Best Poker Sites for US Players
Online poker is arguably one of the most favoured recreational past times for American gamblers and has risen from the shadows over the last 20 years to become one of the most flourishing parts of the gaming industry. While there use to be a huge selection of US poker sites operating in the market, over time that list has narrowed to a few reputable operators, and increasingly state sanctioned sites as new regulations are put in place.
The purpose of this page is to guide US players through the best options for playing online covering the best poker sites (with reviews), in-depth game and strategy guides, profiles of popular poker players and common FAQs related to playing from within the United States.
We also take a detailed look at some of the most popular poker sites including information on why they’re good, the types of games and promos they offer as well as their signup bonus offers. Using our combined 15+ years experience in the industry, we only show our visitors the best poker sites the US has to offer, updated regularly to ensure that the listings reflect current market conditions and the newest sites.
Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money
Below we’ve created a list of what we consider to be the best USA friendly poker sites in the market right now for Americans. These sites have all been around in excess of 10 years and are regarded as having some of the better bonuses, player volumes and game selection in the US. They also offer a wide range of deposit options and are reliable for fast cashouts usually within a few days depending on the method.
Bet Online Poker
BetOnline Poker offers players from all over the world an opportunity to play on some of the softest cash tables and in some of the most beatable poker tournaments available anywhere on the Internet. BetOnline Pokers tables are full of part-time recreational poker players due to the popularity of the site’s sports betting and horse racing operations. It’s like going back in a time machine to 2006!
Claim Up To
$1000 in Bonuses
Claim Up To
$3000 in Bonuses
Bovada Poker is the flagship poker room for the Pai Wang Luo Poker Network – an international Network that provides players with action at the tables around-the-clock. If you have never played at the site before, you can take advantage of a poker bonus up to $1,000 (with no specific Bovada Poker bonus code required), plus additional bonuses at the sites sportsbook and online casino.
Claim Up To
$1000 in Bonuses
Claim Up To
$1000 in Bonuses
Black Chip Poker
Black Chip Poker is on the same network as ACR and has a large player pool with notoriously soft competition in both cash games and MTT Tournaments. The site offers the same bonus as ACR with 200% up to $1000 in bonuses for first time depositors. You can take advantage of both bonus offers by registering at both sites and playing for real money.
Claim Up To
$1000 in Bonuses
Types of Bonuses at US Poker Sites
With the poker rooms competing there are plenty of poker bonuses to choose from.These options range from free cash deals to matched bonuses and loyalty schemes.
Remember you should always read the terms and conditions before accepting a poker bonus. You will find some significant variations in playthrough requirements and time available to complete the wagering.
Some of the most common types of poker bonuses showcased on poker sites are:
No Deposit Bonuses
Free Tournament Entries
New depositors often get entries into free tournaments with guaranteed prize pools. Some poker rooms run these free rolls regularly.
Loyalty Bonus Schemes
If you ever deplete your poker bankroll, reload bonuses can help. These work in the same way as the welcome bonus offer, though sometimes have lower percentage matches.
State Poker Guides
What Makes a Poker Site Friendly?
With a healthy selection of online pokers sites, players now have more choices than ever before. However, picking the right site can sometimes be a difficult decision. Some bettors may feel unsure about how welcoming a site will be.
To help with the process, we have a few tips below on how to spot a friendly online poker site.
- Look at customer support first: If there’s an issue with your account, payments, or gameplay, you will want first-class responses from the betting company. As a result, judging how friendly and responsive the company’s customer support is can be a good way to get a feel for how a company is run. Players can also communicate with the company’s staff to judge how well they treat their customers.
- Does the site have helpful poker tools and tips? Going above and beyond offering online poker games makes a friendly poker site stand out from the crowd. Top platforms often have helpful, additional tools for customers, including ‘how-to guides, odds calculators, and strategy tips.
- User-friendly interface and themes: Do the opposite of ‘don’t’ judge a book by its cover’ to see if a poker site is friendly. If a company has a sleek, quick, and professional site, then chances are the platform is user-friendly. However, some sites may look great, but they can also have slow response times. In some extreme cases, glitches can occur. Steer clear of any site that does not feel 100% safe and legitimate.
- Make use of free betting options: Players can sign up and play for free with some poker sites. This is a great way to feel how well a site is set up. Players can judge how user-friendly and responsive the website is without outlaying any money.
Poker Game Variations & Strategy Tips
When it comes to playing online poker there is a whole lot to learn, whether it’s the rules to popular games like Texas Hold’em, or the optimal strategy for playing tournaments. The team here at USGS has published dozens of guides to help familiarize you with the different aspects of playing at poker sites. Below you’ll find a brief overview of the different poker variants, as well as links to our alphabetical game & strategy guides.
Cash Games: This is the traditional poker format, where the chips you play with hold real monetary value and your bankroll is at risk during every hand.
Tournaments: This format gives each player a stack of chips for a fixed buy-in. Prizes are awarded for the player that last longest and the winner holding the most chips. To ensure the action is fast enough, betting levels increase as the tournament progresses.
Sit N Goes: Small tournaments, often just a single table, with 2 or 3 places paid. Sit N Goes with random prize pools and 3 players, known as lottery Sit N Goes, are a newer popular sub-format.
Fast Fold Poker: This variation takes you to a new hand the moment you fold. It works by placing players into pools. Fast Fold poker can be used for either tournaments or cash games.
Famous Poker Players
Below you will find the world’s top 25 poker players including both men and women in the game. Listed in no particular order learn about the leading bracelet winners, circuit ring winners and many more of their poker accolades.
History of US Online Poker
When it all started in the late 1990s, poker was already popular, but its availability on the internet quickly became a phenomenon.
Players discovered Planet Poker when it launched in 1998, and the ability to play for real money online changed the game forever. Sites like PartyPoker and PokerStars entered the scene and began to offer options, competition for player business, and bonuses and promotions.
Then, in 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event for $2.5 million. The story of the accountant from Tennessee who won his $10,000 seat via an online satellite at PokerStars took the world by storm, and other players dreamt of doing the same – turning an investment of less than $100 into millions of dollars.
Players flocked to the online poker sites, PokerStars grew into the dominant leader of the internet poker industry, and the poker boom began.
When the US government passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, the law was ambiguous to a large extent but prompted sites like PartyPoker to exit the American market.
But it wasn’t until the US Department of Justice issued indictments against executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker that the US market crumbled. That happened on April 15, 2011.
PokerStars bounced back and settled with the US government, while Full Tilt was exposed for mismanagement and unethical practices. Its inability to repay any players made way for PokerStars to buy Full Tilt’s assets and repay customers as part of its US settlement.
UB and AP disappeared from the landscape completely, and players were ultimately paid back via the remainder of the PokerStars settlement in 2016 and 2017.
A 2011 Department of Justice ruling about the Wire Act dictated that states could legalize and regulate online poker and other forms of gaming as they wished, and some states did so. Nevada authorized online poker within its borders, followed by Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
The federal law, however, remained a grey area for many operators not affected by Black Friday.
Legal interpretations varied widely, and some poker operators decided it appropriate to continue offering internet poker games to American players. Those are the sites we review here as US Gambling Sites.
Poker Sites FAQ
Here is my list of the best and most trusted US poker sites for 2023:
- Bet Online
- Ignition Poker
These sites all allow Americans to play real money poker online and you can deposit via credit card or other options.
Yes, even offshore. There are currently 4 states that have “regulated” online poker sites, however there are options for players in every single state that are safe and legal.
It’s tough to say since it really boils down to individual preferences, but right now probably Bet Online Poker or Ignition Poker are the best options since they have the biggest player pools and highest bonus offers around.
Yes you can. You just need to download one of the poker apps from the sites you want to play at, or simple use the mobile version of their website to enable play from phone.
No they are not. At this point, any sites that had questionable software and/or practices have been ruled out. The most famous case of cheating was the super user scandal at Ultimate Bet some years ago, but these days the sites still in the market are completely trustworthy.
Although there have been events in which players have lost money due to fraud and mismanagement, the sites featured here have a long history of keeping player deposits secure and paying out on time. Typically, your funds are as safe as if you were playing on a regulated site, but this does not mean you should deposit more than you can comfortably afford to lose.
This is highly unlikely, but not impossible due to the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals. I recommend taking the same precautions as you would for any online transaction. Keep your anti-virus software up to date, make sure patches and updates are applied as soon as they are available, use a unique password and never reveal it to anybody.
Since the passage of UIGEA in 2006, some banks and payment processors have become apprehensive about handling online gambling transactions. This can cause delays with deposits clearing and withdrawals being processed. It can also mean charges are applied when you want to cash out. Bitcoin transactions do not have these issues. You can find out why on my page about Bitcoin poker.
In the United States, players are required to declare their profits from playing poker. Different procedures apply depending on whether you are filing as a professional player or as a recreational player, so it is always in your best interests to maintain a log of your profits and losses and seek professional financial advice in relation to your personal tax circumstances.
Most online poker bonuses are “redeemable” bonuses that are valid for a certain length of time. The fastest way to redeem a poker bonus is to play cash games. This means there must be other players to play against. The more traffic a US poker site attracts, the more likely it is there will be plenty of cash game action, and you will be able to redeem your bonus in the time allowed.
PokerStars and Party Poker have already come back in some of the regulated states like New Jersey, and will likely be available countrywide as states introduce new legislation regulating online poker. For now, they are only available in very few states so we still recommend the offshore sites for the best poker playing experience.