US Online Poker Sites
Many of the online poker rooms still accepting US players have been around for a decade or more — through the industry’s many ups and downs. Those that remain have proven to be some of the most resilient poker rooms in the world. Today, many USA online poker sites offer fast cashouts and have responsive customer support.
We can all agree that online poker in the United States is not what it once was, but some may be surprised to learn that most players can find the games and tournaments they are looking for. So if you love poker and are still waiting for your state to regulate your favorite game, you may want to look at what is available.
Did You Know?
A decision by the Department of Justice in late 2011 declared that the often-cited Wire Act did not apply to online poker, essentially giving the power to the states. While some have chosen to regulate or ban, many have left US online poker alone.
Top Recommended US Online Poker Sites
Other USA Poker Sites
While a few US online poker sites stand out from the rest, there are other choices as well. These rooms offer poker to USA players in many states and appear to be safe:
Juicy Stakes is the US-facing site for the Horizon Poker Network. New players qualify for a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus. It clears at one of the fastest rates available.Unfortunately, Juicy Stake’s traffic is going to be too low for most players. It also has a $1,000 weekly withdrawal limit. The fee for withdrawals is $100. Active players can get free withdrawals. Withdrawals arrive by check in about one week.
Carbon Poker is a member of the Merge Gaming Network. This is the fourth largest poker site available to US players, however, the site does not currently accept new American accounts. New players receive a first deposit bonus of 100% up to $1,000. Carbon Poker offers all players a reload bonus most months of the year. Tournaments start every few minutes all day long. The flagship is the Sunday Big Ticket that guarantees a prize pool of at least $125,000. The buy-in is $215. Carbon Poker also spreads a large selection of cash games and sit and gos.Carbon Poker stopped paying players in a timely manner after the 2015 Super Bowl. The cashout times improved in 2016. They are now within a reasonable time frame.
Closed, Unapproved, and Scam Poker Rooms
Officially Regulated Poker Rooms
Despite the fact that players in most states can play US online poker somewhere, nothing beats the reliability and safety of a poker room that is licensed by the state. If you are in one of these states, consider yourself lucky and make sure to support those poker rooms.
Launched in 2013
California, Nevada, New Jersey
888 Poker is the only online gaming company that is active in all three regulated U.S. markets. It provides poker software to WSOP in Nevada and New Jersey. It is the preferred software provider to Delaware’s lottery sites, which are branded through the state’s three racinos. 888 also operates a branded poker site in New Jersey that networks with WSOP.com.
Launched in 2013
Borgata Poker is powered by Party Poker software, which also has a skin on the network. The two sites share cash games and many tournaments. The Borgata/Party Poker partnership is the largest regulated online poker site in the US
Launched in 2013
The World Series of Poker is owned by Caesars Interactive. The online poker room is based on the live tournament series held at the Rio in Las Vegas every year. It became the second regulated US online poker room in Nevada in September 2013. WSOP uses software powered by 888. It shares player pools in New Jersey with 888.
Launched in 2016
PokerStars was thought to be permanently exiled from the U.S. online gaming market after Black Friday. The company fought hard to return. It launched in New Jersey in March 2016. PokerStars is licensed through a partnership with Resort in New Jersey. That is the only state PokerStars operates in today.
Launched in 2017
Pala Poker launched in June 2017. The company is the interactive segment of a California tribe. Pala Poker’s parent company has close ties to UltimateBet, a failed scam poker site. Pala Poker’s CEO was CEO of UltimateBet during its insider cheating scandal. The company’s CTO is a former developer of the UB software.
USA Online Poker Deposit Options
There are many easy deposit methods for US online poker sites. Regardless of what poker room you end up choosing, you should be able to find at least one or two options that fit your needs.
Visa credit and debit cards are accepted. Some bank-issued cards will get declined. International prepaid debit cards are sold online and at grocery stores. These have a high acceptance rate at American poker sites.
Mastercard credit and debit cards are accepted by some US poker sites. Like Visa, standard cards may get declined. International prepaid cards are also a great alternative.
Electronic checks are accepted by poker sites in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. These transactions are processed directly from a player’s bank account.
Most poker sites will accept a bank wire. Contact the poker site to get the banking information. The next step is to contact your bank with this information. The fee to send a bank wire is usually about $25. The poker site may cover this fee on larger deposit amounts.
Western Union deposits may be sent through a variety of methods. The first step is to get the receiver and location from the USA poker site. Players with cash can visit any participating store that offers Western Union services. Players that would prefer to use a credit card, debit card or bank account may use the Westernunion.com website or call customer service. Once the deposit has been processed the poker room will need the MTCN. Poker sites will add the fee to your account deposit when you send $300 or more.
MoneyGram is another cash transfer service. The poker site will provide a player with the receiver and location. The location may be a code city. The player may then go to a MoneyGram agent office with cash or use the company’s website. MoneyGram is sometimes referred to as Rapid Transfer.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is not tied to any country’s banking system. Players may purchase Bitcoin using a variety of banking instruments through exchanges.
WSOP.com accepts Paypal for deposit in Nevada. Caesars Interactive sites in New Jersey should accept Paypal by the end of 2015.
US Online Poker Withdrawals
US poker cashouts are quick and easy at most sites. Checks are the most common way to receive funds from a poker site. These are usually free. Western Union, MoneyGram and bank wire are also frequently available. Some sites will provide a debit card that may be used at ATMs and stores.
Online Poker History in the United States
The first real money online poker hand was dealt on January 1, 1998. The site was Planet Poker. It accepted US players from its first day. The next US online poker site was Delta Poker. Paradise Poker soon followed.
By 2001, Paradise Poker owned the US online poker site market. The software at Paradise Poker would be advanced, even by today’s standards. It quickly launched sit and gos up to $100. Paradise Poker became a bit arrogant and content with its position. That allowed Party Poker to take its number one title away for not the largest US poker site, but the biggest online poker room in the world.
PokerStars managed to stay one step ahead on the tournament scoreboard. Its multi table tournament selection, software and prize pools were unrivaled. PokerStars also quickly took over the number two spot in terms of cash games.
UIGEA Passed in the United States
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act went into law in October 2006. It was attached to an unrelated security bill and rushed through Congress at the 11th hour before a congressional recess. Bill Frist and Jon Kyl were the culprits that were guilty of this shady action. The law did not make playing online poker illegal. It added an additional crime for processing payments for illegal gambling sites. These illegal acts of gambling were not defined in the law.
Many popular poker sites left the United States market when the UIGEA was signed into law. Party Poker, Paradise Poker, iPoker, Ongame, 888, Cryptologic, Everest Poker and PKR were among the names that decided to stop accepting US players. PokerStars, Absolute Poker, UltimateBet and Full Tilt Poker were among the names continued to accept US players.
Black Friday occurred on April 15, 2011. It was an indictment filed by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker and these companies’ executives were included in the indictment. Several payment processors were also indicted. The Attorney’s Office alleged that these companies forged transaction codes to fool banks into processing payments illegally.
All three sites left the US market shortly after Black Friday. Fraud was discovered at Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker after Black Friday and players at those two sites were not paid. PokerStars paid all of its players as soon as it was possible, within weeks of the unsealing of the indictment.
Full Tilt was acquired by PokerStars through a $731 million settlement with the US Justice Department. Absolute Poker disappeared and stiffed all of its players.
Nevada Regulated Sites
There are two sites that offer regulated poker in Nevada, which was the first state to launch it in the US They are WSOP and Real Gaming. WSOP is the only site with any traffic. Real Gaming has virtually zero players 24 hours a day.
Ultimate Poker was the first Nevada online poker site. It failed in November 2014.
Delaware Online Poker
Delaware was the second state to launch online poker. It is offered through the state’s three racinos in a partnership with the Delaware Lottery. They are Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington. Players can access these online poker rooms through the websites of each racetrack. They all share the same network, powered by 888 software. It peaks at about 50 players. Delaware was the first state to offer casino games. Players may choose between blackjack, roulette, slots and video poker.
New Jersey Online Poker
New Jersey became the third state to authorize online poker and the second to approve casino games. Only Atlantic City casinos can operate online poker rooms and casino games. Each resort has partnered with a software company. There are two online poker options in New Jersey spread among four sites. They are:
Party Poker peaks at about 700 players and holds a 50% market share. WSOP and 888 combine for the other 50% of the market. Betfair and Ultimate Poker no longer operate in the market. These stats are based on information reported by Pokerscout.com.