Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
Table Of Contents
- Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
- Online Poker in the US
- Is Online Poker Legal in the US?
- How to Play Online Poker From the US in 5 Easy Steps
- 1. Check if Online Poker is Legal in Your State
- 2. Register an Account
- 3. Deposit Funds to Your Account and Claim the Bonus Offer
- 4. Get Familiar with the Site
- 5. Get in on the Action
- What Makes a Poker Site Good and How Do We Rate US Online Poker Sites?
- We List Only the Licensed Operators
- We Scrutinize the Bonuses
- Our Pro Players Look Into the Choice of Games and Quality
- We Test the Site's Software
- We Look Into Deposit Methods
- We put Customer Support to the test
- Regulated US Poker Sites
- NJ Poker Sites
- PA Poker Sites
- MI Poker Sites
- Free Poker Sites
- OffShore Poker Sites
- Best Deposit Options for US Online Poker Players
- Problem Gambling and Useful Resources
- Online Poker in US FAQ
Looking for the best US poker sites to play online poker games for free and real money? Check out these poker rooms!
Finding a great site to play online poker games from the US is not that difficult. But with all the different states allowing different operators — things can get a little messy for the uninitiated poker players in the US.
On this page, you'll learn:
- What are the best US poker sites to play games online
- How many states allow you to play online poker in the US
- A few secrets about our award-winning US poker rankings
- Why off-shore poker sites are always a bad idea
- and lots more
Our team of poker experts have tested and reviewed all the US poker rooms in this article. This way, you can find everything about the games, the level, and the bonuses available.
In other words, if you are looking for a list of the best online poker sites for US players in 2023, you'll love this one!
Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
Online Poker in the US
Despite the first legalized online poker site launching back in 2013, online poker in the United States is still a growing market. Ten years on, just six states have legalized online poker in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia.
The right online site for you will largely depend on the state in which you live. For example, if you’re in Nevada, then WSOP.com is the only game in town. Conversely, if you’re in Michigan, you can choose between WSOP.com, BetMGM, and PokerStars US, which at the beginning of 2023, merged player pools with New Jersey.
Here at PokerNews we have been in the business of reviewing online poker sites and online casinos for over 15 years, and readers have continuously benefitted from the high-quality content we deliver.
This comprehensive guide will cover all this and more on the legal framework of real-money online poker gambling in specific US states.
Check out our interactive US Online Poker Map Here!
Is Online Poker Legal in the US?
The situation with the legality of online poker in the US is not as clear-cut as you might expect. To get to the bottom of this, we must look at the applicable gambling laws.
First of all, gambling in the US is regulated on a state, federal, and, of course, local level.
Looking at these levels of regulations, the only viable conjecture you can derive is that things are bound to get messy.
At the moment, the Constitution allows all states to make their own laws regarding online gambling.
- A handful of states have already legalized online poker, such as Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia. In these states, online operators are required to sign licensing agreements with land-based casinos to launch their online poker rooms, and plenty of big names have already done so.
- Other states are exploring the possibility of online gaming expansion, including online poker. By doing so, the states will benefit from taxes these operators will pay and will ensure their citizens have fair and safe gambling opportunities.
- Among the states to have considered online poker in recent years include New York, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Illinois, and North Dakota. Efforts often get bogged down in the political process, but there’s no denying that as online poker continues to grow in the United States, more and more states are taking notice.
How to Play Online Poker From the US in 5 Easy Steps
With the popularity of online gaming on the rise, finding an online poker room in the US should be a breeze. Even so, there are multiple factors you need to consider getting in on the action.
Here are four steps to follow to find the right poker site for you:
1. Check if Online Poker is Legal in Your State
The first step is to ensure the state you are playing in has legalized online poker.
The states that offer full-blown poker sites are:
Some even share player pools, such as WSOP.com in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, and PokerStars in Michigan and New Jersey. Players from these “merged” states can participate in poker tournaments, which, consequently, have larger prize pools and are more appealing.
Another vital thing to remember here is that you don't need to be a resident in any of these states to play online poker legally, you need to be located inside state borders to participate.
Once you’ve identified some sites, then consider personal preferences, such as:
- types of games you like to play
- betting limits
- payment methods
- support options
- mobile poker apps for US players
All the US poker sites listed here will have a thing or two to offer, but the more you understand your playing habits, the better.
2. Register an Account
Once you have chosen the poker site, you can proceed to the registration process. To do so, you will be required to provide personal details, such as name, DOB, address, email, etc.
Poker sites will ask you to provide a proof of identity as a part of their KYC (Know Your Customer) policy imposed by the legislation.
The proof of identity is usually in the form of a copy of your ID or another personal document, the final four digits of your Social Security number (SSN), a copy of your bank statement, etc.
These poker rooms make sure no underage gambling can take place and also prevent money laundering and fraud.
3. Deposit Funds to Your Account and Claim the Bonus Offer
The next step involves selecting the deposit method from the site's banking section and making the first deposit.
The top US poker sites presented here offer exciting and generous deposit match bonus offers once the players make qualifying deposits.
Check out the promotions tab and see which types of bonuses and freebies you can claim.
4. Get Familiar with the Site
You may have checked out the site prior to signing up, but now that you have it is time to really familiarize yourself with all its features and offerings.
Check out if and when freerolls may be held, have a look and the tournament schedule, and pay attention to when traffic is at its peak and cash games are the best.
5. Get in on the Action
The final step you need to take is to choose between the different types of poker games offered by the site and take a virtual seat at the table.
The most common formats of poker include cash games and tournament poker.
- In cash games, the value of your chips corresponds directly to the monetary value, while in tournaments, you will have to buy in for a stack of chips and continue playing until you run out of chips or another player claims them all.
- In poker tournaments, the size of bets increases over time to make sure the game is action-packed.
What Makes a Poker Site Good and How Do We Rate US Online Poker Sites?
Our long history of 15+ years in the business and hard-earned reputation ensures our entire review process of online poker sites is completed with the utmost care and diligence. Over the years, PokerNews has been declared the number one online poker guide several times, and we have been on the receiving end of several awards.
To fill you in on the process, we will try to break down the criteria we impose for our selection of key US poker sites into a couple of segments. Below you will learn about:
- Only licensed operators
- Scrutinized bonuses
- Choice and quality of games
- Testing of site software
- Deposit Methods
- Customer Support
We List Only the Licensed Operators
All poker sites listed here have been licensed and certified by the appointed jurisdictions and authorities, guaranteeing the safety, legality, and fairness of those sites and their poker games.
What's more, we look into the reputation of these sites to make sure players are content with the services provided and treatment.
Only after we make sure the site ticks all the right boxes do we present it here.
We Scrutinize the Bonuses
We never cease to look for the heftiest poker bonuses out there, so that our visitors can rest assured only the best possible bonus offers are listed.
What's more, we don't get carried away just by the sheer size of the bonus.
There needs to be a balance between what is being offered as a bonus and what you need to do to turn that bonus into real cash.
We look into wagering requirements, the validity period of the bonus, and other requirements that appear as the small print in the terms and conditions that, sadly, only a few players consult.
Luckily for you, we check that info as well.
Our Pro Players Look Into the Choice of Games and Quality
Did you know that one of our reviewers won an actual WSOP bracelet in Las Vegas?
Our reviewers are experienced poker players who know every nook and cranny of the game and where to look for any hidden flaws in the choice of games and rules.
The sites offered here host several different types of poker, with plenty of poker formats and competitions, and their player traffic is a clear sign of quality.
We Test the Site's Software
Another essential part of our testing process is the test of the site's software.
We want to make sure that sites have both web apps that allow instant in-browser play and mobile apps that enable players to engage in poker games on the go.
That said, we spend hours playing the actual games before reaching a verdict.
Also, if the poker room has a fully downloadable app for PCs, we will download it and make sure its functionality and gaming experience are top-notch.
These sites need to be responsive, easy to use, simple to navigate, and user-friendly. Only such poker rooms and mobile poker sites end up on our top list.
We Look Into Deposit Methods
Another important aspect of our review process is the examination of banking methods offered by the poker room.
This list includes only sites that offer the greatest variety of online banking, credit/debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid vouchers, and other methods, all of which need to be fast, convenient, and protected by the latest SSL encryption and firewalls.
We put Customer Support to the test
Having knowledgeable and reliable customer support on your side when a problem occurs is imperative for poker players.
We put each site's customer support to a rigorous test to check their knowledge, response times, and amiableness. If all goes well, only then the site gets on our list.
Regulated US Poker Sites
As we briefly mentioned earlier, all states within the US are at liberty to regulate gambling as they see fit and under legal provisions. As a result, the online poker landscape continues to change.
The following is a quick overview of how things work in key online poker states in the US.
NJ Poker Sites
New Jersey has been at the forefront of online poker legalization and was the third state to legalize it in 2013.
The governor vetoed the first attempt to legalize online poker in 2011, but by the end of 2013, the first poker platforms emerged. WSOP.com shares a merged player pool with Nevada and Delaware, while PokerStars is merged with the Michigan player pool.
At the moment, these operators are licensed to operate in the Garden State:
PokerStars was the first legal online poker site to come to the state of Pennsylvania back in November 2019, followed by WSOP.com and their partner 888Poker in July 2021. BetMGM and Borgata Poker would soon follow. As of early 2023, Pennsylvania is a segregated market, meaning they do not share a player pool with other states.
MI Poker Sites
Michigan legalized all forms of online gambling, including online poker, in December 2019, when its governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the proposal into a bill.
PokerStars launched in Michigan in January 2021 alongside FOX Bet and Stars Casino, officially bringing online poker and casino games to the Great Lake State. On January 1, 2023, PokerStars became the first, and thus far only, operator to link their Michigan player pool with another state. By joining PokerStars New Jersey, the merged network immediately became the largest in the United States, even surpassing the WSOP.com interstate network (Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware).
"Michigan and New Jersey joining forces is great news for our players in these two states, and poker, more generally," said PokerStars US Managing Director, Severin Rasset. "As it promises a better experience and even more value, all with the confidence a trusted, licensed operator provides.”
Check out our guide to the Best Online Casinos around the world. For US players, online real money casino is available in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and West Virginia. If you're looking to start playing Online Casino right now, then we recommend FanDuel Casino. If you’re in a State where real money online casino isn’t an option, then you still have the chance to play via Social Casino sites such as Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots.
Free Poker Sites
Another great option if you live in a location where it's not possible to play online poker for real money, or you'd just like to practice your skills, is playing poker for free online. Many sites and mobile apps offer great online poker games where you can play for free with 'fake money'. You'll get a chance to engage in exciting Texas Holdem Poker and Omaha games, and test your skills with other poker players from all over the world.
For our money, the best free online poker currently is being offered by Global Poker. Global Poker is an exciting social poker site that provides American poker players in many states, with an opportunity to play poker legally. Plus they offer a great selection of casino and slot games as well.
Another good free alternative is PokerStars Play, which is a social poker and casino app from one of the biggest names in the business, PokerStars. Check out our full PokerStars Play review to find out more.
OffShore Poker Sites
Even though some sites might tell you that playing in offshore online casinos and poker rooms is possible, that doesn't mean it is legal or safe.
Most of these offshore poker sites have not been licensed by reputable gambling jurisdictions nor protected by the latest security systems.
What's more, there are no guarantees that your banking details are protected and secure from any third-party influences.
That said, you are better off playing only on legal and vetted poker sites presented here than roaming around the internet and falling prey to malicious offshore poker rooms.
Best Deposit Options for US Online Poker Players
Top US poker sites offer several popular deposit methods for their players. The most frequently used deposit method is credit/debit bank cards, such as Discover, Visa, and Mastercard, but there are plenty of other options as well.
Almost all banks in regulated states will process such payments, so you won't have any problems making a fast and secure deposit.
Here’s a look at some popular online poker deposit methods:
|Credit/Debit Cards||Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc.|
|E-Wallet||PayPal, Skrill, Zelle, Venmo, etc.|
|E-Checks & Online Banking||Check w/ your banking institution|
|Prepaid Vouchers||PayNearMe at 7-Eleven stores and casino cages at land-based partners|
Problem Gambling and Useful Resources
Problem gambling is a serious issue, and some Americans have a tough time dealing with it.
That is why it is essential that poker sites have robust and responsible gambling policies in power and that they cooperate with the regulatory bodies dealing with this issue, such as the National Council on Problem Gambling, Gamble Aware, AMA Responsibility in Gaming, and others.
Through this collaboration and effort, the negative impact of gambling can be reduced and sensitive groups protected.
Online Poker in US FAQ
Is online poker legal in the US?
Online poker is perfectly legal in US states that have enacted specific online gambling laws.
What states allow real money poker games online in the US?
You can play real money poker games online in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan and Delaware. In the future, you can expect the list to expand to include West Virginia.
When did the UIGEA come into force?
The UIGEA came into force in 2006.
Should I play on offshore poker sites?
Players shouldn't play in offshore poker rooms as these are not technically legal in the US and are deemed as highly insecure.
Do I need to live in a state where online poker is legal to be allowed to play?
Players are not required to live in a state where online poker is legal in order to play it. You only need to be physically present in the state at the moment of play.
I am in a state where online poker is not legal. Can I use a VPN to play?
Legal online poker sites have strong geolocation software that will pierce through almost all VPN networks, thus preventing players from outside the states from engaging in real-money poker games online.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.