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 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.

 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 15, 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.

Poker Sites 2020

When it comes to assessing the various online poker sites, there are so many different factors that you need to consider that it can be a bit overwhelming at times. A lot of the platforms may only be available in certain states, which is why you need to deal with poker websites that you are able to play. At AmericaGambles, you can quickly see which of these online poker rooms are open for you to use. You can customize this depending on your specific state through the website. You will be able to see all of the pros and cons of different internet poker sites that are in the space currently.

Top or Flop: 10 Criteria for Online Poker Site

The assessment of online poker gambling sites takes a lot of work if you are going to do it completely from scratch. This is why AmericaGambles takes a lot of the work out of your hands. There are ten different key criteria that are looked at in order to assess the merits of a given online poker site.

Cash Game & Tournament Offer: The selection on offer

One of your first port of calls when assessing online poker sites is to see what types of games and tournaments they have on offer. You want to ensure that all of your favorite options are on offer, otherwise it will be time to quickly move onto the other online poker websites. You will want to see what poker variants are on offer, what different levels of sit and gos and tournaments they have on offer.

Welcome Bonus & Promotions: Rewards open to players

A great way to kick off a new account with an online poker website is the welcome bonus for new players. This is an ideal way for you to get off on the right foot and to play with some of the casino’s money. These bonuses come in many different forms. Often times you will be able to obtain a no deposit welcome bonus when you sign up for the account initially. There is often also going to be a deposit bonus that will allow you to get your first deposit matched to a certain amount. The wagering requirements will differ from offer to offer so it is well worth your time checking out the terms and conditions of an offer before you commit to a given platform.

Rake & VIP Program: The cut a site takes

When you are playing poker, it is important that you consider the rake of the online poker sites. This will add up significantly over time as you pay thousands of hands. The rake rate will be different among the various online poker gambling sites. You want to minimize the rake size as much as possible. You may also want to check out what loyalty programs are on offer at a given platform. This will allow you to get access to different offers and higher cashback rates the more that you play. This is a very important variable for those players who play a lot on a given platform, as it is a great way of increasing profitability without making any major changes.

Traffic & Network: Are there sufficient players?

Another important aspect when considering different online poker website is how much player traffic they have. As most of the poker websites will only be available in certain states, the playing pool is not going to be as significant as it would be if it was legal all across the country. Therefore, you want to make sure that there are enough players available at times when you want to play your favorite game. Otherwise, you will be waiting a lot of time for tables to fill up or for you to get into a game. Some internet poker sites will be part of networks which will see them share their player pool with other platforms in the space. This is always ideal as it increases liquidity and traffic naturally.

Mobile Poker App: Essential for mobile players

More and more people are starting to play online per through their mobile device. This is a trend that is only going to become more popular as time goes on. Therefore, a lot of online poker sites are investing time and resources into developing their mobile offerings. You want to see if an operator has a dedicated app for its mobile players or if you just have to play through your mobile's web browser. There will be certain games not on offer through the mobile offerings, so you need to double-check what you are getting yourself in for when you start to play on a mobile app.

Customer Service: Resolution of issues

If you ever have an issue with an online poker site, you want to make sure that you are going to be able to get it quickly resolved. Most of the popular online poker websites will have a comprehensive FAQ section which will answer a lot of the more straightforward questions without having to directly speak with a member of the customer support team. You may prefer being able to ring the team on the phone or sending them an email. The ideal solution for simple problems will be contacting the team through a live chat option. You also want to ensure that the customer support team works around the clock to ensure that you are not waiting too long for the issue to get resolved.

Payment Options: Breaking down payment methods

While it may seem like it is a small thing, the payment methods on offer on a given platform can be a make or break for a lot of online poker players. They want to ensure that their preferred deposit and withdrawal options are well catered for. They also want to avoid any hefty fees or long processing times that will affect their ability to play poker or to get their funds out of their respective account. Some online poker sites will have curtailments on how much you can deposit and withdraw with certain payment methods. The processing times will also differ from operator to operator.

Usability & Software: Smoothness of a platform

When it comes to online poker rooms, you want to be sure that the platform is easy to navigate and that you can find games easily without having to go through too many steps. You will want to have a seamless experience where the platform is also easy on the eye. You want to be dealing with software that does not run into any performance issues when you are playing poker. This could be a massive deal if your game freezes in the middle of a vital hand. Therefore, you want to be dealing with software that is tried and tested at a high performance level.

Security: Vital in this day and age

Whenever you are dealing with financial transactions online, you want to be sure that you are dealing with a safe and secure platform. This involves checking the license of the operator and the oversight that is applied. You want to check to see how they keep transactions secure and what level of encryption thy have for your private information. This will help to put your mind at ease when you are not on the platform.

Additional Offers: Other offerings from the platorm

Many of the leading online poker sites also have sister platforms for the likes of sports betting and online casinos. These can often be a big deal for those choosing a platform. Therefore, you will be able to easily transfer funds between these various platforms that are under the same brand.

Poker Networks & Traffic

There are numerous poker networks that are currently operating in the United States market. As there are only certain states with legal poker, the player pool is not what it could. This means that some players struggle for choice and variety when it comes to different game types. As a result, some online poker sites bunch their player pools together into a network. This means that the pie is bigger for everyone involved. The individual platforms still have their own brands and skins etc. But their players will have a much better all-round offering. While the massive online poker sites like PokerStars do not need to join a network as they are so popular, the smaller online poker sites will band together.

Legal Situation in the USA

There is a massive amount of change happening at the moment in the United States poker sector. For many years, there was a thriving online poker scene, with countless people enjoying their favorite pastime with no issue. Then the government decided to ban the likes of online poker and many people lost out on their funds that were kept at different platforms. For many years, there was no legal online poker in the country.

However, this is now changing in the last few years, with numerous states having made strides to legalize the activity. The sports betting and online casino market is also expanding on a state by state basis. Therefore, this overall wave of change will likely see poker dragged along with it and become embraced once again across the country. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the latest poker legislation if you are living in a state where online poker is not currently legal. This means you will be on the cutting edge of any potential changes.

Online vs Offline

There are a few major differences associated with playing poker online than playing poker offline. The major difference is that you can play a lot more hands when you are playing online. You can be playing at numerous tables at one time on an online platform whereas in an offline setting you can only play one hand at a time. The name of the game for a lot of top poker players is playing the probabilities and the variance is ironed out of proceedings the more hands that you play. You will also not be able to directly stare down your opponents if you are playing in an online setting. This means that you cannot pick up on physical tells.

You are able to make notes on players you come across online for future reference. Therefore, you may already have some useful information on a player from a previous session when you come up against them again. You will have a lot more choice on the types of games and events you partake in through an online environment. Your choice offline is likely to be limited depending on the preferences of those playing with you. On the internet, you can go find the games that fit your specific needs quickly and more easily than offline.

Checklist: Registration

When you have taken the time to do your research and check out the reviews of different online poker sites, you will be ready to sign up for an account with your preferred option. This is usually a pretty straightforward process. Here are some key points for you to remember;

  • Choose the platform
  • Decide to register through your mobile device or desktop
  • Click register
  • Add in your personal information
  • Comply with the identity verification check
  • Confirm your new account via your email
  • Check what new customer bonus is on offer
  • See which deposit method is best for you
  • Add in a relevant bonus code when making a deposit
  • Look at the different games on offer
  • Try to meet the wagering requirements of your bonus

Our Top 5 Online Poker Bonus

A great way to start off a new online poker account is by making sure that you fully avail of a new customer bonus offer. Every online poker site will have these offers to try and entice you to signup for an account. This offer is not the be all and end all when it comes to making a decision on which of the online poker websites you should go for in the end. Ultimately, with a bonus you want to make sure that the wagering requirements are achievable. Some offers may look great on the surface, but it is not the case when you check out the terms and conditions of the bonus.

Select your state
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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

It is becoming more and more popular each day for people to play online poker through their mobile devices. There is so much power in mobile devices these days that it is  a natural evolution to take. While at good mobile offering is always a nice aspect to have when choosing an online poker site to use, it should not be the be all and end all when making this choice. The best thing about a mobile offering will be how it works with your given device, the availability of different games and the performance levels of the gameplay.

Select your state
Select your state
Nevada
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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

The beginning stages of online poker can sometimes be tricky. Here are some helpful tips to guide you along this journey;

  • Getting advice from the experts: You what to make sure that you are getting the best possible advice that is out there. There is a great school where you can learn a lot of the tricks of the trade for free on how to play poker.
  • Have a plan: You shouldn't aimlessly spend your funds playing poker. You should have a plan and stick to it.
  • Constantly evolve: As time goes on, certain parts of your plan will work and others will need changing. You should tweak the plan as you go depending on the results you are seeing.
  • Review your play: It is very important that you are constantly reviewing your decision making processes to see what mistakes you are making and to try and rectify them.
  • Talk with other players: By shooting the breeze with other players, you can pick up insights into what they are doing well and not so well. This is something you can use to tweak your game.
  • Making the most off bonuses: You want to ensure that you use bonus money to the best of your ability and optimize your play to cash out these bonus funds.
  • Partake in loyalty programs: This will allow you to get all sorts of different offers and deals. With some programs, you will get a larger amount of rake back with the higher tiers you reach in the loyalty program.
  • Use different platforms: Some platforms are better suited for certain things than others. One may have great tournaments whereas another has great cash game liquidity.

FAQ

10 Important Questions and Answers
When you are assessing different online poker sites, there are some common questions that crop up again and again. Here are a few of those questions;

You can search by state through the AmericaGambles platform to see what online poker sites are open for you to use. Each state will also have rules as to what age a person has to be in order to play online poker, usually being 21 years old.

There is a geolocation feature on all online poker sites that are licensed in the United States which tells the platform what state you are in. If you cross out of state lines, then you will no longer be able to access poker games.

Some online poker sites allow you to sign up for an account out of state but you will not be able to add funds or play on this site. This is useful if you want to manage your account and prepare yourself for going to a legal state.

Most online poker sites will have a free play option for you so you don’t have to spend your real money. This is a good way for new players to learn the ropes on a new platform or for experienced players to try out different strategies without risking any money.

All of the online poker sites with licenses in the US are well regulated and regularly checked to ensure that fairness is being observed. You can check to see which independent regulators oversee the fairness of a given offering if you are in doubt.

You should check to see where it is licensed, see what payment protection protocol is in place and what encryption technology is used to keep your data safe. You can also do a search online to see if any red flags pop up.

This will vary from platform to platform. Generally, withdrawals through the likes of e-wallets are the fastest. Debit and credit cards also popular options, with the likes of bank transfers generally being a bit slower.

These sites will take a slice from every pot and tournament entry fee called the rake which is its profit margin. This allows the site to keep its servers running and to provide funds for tournaments and promotions and the likes.

The best type will depend on the type of player you are. Generally, ones with achievable wagering requirements are the best. No deposit bonuses are always a fan favourite has no funds need to be deposited in order to avail of the bonus offer.

This depends on your experience and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Trial and error is normally the best way to figure this out. Some people will be better suited at certain types of poker than others.