PKR Not Coming To the USA Any Time Soon

IMPORTANT U.S.A NOTICE: This poker site has ceased operations as of 2017 due to financial difficulties. PokerStars agreed to bail out PKR and refund players through its platform. Please visit our comprehensive poker sites reviews page for other recommendations to the general consensus as to the best poker site for US players still available.

Our Review of PKR (Doesn’t Accept USA Players)

PKR is a mid-sized online poker site, slightly larger than Bovada (the ex Bodog) Poker and Merge, where you’ll find up to 1,500 ring game, and 6,000 tournament players simultaneously during peak hours. The real draw to PKR is their unique software developed by legendary game programmer Jez San who is famous for his many contributions to video game technology in the 1980’s, including the first implementation of 3D modeling on Nintendo’s NES and Gameboy as well as the development of the Super FX chip that made Star Fox possible on the Super NES.

This unique PKR software attracts many recreational players who are intrigued with the functions, graphics and animations, so much so, that for some, it might be hard to remember real money stakes are on the line. If you’re looking for an online poker site with extraordinary software and ultra soft games, PKR offers just that. The sad news for us Americans is PKR is not currently allowing players from the US to participate in the real money games.

PKR was on the top list to receive one of the first online gaming licenses issued in the US, because their site has never accepted US players, nor are they involved in sports betting but this has failed to happen in any of the legal states.  Amendment 1, introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman of California, states that sites which have intentionally broken Internet gaming laws cannot get a license to conduct business in the United States; and Amendment 2, introduced by Congressman Peter King of New York, prohibits sports betting.

When this bill went to vote in July 2010, the first two amendments were easily passed by voice vote, and once all other amendments and wording had been worked out, a full vote was taken and the bill passed committee by a decisive 41-22 vote and later was signed into law.  Who cares really, PKR and many other sites are on the back of the list because they are not paying off politicians.

Bad Timing or a Lucky Break for Owners?

PKR’s deal with legendary game programmer Jez San gave them so much early press it was hard to keep secret their online poker room was coming soon. Backing this with aggressive marketing campaigns, a fully functional affiliate program, beta testing software, and account managers well before their real money games came about, when launch time was finally approaching they were already a well known name in online gaming. Hoping to launch within a month or so, PKR suffered a somewhat tough break when the US House of Representatives passed (HR4411) anti-gambling legislation on July 13, 2006. Even though all other online poker sites were business as usual, and many industry experts predicted this bill would not reach the Senate session, PKR decided to take the conservative route. PKR’s affiliates and partners were informed on August 17, 2006, via an email from PKR CEO Malcolm Graham, that real money games were now available, but at this time they were excluding US players in order to await the Senate’s decision on the matter.

This topic of course blew up all over poker forums as everyone in the industry seemed confident there was no way anti-gambling legislation would become law that year, and accused PKR of making a grave mistake. While it is true HR4411 never reached a Senate vote, American lawmakers did what many feel was a gross injustice when on September 30, 2006 at midnight on the day Congress adjourned for the 2006 elections, they attached another piece of anti-gambling legislation to a totally unrelated and must pass piece of legislation called the Safe Ports Bill. This bill passed by a 409-2 vote in the House, unanimous consent by the Senate, and was signed into law by President Bush on October 13, 2006.

While this was a tough blow to the entire industry, and many were outraged by the method with which it was passed, this was of course an even tougher blow for PKR to absorb as the site they had poured millions of dollars into to create wasn’t even off the ground yet. However, once it was clear the move to temporarily suspend US players was now long term, if not permanent, PKR had their website translated into a dozen or so major languages and began aggressive international marking campaigns. Fast forwarding to the present, PKR is running strong as a mid-sized poker site. So while back in 2006, UIGEA was no doubt a tough break, looking back which what once was considered a tough blow for PKR could very well turn out to have been their lucky break.

3D Poker Available to US Players

Note to US players: While it is not near as impressive as the PKR software developed by Jez San, 3D Poker is available at several smaller online poker sites such as and 5Dimes Poker (3D). Playing at one of these sites might be a decent way to quench your desires to play 3D Poker in the US, until such time that begins accepting US players.


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