How We Find The Best Online Poker Websites For Players
We thoroughly vet all online poker sites before recommending them to our readers. The safety, privacy, and enjoyment of our readers is our number one priority. To ensure that the websites we recommend really are the best, we test them out as any player would—by creating an account, playing hands, and testing every feature we can find. We also catalog each website’s unique promotional offers, which is a great way of distinguishing between two otherwise equally matched poker sites. Considerations for recommendation include:
- Smoothness of play
- Payout times
- User reviews
Are Online Poker Sites Legal For US Players in 2023?
As online gambling is becoming progressively more common in the US, there are legal online poker sites for players in all 50 states. There have been many online gambling sites that have offered legal poker for USA players from an international headquarters. These sites are still offering a secure and trustworthy online poker experience in 2023 but they are not the only legal option for US players.
Legal online poker play was first state-regulated by New Jersey and Nevada in 2013 and some of the other US States are now starting to follow in their footsteps. There are currently seven states with state-regulated online poker and the market is expected to keep growing in the future. With two different secure avenues for legal poker online, poker players all around the US can jump straight into the action.
Are 2023 USA Poker Sites Safe?
There are a number of large online poker sites that handle tens or hundreds of thousands of players every day. Most of these websites are completely safe and trustworthy for players. However, in any industry as large and potentially lucrative as online poker, there are bound to be some bad actors. Some online poker companies have been accused in the past of embezzling player account funds, money laundering, and more abuses of power. However, this doesn’t mean that all online poker websites are inherently bad. There are plenty of operators who understand that integrity and player trust are key to building and maintaining a successful online poker business.
Poker Bonuses For USA Players
Poker sites offer various bonuses, and each of them can be useful to you in terms of bolstering your bank account. Every major poker website has bonuses available, but it’s up to you to figure out which of them fits your budget the best. Similarly, many casinos have bonuses available that apply to video poker and not to real poker, so keep that in mind as well when you’re examining bonuses.
The two main things to take into account are how much money you’re getting and how much the rollover on the bonus is. Generally, the more money you get, the more they’re going to make you play before they pay it out. Rollover for poker bonuses often works differently from sports betting. In poker, it’s sometimes frontloaded, so you get the bonus money after playing a certain amount, rather than getting the ability to withdraw after wagering a certain amount.
There are other styles of bonuses as well, such as tournament entries, free chips, and other smaller types of additive bonuses. These generally come with fewer strings attached than the biggest poker matching deposit bonuses.
Bovada offers a 100% matching poker bonus that you can access with the following steps:
- Sign up with Bovada
- Enter the bonus code – available on Bovada’s website under the Poker Bonus section
- Download the poker software
- Start earning poker rewards
- You receive $5 of the bonus for every 150 rewards points you reach in the first 30 days
Free Online Poker For US Players
There are a number of great options for online poker players who don’t want to risk real money. Free online gambling doesn’t offer the same stakes or thrill, but it is a great way to pass the time for anyone bored at their office or on a bus to work. Some of the most popular choices for free players are the Zynga app, which features Facebook connectivity to make it easy for players to connect with their friends and play, as well as PokerStars. However, players should be warned that free poker does not offer the same experience as money games because nothing is at stake. Players in free lobbies will always play looser and less realistic than those in money lobbies.
Real Money Poker Sites
Online poker sites that take real money bets are going to be the most interesting and exciting for players. The fact that there are actual stakes incentivizes players to tighten their strategy and focus intently on every hand. Putting actual money at stakes also tends to curb erratic or illogical behavior like players going all-in or folding on every hand without any apparent reason. Real money poker sites also have the best infrastructure and the widest variety of playing options, so they generally make for smoother playing experiences. Real money gambling sites have poker tables with buy-ins ranging from one or two dollars up to thousands of dollars at high roller tables. They can also offer tournaments with thousands of players with prizes potentially reaching thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the number of players and the buy-in fee to play.
Mobile Poker Sites and Apps
Major online poker platforms like Bovada and BetOnline offer fully optimized mobile versions of their main websites. These mobile online poker sites offer all the same features as their desktop counterparts, including the ability to play online poker. While there are inherent drawbacks to playing on a small screen, the user interfaces are intuitive and easy to pick up. The rapid advancing of telecommunications technology allows for high-speed internet almost anywhere, so players can play on their phones while taking a bus to work, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and more. There are also numerous apps for players just looking to play recreationally without wagering real money. Some of these apps feature internet-connected multiplayer, while others pit users against computer opponents driven by artificial intelligence. Some of the most popular free poker apps include:
US States With Regulated Online Poker Apps
While all 50 states have access to some form of legal online poker, there are currently seven states that offer state-regulated online poker in the US. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware were the innovators for the regulated online poker market and both legalized the activity in 2013. Following the steps of state-regulated sports betting in the US, there have been four states to regulate online casinos since 2013 and many more could be on the way.
Whether looking for live poker or video poker, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM have all started to offer poker play in states with regulated online casinos. Players in specific states can use these operators to play poker from their mobile casino apps. There are also internationally licensed gambling operators that offer both live and video poker for players in all 50 states.
States With Regulated Online Poker
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
World Poker Club
Live Dealer Poker Sites For US Players
Live dealer online poker is a more recent innovation in the online poker space, and is only available at the top-end online poker sites. The major upside is that many players, who might be paranoid of being cheated by an algorithm at a casino, can now see the dealer pull the cards on the flop, the turn and the river. This means you can be sure you are not being scammed. These rooms operate via a live video feed, so you even get more of a feel for the table.
Banking Options At USA Poker Sites
Cryptocurrency – The Best Poker Deposit And Withdrawal Option
Crypto is the lifeblood of online poker in 2023, and this is due to its unique status as a store-of-value that can be used with few restrictions on it from various governments around the world. In addition, it is a secure and fast medium of exchange.
As a poker deposit method, crypto can be used more swiftly than nearly any other method, thanks to the lack of processing time at most online poker rooms. As a withdrawal method, you can easily receive your payments to a crypto wallet within seconds of requesting a withdrawal, with the poker rooms applying no fees to either deposits or withdrawals with crypto.
Top Cryptocurrencies Accepted By Bovada Poker
- Bitcoin Cash
- Bitcoin SV
Poker Deposit Methods
Each of these deposit methods will offer various promotional bonuses, minimum and maximum deposits, and speeds of processing. Major online poker websites will feature a variety of options when it comes to depositing money into a poker account.
Most consumers will already be familiar with how to input credit or debit card information online. Because of the Wire Act, credit/debit cards can only function as one-way transactional tools with online betting websites, so players who deposit with a card will need to select a different method of withdrawal.
Crypto is the fastest and most secure way to transfer money into your online poker account. It is also the preferred method of online betting websites because there are no associated transfer fees and because the blockchain-powered security of cryptocurrency ensures both a lack of liability concerns and anonymity for players.
This is a wire transfer in the traditional sense, using a service like Western Union to wire money directly from your bank account to your online poker platform of choice. Because of the high cost of facilitating such a transaction and the time it takes to process it, wire transfers are recommended only for very high deposits.
Peer to Peer
Peer to peer deposits offer players to send a portion of their winnings to another player’s account. This is a great way of introducing and encouraging new players. This option is available for players when they go to cash out their winnings.
Online Poker Payouts
Each of these online poker payout methods offers different ways in which players can cash out and gain access to their winnings. The main differences are the speeds of each method as well as different costs associated with each. Rest assured that they are all safe. The most popular one these days is definitely bitcoin, which allows you to cash out on the same day in most instances.
Like with deposits, crypto is the fastest and easiest method, with most platforms processing cryptocurrency payouts almost instantly and requiring only a very small minimum withdrawal amount.
As stated before, wire transfers are secure and simple, but have high associated costs and take several days to process. These transactions are probably best saved for a few select circumstances.
Peer to Peer
If you want to introduce a friend to your favorite online betting platform, selecting a peer-to-peer service like Person to Person on the payout screen allows you to share some of your riches with another account.
Check by Courier
Online betting websites do offer players the option to receive their winnings via certified courier mail, but this option usually comes with a hefty fee and winnings will take around 7-10 days to be delivered.
- The Deck
- Poker uses the standard deck of 52 cards, encompassing nine different number cards and four “face” cards, each of which comes in four different suits: spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts. At casinos, it is standard practice for dealers to keep several decks in rotation between each round, but that isn’t necessary in online poker, which uses advanced algorithms to shuffle decks between rounds. The value of these cards, from lowest to highest, goes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, K, Q, A.
- The dealer deals cards one at a time in a clockwise direction, starting with the closest player to their left. The first player to the left must put a small number of chips (called the small blind) into the pot, while the next player to the left puts twice that amount (called the big blind). This is to ensure that there is something at stake with every hand and instill a sense of urgency.
- Object Of The Game
- The objective in poker is to create the best possible combination of five cards, ranked by a predetermined hierarchy based on rarity. These combinations are comprised of both the cards in a player’s hand and a set of “flop” or “community” cards that the dealer places in the middle of the table.
- Players place bets in the same order they are dealt cards. Each rotation of the table, players have the options to fold (forfeit the hand), call (match the highest bet) or raise (increase the highest bet). The game within the game is a psychological battle between players, which requires both a basic understanding of probability and an ability to read and disguise patterns in behavior. This dynamic creates a unique tug of war between players. Players with a bad hand can still win a round by manipulating their opponents into thinking they have a good hand and inducing them to fold. This is called bluffing. Even players with an amazing hand still must play the game and string their opponents along with gentle raises to ensure that they win the largest possible pot. This dynamic is why, despite the random nature of dealt cards, poker is still a game of immense skill.
- Ranking Hands By Value
- In cases in which two hands are tied, the tiebreaker usually goes to whichever hand has the highest value card. If multiple winning hands have the same high card, the pot is split. The hierarchy of hand values, from highest to lowest, goes:
The highest possible hand is a royal flush (10, J, Q, K, A all in the same suit). The chances of a royal flush are approximately 1 in 650,000.
A straight flush is a five-card hand in which all five cards are in sequential order (e.g., 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and in the same suit (e.g., all five cards are hearts).
Four of a Kind
When You have all four cards of the same rank (i.e., A’s in all four suits). The fifth card can be anything. The chances of this hand are approximately 1 in 4,164.
A hand in which a player has both three cards of the same value as well as two additional cards of different equal value. An example: two K’s and three 8’s.
Five cards that are all in the same suit, but not in sequential order. Example: a 5, 8, 9, Q, and K of clubs. The chances of this hand are approximately 1 in 508.
Five cards of sequential rank, but not all the same suit. Example: a 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The chances of this hand are approximately 1 in 254.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank plus two other cards not of this rank or value. Ex. Three J’s. Typically a strong hand with odds of 1 in 46.
Two pairs of same rank cards plus another two cards of another rank. Ex. Two Q’s and two 7’s. The chances of this hand are approximately 1 in 20.
One pair of same rank cards plus three other cards not of this rank or value. Ex. Two A’s. Determining tie breaker is the next highest card in hand.
If no player has any of these hand combinations, the round is decided by which player is holding the highest value card in their hand.
Online Poker Games
Play Texas Hold Em’ Online
By far the most popular variant of poker is Texas Hold Em’, where players each receive two cards for their hand. They use these personal hands in combination with a handful of cards in the middle of the table, called community cards, to make a winning hand. After an initial round of bets, the first three community cards are laid out. After this, players go through three additional betting rounds before finally revealing their hand. The player whose personal hand forms the best combination with the community cards wins the round and takes the money in the pot.
Omaha rules offer a similar brand of poker to Texas Hold Em’, except players receive four cards for their personal hand rather than two. This encourages more bluffing and more betting action while taking roughly the same amount of time as a Hold Em’ round. The rules with community cards are the same, except that players can only choose two of the four cards in their hand along with three community cards during the showdown. As above, the best five-card combination wins the game and takes the pot.
Hi/Lo offers the same basic framework of rules as traditional Omaha, except that there are two winning hands in each round; both the highest and lowest hands split the pot. The high hand is determined by the same rules as in traditional Omaha rules or Texas Hold Em’ poker, but the low hand is determined by which player has the lowest high card. In Hi/Lo, aces act as both high and low cards. It is possible for players to win both the high and low hand. For instance, if a player could have a straight flush (all cards are the same suit and sequential) of A, 2, 3, 4, 5. To win a low hand, a player’s high card cannot be higher than an 8. If multiple players have the same low high card, then the next lowest card is used.
Unlike many other poker variants, stud variants involve each player receiving their hand separately, with no shared cards between the players. This makes the game more social and cerebral, as there is less of an ability to determine ranges based on the cards on the river, the flop and the turn. There is some public information, as some of the hands are dealt face-up, but generally, Hold ‘Em has taken precedence over stud as a popular poker style.
gameplay, 5-Card Draw takes that to the maximum. In this variation, hands are dealt individually. After the first round of betting, you can replace anywhere between 0 and 5 cards in your hand with other cards drawn randomly from the deck, at which point the game continues.This is a very easy game to play, but it requires making reads from extremely limited information.
Future of Online Poker in the USA
While Black Friday was a pretty huge speedbump that severely hindered the development of online poker sites in the United States, the industry has bounced back nicely and still thrives today. With nationwide gambling attitudes become more relaxed, it is likely just a matter of time until prohibitions against online poker are rolled back and states begin offering their own, legally sanctioned domestic online poker platforms. This could potentially result in a tax windfall just as the legalization of sports betting in the U.S. has, which would only be beneficial for legislators.