Poker in New York is quite the phenomenon. With the famous Stu Ungar hailing from the state and becoming a poker legend himself, the limelight has long been on NY poker clubs. Today, we will talk about online poker in NY and how the lack of a fundamental legal cardroom in the state hasn’t affected New Yorkers’ ability to look up and play at some of the best online poker sites today.
While NY doesn’t have poker rooms based in the state that run online tournaments and cash games, there are plenty of viable options elsewhere. Admittedly, Stu Ungar has been quite the inspiration for generations of New Yorkers and that explains the growing interest for the game in the Empire State.
To channel their love in the popular card game, players today turn to the best NY online poker rooms and spend time participating in some of the most important events and grinding cash games. Here is where you can play yourself if you reside in New York:
Here’s a list of the best New York online poker sites for 2020:
Best Online Poker Sites for New York
Is Playing Online Poker in New York Really Safe?
Playing online poker when you reside in New York State is perfectly fine. With laws not bothering orderly citizens, you can carry on and play at as many cardrooms as you like so far as you feel safe. And this is another matter altogether.
Players usually try to find the safest cardrooms, citing security concerns. Yet, there are plenty of online poker NY options to experience first-hand and in complete safety at that. All that matters is to pick the card rooms that observe and uphold industry standards, and that’s not too difficult at all.
There are a few things we like to see outside of the common technicalities and SSL encryption. A reliable customer support – regardless of the frequency – is always a must. Not least, many cardrooms now offer responsible gambling pages and these are always very welcome.
Why Play Online Poker in NY?
So, you want to play NY poker online, but aren’t sure if you should? There are many upsides to opting for online play over visiting a social poker club. Without passing judgment on either, we believe there are inherent upsides to sticking with online solutions.
- Recreational and serious players can find far more options to leverage their knowledge and compete for better prize pools at smaller buy-in costs.
- NY poker is not entirely regulated making it difficult to participate in land-based games. However, there are no restrictions if you want to play online offshore poker.
- Online poker brings better bonuses that can be cashed out and claimed continuously at small amounts.
- Not least, you can participate in seven-figure tournaments that make for some opportunities that could potentially turn your first deposit into a big prize. Far more importantly, though, there are no land-based poker alternates to these big tournaments New York.
These are just four good reasons why online makes it so easy and worthwhile to opt into online poker. Outside of this, there are other considerations as well. For instance, mobile poker is another great upside.
NY poker sites allow you to play for real money on the go, and that’s huge, of course. It gives you a level of comfort that few states can genuinely enjoy. Playing online will also save you many discomforts of the traditional gaming experience, such as:
- Traveling to a physical location to play
- Waiting for players to turn up
- Picking specific times of the day
- Waiting for tournaments played a few times per month
All of this adds up to the comfort of online play which, while engaged with remotely, is still a great way to get involved in poker and play recreationally or even professionally.
How to Pick the Best Online New York Poker Room
Having your pick of the online poker honey pot sounds awesome. You can choose from many online poker rooms in New York and enjoy cash games, tournaments, various bonuses, and more. But the question of how to choose the best one will keep coming up again.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about blacklisted poker rooms as we have rigorously tested the majority of popular choices and established their credentials. Outside of these recommendations, you can quickly have a look through and see for yourself.
Websites such as BetOnline Poker and Ignition Poker are some of the finest choices in New York. They come with a plateau of poker games tested by thousands of players who not only have an account registered at these poker rooms but also make a point of participating actively.
Whether you are a recreational or a professional player, the cardrooms available to New Yorkers will always come with a host of opportunities. Apart from variety, a great NY poker site will have other great qualities.
Achieving the proper level of security is not just a matter of license, for example. In fact, many offshore cardrooms aren’t licensed, but they usually have over a decade of experience on the market, having stood player critic and feedback, and generally maintaining a respectable profile.
Therefore, we only draw your attention to the top card rooms that have stood the test of time and have the fairest poker options through and through. Safety is important, however – while a license just signals the place a cardroom is registered to run a business out of, security measures should stand all testing.
As a result, SSL encryption and meeting technological standards for web development should be an absolute must. We make sure the best online poker sites in New York do.
What Poker Games Can You Play as a New Yorker?
There seems to be a decent variety when it comes to online poker in New York. In fact, variety is most commonly associated with what games are available online rather than at land-based cardrooms. And so, players will be happy to find out that all popular options are there, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud. Yet, there are other versions of the game to enjoy such as Americana and 32 Draw. They may seem niche, but there is still a lot of fun to be opted in choosing these NY online poker variants.
Each brand has its own unique way of hosting events. BetOnline, for example, runs a number of aptly named tourneys, such as the Daily Dozen, Sunday Majors, Twisted Turbos, Rebuy Frenzy, and dozens of others.
In fact, you can further pick from awesome choices such as Windfall Sit ‘n Go’s and even put in your request for a NY online poker tournament. Of course, NY players expect offers exclusively developed for them, but rest assured that offshore brands generally accept players from every state where they legally can do so – which is good news, as that means better liquidity and more opportunities to compete for better sums.
Demographics aside, you can be sure that BetOnline and Ignition Poker will always offer a level playfield. There are also some pretty decent buy-ins. The No-Limit Hold’em starts with a minimum limit worth .01/.02 and goes all the way up to $5/10.
Each cardroom will fine-tune the limits and buy-ins, but ultimately you can rest assured that everything is very much on point and, as a resident of New York State, you have access to some of the finest and most flexible online poker options.
How to Deposit and Withdraw Money on New York Poker Sites
A great question. Since most NY online poker rooms are not located in the state this could lead to some slowdowns in processing your payments. However, the best cardrooms have found a way to stay on par with players’ expectations and demands and they have made sure to have all necessary payment options.
And so, players are encouraged to use tested payment options such as bank cards and even e-wallets. Even wire transfers should clear a deposit, although depending on the method you use, there may be processing time delays or some fee applied.
However, most established NY poker rooms will always make sure to alleviate those for you – or get rid of them altogether. Another viable way of banking safely is via cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), or Ethereum (ETH). In each case, these blockchain-powered solutions guarantee expedited payment options.
The focus when it comes to crypto will usually fall on Bitcoin with very thorough guidelines developed by poker sites. You will usually receive very straightforward instructions where to buy BTC, how to set-up your first crypto wallet and make a deposit – and a withdrawal.
There is no doubt that these crypto withdrawals are quicker and far easier to clear. Where a regular withdrawal can sometimes take up to 3 business days, requesting to be paid in crypto may be completed instantly.
NY Poker Tournaments and Bonuses
As some of the fiercest online poker, New Yorkers aren’t just looking for any place to play a favorite pastime. Rather, and when given a choice, cardplayers would much rather have a selection of bonuses and tournaments to participate in.
Starting with the bonuses, presently, there are many decent real money poker options. The bonuses will vary somewhat, but they will all share the same fairly straightforward wagering terms.
Poker rooms are very neat when it comes to deposits because you will find it very easy to clear the conditions. Unlike other online promotions, poker gets a streamlined experience. There’s no end game when you pick a NY poker bonus.
Instead, cardrooms will simply encourage you to play through as much as you realistically can without over-playing your hands. All bonus funds are released hourly depending on how much you have played through, which is a great way.
Speaking of tournaments, there are tons. And not just $150,000 leaderboards or some minnows. Some cardrooms disburse as much as $1,500,000 in guaranteed prize pools every weekend – an amount that certainly goes in the way of dab hands from New York.
The melting pot of the offshore gaming industry features players from all over the place, naturally, so New Yorkers aren’t going to be the only players benefitting, but they have a decent shot.
A Progressive Overview of New York Poker Laws
This year we have seen a series of important developments promising to introduce paradigm-changing shifts in the overall legal context for online poker. Sen. Joseph Addabbo and his Senate Bill 18 has been one of the most honest shot NY has had at passing poker legislation since 2014. Here’s what’s happened so far in New York in relation to poker:
- Senator Joseph Addabbo files a bill that seeks to legalize online poker in the upper chamber;
- The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) publishes a revised Opinion of the Wire Act 2011 division;
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signs the DoJ’s decision into law, giving 90-day grace period before the new decision applies;
- The NYS Gaming Commission approves MGM Resorts takeover of Empire State Casino and Yonkers Raceway, granting the brand licenses to conduct online poker and sports betting.
- Population: 8.41 million
- Legal Online Poker Age: 21
- Legal Poker Room Age: 21
- Capital: Albany
- Governor: Andrew Cuomo (D)
Amid slipping New York finances, legalizing online poker can appear as a much-needed palliative to a gaping financial deficit. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has openly discussed the idea of expanding and legalizing the industry, but he and Mr. Addabbo might hit serious opposition in the face of Speaker Carl Heastie.
Reading New York Poker Through the Years
Examining the history of online poker in New York is most certainly an entertaining and informative read. Sen. Addabbo’s latest bill isn’t just one in a string of many. It’s a well-balanced read of the history, as New York has tried to pass its own online poker legislation since at least 2014.
Following a small victory back in 2011, New York had been emboldened to pursue a further expansion of its iGaming operations, starting with poker.
The first salvo came in 2014, with two bills making an appearance in both the Senate and Assembly. Sen. John Bonacic, a man who would endorse poker for years to come – and still does – introduced the Senate Bill, which, Mr. Bonacic admitted, wasn’t intended so much as a successful piece of legislation, but rather as a way to get people involved.
Mr. Bonacic’s intentions were clear and they were founded, too. At the time, the senator pointed out to the boons that would come with legalizing the industry, including:
- Consumer protection;
- No underage gambling;
- Fighting gambling addiction;
- Generating tax revenue.
Mr. Bonacic called it quits on the senator-ship in 2018, but he still endorses poker and believes legalization is the correct path for the Empire State
In 2015, we met a new champion of poker. Sen. Bonacic is a name in the poker lobby, for a lack of a better word, but so is Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering Chair J. Gary Pretlow himself who re-introduced the bills in 2015.
Mr. Pretlow was just as realistic as his fellow poker aficionado, Mr. Bonacic, and in 2015 he knew for a fact that online poker had no chance of passing through at that specific time in history, but then 2016 came and spirits were reinvigorated.
In 2016, we saw a lot more in the way of fresh and promising developments. It was a year that would tap into the momentum built over the two years before. Sen. Bonacic and Assemblyman Pretlow decided to push two separate bills, again in the Senate and Assembly.
The bills were based on the previously failed pieces of legislation, but they were tailored to answer all questions that lawmakers from all sides of the political spectrum would have, including addressing their skepticism about taxation, problem gambling, and associated negative effects.
The 2016 attempt to legalize online poker was spirited and determined. The Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee managed to clear Sen. Bonacic’s bill with 9 votes in favor and none against it.
This marked a pivotal change in lawmakers’ attitudes towards the notion of legalizing online poker. Understandably, the Committee was Mr. Bonacic’s stomping ground, and the true test would come later on.
Next on the menu was the Senate Finance Committee – a choke point for most gambling bills around the United States. The Senate, though, cleared the bill and it was up to the Senate to decide what would become of the bill. Surprisingly, the Senate also supported the bill, making it the first piece of legislation to actually jump through all legal hoops and make it through to the end, with a 53-9 vote in favor.
The onus then lied on the Assemblymen to make it possible for the bill to be sent to the Governor’s office for a much-needed final signing. Quite surprisingly, though, Mr. Pretlow announced that the bill would not be progressing through the Assembly for lack of adequate support.
Some ventured to criticize Mr. Pretlow that he hadn’t tried hard enough to garner the necessary support to see the bill pushed through.
In 2017, Mr. Pretlow and Mr. Bonacic chose to pursue a similar course of action. They re-introduced the bills and re-started the efforts. Once again, the bills enjoyed a successful passage, and Mr. Pretlow ventured to say that online poker was bound to pass that year.
The bills cleared the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and the Senate floor, but it wouldn’t matter, because the Empire State’s lawmakers were already caught up in several other undertakings, including the mayoral involvement in NYC schools.
The following year culminated in no great progress either. 2018 will be remembered as a nondescript year for poker, although some buzz and excitement were whipped up towards the end, when rumors began to seep through that a new bill was coming to NY.
The Online Poker Industry in NY, If Regulated
There have been quite few suggestions about what an online poker industry might look in NY. After all, the state has been trying to pass legislation for half a decade now, and some of those proposals have stuck. As a result, the current rules would most likely be something similar to:
- The legal gaming age would be 21
- Player funds would need to be held in separate accounts so that in the event of a bankruptcy, a casino would be able to pay players their due
- Around 10 properties would be awarded licensees
- The activity would be regulated by the NYS Gaming Commission
- Licenses would cost $10 million and be granted for a 10-year period
This is hypothetical, but it’s based on information collated from draft bills submitted to the state’s lawmakers so far and it creates a reliable read of the industry as is.
Will DoJ’s Opinion Be Felt in NYS?
The simple answer is maybe. As things stands, we might change that to – definitely. There has been a lot of to and fro in legalizing the NYS poker industry, and now, the reversal of the Wire Act Opinion of 2011 is a blow to the future of online poker.
Basically, the Wire Act was first interpreted to apply to all forms of online gambling, but that perception evolved and the Act’s rulings then only applied to sports betting. The Wire Act prohibits certain types of business as well as exchanging financial transactions across state-borders done for the purposes of any form of betting or gambling. This was then changed to read:
Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a ‘sporting event or contest’ fall outside the reach of the Wire Act.
The ruling came in September 2011, with the U.S. Department of Justice ruling in a case lodged by New York and Illinois seeking to expand their online lotteries.
How the Latest Decision Affects New York Poker’s Prospects?
By directly banning any sort of online transaction across the state’s border. Now, it can be argued that you don’t need to leave the state to play poker and this is true.
However, the Wire Act in its more restrictive reading, also states that the prohibitions are not limited to sports contests only. In other words, any online gambling activity can fall under the legal barraging of the DoJ.
Some states have taken the fight to the enemy, with NJ, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire threatening lawsuits, and NH actually lodging a handful. Meanwhile, the uncertainty around the future of the Wire act can affect the prospects of NYS to legalize its online poke.
Will New York Regulate Online Poker?
You don’t hear much about online gambling plans coming out of Albany, but that doesn’t mean work isn’t underway. The current New York government has shown little opposition to gambling expansion, and poker is especially popular in the Empire State. It would be very surprising if New Jersey and other states came online and New York did not quickly follow.
With that said, New York is obviously behind states like New Jersey insomuch that no bill has been passed and a coalition of support for regulation of online gambling has only now emerged publicly.
Yes. Even though there are no NY card rooms directly in the state, many offshore poker sites accept New York players and allow them to play. As someone residing in the Empire State you can rest assured that you will benefit from a quality poker experience with the help of the top cardrooms catering to US players and NY specifically.
The best online poker sites in New York are some of the best-established names in the industry at large. You have BetOnline and Ignition which are without any doubt the top contenders. They offer massive prize pools, great bonuses and tournaments to participate in by the plenty.
Yes, all NY online poker rooms offer Bitcoin as a viable payment option. You can both deposit and withdraw with BTC or even choose from other popular cryptocurrencies such as ETH, LTC, and BCH among others.
Yes. Mobile poker is an essential part of the online poker experience and New York cardrooms – or at least those available to New Yorkers – are definitely not missing out on a good thing.