Best US Poker Sites
When online poker was in full flight in the mid-2000s, the US was by far the biggest market for it and US based players made up a large chunk of the player base. Even in 2010 after the UIGEA legislation has long since been passed, research showed that 1 in 200 Americans player poker online.
So now, in 2023 with options thin on the ground, what are the Best US Poker Sites? There are a lot of people recommending a lot of shady poker rooms to US players these days, but we’re sticking to just a handful which we think are reputable.
Online Poker in the USA post UIGEA
The passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was the first step in all but wiping out online poker in the USA. The US government decided that the Wire Act, which outlawed inter-state gambling via a telephone line, in the days long before the internet should be updated for the internet age and UIGEA was signed into law:
“prohibiting gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
To this day, the meaning of the UIGEA legislation is debated, but one fact is clear. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO PLAY ONLINE POKER IN THE US. The legislation only calls into question the payment processors. The events of Black Friday which saw several of the largest online poker operators closed down was due to their payment processing practices which were deemed fraudulent. The fact that most poker sites, and their payment processing partners operate offshore basically means that the law is unenforceable.
Poker Deposit Methods for US Players
For those sites that are still real money poker for US players, what are your deposit options? Well, depositing with a credit card has a pretty high success rate, particularly at the sites we recommend, but occasionally some banks will reject the transaction. If your bank doesn’t work, you can try using a pre-paid credit card or direct bank transfer. Failing that Western Union is a good option, though you’ll have to wait a few days before the poker site verifies your payment and lets you play. The same holds true if you want to deposit by paper cheque. Whether or not your deposit is successful largely comes down to how your bank views the payment processors that the poker site uses. When it comes to withdrawing, if your bank won’t accept direct payment from the site, you always have the option of getting a paper cheque mailed to you and cashing it.
The Future for Online Poker in the USA
At the moment, the sites operating in the US are mostly smaller rooms that don’t have as much to lose as the likes of Party Poker, and because it’s so difficult for a lot of people to deposit to the online poker rooms, a lot of casual players simply don’t bother. The result is that at the moment it’s only the die hard American poker fans that play online.
What’s going to happen with the legislation in the future is unclear at the moment, though almost everyone you talk to believes that online poker is going to be back in full flow in the US before too long, whether it be intra-state or intra-US sites or freely open sites. In fact, if you’re in Nevada or New Jersey intra-state poker is already legal!
Many conspiracy theorists believe the events of Black Friday which effectively ran the two biggest sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker out of town, were purely done to leave the landscape open for the major land based casinos in the US to take over. It’s well known that the likes of Harrah’s are already working with online poker operator 888 to develop software in advance of potentially being granted a licence to offer online games.
Whatever happens we all hope it won’t be too long before US citizens are completely free to play online poker again, but in the mean time you can take a look at the rooms we recommend.