind, requires a certain amount of playthrough to unlock the bonus.
At WSOP.com, players accumulate Action Player Points (APPs) as they play on the site. You earn 2 APPs for every $1 in cash game rake or tournament fees contributed, and WSOP releases $5 of the bonus for every 50 APPs earned.
After making your first deposit, you have 90 days to earn APPs and try to unlock as much of the bonus as possible.
The most generous of offers extended by legal online gambling sites, no-deposit bonuses award free playing credits just for signing up at the platform. As the name suggests, this kind of bonus doesn’t require a deposit of any kind.
888poker offers such a bonus, with a $20 no-deposit promotion for new players. This no-deposit bonus is available at 888poker NJ, as well as the 888poker network of Delaware online poker skins (Delaware Park, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway).
Online Poker Cash Games In The US
Regulated US poker sites offer cash games at a variety of stakes, and across multiple poker variants. The smallest of the micro stakes games play with $0.01/$0.02 blinds, and the ladder of cash game limits goes up from there.
BetMGM Poker offers a variety of games. Mega Tuesday happens every—you guessed it—Tuesdays. $12,000 is up for grabs at 8 PM. Players can also participate in a Daily $10K. $100 plus $9 gets you a stack of chips and a seat at the virtual table.
PokerStars (Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) offers the biggest variety of different games in the cash game format. Aside from the classic No-Limit Hold’em offerings, PokerStars also runs cash games featuring Pot-Limit Omaha, Limit Hold’em, Stud, Razz, Badugi, 8-Game Mix, 2-7 Triple Draw, and several others.
No-Limit Hold’em cash games max out at $25/$50 as the highest stakes. Limit Hold’em and 8-Game Mix go all the way up to $100/$200 limits.
The integrated WSOP/888 network of sites offered in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, feature No-Limit Hold’em cash games up to $100/$200 stakes. These are the highest limits regularly offered by a US-facing regulated poker site.
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The WSOP/888 network also runs cash games featuring Omaha and Stud, as well as Limit Hold’em.
Similar to WSOP/888, partypoker NJ runs No-Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud cash games.
The No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash games go up to $25/$50 stakes. Limit Hold’em games are offered at up to $30/$60 limits.
The Best US Poker Tournaments
Special Tournament Series
All of the US-regulated poker sites regularly run special tournament series.
At BetMGM for example, poker players will find a variety of tournaments like Sit & Gos or Mega Tuesday. There are over 70 tournaments each day.
Partypoker players enjoy monthly special tournament series like the partypoker US Network Online Series. PokerStars players can enjoy the brand’s trademark Championship of Online Poker series, which runs twice per year on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey versions of the PokerStars platform.
BetMGM Poker Tournament
BetMGM Poker in New Jersey features over 70 tournaments daily. Poker players can participate in BetMGM’s Daily $10K, Sit & Go tournaments, or Sunday $35K to name a few.
Sunday marks the biggest day of the week for major regularly scheduled tournaments at PokerStars. The weekly slate includes the Sunday Warm-Up ($50 buy-in, $4,000 guaranteed) and Sunday High Roller ($500 buy-in, $8,000 guaranteed), which represent some of the most popular regular tournaments at the site.
WSOP/888 offers several $10,000 guaranteed tournaments throughout each week, with buy-ins ranging from $55 to $100. Other big tournaments include the $25,000 Weekly Saturday ($250 buy-in) and $50,000 Weekly Sunday ($500 buy-in).
One of partypoker’s biggest weekly tournaments is offered every Sunday as part of the network’s regular weekly schedule. The Sunday $35k Tournament comes at a $215 buy-in and offers unlimited re-entry until the end of the late registration period.
Online Poker Player Pooling
WSOP Nevada, WSOP New Jersey, and the 888poker Delaware network (Delaware Park, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway skins) all share the same player pool. Playing at any of these sites allows you to compete against a shared player pool across all of these platforms.
As such, this network of WSOP/888 platforms can draw from a larger overall player base versus its competitors. PokerStars NJ, PA, and MI can only allow players from within those respective states. Partypoker NJ is in the same situation.
None of the regulated online poker sites in the US share a player pool with any network outside of the US.
Sweepstakes Poker In The US
Sweepstakes gaming sites offer a legal alternative for players in states without regulated online poker sites. Sweepstakes poker sites don’t offer real-money games in the traditional format, but players can participate in poker games and win cash prizes.
Global Poker functions as the biggest US-facing sweepstakes poker site, operating in 49 US states, most of Canada, and Washington DC. Global Poker offers poker games under a sweepstakes gaming model.
The sweepstakes model allows players to participate in both play money and sweepstakes poker games at Global Poker. The play money games use credits called “Gold Coins” as currency, and Gold Coins are available for purchase.
Gold Coins purchases award “Sweeps Coins” as a gift, and the Sweeps Coins can be used in the sweepstakes games and redeemed for cash prizes. Sweeps Coins can’t be directly purchased and only come through Gold Coins purchases, mail-in offers, or social media promotions.
Visit: Global Poker
Legal US Online Poker Sites Versus Illegal Sites
Many different platforms might offer online poker to US players, but only state-regulated gambling sites are operating legally on US shores.
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All legal US poker sites are approved, licensed, and regulated by state government gaming agencies. New Jersey’s legal poker sites, for example, fall under the regulation of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
The DGE operates as the regulatory agency in charge of overseeing New Jersey’s entire legal casino industry. With this in mind, playing at one of the state’s regulated poker sites offers the same level of security as playing in a live poker room at an Atlantic City casino.
Your money and personal information are safe at a state-regulated online poker site, just as it would be inside some of the world’s top-rated casinos in New Jersey. Playing at an offshore poker site cannot guarantee that same level of safety.
How Do I Know That Legal Online Poker Sites Are Fair In The US?
Who Regulates Legal Online Poker Sites In The US?
State-level government agencies regulate legal online poker sites in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
In Nevada, for example, the Nevada Gaming Control Board oversees the state’s legal gambling industry. By extension, the agency also regulates WSOP Nevada, which is held to the same standard of auditing and transparency as Nevada’s live poker rooms.
Why Should I Trust Legal US Online Poker Rooms?
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State-regulated poker rooms in the US are operated by some of the world’s biggest and most reputable gaming brands. WSOP, 888poker, PokerStars, and partypoker stand on reputations as the longest-running and most recognizable names in poker.
All of these companies operate their US-facing online poker rooms with a vested interest in player trust and safety.
Is My Money Safe At A Legal Online Poker Room?
Taking a look at the deposit and withdrawal options at a legal online poker site shows a list of some of the biggest and most trusted banks and payment processors in the world.
Your deposits and cashouts at a platform like WSOP.com are backed and secured by these companies with the highest level of encryption available. WSOP.com, and all of the brands operating regulated online poker in the US, share the goal of protecting both player and house funds.
US Legal Online Poker Rooms FAQ
State-regulated online poker sites offer the full gamut of game selection. This includes cash games, tournaments, and sit & gos. No-Limit Hold’em is the most popular game on US-facing sites, but you can also find poker variants like Omaha, Stud, Limit Hold’em, and mixed games.
21 or older. In all states with legal online poker, you must be at least 21 to deposit, play poker, and cash out. This age applies to Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Delaware. It will also apply to West Virginia when regulated poker sites launch in the state.
Playing on 888poker’s Delaware network or WSOP.com (Nevada and New Jersey) puts you in a combined player pool among all of those sites.
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If you’re in Nevada and you log in to WSOP.com, for example, your playing against all players logged in at WSOP NJ and 888 Delaware. This means you could be playing against players in New Jersey while sitting in Nevada.
Yes. Players are responsible for paying the appropriate federal and state taxes on poker winnings. State tax rates and laws vary from state to state. The federal tax on poker wins of $5,000 or more starts at 24%.
No. DraftKings offers both online sports betting and casino gaming in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan, but those platforms don’t include online poker at this time.
Online poker presents classic player vs. player poker in an online format and falls under the category of a skill game.
Video poker offers a single-player slot-machine-style game on a video terminal and isn’t classified as a skill game. Video poker machines are required to pay back a certain percentage of played credits by law and pits the player against the house.