Online gambling has been an issue in the United States for some time now. Although various state and federal laws have been passed in an attempt to make online gambling legal, they have yet to be successful. In this article, we are going to address some of the burning questions about online poker playing in the US.
First, we are going to answer the following question: “How to play online poker in the US?” Then, we are going to present you with a list of the most reputable online poker sites that gladly accept American players.
So let’s start from the beginning and see what is puzzling our fellow Americans when it comes to gambling in online poker rooms.
Are Online Poker Sites Banned in America?
This is the primary misconception about online gambling in the USA. Many people believe some of the rigorous laws and acts against online gambling also refer to the numerous poker sites across America.
We can simply state that the notion from the heading is not true — you are free to spend your time and money in different online poker rooms all over America. However, we also feel we need to provide a detailed explanation of this issue to make you feel at ease.
For your information, the only state that has officially banned online poker playing is Washington, while others are tangled in their specific state acts that prohibit various gambling forms from sports betting to playing slot machines. But even though the state of Washington has a law that prohibits gambling in online poker rooms, this state hasn’t exercised it once ever since it was passed.
A reputable lawyer from California that deals with online gambling regulations in the States best describes the level of confusion in this field. He once stated that 16 federal states and one district haven’t even officially defined the term gambling, let alone addressed the issue of gambling on the Internet.
And while the online gambling scene is flourishing, legislative bodies seem to be having serious difficulties of making this lucrative online gambling industry completely legalized and regulated.
Many gamblers in America blame it all on the UIGEA, the act that the Department of Justice passed in 2006, which prohibited online gambling on the American territory. This act expanded the restrictions of the infamous Wire act, prohibiting any mobile or online transactions related to gambling from taking place. So the initial targets were the banks that couldn’t accept any deposits for gambling anymore. However, as it is often the case, this restriction backfired on poker players. There were some claims that some people who advocated the passing of the UIGEA and expanding the restriction on playing online casino games were working for the top casinos. In other words, casinos wanted to get rid of the online competition, such as numerous poker rooms, by passing this act, as well as to buy some time before they get their share of the lucrative and vibrant online gambling scene.
So far, only four American states have devised state acts that regulated online poker sites, while none of them were backed up by federal law. However, 2011 was the crucial year for poker playing sites. And after a disastrous action of the Department of Justice when all of the remaining online poker rooms were shut down, it seemed like there was no hope for poker players. However, later that same year, that very department decided to loosen up the strict interpretation of the notorious Wire Act and permit online poker sites to operate legally.
This decision was one small step towards finding the mutual ground between the government and the online gambling industry.
So to make a long story short, if you’re still wondering whether playing poker online in the USA is legal — the answer is yes. You can enjoy playing poker online wherever your home in America may be since there is no federal law telling you otherwise.
The Ongoing Debate on Poker
There is yet another issue that contributes to the overall confusion and misinterpretation of US laws. This neverending debate tries to find an answer to one simple question. What kind of game is poker? Opponents of gambling will firmly claim that the main point of playing poker is to spend money on it. Others who love this classic card game would say that poker is a game that requires superb skills, witty strategy, and nerves of steel.
The truth is somewhere in between, though. While we adore skillfully played poker games with strategic decisions happening at every turn and adrenaline pumping, we have to say that the prospects of winning real money at the poker table are what adds up to the iconic status of this casino game.
A federal judge presented his view in a lengthy ruling that definitely defines poker as a game of skill. This way, poker playing cannot be banned or restricted by any gambling law.
Now that we’ve cleared the air concerning the legality of playing poker online in the USA let’s see what the best online poker sites that offer various poker games to American gamblers are.
The List of the Best Poker Playing Sites for US Players
After everything that we’ve said about the rules and regulations on online poker playing in the US, we can conclude that only a small percentage of Americans have restrictions on visiting poker playing sites. Over 80% of American poker players can enjoy their favorite poker game freely without fearing that their state or federal government will sanction them in any way.
Here is a list we’ve made up for all poker lovers in the USA. We have taken our time, and we think that we’ve found the best and the most reliable poker sites that welcome gamblers from the US.
1. Ignition Poker
As the name itself suggests, this poker playing site is on fire. Ignition poker offers an array of poker games and excellent playing conditions to American players. In 2017, they even decided to open their doors to the Aussies, which is a perfect business decision because we all know how ardent gamblers the Australians are.
Here, you can expect generous welcome bonuses that go up to $3000 if you use Bitcoin. This gambling site also offers a variety of online poker rooms that can meet the needs of both players that play for fun and the experienced sharks. They also like to indulge those who play low stakes tables just for fun of it. That’s why they offer recreational players separate poker rooms where they can expect additional bonuses to play with.
Here, you can find cash games that range from the minimum-stakes Texas Hold’Em games to high-roller Omaha games you need thousands of dollars to get in.
All the gamblers who frequent poker tournaments will certainly find one that suits them here. These tournaments are adrenaline-filled, fast-revolving events that will keep you engaged for hours.
The payout is also fast and clean at this poker playing site, as it should be the case with all reputable online casinos.
Bovada is a well-known name on the American online gambling scene since it was a part of it from 2011 to 2016, and has finally returned in 2017. The layout of Bovada’s site resembles the one of Ignition Poker because these two are sister casinos that belong to the same casino group.
While the Ignition focuses on providing excellent services to online poker players, Bovada can also offer sports betting and a huge variety of poker and casino games to their visitors as well.
Additionally, there is an incredible welcome gift for the newcomers to Bovada of over $3000 for playing. This amazing sum can even go up to $5000 if you are a Bitcoin user. Also, the fact that Bovada expanded their offer on sports betting and other casino games besides poker is an advantage.
Finally, when you want to take a short break from playing poker here, you can take your time and enjoy watching your favorite team and maybe even earn some money betting along the way.
3. Grand Poker Room
We decided to finish this short list by presenting you with “the new kid on the block” among poker websites. Grand Poker Room has appeared on the online poker scene recently, as a part of the highly respectable 5Dime Group. This was the main reason why we decided to recommend this relatively small poker site for our American friends.
You would be glad to know that Grand Poker Room is available in all American states. Moreover, you can also download it on your Mac computer. And if you decide to play it online, you will encounter a polished and highly user-friendly website. Their smartphone apps look and function even better, so we can freely say that they’ve made an effort to provide an over-the-top service to their visitors.
However, the downside of being new on the market is that, at Grand Poker Room, there are not many poker tables you can play cash games at. You will not see a bunch of seasoned poker players here either. But if you want to learn how to play online poker in the US, this is the best place for you to start at. Stakes at the games aren’t too high, and the tables won’t be crowded, so you can get to know your rivals better.
So in the end, we hope that we‘ve cleared up how to play online poker in the USA for you. In terms of rules and regulations, no one forbids you to gamble in various online poker rooms across the USA.
What is more, we’ve also introduced you to some of the best online poker sites that may even offer some different games besides poker to the American players.
Ultimately, you can visit these sites we’ve mentioned and start your online poker playing adventure right away.