Last updated on Jul 08 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 Three 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.

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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.

2020
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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
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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
  • Presumably going legal 2021: Indiana
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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
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
3
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
4
94%
$25 FREE no deposit bonus
Loose and large network traffic
Trusted & known brand
BetMGM Poker Logo
Poker Variations 8+
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Rake approx. 5% (Cap $1-$5)
Player Pool 350 - 1,400
Network Name BetMGM / Borgata / PartyPoker
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100% up to $1,000
******* *******
100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000
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Online Poker USA 2020

Online poker in the USA is getting back on its feet after a turbulent few years. There are more and more states looking to legalize the activity, which means that it is important that you stay up to date with the latest goings on. At AmericaGambles, you can use the handy search function to see what legal American poker sites are open for you to use. You can also check out the unbiased and objective reviews of poker sites on the top online poker sites for US players. A number of key variables are looked at and it allows you to see which option is best for your specific needs.

There are so many different online poker sites in operation that it is worth your while taking your time before committing to one. This guide shows you how the AmericaGambles team assesses the merits of a given platform.

Top or Flop: 10 Criteria for an Online Poker Site

A lot of effort goes into objectively assessing the merits of a given online poker platform in the USA. There are a lot of variables to consider. The reviews at AmericaGambles are unbiased and look at what these sites do well and where they can improve. Here are the key criteria that are used in compiling these assessments.

Cash Games & Tournaments Offer

Your first port of call when assessing an online poker site is to make sure that they have adequate offerings for cash games and tournaments. Different players will have different needs in this regard. Some will like to play different variants of poker, have specific stake or limit requirements or simply like to play in a certain type of tournament. If a platform does not look after your needs in this regard, there is no point looking at its other aspects, as you will never have an enjoyable experience.

Welcome Bonus & Promotions

A key aspect when it comes to signing up for any type of online gambling platform is availing of their offer for new customers. This is a way for the operator to stand out and attract new players to sign up. It is always a useful tool to help stack the odds of being profitable further in your favor. These bonus poker offers come in different shapes and sizes. You might get a deposit bonus or a free entry into a tournament. Whatever the case may be, it is a good idea to look at the offer’s terms and conditions before committing as there are often requirements to be met that you may not initially have considered. Regular players also want to be rewarded for their loyalty to a given platform. Therefore, they want to get regular rewards, such as free entries and rake back bonuses.

Rake & VIP Program

An online poker site makes its money from taking a portion of all pots in cash games and a slice of the prize pool for tournaments. This is called the rake and its size will vary depending on the given operator. If you are going to be playing a lot of poker, rake rate does matter because you are entering so many pots that even small differences in rake rate will add up significantly over time. Another key aspect about an online poker site’s offering is their VIP program. This is the loyalty program for players who use the platform a lot and will usually be based on a tier system. You will earn rewards depending on how much you play in a given period of time. You will get access to different perks and prizes along the way, such as bonuses, rake back bonuses and free entry into events.

Traffic & Networks

When you are looking at online poker sites, you want to use a platform that has enough players, so you don’t struggle to get into a game of your preference. This is why many of the smaller poker sites band together as part of a network so they can share their liquidity and player pool with one another.

Mobile Poker App

Playing online poker on mobile devices is constantly becoming more popular. People can play the game from anywhere and this is reflected by the increasing emphasis from companies to develop quality mobile offerings. When looking at different options, you need to consider if the app caters for your specific device, what the user experience is like and make sure that there are no glitches which will interrupt your games.

Customer Service

For an operator, it is important that they have a good customer support team in case their users have any pressing issues or questions that need to be resolved. By having good customer service, players will be kept happy and will be able to get back playing poker quicker. Some platforms are better than others in this regard. You will usually find comprehensive FAQ sections which can be handy for a lot of questions. Otherwise, you should look to see if a platform has contact options such as live chat, phone and email. You should look at their response times and see what hours of the day they operate.

Payment Options

You want to make sure that when you sign up for an online poker account that you will be able to add and withdraw funds from your account without any problems. There are some common payment methods you will find across the board, but some people will have niche requirements. Usually, you will want to look at the speed of transactions for given options, as well as any associated fees and the ease at which you can use these methods.

Usability & Software

When using an online poker platform, you want to be able to easily navigate around it and find what you are looking for. You also want to have something that is easy on the eye and enjoyable to play. The last thing you want is software that is glitchy and unreliable when you are in the middle of playing important hands. Some sites will share the same software, whereas others will be using proprietary software.

Security

The privacy of data is a very hot topic at the moment, with people getting more serious about their data in an online environment. It is important that you are dealing with a reputable company that has a track record of keeping the funds and private data of their players nice and secure. You should double check to ensure that a site is incorporating the latest in encryption technology and that there have not been any recent unsavory leakages of data.

Additional Offer

If you have considered all of the above variables and are still left with a shortlist of options, then you need to look for some innovative twists that make one of the offerings standout. This could be some type of niche game that they offer or a certain way they reward players for their loyalty. Whatever the case may be, it could be the ideal way to find which offering is for you.

Poker Networks & Traffic Levels

There are a lot of online poker sites on the market today. It is tough for a lot of the smaller ones to survive. If they do not have enough players, then people will stop using the site as they cannot get into games. This is why players check how many active players a platform has a lot of the time before signing up for an account. They want to ensure that there are enough players to allow for regular and reliable games. This is why a lot of smaller poker sites and together into a network, sharing their player base and liquidity with one another they will all use the same type of software, which means that they do not have to spend time or money developing one and maintaining it by themselves. They can then focus on looking after their player bases. The sites differentiate by having different skins on the software. Some of these networks will focus more on high rollers, whereas others want the more casual players on board. Therefore, you should choose according to your specific needs.

Current Online Poker Legal Landscape in the USA

There are a lot of changes happening in the US gambling scene. The likes of sports betting is now federally legal and many states are looking to expand their gambling laws to include the likes of online gambling. Even traditionally conservative states are relaxing their stances and getting on board with the gambling sector. Online poker has an interesting history in the country, as it was once thriving before it was shellshocked in 2006 following the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This led to the closure of most of the gambling sites which were in operation.

However, in recent years a number of states have legalized online poker and others are looking now at doing the same. Therefore, as time goes on players will have more of a choice and access to licensed operations. The states which currently have legal online poker offerings share liquidity and players with one another, which is vital to ensure that the player pools are substantially big enough. States are looking at the advantages of legalizing online gambling. It will generate decent tax revenues, stop unlicensed operators from targeting their residents and provide better consumer protection.

Online vs. Offline: Most Important Things

There are some key differences when it comes to comparing online and offline poker play. For the most part, you are going to get much more flexibility in your options when you play online. You have access to more types of games and a larger playing pool. You can play multiple tables at the one time or you can partake in massive tournaments on a daily basis. There will be handy offers and loyalty reward programs which allow you to build up rewards the more that you play. On the other hand with offline play you are going to play poker in a traditional manner, the way it has always been played. You will be face to face with your opponent, rather than just seeing a screen name. This enhances the playing experience. You will only be able to play one hand at a time, but you will also get a real feel for what poker is about. This is why a lot of people prefer to mix offline and online play as much as possible.

Checklist: Registration Steps

When you are assessing online poker sites, there are some key points you need to ensure that you are hitting before finalizing your selection. Here is a list of some of the more important things to consider;

  • Search AmericaGambles for your state to see which platforms are available for you to use
  • Compile this shortlist to go through
  • Look at what games they have on offer
  • Make sure that it is a secure platform
  • If you like mobile poker, check to see the mobile capabilities cater for your needs
  • See how many players use the platform
  • Ensure that the gameplay will be smooth
  • Check the rake rate
  • Look at the loyalty program and welcome offers
  • Start the registration process
  • Add in your information
  • Add funds to your account

Our Top 5 Online Poker Bonus

Online poker bonuses are a great way to stack the odds more in your favor. They come in many different forms and they often appear better on the surface than in reality. Make sure that the welcome bonus of a platform is not the be all and end all of your selection criteria. Here are some of the best online poker bonuses;

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100% up to $1,000
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97%
100% up to $600
Deposit
$150
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Bonus
$150
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$300
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96%
100% up to $1,000
Deposit
$150
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Bonus
$150
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$300
4
95%
100% up to $1,000
Deposit
$150
+
Bonus
$150
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Credit
$300

Our Top 5 Poker Apps

More and more people are playing poker through their mobile devices these days. You want to ensure that you are getting the best experience, so here are some of the best mobile poker offerings in the game today

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98%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5
2
96%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5
3
95%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :4+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios
4
94%
Mobile :App
Mobile Payment :No
Variations Count :8+
Available for:
Android Apple Ios Html5

8 Tips for the Beginning

If you are starting off your journey with online poker, there are some useful tips you should keep in mind. This will give you a firm foundation for your playing time going forward.

  • Don’t play too big: You should always start small when you are first beginning playing online poker. Play within your means in lower stake games to learn the ropes.
  • Play freerolls starting off: Most poker sites will give you the chance to play in freeroll game. This is a great way to learn the ins and outs of a platform, as well as test our your strategies.
  • Create a plan: It is important that you learn the fundamentals of poker strategy and create a plan that you strictly follow. You can tweak this plan as time goes on.
  • Don’t get emotional: A lot of beginners and unsuccessful poker players will get too emotional when playing. They will suffer a bad loss and start to play more aggressively to try and make up for their losses and often dig themselves into a deeper hole.
  • Analyze your game: Poker sites allow you to look back on your previous hands. You can do study sessions looking at some of these hands and seeing where you went wrong or well and what could be done differently.
  • Build your confidence: You want to be confident in your ability in poker. You need to hone this at the lower stakes by playing against other beginners until you suitably build up that confidence.
  • Avail of bonuses: By taking advantage of bonus offers, you will be able to further stack the odds in your favor to becoming profitable playing poker.
  • Study the game: You should regularly watch poker pros to see how they play online and try to pick up different techniques that you can add into your game.

10 Important Questions and Answers

No, you can play for free on the freeroller part of the poker site. This means that you can learn the ropes of a given platform without having to commit funds. Some online poker sites will also have no deposit bonus offers which give you funds to play with before you make a deposit.

No, you have to use the same name with which you started off your account. This is why you should take plenty of time to think about what name you are going to use This may be your dog’s name, your nickname or some made-up word.

You can’t make multiple accounts with the same platform, but you can make accounts on different sites. This means that you are able to shop around and play different games and events on different platforms. You can also avail of the best welcome offers in the space.

Sometimes you will get free entries into tournaments or you can pay an entry fee. Some tournaments will only be for winners of other events. Generally, there will be tournaments that run on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Naturally, the daily events won’t have as big prize pools as the other events.

You can usually play for as little $0.01/$0.02 blinds. This all will depend on the given platform you are using. Some sites cater more for micro stakes players and will have more of a selection, whereas other sites will cater more to medium and high stakes players.

The rake rate depends on the given platform. It will usually range from 2% to 10%. If you are someone who plays a lot of poker, it is important that you account for the rake rate of a given site. Even small differences in the rake rate can make a large difference in profitability over time.

Yes, there are usually replay functions that allow you to go back over previous hands to analyze what happened. This is a great tool to study both your decisions and the decisions of your opponents. You can glean quality insights that will help your bottom line.

Yes, you can go into any lobby and card games and watch them play. Some people like to watch a table before they take a seat. They can see what types of players they will be coming up against, something which may be able to give them an edge when they finally take a seat at the table.

Most platforms will have a chat feature in-game allowing you to talk to others in the game. There are some casual games where there might be a lot of chat, but generally you will not see a lot of people actively engaging with this function at a table.

You can cash out from your account whenever you want, once you meet the withdrawal requirements for the given platform. Do make sure that you only cash out when all of your bonus funds from a welcome offer have been wagered. Otherwise, these funds may expire when you try to make your withdrawal.