Where can I play?
Your best choice is to play at Bovada. You'll have three times more opponents than at any other USA site, process your withdrawals in a week and have been in the gambling business since 1994.
|Poker Site||Reputation||Traffic||Restricted States|
|Bovada Poker||Strong||1280||MD, NY, WA.|
|True Poker||OK||425||LA, MO, NJ, NY, UT, D.C.|
|Carbon Poker||OK||350||NJ, NY.|
|WSOP.com||OK||129||All except Nevada.|
|Ultimate Poker||OK||123||All except Nevada.|
How can I move money around?
Your best deposit method is a credit, debit or gift card. They allow you to have the money in your poker account instantly and most sites charge no fees for card deposits (although unfortunately the biggest USA poker site - Bovada Poker - charges a hefty 6% fee).
After depositing with a credit, debit or gift card, you can only withdraw the money as a check (see check withdrawal times). If you use a money transfer service to deposit, you can usually also withdraw it as well.
Can I play online poker legally?
The answer is "yes" for the most of you.
On a federal level, there are no laws that prohibit you from playing poker online. Certain states have prohibited it while Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have legalized it and many states never mention online poker in their laws. Click the links below to read more:
- We have poker sites that accept USA players.
- Few state laws make online poker illegal.
- You can legally deposit money to US online poker sites.
I recommend consulting a local gaming lawyer to give you a professional assessment of whether it's legal to play online poker in your state or not. (Take my opinions for entertainment value.)
Why all the confusion?
For several years, the DOJ's stance regarding the Wire Act of 1961 was that it covers all forms of gambling, which scared many online poker rooms from participating in the US market.
But in 2012, in an unrelated case, the DOJ indirectly announced that the Wire Act only covers sports betting. (In 2002, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals had already contradicted the DOJ's stance on the federal legality of online poker in the USA.)
After the Wire Act issue was cleared, states had nothing to stop them from legalizing online poker and a few of them have already done so.
What can we expect in the future?
Many states will likely follow the three states mentioned above and legalize internet poker at some point. My guess is that we'll see legal US online poker in California in the next few years.
Unless internet poker is legalized on a federal level, the only way nationwide internet poker could happen is by having all the states legalize it one-by-one, while also forming compacts with other states.
But this approach would take a long time especially since states like Utah and Washington have criminalized internet poker. On the other hand, it would still be a huge improvement to the current situation if only a few states are left out.
At the very least, I wish more clarity from states regarding whether internet poker is allowed or not.
You can follow pending state legislations at 2+2 forums.
How to help to legalize US poker
We should be able to play online poker in the US. The current situation is sad and frustrating.
One of the ways to help poker players make a stand is to join the Poker Players Alliance (the PPA). You can make a difference by donating money, providing goods and services and/or volunteering.
A portion of the PPA's mission statement: "... mission is to establish favorable laws that provide poker players with a secure, safe and regulated place to play. Through education and awareness the PPA will keep this game of skill, one of America's oldest recreational activities, free from egregious government intervention and misguided laws."
Other good ways to work towards legal USA online poker is to talk to politicians (if you don't know anyone personally, send an e-mail), talk to friends, and in general tell people about the situation.