The juggernaut that is the US Legal System has all but outlawed poker websites. In the country that invented poker, it may now seem like you’re forbidden from playing. However, this isn’t the case, and we’re here to tell you why. So if you live in the US and you want to play online poker, don’t despair, because there are some great poker websites you can play on! In an effort to help you find the best poker site for your needs, we have compiled this list of the 5 Best Legal US Poker Sites. We’re also going to tell you about the ins and outs of the law regarding this tricky subject. First up, here’s how it all began…
On April 15th, 2011, the US Department of Justice unleashed hell for US online poker players. Several online poker sites were indicted and criminal charges were filed which effectively shut down online poker in America. Many players were forced to wait a long time before they eventually recovered their funds from online poker sites. Since then, online poker in the US has mostly been played for imaginary money. Notable exceptions are some sites in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. For everyone else, these five sites are probably your best options
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- Large traffic numbers mean great game selection and tournaments
- Great poker ambassadors
- Lots of fish
- Works with all operating systems
- Available almost everywhere, including the US
- VIP program is slow to release benefits
888 Poker is the number two poker website in the world when it comes to traffic, and there are several reasons for that. There is a great game selection, combined with huge numbers of players online at all times to make the most of it. There are tons of tournaments, as well as sports and casino action. The VIP scheme is good (if a little slow moving) and the customer support is top-notch! We can’t fault the software, be it desktop, web or mobile – yet another reason so many players love it. If anyone is ever going to pose a serious threat to PokerStars, it’s 888 Poker.
For US poker players, anybody can download the 888 Poker software and play for imaginary money. This is a great way to enjoy the game of poker and hone your skills, which is all most of us want anyway. For those who want to play poker for real money, you can only do that when your physical location is within the state of New Jersey (at the time of writing). The software can recognize your location, and if you’re outside of New Jersey, you’re limited to fake money play. Despite the limitations of real money play, 888 Poker is one of the best internet poker experiences you can have.
- Customer support is great
- Earn loyalty points across poker, casino, and sportsbook
- Good game selection including stud games
- Reliable, safe and trusted brand
- The bonus match is on the small side
- You can’t use third party poker add-ons
Another of the best poker sites on the internet today is Party Poker. If you’re looking for a site with mobile apps, this is probably your best choice. Party Poker has been around for a long time, so it’s recognized as a safe place to play poker, and serious players love the extensive selection of games here, including Seven Card Stud. You can also get all of your gambling fixes on Party Poker since it’s linked to Casino and Sportsbook action too. The site also boasts great promotions and tournaments, including play-ins to live events. Plus, world-class customer support continues to make Party Poker a favorite.
At the current time, all American players can enjoy playing poker on the PartyPoker.net site. This site does not accept or pay out any real money, but it’s the same great software that players worldwide get to use. Improve your game and sharpen your skills, because online poker for real money in the US is on the comeback. You can play poker for real money on Party Poker if you’re located within the state of New Jersey, and the states of Nevada and Delaware are expected to approve similar agreements early in 2017.
- Great game selection including Chinese Poker
- Superb promotions
- Lucrative VIP scheme
- Traffic numbers are on the low side
- No mobile apps
TigerGaming has been around since 1999, and it’s a great place for anyone to play poker. The software here is among the best, and it gives this poker site a clean, yet fun environment. TigerGaming is linked to other sites for your gambling needs like their casino, racebook, and sportsbook. The mission statement here is to offer all of their players a superb gaming experience, and they really deliver. Finally, there are tons of tournaments and promotions that will keep you interested.
TigerGaming currently does not accept wagers of any kind from US players. A sadly familiar state of affairs by now. You can play poker here to your heart’s content, and the fact that you’re not wagering any real money takes away from the poker experience only slightly, if at all. TigerGaming is a great poker site that we know you’ll enjoy.
- Modern, user-friendly software
- Mobile apps available
- Bonus match is good
- Not currently licensed
- Small average player pool
BetOnline poker is the fastest growing poker site in the US since Poker Black Friday. This is the flagship website of the Chico Poker Network, and it enjoys about 650 players playing at peak times. The site has been around for over ten years, so you know it’s a safe and established brand. The software is the popular PlaySafe skin, which is an enjoyable and easy-to-use platform. The majority of BetOnline’s poker traffic is overflow from their sportsbook and casino sites, so the skill level is exceptionally low. You’ll be the shark on this site in no time.
BetOnline is a perfectly legal place for US players to play poker, casino games, or make wagers in their sportsbook. These players just can’t make any real money bets at the poker table. In other words, you get the full experience of gambling on the BetOnline group of websites, just without any of the risk. Despite this drawback, BetOnline is one of the finest poker platforms you can download, and the large numbers of US players here confirm our opinion.
- Made for US players
- Great team of ambassadors
- Game selection is limited but continues to grow
- No mobile apps available
America’s Cardroom is a familiar poker website for many poker players. This brand has been around for a long time, and it’s instantly recognizable. As a premier site on the Winning Poker Network, this poker site enjoys a good amount of traffic, which averages around 850 players at any time, so you have a minimum of 105 different tables to choose from. Game selection is good, casino and sportsbook sites are linked, and the software here is excellent. This poker site is poised to be the biggest player in the US market as soon as laws are changed in their favor. An excellent stable of brand ambassadors includes Maria Ho, Doug Polk, and Chris Moorman. These famous poker players continue to give America’s Cardroom plenty of exposure, and they’re great for the game.
The America’s Cardroom website proudly states that they have been accepting US players since 2001. This is a true statement, as long as you live in the right 43 states. Players from Washington, Nevada, Delaware, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and New Jersey are not allowed to create an account at America’s Cardroom at the time of writing. US players get full access to play on this great poker site, they just can’t wager any real money. Some players establish bankrolls using player-to-player transfers on the site, but we would recommend caution when engaging in questionable activities. This is a fun and secure site that U.S. players love.
Best Legal US Poker Site Considerations
Is US Online Poker Legal?
Free online poker in the United States is absolutely legal. The only time you get into legally difficult areas is when you’re playing with real money involved. If a poker site accepts “wagers” from US players, they become subject to several different Federal laws which make this activity illegal. Some states like New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have made it legal to play online poker for money within their borders. More should be following suit in the near future. In the majority of US states, online poker is perfectly legal as long as you’re not playing for real money.
Legal United States Poker Sites
It is perfectly legal to play poker online in 49 of the US states. In Washington state, playing online poker is considered a crime. This is probably to protect the numerous casinos in operation in the state. In all of the other states, you can play poker from any poker website you choose, just not for real money. If you live in New Jersey, you can play online poker for real money on 888 Poker and PartyPoker.
What is the future of online poker in the States?
The main barrier to online poker in the States is tribal gaming interests. Tribal casinos are trying to protect their territories when it comes to gambling funds, and online gambling could potentially cut into their annual revenues. This makes sense since it’s much easier to gamble from your computer instead of going down to your local casino. Despite the Tribes’ fierce opposition, it’s only a matter of time before online poker returns to its former levels in the US.
Which US poker sites have the most players?
PokerStars is the leader by a massive margin since they have a huge presence in New Jersey. The Winning Poker Network (Americas Cardroom, Black Chip) also generates plenty of traffic. Chico Poker Network (BetOnline) is not far behind, largely thanks to its acceptance of bitcoin.
Best Legal US Poker Sites Conclusion
If you live in New Jersey, you can play online poker for real money. Residents in Delaware and Nevada may soon be in the same situation, but the rest of us may have to wait a while for our states to pass some legislation making it legal. For now, most of us are free to play poker for fake money for the enjoyment of the game and to improve our skills.
All five of the sites listed above are great choices for US players, so if you’re looking for a poker site, we recommend all of them. Since Poker Black Friday, online poker has been severely crippled in America, but it’s only a matter of time until it returns full force. Until then, enjoy these great online poker sites! We hope you benefitted from our list of the top 5 Legal US Poker Sites and we look forward to your comments!