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 33 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. Ten 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 Wire Act). This law was fundamentally flawed and thrown out, and another reason 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 11 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, 7-10 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 9/28/2016
On February 19th, California introduced new legislation (AB 2863) on legalizing poker over the internet and it received a hearing on April 27th 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 22nd, it passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and then went to the full Assembly for a potential vote but has now been shelved until next year.
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 on June 28th and it passed this time (114-85 vote). This bill now goes to the Senate for a potential vote which is scheduled for October 18th, and many experts still believe online gambling will be legalized and regulated in Pennsylvania this year. HB 649 needs two more approvals; the Senate, and the Governor of Pennsylvania.
The legislative session in New York ended on June 17th and online poker bill SB S5302 received no vote by the Assembly. On June 14th, the New York Senate passed this bill by a 53-5 vote which would legalize and regulate online poker in their state. On June 2nd, SB S5302 passed the Senate Finance Committee, and on February 2nd the New York Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee approved the online poker bill; 9-0 vote.
On June 8th, Michigan’s Senate Regulatory Reform Committee passed SB 889 by a 8-1 vote, and it now goes to the full Senate for a potential vote which could happen very soon. SB 889 is a bill to legalize and regulate online gambling in Michigan, both poker and casino games. Senator Mike Kowall of Michigan introduced the bill on April 15th.
State lawmakers in Massachusetts filed a bill to pass online gambling, a panel has been created by the Gaming Commission to study the pros and cons, and we anticipate seeing more activity this year.
Bovada Poker is transitioning into Ignition Poker which will be in full effect on September 30th. Bovada players can transfer their account/funds seamlessly to Ignition.
On another note, Full Flush Poker is running a scam poker site. Players are still not receiving payouts from checks and bank wire requests from 12-14 months ago. We highly do not recommend playing at Full Flush Poker (Red Flag Warning!).
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.
PokerStars gained it’s license to operate in New Jersey last fall and they launched their site, pokerstarsnj.com, on March 21st. Poker and casino players can play real money poker, blackjack, slots, roulette, and more.
Other legit sites offshore continue to do well but only a few are left, mentioned above, including Ignition Poker (previously known as Bovada) which remains one of the most legit online gambling operations in the past decade.
Yes, it is legal to play at poker sites from the United States with 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 mid 2016, 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, 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 live or the telephone support. 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 its 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 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 Fed Ex or do more than one withdraw per week/month. Same with MG or WU, they charge you almost 10% fees for voluminous withdraws.
Sites like BetOnline or Bovada generally charge $50 for Fed Ex 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]