On this site you will find information imperative for the discovery of poker sites that accept US players, funding and withdrawal methods, their wait times and safety. I update this site weekly, currently monitoring 28 poker sites online. You will notice my site is updated to the state level for U.S. state and offshore run sites, which whom I consider the best and primarily safest.
Having Difficult Locating a Site? Here’s Why.
It’s confusing. Each state has a different law and most sites don’t service the US, but not all as I explain below. Eleven years ago the US government passed a law that made it illegal for banks to distribute money to gambling sites that accepted wagers from the United States (2006 UIGEA). This law was fundamentally flawed and thrown out, and another reason why daily fantasy sports are legal but most offshore sites do not qualify to have a U.S. license, although they still accept U.S. business. Due in part because they were forced to launder money, which sounds inherently bad, but they were/are only really doing so to pay players when all is said and done. I trust some offshore sites more than I would any state regulated online casino.
“Illegal gambling” is now defined as sports betting online, therefore, it is legal to play poker and casino games if your state allows – three (3) states currently (NJ, DE, NV) and according to the DOJ, online poker is legal to play in ANY state. The DOJ even stated online poker was not illegal unless you owned the poker site. In any case, the following are offshore poker websites I highly recommend.
Best Poker Sites by Safety, Traffic & Withdraw Times
Note: I’ve been an online poker player for 13 years and follow US laws for poker every day for a column on PokerWebsites.com. I also work in the online gambling industry and have accumulated quite a bit of inside knowledge about the industry workings.
- Most popular. Accept all 50 U.S. states
- Withdraws are fast, 2-10 days max.
- Accepts Visa, Amex & MC (+75%).
- Second largest network for the US!
EXPECTED DATE OF LEGALIZATION BY U.S. STATE
Latest US Online Poker & Casino Bills in Progress – Updated 1/4/2017
HB 649, a bill to legalize poker and casino games over the internet in Pennsylvania, received approval on November 18, 2015 from the House Gaming Oversight Committee (18-8 vote). The full House voted on this bill on May 24, 2016 and it did not pass by a 81-107 vote. However, the House voted again over a month later on June 28th and it passed this time (114-85 vote). This bill went to the Senate for a potential vote but did not receive one. HB 649 needs two more approvals; the Senate, and the Governor of Pennsylvania. 2017 is looking promising for passage for those located in PA.
Senator Mike Kowall of Michigan introduced a bill, SB 889, to legalize and regulate online gambling (poker and casino games) on April 15th of last year. The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee passed SB 889 by a 8-1 vote on June 8, 2016. The bill then went to the full Senate for a potential vote, but it was shelved.
On February 19, 2016, California introduced new legislation (AB 2863) on legalizing poker over the internet and it received a hearing on April 27th of last year which passed the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee (18-0 vote). This bill will pay the horse racing industry up to $60 million a year but they cannot operate poker sites. On June 22, 2016, it passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and then went to the full Assembly for a potential vote but was shelved.
The legislative session in New York ended on June 17, 2016, and online poker bill SB S5302 received no vote by the Assembly. On June 14th of last year, the New York Senate passed this bill by a 53-5 vote which would legalize and regulate online poker in their state. On June 2, 2016, SB S5302 passed the Senate Finance Committee, and four months earlier on February 2nd the New York Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee approved the online poker bill; 9-0 vote.
State lawmakers in Massachusetts filed a bill to pass online gambling and a panel has been created by the Gaming Commission to study the pros and cons. The results found by the panel are expected to be released before August of this year.
Bovada Poker transitioned into Ignition Poker which went into full effect on September 30, 2016. Bovada poker players have been able transfer their account/funds seamlessly to Ignition.
On another note, Full Flush Poker went offline around October 1, 2016 and it’s not looking like they will be coming back. They were running a scam poker site for the past 12+ months. Players had not received payouts from checks and bank wire requests from 13-15+ months ago. They most likely will be shut down for good.
The Merge Gaming Network which consists of Carbon Poker, Sportsbook.ag and Players Only, are no longer accepting new depositing players from the USA as of around May 31, 2016. This could be a permanent or temporary decision by Merge Gaming, but whatever they decide we do not recommend playing at any of these sites.
Other legit sites offshore continue to do well but only a few are left, mentioned above, including Ignition Poker (previously known as Bovada) which is one of the most legit online gambling operations.
Yes, it is legal to play at poker sites from the United States with a strong emphasis in NJ, DE and NV. There are no consistent federal laws banishing play at offshore sites (play legit ones we mention only). But, you will only find privately held offshore companies that take US online poker players out of the three state border until more licenses are handed out in the US. As of early 2017, there are only state sites for Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware and I recommend the Borgata (bonus info) for these states. You must be physically located in the state to play.
With very little transparency in gambling, and with so much money involved, I’ve seen many shady companies come and go, or rename and still exist! Under normal US laws these people would have gone to jail, but in an unregulated environment nothing happened to them. Not to say that the legalized sites didn’t bribe their way in. This is one reason why I investigate and conduct full audits of any and all US poker site before recommendation to a US citizen.
As for depositing into U.S. poker sites, let’s start off from easiest to hardest. The easiest way to deposit into an online poker site is by credit card. Many times a credit card will get rejected (currently 20-30% of the time) because of coding issues against gambling by banks (long story). Ok, no problem, this is how we solve that. Try contacting customer support live or by telephone. Many times they will expedite your request through an alternate processor and you’ll be able to get the deposit through on the spot. Support will keep you on that ‘special’ processor. Remember, the poker sites are in business to make money so it’s in their best interest to procure all deposits because if you can’t put money on their site, they can’t rake you to death (J/K!).
Credit cards are the most used payment method at any site. If a site accepts 3 out of 4 credit cards it has good processors but most sites have issues taking deposits because of card restrictions. In that case you need to try two, maybe three, sites. Seventy five percent of the time a credit card will be approved by a major site. Many cards still get declined. The general rule of thumb is to first try Visa, Mastercard then Amex. That’s the most to least accepted with only one site using Amex, and it’s hard to get clearance to even use it.
Moneygram and Western Union are a far second, and wire transfers are generally reserved for high stake players. Bitcoin, a crypto-currency, is a newer deposit option with little to no fees offered at reputable poker sites.
Ok, so hopefully you made some money and are looking to take the money off the gambling site. I choose bank wires or bitcoin withdrawals because I don’t like to go to the bank, but you can also choose the option of a paper check. Generally, if you choose a paper check they won’t charge you unless you choose to expedite the check via FedEx or do more than one withdraw per week/month. Same with MG or WU, they charge you almost a 10% fee for voluminous withdraws.
Sites like BetOnline or Ignition Poker generally charge $50 for FedEx, or it’s sometimes free if you don’t do a lot of cashouts and also free for snail mail (sometimes). FedEx usually arrives in a couple days and a paper check takes about a week. Wires are usually a couple days. Here are some more details about how to take money off poker sites.
This option is only in use by state ran poker sites such as the WSOP, Party Poker or other NJ, DE and NV ran sites. Offshore companies do not process these transactions because players were putting stop payments on the checks after they lost the money. You essentially just enter your bank number and routing number on your check to deposit.
If for some reason the three options above didn’t work, you’ll likely have to use an ewallet or MoneyGram/Western Union. An ewallet is a 3rd party processor not used much anymore, but basically you pay the processor and then the processor pays the poker sites. While this can be a pain in the butt, as it takes time because you need to submit forms of verification, it’s the safest and most fool proof way of depositing and withdrawing. State ran sites have begun using Neteller and Paypal again.
Hopefully, I have provided some insight into US poker sites and how you can play online safely in this little guide of mine. As time progresses, we will be expanding this site into a full portal for players from the United States as states continue legalization and licensing. To contact me, please email me at [email protected]