Top US Poker Sites Compared

by James Carter on January 5th, 2016.

Which Real-Money US Poker Sites to Trust?

Poker Sites for Real MoneyWith USA-friendly poker sites folding left and right, it's essential to choose a site that you can trust with your money. While we would only consider licensed sites in the states that have legalized online poker (Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey) totally reliable, the following sites accept players from most parts of the US (BetOnline, in fact, from all 50 states) and have been in the business with strong track records.

Top US Poker Sites in 2016
Rank Site Rating Bonus Visit
1. 8.45Review 100%up to$1,000 Play Now
2. 8.00  200%up to$1,000 Play Now
3. 7.75Review 100%up to$2,500 Play Now

Here's our criteria for trustable US poker websites:

  • A proven track record: The first criteria leaves out all the new US-friendly poker sites and it makes sense: when you have no idea of a site runs its business through good and bad times, it would be foolish to send your money over to that site. You'll be able to make a much more educated decision by finding USA poker rooms with proven track records.
  • Mostly positive reviews: I spend loads of time on internet poker forums and pay special attention to how players feel about poker sites that accept US players. These are the opinions you want to pay attention to, not websites that have poker rooms as advertisers - their opinions are influenced by the amount of advertising money they receive.
  • Payouts in a timely manner: Reliable real-money US poker sites deliver cashouts as quickly as possible, however, the maximum amount of time that a withdrawal can take is the time that the poker room in question has promised. If they promise to deliver in four weeks and instead the cashout takes eight weeks, would you call them trustworthy?
  • Cares about customers: Good customer support (for example, fast and friendly replies to e-mails) is one of the backbones of a successful online poker room. How reliable is an online poker room that seems to care little about its customers?
  • Keeps its promises: In short, safe USA poker sites keep their promises.

Is It Legal to Play US Online Poker?

We've never studied law and all the content on this site has been created for entertainment-purposes only. To our understanding, it's illegal to play online poker in most parts of the USA. Even though there's no federal law that prohibits you from playing internet poker in the US, most state laws do prohibit it (either directly or indirectly). Only Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have legalized real-money internet poker games.

Which Site Is the Most Trustworthy?

Make no mistake about it: the safest options are the licensed online poker rooms that operate in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. First of all, they're the only 100% legal options, but just as importantly, they operate from within the US instead of some offshore jurisdictions like Panama or Costa Rica (it would be difficult to do anything about it if a gambling site in an offshore jurisdiction decided to disappear with your money).

Out of all the online poker sites that accept USA players and operate from an offshore jurisdiction, I we feel the safest about Carbon Poker but BetOnline comes as a close second. Here's what stands out about www.CarbonPoker.ag:

  • Fast cashouts: Checks are delivered in 3 weeks (one of the fastest legal US poker sites).
  • Good software: I believe that Carbon's sofware is the best in the US.
  • Professional customer support: They answer to your questions fast and precisely.
  • Strong reputation: Lots of positive opinions, no unresolved player disputes.
  • Recreational-friendly: Carbon's software was built with recreational players in mind.

Carbon Poker is a solid online poker site for US players -- its customer service is really fast and it has good repurtation but it lacks in cashout times, software quality and player traffic. If you want a second opinion, you might look at this list of US poker sites by trustedpokersites.com.

Risk of Choosing the Wrong Site

What are the risks if I choose some site other than the ones mentioned on this page?

First of all, there's always some risk. No poker site in the world (in fact, no business) is 100% safe. By choosing one of the top-ranked US poker sites, you simply minimize the risk. So to get back to the question: what risk?

Also, keep in mind the risk of choosing a site that hasn't been licensed in the US: playing at the sites is likely going to be illegal for you if you live in the US. We aren't aware of any cases where someone has been arrested for playing online poker, but that day may come eventually. The only 100% legally safe options are the licensed sites operating in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, but you can only play at those sites by being physically located in one of the three states.

The online poker industry has been around for over 15 years now. We've seen poker rooms fold with players' money (I've lost around due to $3000 this), take over six months to pay players back (this is the current situation with Lock Poker) and have super-users (the Ultimate Bet scandal). Read more about US poker sites to avoid. I've also written about Is BetOnline Poker Rigged, Bovada Rigged and about USA online slots.