Poker and the online gambling scene in the US go so far back that you can’t talk about one without mentioning the other. A lot of poker aficionados out there are always looking for the best places to play poker online for money (USA) and put their luck and skills to the test. To help you out on the matter, I have come up with a list of the best online poker sites for real money. I will also talk about some important aspects of online poker, such as the legality of playing it and much more.
Our list of the best real money poker sites available, as of May 2021:
Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
- Trusted by US Players Since 2001
- Huge Bad Beat Jackpots
- Fully Licensed and Regulated
US Real-Money Poker Sites
- Excellent value for money
- Safe and secure
- Quick withdrawals
The US online poker market has a lot to offer, and it was challenging to create a list of websites that can objectively be considered the best online poker real-money sites. A lot of these sites will offer good welcome bonuses, a number of payment methods, and other features you are looking for from poker sites, but I wanted to narrow down the selection for you and present the very best sites to play poker for real money.
BetOnline Poker is often regarded as the best place to play poker online and for good reason. BetOnline has been around the betting industry for over two decades now, and its poker room has been one of the most popular in the US ever since its creation in 2011. The BetOnline Poker room is available both for online play through the browser and as a downloadable dedicated app for Android and iOS devices, which means players can access their favorite poker games and tournaments on the go with ease.
As a top-flight cardroom, BetOnline Poker features multiple tournaments with different rules and betting limits. In those tournaments, as well as in regular poker games, you can find poker versions such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha Poker, Boost Poker, Windfall Poker, and Six Plus Hold’em, among others.
There are also many payment methods players can use to transfer funds to their accounts, including Bitcoin and other e-wallets and card payments.
Bovada Online Poker
Vying for the title of the best place to play poker online in the US is certainly the Bovada Online Poker cardroom. Bovada Online Poker has been active in the online poker world since 2004 and has managed to attract thousands of players to its platform. Bovada Online Poker offers Zone Poker, Cash Games, Anonymous Tables, Sit & Go tournaments, and other poker game formats for Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and multiple other versions of the game. You can access Bovada Online Poker via browser instant-play and downloadable apps created for PCs, Android, and iOS devices. You can also enjoy a wide array of poker bonuses on Bovada Online Poker that will help you start off your poker adventure on the right foot.
Americas Cardroom Poker
Americas Cardroom Poker is one of the largest poker card rooms in the world today, and maybe even the best place to play poker online. The site was established by Winning Poker Network back in 2001. It was rebranded to Americas Cardroom Poker in 2010 and it has not looked back since. It is one of the busiest poker rooms in the US and it boasts some of the largest guaranteed tournament prizes exceeding $1 million.
Players can enjoy a variety of daily and weekly tournaments in Americas Cardroom Poker, like Progressive Knockout, Sit & Go, and Multi-Table tournaments in Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud poker versions. There are micro-stakes and high-stakes tournaments, depending on how much you are willing to wager. Add to that a decent number of payment methods and appealing bonuses, and you get a fully-functional online poker room for the ages.
For many players out there, Intertops Poker is the best place to play poker online. It is one of the oldest poker rooms in existence, and one of the few that still accept US players.
Intertops’ downloadable software allows you to play a number of different versions of Texas Hold’em, like Pot-Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em in a number of daily and weekly tournaments, as well as Omaha High Poker and Omaha Hi/Lo Poker. Intertops Poker also has lucrative bonus offers for new and existing players, which all good online poker sites need to have. All of this, coupled with the fact that Intertops now even accepts Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, means it ticks all the right boxes.
If popularity is an indication of quality, Ignition Poker is the best place to play poker online in the US. Rumor has it that Ignition Poker purchased Bovada, which would account for the similarities in software and playing options. Ignition Poker offers Sit&Go and Multi-Table tournaments on both desktop and mobile devices. The main poker games at Ignition Poker are Omaha and Texas Hold’em, with a number of different variants, such as Zone Poker, and Quick-Fold Poker.
State of Online Poker — Real Money (USA)
The situation surrounding online poker is changing fast in the USA. While the future might seem bright, it wasn’t always like that. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 put a stop to online gambling at the time, but things have changed since then. Now, individual states can decide whether they want to regulate online poker and allow online gambling. States that have already licensed and regulated online poker are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In these states, brick-and-mortar casinos partner with online poker sites to offer real-money online poker to US players.
Now, you might be wondering what is going on with other states. The answer is simple. The entire legal framework surrounding online poker is actually quite complex. Players who wish to play in licensed offshore online poker rooms won’t be in violation of any laws as technically they are not playing on US soil. Licensed and verified poker rooms such as BetOnline, Americas Cardroom Poker, and others accept US players who can play without any legal repercussions.
|New Jersey||Nevada||Delaware||Offshore Poker|
|WSOP NJ||WSOP NV||888 US||Ignition Poker|
|Pala Poker NJ||–||–||Bovada|
|Party NJ||–||–||Americas Cardroom|
Is Online Poker Legal?
Online poker is legal and licensed in four US states: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Other states that are expected to legalize online poker are Michigan and West Virginia. It should also be noted that sweepstakes poker games are also legal in these jurisdictions, and many others as well.
As for other states in the US, their players need to go to offshore poker sites for any real-money poker action. This action is not deemed illegal as you are technically playing outside the US where the rules that apply to the US are not valid, so you are free to play online poker without any fear of breaking the law.
Legal Online Poker
Let me disperse any doubts you might have about the online poker (real money) in USA legal status. The legislation related to online gambling is formed on a federal and state level. On the federal level, the UIGEA and the 1961 Wire Act represent great obstacles as these laws ban payment processors from transferring funds to online casinos and poker sites, and prohibit the use of online communication for any kind of betting.
However, since 2018 and the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke the PASPA act, the situation has changed and now individual states that weren’t exempt from these laws in the first place, like Nevada, are at liberty to create their own laws related to online gambling. Some states, like Washington, still hold hard bans on online poker, but most others have lenient views of the game, not to mention Nevada, New Jersey, and other states that have fully legalized online poker.
The most important thing you should know is that no one was ever prosecuted for playing in offshore poker rooms like Bovada, Intertops, and others. The laws are more directed towards gambling sites rather than individual players. Of course, if you have any further concerns about the legality of playing online poker in your state, contact an attorney for more details.
Can You Play Poker Online for Money?
Playing online poker for real money is more than just a viable online gambling option for millions of poker fans out there. Poker players love the thrill of the game and the numerous forms of poker found in poker card rooms like BetOnline Poker, Ignition Poker, and others, and that thrill would never be the same if it wasn’t for the real-money bets. Online poker rooms allow you to play poker for real cash and get a similar playing experience to land-based casinos. You can use various deposit methods to fund your accounts and start playing in a matter of minutes.
Online Cash Poker
When you think of online poker, what comes to mind are probably online poker cash games rather than free poker. Online cash poker sites allow you to play Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and other kinds of poker games for real-money and partake in tournaments with considerable prize pools. The best poker sites for cash games also offer satellite tournaments that can be your ticket into the World Series of Poker. It was a $86 satellite tournament on the online cash poker site PokerStars that got Chris Moneymaker into the 2003 WSOP and its Main Event which he later won, thus becoming the first player ever to win the Main Event by qualifying through an online poker site.
On the other hand, you can also find a number of poker sites that offer free-money or play-money poker. Here, players can hone their skills using the poker sites’ money. These sites are great for developing a poker instinct, but since you can’t win real money, they sort of take away from the essence of poker. However, there are some freeroll tournaments on these play-money poker sites where players don’t need to pay a buy-in in order to play in the tournament and possibly win real money.
Online Poker Games for Real Money
In my long poker career, I have encountered a number of different poker games you can play for real money, but not all are great for every kind of poker player. The most popular type of online poker is Texas Hold’em, but you can also encounter versions of Omaha Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, and many others. Apart from the difference in the way these games are played, you will encounter differences regarding betting limits and other essential features.
Top Online Real-Money Poker Game for Newbies
Newcomers to the game of poker might feel most comfortable with Texas Hold’em. Not only is this game variant the most popular in the world, but it is probably the easiest to learn. Each player gets two hole cards and has three rounds of community cards to use to make the best possible 5-card hand. You can explore a lot of poker strategies on Texas Hold’em and prepare for more complex games like the 7-Card Stud Poker. New players should also enjoy Pot-Limit Texas Hold’em as these games won’t force you to make large bets and risk too much on your way of learning more about poker.
High Stakes Real-Money Poker Games
More experienced players usually opt for the No-Limit versions of Texas and Omaha Hold’em games. What makes these No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, and Omaha Hi/Lo poker games special is the fact that there is no limit as to how much the players can bet in a game. Buy-ins for these tournaments can oftentimes be between $500 and $1,000 even, which means the pot sizes reach hundreds of thousands.
Most Popular Real-Money Poker Variants in the USA
Players in the USA prefer to play No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker games in the form of cash games and poker tournaments like Sit & Go. This format is the one that all online poker rooms offer, but that does not mean Texas Hold’em is the only one. Americans love to play Razz, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, 5-Card Draw, and many others as well.
Where to Play Online Poker
The easiest way to find the best poker sites to play for real money is to know what you are looking for in a site when you decide to play real-money poker online. Also, you need to consider what kind of a player you are: are you a novice or an experienced “shark”, and how important is having fast payout options? Here’s my list of the best real-money poker sites under these categories:
What is important for new players is to have generous welcome bonuses, a lot of low-stake tournament options, and a good choice of Texas Hold’em poker games as the most popular type of poker. Here, your best choice would be Americas Cardroom and Intertops which offer considerable bonuses, freeroll and low-stake tournaments, and more.
Experienced players are usually looking for poker games with higher stakes and tournaments with bigger guaranteed prizes. The No-Limit Texas Hold’em played in Bovada’s high-roller tournaments with a $150k in guaranteed wins for a buy-in as small as $1 is a perfect choice.
If you want to have your winnings reach your bank account as fast as possible, you need to choose the best online poker sites for real money with the fastest payouts. Here, the crypto-friendly online poker sites like BetOnline and Intertops are your best options as their cryptocurrency payouts are usually processed within 48 hours, and fiat currency payouts are not far behind either.
If you want to have enough time to practice your poker skills but not risk too much, you need to select a poker room with low minimum deposit requirements, like Bovada and Americas Cardroom which both offer BTC deposit as low as $10.
Do Any Poker Sites Accept PayPal?
PayPal is one of the oldest and most popular e-wallets in the world, and you might want to play in poker sites for US players PayPal supports. However, those only include legal state poker sites like 888Poker, which does business in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Since the number of poker sites that use PayPal is rather limited, you should consider opting for poker rooms like BetOnline, Intertops, Sportsbetting.ag Poker, and others that offer worthy alternatives to PayPal, like Skrill and Neteller which are frequently hailed as the best e-wallets in the world.
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Resources / Further Reading
Frequently Asked Questions
To play poker in the best real-money poker sites, you need to register an account, make a deposit, choose the type of poker you want to play, and engage in cash games or tournament play.
Online poker games are not rigged as the draws are completely randomly produced by RNG software verified by independent software testing agencies like iTechLabs. Therefore you can safely play poker online for money USA.
If you are not accessing online poker sites from states that explicitly prohibit online poker, like Washington, you can play online poker for money freely.
Play online poker for real money only in reputable poker rooms that offer fair games, fast payouts, and a great variety of poker games.
Online poker is mistakenly believed to be rigged by people who might have played in fake poker sites or are simply sore losers. Online poker is not rigged, especially when played in reputable poker sites.