Top 10 US Poker Sites: Best legal USA Poker websites for 2020
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. New Orleans, Louisiana more specifically. The earliest form of it was played there under the name of “poque”, which took place within gambling dens. It then went on to spread from the state of New Orleans and reached various other corners of the country before expanding overseas, too.
According to some sources, the earliest form of poker was created in America in the 1800s, and this based itself off of the French game of poque. That game arrived at the port of New Orleans with French sailors, with the British game of “Brag“ also coming across to the USA in the same way. It is the second card game that had a heavy influence on the earliest versions of poker in the United States, which was played with a deck of 20 cards only.
Saloons in New Orleans weren’t long in picking it up, putting on games for not only travellers to participate in, but residents of Louisiana itself. It didn’t take long for it to expand across Louisiana prior to it becoming one of the States of America.
Recommended US Online Poker Rooms
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2020:
- Ignition Poker
- BetOnline Poker
- Intertops Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- Americas Cardroom
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
- True Poker
- 5Dimes Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
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- Recommended US Online Poker Rooms
- Is poker legal in the US?
- Legal Regulations Concerning Online Poker in USA
- What Should You Look for in an Online US Poker Site?
- Playing Poker for Real money from USA
- Is It Safe to Access an Offshore Online Poker Room?
- The Best Depositing Option for players from USA
- Additional Factors For Consideration when playing online poker for real money.
- FAQs when playing poker in the US
- Find which US States are accepting Online Poker
- Poker Sites by US States
Originally, it was a French colony, which explains a lot about poker’s origins being there. Because New Orleans operated as a major port on the Mississippi River, this meant that poker could travel along with the boats that went up and down the 100-mile stretch of water. This saw it introduced to various other ports and, subsequently, other towns as well. It is because of this that the middle of the 1800s saw the birth of the steamboat gambler.
At the same time, the deck of playing cards was expanded from 20 up to today’s 52 card set. The five-card poker version would also evolve at that time into a drawing game instead, with an additional round of betting being added to help sweeten the pots. It was at this time that hands could include the “flush” of five cards of the same suit. This was followed by the “straight” hand in the 1860s.
Poker hasn’t changed too dramatically in the way that it is played over the last 100 years at least. And even though several different variations of it have come to light, the basic rules tend to often remain the same. Decks and rules are pretty much standardised throughout. Yet, the idea behind playing poker is to try and make the very best hand that you can with the table cards and the cards you’re dealt.
While 5-card draw was the original popular poker game in the United States, things shifted towards stud poker, which in turn became seven cards. Texas Hold’em revolutionised the poker industry and remains as pretty much the most popular variation of the game everywhere.
Naturally, by the time the start of the 21st century came around, things were turning towards a more computerised setup. Poker sites did take hold of the USA for several years, until the introduction of the UIGEA that became effective in 2006. This made playing online poker and other online gambling options completely illegal in just about all of the country’s states. But we’ll take a look at that a bit more next.
Is poker legal in the US?
If you look at the whole picture, there are seven states and territories that have legalised certain forms of gambling within the United States. These include Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia and the US Virgin Islands.
Furthermore, in 26 of the states, only horse racing betting is a legal form of gambling. As far as online gambling is concerned, this is only allowed in some of the states in an intrastate setup.
So, anyone playing poker within Nevada for example, can only play against other players located within that same state. Interstate agreements have been signed between Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada for online poker purposes, but we’ll touch on that a bit more shortly.
On the whole, online poker is pretty much banned in most of the states of the country, although players are not prosecuted for taking it upon themselves to access offshore online poker rooms. The only locations that provide legal online poker options are Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania for the time being. This does have the opportunity to expand to incorporate other locations, but only four states provide legal online poker options as things stand for now.
This wasn’t the case before 2006, when it was quite widespread throughout the USA. However, a bill was signed into law, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which, when combined with the 1961 Federal Wire Act, pretty much outlawed all forms of online gambling from the country. There are so many ways to interpret and reinterpret the laws though, that it’s never been made entirely clear what is and isn’t legal. However, people have guessed that online poker cannot be played in a legal setting from within the United States of America.
This means that avid gamers have turned to foreign-based platforms, which the USA doesn’t really have any control over. Residents are not punished for depositing and playing poker games at these sites, so it pretty much functions as the only route that American poker players can take, unless they reside within one of the states that provide legal online poker.
Legal Regulations Concerning Online Poker in USA
The matter of legality was bound to call for licensing issues of these sites. However, you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that the same division arises. Namely, the three states which have legal rights to host and provide poker sites are licensed by their corresponding authorities. More precisely, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is responsible for Nevada gambling activities, while the New Jersey Casino Control Commission is in charge of both New Jersey and the State of Delaware. These authorities provide licenses and maintain control over any irregularities. You can also have a look at Tim Glocks’s US Poker sites top list.
The remaining US citizens have turned to offshore poker sites. These are mainly licensed by respective authorities from the jurisdiction they’ve originated of. Such legislative bodies include the license providers from Costa Rica, as well as Curaçao eGaming. Although there’s a greater preference for the poker sites licensed by Costa Rica, there’s no confirmed reason to avoid those which are connected to Curaçao eGaming.
What Should You Look for in an Online US Poker Site?
If you’re intending to seek out a proper US online poker room, then there are certain things you should inform yourself on regarding such. First of all, we always recommend that you find one with a valid and reputable gambling licence. Without such, the platform has free reign to do exactly what it wants. There aren’t any regulations that it specifically has to adhere to, so therefore, while it may not go the negative route, there’s always the possibility for it to happen. We would never recommend you an unlicensed or unreputable online poker room, so you can always guarantee that the ones on our list are safe and secure.
Secondly, you will need to do your research into the poker room you’re looking at joining. Check out whether or not it provides you with a good choice of poker games within its lobby, whether it is able to satisfy your tournament gaming needs, if it has a helpful support team, whether it supports your preferred payment method, if there’s a good welcome offer available. Whatever you look for in an online poker room should become your priority when seeking out a new location to play at. Don’t just settle for something because it has a decent layout or boasts various ongoing promotions. Make sure it’s suitable for you and your gaming needs.
The only other thing we’d suggest for you to do is find out what other players think about the poker site you’re intending to join. Read not only our review of the platform, but other gamers’ comments as well. Find out if there’s any kind of recurring problem going on at it and how long it takes the site and support team to rectify such issues. What we’re saying is, you need to ensure that the poker room is providing a good service and it doesn’t shirk around problems when they arise. Only frequent players would know about these issues, so check out reviews by other players to understand more about such.
Playing Poker for Real money from USA
The USA are quite complex when it comes to legislation, and that is even more so proven in the case of online poker rooms. Ever since these and other gambling sites have left the US in an attempt to avoid legal measures taken against them, there was little space for poker games provided to US players.
Nowadays, these people are trying to go back to their favourite hobby, looking for ways to surpass the legal restrictions imposed throughout the country. Hence, they’ve decided to turn to other sources. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects which need to be fully distinguished before giving them any of your hard earned cash. Have a look at the list of real money poker sites from here.
These are some basic guidelines to help you straighten any possible misunderstandings and clear all doubt to whether and which poker sites are available for US players.
Is It Safe to Access an Offshore Online Poker Room?
It’s always going to be the case that websites operating with real money will have competition from devious scam sites. That’s only natural in any industry, not just the gambling sector. Yet, as long as you locate an online poker room that holds a valid licence and reputation with its players, you shouldn’t have any problems safety-wise.
A licence will ensure that the poker room adheres to various rules surrounding your private details and banking. Meanwhile, if you know that the site has a good reputation with other players, then the likelihood is that it’s going to operate in the same way towards you, too. Fortunately, you won’t need to look far to seek out a recommended and licensed online poker site, because we have a collection of them here that cater to the US market nicely.
The Best Depositing Option for players from USA
When the UIGEA was signed into law, it didn’t only affect the poker industry directly, but the types of payment methods that could be used for sending money to such sites.
So, even with offshore platforms remaining in operation, poker players in the US were fairly restricted with how they could deposit and also withdraw from such sites.
What eventually started happening was that players would manage to register at an online poker room and then find that they had no possible way of depositing money to it. This was all due to the fact that banks and other financial institutions had placed blocks on transactions to gambling platforms of all kinds.
With those laws remaining in place, it begs the question as to how players today are able to send money to their accounts. Well, fortunately, there is a small group of payment methods that are usable for it. First of all, it is possible sometimes to make deposits through a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card. Whether or not it processes through can depend upon the financial institution responsible for it, the amount you’re trying to deposit, even the time that you’re trying to do the transaction. So, by all means try this payment method, but be aware that it could be blocked and fail.
The best payment method that US poker players can make use of is a cryptocurrency. Several online poker rooms now accept deposits and provide withdrawals through this option today. So, if you possess Bitcoin or Ethereum or Litecoin for example, you can make use of it at various online sites. Even if you don’t own any cryptocurrencies at the moment, then you can still exchange some fiat currency for it and utilise it online. The good thing about cryptocurrencies is that they’re not connected with any central financial institution. So, for this reason, there’s nothing to block the transaction from going through. Plus, cryptocurrencies allow you to benefit from instant transactions that are free of additional charges.
The other methods that may be available at online US poker sites include things like Person to Person transfers and Money Orders. These almost always have additional fees attached to them, though. That is, unless you send a certain amount to your chosen online poker site, at which point the poker room may cover those charges for you. However, we’d always recommend the cryptocurrency option over anything else if you’re playing from the United States.
Currencies On The Poker Sites – USD Or Something Else?
The currency is one of the primary things which interest US players when determining whether the poker site is reliable or not. Most of them tend to avoid conversion, which might actually turn out to be a good strategy. After all, comparing currencies and their value at the middle of playing a hand doesn’t guarantee the best results.
For this reason, poker sites which are available to US citizens normally provide the dollar as a possible currency, as well as the digital currency bitcoins. Many sites have tried to convince US players to use bitcoins due to their characteristic nature. After all, they do seem to be hard to track and easy to transfer, with quite a high value at the moment. However, while some are sceptical about handling them, others fear that their value will reduce, and with it – their bankrolls.
Nevertheless, US citizens do indeed have suitable poker sites in regard to their currency needs.
Additional Factors For Consideration when playing online poker for real money.
US poker players which reside in the remaining states that haven’t legalized gambling need to be able to choose the best US-friendly offshore poker site. Aside from these major aspects covered above, there are some additional factors for consideration.
The site’s reputation is a key factor when trusting your money to them. Plus, since a site would need a couple of years to gain proper reputation, there is bound to be more than enough information on the specifics. Player forums and private groups on the social networks should be able to tell you all you need to know about a site.
Player traffic is additionally important, as poker is just the kind of game which would require having many players online. Even though it is not necessarily an indicator of a site’s proper functioning, more traffic is usually better.
The final factor to account for when selecting the best US-friendly poker sites is their ability to provide recreationally friendly games. Even though professionals have the big money, rec-friendly poker sites seem to be taking over. After all, it’s better to customize one table to fit professional requirements than to reduce the level of difficulty to fit recreational poker players.
FAQs when playing poker in the US
Will Online Poker Ever Be Fully Regulated Across the United States?
For now the strongest contenders remain New York and California, who have had several attempts at the matter, with New York looking as the most viable candidate after Assemblyman Pretlow voiced his support. But when or in what exact form will it officially be approved, remains to be seen.
Is it Legal to Play Poker Online? What does the UIGEA Say?
Most new-joiners to the online poker scene believe that Bush’s 2006 UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) proclaims playing poker as illegal and thus fear prosecution. However, the wording in the Act that gives players a “gray area” to work with doesn’t really apply to the players themselves.
According to the UIGEA, it is illegal for banks and financial institutions to process money transfers for online gambling providers, while playing itself isn’t illegal. There was a proposal for an amendment that referred to the legality of gambling acts, but it was subsequently denied. Thus, the liability rests with financial operators, not the players, which is why most US poker players have turned to Bitcoins to bypass this problem.
What States Are Working on Making Poker Legal?
The most progress has been made in 9 States: Mississippi, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Hawaii. And by most progress, we mean that these states have either drafted a bill or passed it through the first votes.
Find which US States are accepting Online Poker
Poker Sites by US States
- new hampshire
- new jersey
- new mexico
- new york
- north carolina
- north dakota
- rhode island
- south carolina
- south dakota
- west virginia