Our mission is to provide useful content to people interested in playing poker online from the US. We decided to dedicate a site to it, because gambling online in the US has become increasingly difficult over the last couple of years. We understand that you need a place to find out what’s going on with the gambling laws in the states, as well as to find the safest sites to play at. So here we are.
Now for those of you only interested in finding a poker site accepting US players, just take a look below. You’ll find a toplist table where we have listed our top site for US players. All of these rooms are handpicked by us, and are ranked based on the games offered, the traffic levels, bonus amount & ease of clearing and how easy it is for you to get money on and off the site. All you need to do is click the link and create an account.
Top USA Real Money Poker Sites
|Rank||Poker Site||USA||Bonus||Bonus Code||Play Now|
|#1||$2000||N/A||Visit Ignition Poker|
For the rest of you, we’ve created an overview below of what it’s like to play online poker in the US, including difficulties and a brief introduction to the laws.
Please note: This should go without saying, but we’re not lawyers. Whatever you read below, much less on the entire site, should not be taken as legal advice.
Why It’s So Hard to Play Online Poker in the US
The reason why playing online poker is so difficult is primarily because of the banks. By law, they’re not supposed to be making the transactions from the customer to the poker site, and vice versa.
As a result, you’ll see that there are less poker sites in the US market. Part of that reason is not wanting to deal with the workaround of finding processors willing to take the chance of making the transactions. It’s just a headache.
Note: I do say “part of the reason,” for a reason. Some sites do not operate in the US by choice, and others have been kicked out/forced to leave.
The sites that don’t mind taking the risks take the chance of getting in trouble with the Dept. of Justice (DOJ). Several sites found this out the hard way in April of 2011, when they had their domains seized, and were charged with several crimes including fraud.
The problem with these sites taking the risks is that it creates a rippling effect. In other words, not only are they doing something they shouldn’t be, but many of the consequences are passed on to you.
For one thing, your hard earned money is at risk. There’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back if a site is shut down. And even if you do, it can take several months, if not much longer.
You also have to wonder how much you can trust a site that is willing to do everything in a slightly shady way to operate in the US. You have to ask yourself — how much can I really trust this room? In reality you can trust them too much, since we’ve seen first hand what can happen if you do — Full Tilt not being able to pay back players post Black Friday is a prime example of this.
So ultimately, while it is a risk for poker sites to do business in the US, I think the biggest risks/consequences fall onto the poker players. To some extent you don’t want to feel too bad since they should know there is a chance they won’t ever see their money again, or that for some it’s entirely illegal to play online. However, at the same time some players simply aren’t aware, nor can they help it when a company goes out of business or gets shut down.
Can you really blame us for wanting to play online?
The Simple Truth About the Legality of Playing Online Poker in the USA
Because of all the things that have happened over the last few years regarding online poker USA rooms, many people are under the impression that it’s actually illegal. But that is 100% NOT the case. At least not on a federal level.
The laws that have been passed, namely the UIGEA, have everything to do with processing payments, and nothing to do with whether or not it’s ok for players to gamble online.
While there aren’t a ton of poker sites I recommend playing at, the ones that come to mind that actually offer great payouts for Americans is Ignition Poker or Bet Online Poker. For poker related legalities, check out our state poker index in the top menu.
States Against Online Poker
Keep in mind that I did say that was on a federal level. There are 14 states that are against online poker, and have laws in place prohibiting it. For example, in Washington State it’s a felony to play real money online poker. The consequences are severe for being caught too — up to a $10k fine and up to 5 years in prison. However, to date no one has been charged with a poker related crime.
Here are some of the more notable states against online poker:
- Nevada >> Nevada officially passes interstate online poker bill (source: 4Flush.com)
- New York
- South Dakota
Keep in mind that this is subject to change at any time. You’ll want to do your due diligence before playing online to make sure you’re not breaking any local, state or federal laws.
Cons to Playing Online Poker in the USA
I don’t want to sound discouraging, but there are several reasons why you might reconsider playing real money online poker or casino while living in the USA. At least until the laws change. Let’s go over a couple of those.
I think the biggest downside is risking your money. I already mentioned above that there is no guarantee you’ll see your deposit / winnings. That’s not to say that the poker site will deceive you, although that’s not out of the question either. In fact, it’s a higher possibility in the US, just because many of these poker sites are new trying to soak up the player base that the other sites left behind when they left the US market.
But beyond that, you need to worry about your money because at any time a processor can be caught and shut down. If a room decides to use a .com domain they could have it seized and have their site shutdown. There’s no telling if or when that’ll happen, if you’ll get your funds back, and even if you do, how long it will take.
You also run the risk of having your bank account frozen, or worse, shut down. They’re not supposed to be making gambling transactions, so they might take action against you if they think you’re involved in some sort of illegal activity.
Last, but equally as frustrating, is how difficult it is to find a safe poker site worthy of playing at. Good luck trying to be a pro online poker player in the US. If you play cash games you might be able to make it work, but if you play SNGs or tournaments I don’t think it’s possible, at least not on a large scale. Probably better off playing live, or moving to Canada like many other players already have done. Most US poker sites simply do not have the volume, and even if they do, it’s scattered across all the different games and variations.
So if you are going to play in the US, I suggest doing so for as little money as possible, using a bank or processor you don’t care about, and for fun or on the side, not as a profession.
It’s Not All Bad Though — I Think
I certainly don’t mean to be all doom and gloom, but it’s very important to understand what it’s like to play in the US. It’s not easy, and it does come with quite a few risks and/or headaches.
That said, there are several states that are ‘pro gambling’ to some level. These states are trying to get laws passed so that online poker can be played on a state level. This can end up being a great source of revenue for those individual states.
At the same time though, we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out. I have a hard time imaging online poker on the state level doing extremely well, since the traffic will be hard to come by, and traffic is what a poker site needs to survive.
But hey, at least it’s a step in the right direction, right?!?