Having Difficulty 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. Thirteen 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’s legal to play poker and casino games if your state allows – four (4) states currently (DE, NJ, NV, PA) 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 Real Money Poker Sites by Safety, Traffic & Withdraw Times
Note: I’ve been a real-money online poker player for 14 years and follow US laws for poker every day. I also work in the online gambling industry and have accumulated quite a bit of inside knowledge about the industry workings.
Online Poker Site Best Features
- Previously known as Bovada/Bodog
- Highly trusted with quick payouts
- Visa, MC, & Bitcoin accepted
- Largest poker network in the USA
- Most popular. Accepts all 50 U.S. states
- Withdraws are fast, 2-10 days max
- Accepts Visa, Amex & MC (+75%)
- Second largest network for the US!
- Large amount of traffic
- Fast payouts
- Support for over 60 cryptocurrencies
- Support for 6+ Hold’em
- Visa, Mastercard & Bitcoin Deposits
- Sign-up bonus credited quickly
- Fast payouts
- Poker, Sports Betting & Casino
- Huge 200% crypto sign-up bonus
- Elite benefits VIP program
- Massive Sunday Venom tournament
- Fun Pot-Limit Omaha games
- Free casino spins for new sign-ups
- Exclusive live tournament qualifiers
- Solid Bitcoin support
- Over 30 years experience
- One-stop shop for poker & sports
- Gigantic bad beat jackpot
- Collection of Sunday Majors
- Daily cash races
EXPECTED DATE OF LEGALIZATION BY U.S. STATE
US Online Poker Bills News
Latest US Online Poker & Casino Bills in Progress – Updated 02/04/2019
West Virginia officially passed an online gaming bill on in late March of 2019. The bill is set to become law in June of 2019 and there’s a chance fully legal online poker sites will launch before the end of the year.
Regulated online poker in Pennsylvania, which was set to debut in winter of 2019, has been pushed back to summer at the soonest. The delay is due the Department of Justice reinterpreting the Wire Act. It’s not clear what effect this will have on online poker in the USA but it’s already slowed down the rollout in Pennsylvania. PokerStars is likely to operate in the state.
Two internet poker bills were presented in New York last year. One bill was introduced in January and the other in February of 2017. Last February 15th, one bill passed the Senate Gaming Committee (11-0 vote) and passed the Senate Finance Committee (27-9 vote) a few months later on May 9th. It passed the full Senate (54-8 vote) on June 13, 2017 but it did not receive a vote by the Assembly.
On March 1, 2017, a bill (SB 203) to legalize and regulated online gambling (poker and casino games) in Michigan was introduced. SB 203 passed the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on March 8th (7-1 vote) last year and it went to the full Senate for a potential vote but did not receive one. On September 12, 2017, a second online gaming bill (HB 4926) was introduced.
On January 10th, West Virginia presented a bill, HB 3067, to legalize online gambling (poker and casino games). The bill is in a House Committee to receive a hearing and possible vote.
Louisiana introduced a bill, SB 322, around March 1st to legalize online gambling.
It looks like California will not be presenting any internet poker bills to the legislature this year. Last year on February 17th, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduced a bill (AB 1677) in California which would allow online poker if passed. It’s pretty much the same bill as the previous year (AB 2863), but no vote was taken on the bill in 2017. The bill will pay the horse racing industry up to $60 million a year but they cannot operate poker sites.
On May 31, 2017, the Illinois Senate passed a bill, HB 479, to regulate and legalize online gambling (poker and casino games) by a 42-10 vote. This bill then went to the House but was shelved.
BetCoin closed their online poker room on December 25, 2017. Full Flush Poker went offline around October 1, 2016 and they will not be coming back. They were running a scam poker site for 14+ months before they shut down. Players had not received payouts from checks and bank wire requests for 13-15+ months prior to them closing.
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.
Bovada Poker transitioned into Ignition Poker which went into full effect on September 30, 2016. Bovada poker players were able transfer their account/funds seamlessly to Ignition, and they remain one of the most legit online gambling operations.
Other legit sites offshore continue to do well but only a few are left, mentioned above.
Yes, it is legal to play at real money poker sites from the United States with a strong emphasis in DE, NJ, NV, and PA. 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 2018, there are only state-licensed sites for Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. You must be physically located in these states to play at the sites they offer.
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. Payouts are very quick using this method, and it continues to grow in popularity month after month.
Ok, so hopefully you made some money and are looking to take the money off the gambling site. I choose bitcoin or bank wires 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.