Some players might feel stuck after being kicked off the major poker sites online. Others might feel that it’s not worth their time or money to risk playing at the few sites that are still available. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to create a page with alternative options for playing poker in the US.
Keep in mind that not all of these options are real money options, and by alternative I mean in the traditional sense of playing online at a poker site such as Party Poker, PokerStars or some other online casino.
7 Alternatives to Playing Online Poker for US players
Here are 7 alternatives to online poker for US players. Next to each title I’ve mentioned whether or not you can play for real money, free money or both.
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1. Social Media Poker (Free and Real Money)
There are a number of social media type poker sites out there that US players can sign up to. One of the most popular ones would have to be using Zynga Poker which can be found on Facebook.
But there are plenty others. Here are a few:
- Pure Play – You can play for free or as a VIP member. Games include slots, poker and blackjack, and it is possible to win real money.
- Faceup Gaming – Faceup offers tournaments and sit and goes with guaranteed prize pools and prizes. You can sign up to play for free and participate in free rolls or you can sign up to be a member for 24.95 per month. With the membership comes the possibility of winning much larger prizes.
- Club WPT – Club WPT offers free poker and a membership option at the price of $19.95 per month. With the paid membership players can play for over $100,000 every month and get access to the WPP poker magazine, savers guide and digital downloads.
2. Brick and Mortar Casinos (Real Money)
If you want to play for real money then one of your best options is going to be visiting your local brick-and-mortar casino. That’s assuming that your casino even has poker, since some of them do not. But if they do it’s very likely that offer texas holdem and maybe omaha, and will likely run tournaments, sit and goes and possibly cash games.
Of course, another option is to visit a well-known destination such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas or Reno. You clearly will not have a problem finding a poker game in one of these cities.
3. Home Games (Free or Real Money)
Another option is to host or play in a home game. This can go both ways in regards to playing for real or playing for free. To be honest, though, I’ve never played in a home game where real money wasn’t used. But that’s not to say that one can’t be found or that you couldn’t host one yourself.
The upside to home games is that you can play whatever poker variation you want and the buy-ins are usually pretty reasonable. Especially considering the level of competition or skill you’re likely to face.
The downside is that home games don’t run very often and the buy-ins may be low depending on what games you were used to playing online. There are also usually fewer people at a home game, unless it’s a home game that is popular or that has been running for quite a long time.
4. Video Games (Free Money)
Something else that you might try is playing poker on your video game console. There are a number of games that have come out over the last couple of years on the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo. I wouldn’t say the games are very good, but that’s mostly because you’re not playing against real people. But it is another way to play poker and you can play for free other than the cost of the game — which will run about $5-$10 used at most game stores.
5. Bars (Free or Real Money)
Bars or pubs are another good place to play poker, assuming you’re old enough. Some bars will run real money games while others will not. It usually depends on the state. One thing you’ll notice in bars is that many of them run leagues. What is cool about a league is that they are points based, so even if you lose a poker game or two, you still have time to come back, win a couple games and earn enough points to place high enough in the league. This usually entitles you to a prize of some sort, sometimes even cash.
6. Local Clubs (Free or Real Money)
An alternative to a bar or pub would be a local poker club. There isn’t much of a difference between the two other than the fact that your local club probably won’t serve hard alcohol. But they most likely will serve beer.
A local club will be a nice balance between a brick-and-mortar casino and a bar. There will be a variety of games including texas holdem, maybe omaha and tournament/sit and goes. You might even find a club that runs cash games, depending on what state you live in. Some clubs also run point style tournaments / leagues.
My local club will have buy ins that start around the $20 or $30 level, and will be as high as $100 or even $200. And the larger buy-in tournaments will usually have satellite tournaments so you can try to win your way in for cheap.
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7. Game Sites (Free Money)
And last, another free option is to find an online game site that offers all kinds of games for free. You’ll find things like solitaire, backgammon, chess, checkers etc. along with texas holdem poker. The trade-off for the games being free is that you’ll find a lot of advertisements and flashing banners that may or may not induce a coma. But you can argue that flashing banners is a small trade-off to be able play poker any time.
So those are 7 alternatives to playing online poker. Some are good, while others maybe not so much depending on who you are and what you use to play online. But all options are legal depending on where you live and are much less riskier than making a deposit online. For many people that’s a plenty good enough reason.