Last updated on Oct 29 2020

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USA
Online Poker in the USA

The USA is in a period of transition: In December 2011, the DOJ published a legal opinion stating that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. This paved the way for individual states to begin considering online poker. Many states are addressing the opening of the online poker market and finding solutions. More and more bills are passing.

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Section Background

Top 3 States To Go Online

The US market for online poker has been growing strongly for several years. Each year more states regulate the market and allow online gambling. Experts suspect that the following three states will come up with an online offer next.

 Flag

Kentucky

The name of the state Kentucky is of Shawnese or Iroquois origin, possibly from the Wyandotic, meaning "meadow", "meadow", "field". This is mainly due to the fact that most of the Iroquois come from today's Kentucky. Just like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Kentucky has the nickname "Commonwealth" instead of "State".

2020
 Flag

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has been part of the USA since 1788 and has a lot planned for 2020. Not only online casinos but also sports betting, lottery games and poker via the Internet are to be legalized. Fantasy sports, on the other hand, are already legal.

2020
 Flag

Virginia

Virginia is in every respect a historic state whose nickname is Old Dominion. It is also called Mother of the Presidents because eight US presidents came from here. With almost 10 million citizens, the state could also soon become the mother of gambling as soon as further licensing takes place in 2020.

2021
  • Presumably going legal 2021: Indiana
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1
98%
Fast live chat support
Amazing Daily Tournament
Player Pool with BetMGM & Party
Borgata Poker Logo
Poker Variations 5+
Mobile
Rake approx. 5% (Cap $1-$5)
Player Pool 350 - 1,400
Network Name BetMGM / Borgata / PartyPoker
Borgata Poker Review
100% up to $600
BONUS600 *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $600
2
97%
$20 FREE no deposit bonus
Player pool with WSOP Poker
Trusted & known brand
888 Poker Logo
Poker Variations 7+
Mobile
Rake approx. 5% (Cap $0.30 - $3.50)
Player Pool 500 - 3,000
Network Name 888 Poker / WSOP Poker
888 Poker Review
100% up to $1,500
******* *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,500
3
96%
Satellites to WPT & more
Good mobile client
Trusted & known brand
Party Poker Logo
Poker Variations 4+
Mobile
Rake approx. 5% (Cap $1-$5)
Player Pool 350 - 1,400
Network Name BetMGM / Borgata / PartyPoker
Party Poker Review
100% up to $1,000
******* *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000
4
95%
Good mobile app
Player pool with 888 Poker
Reload bonuses offered
WSOP Poker Logo
Poker Variations 4+
Mobile
Rake approx. 5% (Cap $0.30 - $3.50)
Player Pool 500 - 3,000
Network Name 888 Poker / WSOP Poker
WSOP Poker Review
100% up to $1,000
******* *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000
5
94%
$25 FREE no deposit bonus
Loose and large network traffic
Trusted & known brand
BetMGM Poker Logo
Poker Variations 8+
Mobile
Rake approx. 5% (Cap $1-$5)
Player Pool 350 - 1,400
Network Name BetMGM / Borgata / PartyPoker
BetMGM Poker Review
100% up to $1,000
******* *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000
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Michael Tradford
Author:
Michael Tradford
Last Update:
October 9, 2020
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Author
This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at AmericaGambles.com before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
 
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.

Online Poker 2020

The online poker space is a vast one and it can be a bit of a daunting challenge to try and break down its various components and to see what options are best for your specific needs. At AmericaGambles, the goal is to have a valuable resource that caters for poker players or those looking to get started in online poker. You can quickly break down what poker sites are available for you to use in your given jurisdiction. All of these operators are objectively reviewed using the same criteria, which allows for a balanced and unbiased assessment. This saves you a lot of time and headache when it comes to seeing which platform is the ideal fit for you.

There are many quality online poker sites on the market today and this guide shows you some of the best play poker online options.

Top or Flop: 10 Criteria for Online Poker Site

When it comes to objectively assessing the merits of internet poker sites, you need to consider a wide range of different variables. Online poker gambling platforms will have different strengths and weaknesses, so it takes time to break each of these aspects down and see which of these casino poker online platforms thrive in certain areas and which ones should be avoided. Here are the key criteria that are used on AmericaGambles to assess the merits of an online poker real money site.

Cash Games & Tournaments Offer

When you are assessing an online poker site, your first port of call will be to look at what type of cash games and tournaments offerings they have. Without these key aspects, it doesn't matter if everything else about the platform is of a top quality. If a site does not have the types of poker offering you prefer, there is no point considering it. You may have certain types of poker variants that you like to play or you may want access to tournaments with deep prize pool on a regular basis. Whatever the case may be, you should familiarize yourself with a platform's game offering before going any further.

Welcome Bonus & Promotions

One of the best aspects about signing up for a new online poker site is being able to avail of the new customer bonus. This is a way to start your account off on a good foot. This welcome offer varies depending on the operator in size and type. You might get free plays into tournaments or certain amounts of bonus funds you can play with. Whatever the case may be, it is important that you read the terms and conditions of the bonus offer, as sometimes these deals appear to be better on the surface than what they actually turn out to be. For many poker players, having regular promotions throughout the year is also a key factor. This could be periodic free entries into tournaments or free bonus funds. This is a way for the platform to reward the player for their loyalty.

Rake & VIP Program

The rake is the cut taken out of each pot or tournament prize pool by the online poker site. When looking at the rake of sites, there is a balance to strike between going for a low rake option and ensuring that the other important aspects of an offering are still there. When you are playing a lot of poker, even small increases or decreases in rake can make a big difference in your profit or loss come the end of the year. As a lot of poker players play massive amounts of hands and spend hours and hours playing every day, they like to be rewarded for their constant play by getting perks and rewards. Common perks include getting access to certain tournaments for free and getting a percentage of your rake back every month. These are usually tiered systems that depend on your volume of hands in a  given period.

Traffic & Networks

While mast of the major poker sites are going to have a strong player base, you want to ensure that there is an adequate level of traffic to ensure that you are never spending too long looking for a game. If you like the more niche games, the number of players also looking to play that niche game may be smaller on certain sites. There are poker networks that pool the player base of different poker sites brands together into one. This helps all of these rooms to stay active and have enough of a player base to keep players interested.

Mobile Poker App

Playing poker on mobile devices is constantly becoming more popular. This allows you to play on the go rather than having to use a desktop device. There are different considerations for poker apps, such as whether it is compatible with iOS or Android devices, if you can play through your web browser and the quality of the playing experience. The strength of mobile poker offerings differ widely.

Customer Service

If you ever have an issue or a problem with an online poker site, you want to be able to quickly and easily get it resolved. This means having access to a god database of FAQs, as well as having multiple options to contact the customer support team. Usually, you will want to have access to 24/7 support.

Payment Options

It is important that an online poker site caters for deposit and withdrawal options that fit your needs. You may have preferences on the speed, costs and ease at which you can conduct your banking on a given platform. These options will vary from operator to operator.

Usability & Software

It is very important that an online poker site functions extremely smoothly and it does not have any lag or glitches that hinder your playing experience. This can be costly if a platform keeps bugging out on you in the middle of a playing session. You want to ensure that the platform is also very easy to use and caters for the different features you like in an online platform.

Security

Naturally, it is important to keep your money safe when transacting online and it is no different for online poker sites. You want to deal with reputable sites that take the security of your funds and data very seriously. It is important to check the encryption standards of a site and their track record of keeping their customer’s data safe over the long term.

Additional Offer

There are certain aspects of an offering that aims to make it stand out from the crowd. This may be in the form of innovative types of games and offers or it could be down some exciting features that are incorporated as part of the platform. Ultimately, if you are stuck between a couple of choices, this can be the differentiating factor for you to pick an operator.

Poker Networks & Traffic Levels

A poker network is when a group of online poker sites pool their players and software together. This allows for games to be constantly active, with the sites just having different skins. No matter what time of the day or night you are playing, it will be a lot easier to find a game when using these online poker networks. Networks are particularly suited to cash game players and for those looking to play more niche types of poker.

Poker networks naturally are going to differ from one another somewhat. This may be in the types of bonuses and rakes they have or on the type of player they cater for. Some of them will focus more on casual players, whereas others will focus more on high rollers and those who will be playing large volume of hands. It is also much easier for the operators who join these networks as they do not have to go through the difficult process of developing their own type of software. Instead, they can join an existing network and use their high-quality software and instead focus their effort on acquiring new players and looking after their existing ones. The player bases will vary depending on the given networks and it is important in the US market to compare these pools as only a limited number of states currently offer online poker, with many only offering in-state poker pools.

Changing Legal Landscape for US Online Poker

The USA’s gambling framework is undergoing a lot of changes at the moment. Sports betting is now legal on a federal level and many states are now assessing the merits online gambling legalization. The history of online poker in the USA has been one with many peaks and valleys. For many years, online poker was extremely popular across the country before it got stopped in 2006 as part of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This led to countless poker sites shutting down, while some still tried to continue their offerings in an unlicensed manner.

These days, there are a number of states that currently have online poker offerings. Online poker is still a bit of a grey area in the country, with the government having the ability to shut down these online poker sites at their will. Most of these states that have legal online poker share their liquidity pool to ensure that there is going to be enough player and funds to cater for the needs of the player base. As time goes on, it looks like more and more states will look to online gambling and online poker legalization as their stance on gambling softens. It will better protect those people who have been using unregulated online poker platforms, as well as bring in tax revenues for the state governments.

Online vs. Offline: The biggest differences

Naturally, there are going to be some significant differences when comparing online poker to offline poker. With online poker, you are able to play many tables at once and therefore play a significant amount of additional hands per hour than if you were playing offline. This allows you to smooth out variance more so than with offline poker. Naturally, as you are playing in the flesh with other human beings in an offline setting, you can often get a better read on them by interacting and observing them. You are not going to get any of the types of bonuses in an offline setting that are available in an online setting.

The experience of playing poker is somewhat diminished when you are just playing on a poker site. There is something about playing with physical cards and facing your opponent down for a pot that is exhilarating in offline poker. You will have a much wider selection of games and stakes to choose from in an online environment and this provides you with a lot more flexibility than if you were playing offline. You know that there are always going to be games for you to play online and you can switch up tables and opponents if you are not feeling it. This is usually harder to achieve when playing offline.

Checklist: Registration for Online Poker

There are many steps involved with deciding upon an online poker site and signing up for an account. Here is a checklist for you to keep in mind;

  • Use the AmericaGambles search feature to see what platforms are available in your state
  • Ensure the site caters for your specific poker needs
  • Make sure that mobile play is compatible
  • Check that the site is secure and has a good track record
  • Ensure that the player pool is sufficient
  • Check that the software is smooth and seamless
  • Compare rakes
  • Look at the VIP programs and welcome offers
  • Register for an account
  • Fill out your personal information
  • Avail of the welcome bonus

Our Top 5 Online Poker Bonus

Bonuses are a great way to give your account a leg up and give you a better chance at being profitable. These bonuses come in many different shapes and sizes. Here are some of the best in the market today, but do note that bonuses aren't the be all and end all of selecting an online poker site.

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Select your state
Nevada
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
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1
99%
100% up to $1,500
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
=
Credit
$300
2
99%
100% up to $1,000
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
=
Credit
$300
3
97%
100% up to $600
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
=
Credit
$300
4
96%
100% up to $1,000
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
=
Credit
$300
5
95%
100% up to $1,000
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
=
Credit
$300

Our Top 5 Poker Apps

Many people enjoy playing poker on the go through their mobile devices. Here are some of the leading mobile apps today. It is important that these apps are compatible with your device and they run smoothly.

Select your state
Select your state
Nevada
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
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Select your state to find the best operator for you personally.
1
98%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5
2
97%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :6+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5
3
96%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5
4
95%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios
5
94%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :8+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5

8 Tips for the Beginning of Your Poker Journey

When you are starting out with online poker, there may be some teething problems that you need to overcome. Here are some useful tips when starting out.

  • Don’t play too many tables: Starting off, you do not want to be multi-tabling. Instead, learn the ropes by playing one table at a time.
  • Play freeroll first: Most online poker sites allow you to lay freeroll games where no money is involved. This allows you to learn the ins and outs of a platform before putting money down.
  • Don’t bluff a lot: The entertainment industry makes it appear that crazy bluffs are the norm in poker. As a beginner, you want to avoid bluffing very often and instead stick to the fundamentals.
  • Assess what your opponent may have: By figuring out what card range your opponent may be holding, you can make a lot more confident decisions. Putting yourself in their shoes is vital.
  • Pricing your opponents: In the beginning you should play the games where there will be beginner players. This allows you to win pots and build up your confidence rather than diving straight into the deep end.
  • Stay focused: When you begin playing online poker, it can be easy for your concentration to dip in the beginning. Try to stay focused on what others in the game are doing, even when you are out of a hand
  • Don’t forget about position: Knowing where you are in terms of the button is important when devising your strategy on a given hand. Certain positions allow you to play more aggressive than others.
  • Stay within your means: While winning large sums of money may be appealing, you don’t want to deposit and play with what you can’t afford to lose. Make sure that you always stay within your means.

FAQ

Online Poker: 10 Questions and Answers

No, you can create an account on an online poker site and not be required to deposit. Most online poker sites will have freeroll offerings where you can play without putting down any money. This allows you to learn the ropes without having any risk.

No, with any poker client you are only able to have a single account. You can open accounts on different sites and avail of these various offers that are on the market today and shop around depending on your specific preferences.

Yes, you can open any lobby and watch the game before taking a seat. This means that you can observe how much betting is going on in a given player. You may possibly find a table with a lot of sharks or a lot of fish. This can be a useful part of your strategy.

Yes, this is popular as it allows you to play more hands per hour and it keeps things fresh. There are multi-table options available usually through desktop online poker platforms, but most of the mobile platforms do not yet support multi-table play.

The size of the rake depends on the type of game and what site you are using. It can range anywhere from 2.5% to 10% in some cases. If you are someone that plays a lot of hands, rake can play a massive part in your long term levels of profitability and is definitely something you need to consider.

This depends on the platform and the deposit method you are using. Most options will be fast when depositing funds, usually processing almost instantly. Generally, the quickest options for you to use will be e-wallets, such as PayPal, Neteller and Skrill.

While they are open 24/7, on occasion there may need to be maintenance done to the network and it closes for a short time period. Generally, you will be able to play around the clock. One limitation to this may be that at certain times of the day or week there may be lower levels of traffic on a given platform.

You are not able to change your screen name after signing up, so make sure that you pick a good one. There are many different ways in which people choose their usernames. It may be something completely random, be a nickname or a particular favourite word.

No, you are able to leave the table at any time. This means that you are able to go into a table, play as little or as many hands as you want and then leave without any barriers or obstacles. You are fully independent in your choices when playing online poker.

You can wait for a player to leave by joining the waitlist or you can go find another game. Some people won’t mind chilling out waiting for a seat at a table as they can observe the action and see what types of strategies different players at the table may be using.