Online poker in the US?
July 31, 2013 7:16 PM   Subscribe

What are the best ways for a Texas Holdem enthusiast to play online poker in the U.S. these days?

Years ago, I had a blast playing online poker, mainly on But then the weird laws came in and shut it all down, and it's been no fun ever since.

Lately I've gotten the itch and really want to play. I've been poking around on Full Tilt, and their "play money" room is pretty fun, but it's still not the real thing. I appreciate what the World Poker Tour people are doing with the monthly fee/sweepstakes thing, but it's also not the real thing (and their interface stinks, to boot).

So, if you're a poker player in the U.S., what do you do? Which sites are the best to find real players, and how do you go about funding your account? Looking for the most legit options, with the fewest sketchy players/intermediaries along the way.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ultimate Poker is the most legit (only legit?) online poker site right now for Americans. It's licensed online poker in Nevada only. They apparently use cell phone triangulation and IP verification to make sure you're physically in the state.

There are other online poker sites, licensed elsewhere, that don't prevent you from playing from the US and currently I believe it's only Washington State where it's straight up illegal to play online. I'm not current on which sites are allowing Americans and of those, which are reputable, so I won't mention any by name. If anyone knows it would be the Two Plus Two forums.
posted by ODiV at 8:27 PM on July 31, 2013

If you spend $10 on a VPN account you can appear to the poker sites to be coming from Europe, or Asia, or wherever you choose to connect from. That would likely eliminate their ability to block you from playing because you are in the US. I suspect that is technically illegal - so this info is provided for entertainment purposes only. That said, I had no qualms about doing the same during the Olympics so that I could get access to the streaming coverage from BBC.
posted by COD at 5:50 AM on August 1, 2013

If you spend $10 on a VPN account you can appear to the poker sites to be coming from Europe, or Asia, or wherever

This is extremely bad advice. If they even get the slightest idea you might be from the US they will freeze your account and the odds are not in your favor of getting those funds unfrozen. Feel free to look around online for stories about these seized bankrolls, there are plenty of them.

I had no problem registering on Bovada (formerly Bodog) and I play there regularly. From what I understand, CarbonPoker is also worthwhile with more events and no anonymity, but I don't have any experience with that one.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 6:42 AM on August 1, 2013

Ask your question in the twoplustwo forums, you'll get a lot more anonymous advice about the semi-legal sites that are still around. I know Cake was that for a while, but it's not viable anymore. There are a few still I just can't think of their names *cough*in public.

The problem isn't playing, or even depositing. It's withdrawing. Your best bet is to play for free for the next year (at least) until the rumored deals with the Justice Department go through and the major casinos partner with PokerStars, etc to allow fully legal online play. Or move to Nevada or New Jersey.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:54 AM on August 1, 2013

A few states are legalizing it within their states. Nationally, you can play on the Merge Network or Bovada (I personally play on the Merge network using the Carbon Poker "skin") but I wouldn't deposit any money you weren't ok with losing in the event that the sites suddenly shut down or get shut down as Full Tilt did a couple years ago. I can't say I fully understand the legalities, but in most states I don't think it's illegal per se to play on those sites.
posted by callmejay at 5:04 PM on August 2, 2013

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