Legal Poker Sites for the USA

The game of poker is – by far – the most popular means of gambling in the United States. It almost feels impossible to remember what used to keep insomniacs and late night TV enthusiasts company before cable sports networks uncovered the cash cow that is the televised World Series of Poker, but it sure feels like it’s impossible to go back. Whether it’s simply the fun of the game or the charge that most US citizens get from having to read their opponents for the prospect of very real money laid on the table, it’s easy to see that poker’s appeal is very, very real.

Sadly, it’s not easy for everyone across the US to make it to a sanctioned poker room, and underground high stakes games can be incredibly dangerous. This leads many avid poker fans to the internet, where there are many online poker sites available for the browsing. Unfortunately, after what was known in the online poker industry as “Black Friday” when the federal government shut down all US based poker sites, many residents have been left confused as to the legal status of online poker, what their rights are concerning it, and most of all, where one can go to play it both safely and legally.

We here at built this website to help guide prospective poker players in their quest to find the answers to these very real questions that plague anyone who tries to play poker online for real money. Throughout the course of this website, we will take an in-depth look at the federal and state laws that govern online poker as well as push our readers towards some of the best poker servers on the web. We also hope to make a serious run at answering any remaining questions leftover concerning the skinny on how these legal USA poker sites really work, and what some of their benefits are.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker with These Websites?

Before any legal matters are touched on, one thing needs to be made clear: there are no federal laws which touch on the act of playing poker for money online. The only place where federal law gets touchy is in the unsanctioned facilitation of online poker. This means that even if federal law were to shut down a land-based or online poker room operating within the United States, all the players inside would face no legal trouble.

So, how then are these websites able to maintain operation? After all, what good does the right to play online poker do you if the websites you are playing with run the danger of being shut down at any time due to federal law? The answer is the simplest principle of real estate: location, location, location. All legal online poker rooms and certainly all the ones we recommend on this page were established and are currently maintained overseas. Now, not only do we know that is legal in the federal government’s eyes for us to play poker, we know that these websites run no danger of being shut down.

Certain states will also add their own legislation to the subject, so in order to be in full compliance you will probably want to read up on the laws concerning poker in your home state, but these websites are perfectly legal in most of them, and most will accept players from all 50 states. They are safe, legitimate businesses, and discrete as they come.

Legal Online Poker Rooms and the UIGEA

It’s hard to get very far into a discussion about online poker without Black Friday coming up, and exactly why and how those poker rooms got shut down and these are legal. Although the demise of Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and others stemmed mainly from allegations of money laundering and Ponzi scheme aside, these sites, even if they re-opened would be unable to serve US residents after 2006 mainly due the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) since they were operated within the country. This law not only prohibited the facilitation of online poker in the United States but also restricted the methods through which offshore poker sites can accept or distribute money.

We obviously know that all the websites on this page are listed here because they operate legally in other countries, therefore ensuring their safety from complete shutdown. How then are they able to serve US citizens without violating the federal poker laws governing finances? They are simply unable to disperse winnings via Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs.) Luckily, for players in the United States this is merely an inconvenience and not an obstacle, as winnings must simply be processed by means other than a credit card.

State Laws Governing Poker

For the most part, when it comes time for individual states to ratify laws having to do with poker and its facilitation they follow the same template as the federal laws outlined above. If anything, due to the massive popularity of poker, some states even provide loopholes allowing for the widespread, land-based facilitation of poker, and they rarely govern a resident’s right to play.

Of course, circumstances will vary depending on which state you live in, and we strongly encourage you to read more about your state poker laws via many great resources available on the internet or even through your state’s own legislation page, but even if there are no land based poker rooms in your state, chances are you run no risk by using any of the legal online poker rooms listed on this page.

Even though the law carries goodwill towards most poker players, there is an incredibly easy way to ruin it – by playing poker underage. Consult with your state to figure out the legal online poker betting age, which is usually between the ages of 18 and 21 – and be sure and follow it! Those found guilty of gambling underage will be subject not only to harsh penalties from their poker facilitator including seizure of all funds, but the state will certainly have something to say as well, with penalties ranging from steep fines to even jail time.

Where Should I Play Online Poker?

Just because all offshore poker sites are legal does not mean that they are all created equal. You will want to be on the lookout for legitimate businesses who often come endorsed by major media companies in the US and carry the certification of reputable international gaming commissions. This not only ensures that the money will move in and out of these poker sites legally, efficiently, and most important of all completely, but that each and every player is entitled to fair play when they access their account. We have sifted through every US poker site we could find and came up with the list below as shining examples of the high quality of online poker rooms available to players in the US. Great Player Experience - Fast Action!

One of the fastest growing legal online poker rooms for US players can be found at BetOnline. You may begin to ask yourself… what makes this website so popular? We think the legitimacy and longevity of the business have a lot to do with it. After operating out of Panama for over a decade, residents of all 50 states have finally begun to take note of the sleek layout and user-friendly design of their poker room, and the millions of dollars played for all over the world every day certainly doesn’t hurt.

When you sign up for BetOnline you are entering not only some of the busiest and most populated poker rooms in the world, you are signing yourself up for tournaments with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line on a weekly basis. Most entire legal poker sites would consider themselves lucky to tally the kind of numbers BetOnline can see in a single day, but when a website hosts the largest number of guaranteed cash poker tournaments known to mankind along with several seasonal and holiday-themed promotions, a whole lot of people are bound to stand up and take notice, and that’s exactly what you’ll notice when you become a BetOnline member. The crowd in these digital poker rooms is almost always bustling, and there are active games and money flying around ultra-quick. Poker Rooms for Novices to High-Rollers!

If you want a poker room that looks simple, is easy to use, and yet offers a lot of great substance with guaranteed cash up for grabs, you’ll want to look into the online poker room at SportsBetting. In addition to a long and growing longer list of customer testimony that could wrap around a city block a couple times, American media giants like FOX and ESPN have taken notice of the incredible servers in this USA poker site, and they’re thrilled to report that they’re findings are positive. One of the safest bets you can make on poker is that endorsements like these and reputations as solid as SportsBetting’s are not earned easily or overnight, and residents of all 50 states are learning just how superior this poker room is.

Why take their word for it though, why not see for with your own eyes risk-free thanks to the excellent sign-up bonus at SportsBetting? When you make your first deposit into your new poker account, you will be eligible to receive up to 200% of your deposit back in increments as you continue to play in poker games online. This is a fantastic way to help you build up your bankroll, and, realistically, help you recoup some of the losses you’ll suffer your first couple weeks getting yourself up to speed with the intense competition in the SportsBetting poker room.

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Why Play Online?

The popularity of poker has proven that the game is not going anywhere anytime soon, so why play online? Firstly, there’s a good chance that unless you’re in a very lucky minority, you’re not close to a land based poker room that can offer you opportunities to play regularly. These USA online poker rooms fix that problem by bringing the game right inside your home.

More than that, some players simply prefer the comfort of an online game to the bustle of a land-based poker room. Online poker offers a much more custom experience than a casino, with a great variety of games to play like Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, or even seven card stud. Land based alternatives may not offer all of these options, nor will they often give you a great say in what stakes you have to play for. When you play poker online, all of these things can be filtered to your liking. It’s a big world, and there are lots of ways to play poker. By playing online, more are made available to you when, how, and thanks to innovative mobile poker apps, wherever you like.

Perks for Playing Online

In a brick and mortar poker room, regular players and high rollers are generally rewarded with free snacks, drinks, and even more perks. Whereas your online poker account can’t get you drunk, it can certainly offer other perks and incentives. Most poker sites will offer some sort of a sign-up bonus in which the award will be dependent on how much the player deposits, and they will all be stuffed to the gills with opportunities to collect more money once the account is active and playing. Bonuses are a great reason to play poker online, and there is luckily no shortage.

To learn more about sign up bonuses, free play bonuses, and special seasonal promotions, you can check out our page on bonuses or, better yet, hear it right from the horse’s mouth by clicking the “promotions” tab in any of these US poker sites.

How Do I Get Started in an Online Poker Room?

Signing up for any of these sites is a cinch whenever you decide which one you would like to play with. In most cases, the invitation to open an account will be very noticeable and should be able to grant access to the sign-up page no matter where you have navigated based on your preferred poker site for US players. Once you find the link to start an account, you will be some very basic information such as your name and physical address, and possibly just a couple quick questions for the purpose of confirming your age, then you’re only a quick email address confirmation away from playing poker online for big bucks. These enterprises will treat your personal information carefully, never selling them to outside agencies for advertising purposes, or storing it anywhere where a third party could gain access to it, whether they have a malicious intent or not.

Making a Deposit

Via these legal online poker rooms that accept USA players, playing for real money is a cinch. Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be able to deposit money into in the blink of an eye whether you use your certified credit card or any of the other convenient legal poker site deposit methods accepted by your preferred USA poker site. Once your account is full and happy with some poker chips, you may hit the tables for some very real stakes. Of course, you will have the freedom to customize how much you play for and what the stakes of your table are, but rest assured that when you come out ahead its money for your wallet. Great poker isn’t played for play money – it’s only played when there are real stakes on the table. Thanks to these poker rooms, you can play for however much – or however little you’re comfortable with, and since the game is in the comfort of your own home, there will never be any pressure from pushy casino employees to bet higher.

Collecting your Payout

Of course, speedy deposits would mean next to nothing if it was impossible to rescue any cold hard cash from the clutches of your poker account. While federal law makes it impossible for a poker site to put winnings right back on your credit card, there are several legal withdrawal methods for poker sites available that are all convenient and secure. Most users prefer having their winnings mailed to them in the form of a check for a low fee, and of course, the benefit of collecting money by sitting in the den, but there are many more options available to US residents like money orders, eWallet services, and even BitCoin payouts.

While we provide a list and analysis of other payout methods right here on this site to help determine which is best for you, it’s a good idea to check with your poker room of choice to see which methods are open to you. Customer service via your poker site accepting US residents is always a good resource as well, as in most cases you can connect with a live human being within a matter of minutes.