The world of online poker in the USA is well established. The origins stretch back to 1998, when Poker Planet was the first site to launch in the country. However, in 2011, the US government shut down all of these so-called offshore online poker sites as being illegal operations.
Back then, online poker was a bit of a wild west realm. It wasn’t until 2013 that online poker in the USA was brought under the rule of state gaming commissions, ensuring that legal and regulated sites would be indicated as such and deemed safe for players to be dealt into a game.
Legal Online US Poker States
There are currently seven US states offering legal and regulated online poker. They are Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware.
Four of these states have signed the Multi-State iGaming Agreement, which enables online poker sites in those states to combine their pools with online poker rooms in the other three states.
States that have signed this agreement are Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. Nevada and Delaware were the first to commingle their pools in 2014. Three years later, New Jersey was added to the mix. Michigan joined in 2022.
The advantage to commingling is larger pools, which both entice more game play and create larger winnings, making online poker a much more attractive option for players.
Best USA Online Poker Sites
Some of the top-rated online poker sites in the U.S. are PokerStars (available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan), WSOP.com (available in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey), and Partypoker (available in New Jersey). These platforms are noted for their secure and fair gaming environment, user-friendly software, variety of games and tournaments, and attractive bonus offers.
Best Poker Offers
WSOP NJ Bonus: Get up to $1000 + 50 credits
WSOP23RSign up for a WSOP poker account, deposit and claim a welcome bonus of up to $1000 + $50 in bonus play (NJ, MI, + 25 in PA). Promo code is optional. Terms apply. | Read WSOP review
- Legal Online Poker Platform
- Reload Poker Offer & Welcome Bonus
- Tournament of Champions & Payout Calculator
BetMGM Poker Welcome Offer: up to $1,000 + up to $75 In Tournament Tickets
NJDOTBETBetMGM Poker Welcome Offer: Get 100% Deposit Match, up to $1,000 + up to $75 In Tournament Tickets. Use promo code USDOTBET. | Read betMGM Poker review
- BetMGM Poker Daily Tournaments
- BetMGM Poker Welcome Offer: 100% Deposit Match
- Extra Cash Prizes Each And Every Day
PartyPoker Welcome Offer: Get 100% Deposit Match, Up To $600, Plus, $25 On The House
PABETBRGTPartyPoker Welcome Offer: Get 100% Deposit Match, Up To $600, Plus, $25 On The House. Promo code is PABETBRGT. | Read PartyPoker review
- PartyPoker Offer 100% Deposit Match + FreePlay Credits
- partypoker Sit & Go Tournaments
- Progressive Knockout Bounty Tournaments
These are the top legal and regulated online poker sites operating in the USA.
At PartyPoker, they offer you both a generous cash-back option on losses and a real-time poker coach to help you with in-game strategy. There are games for everyone from beginners to veteran card sharks. Newcomers to PartyPoker get $25 in free chips and a deposit match worth up to $1,000.
We really were impressed with the quality of the software operating the BetMGM poker site and it’s available for free download. It also operates their online casino, so it’s a double bonus. They share a pool with PartyPoker and Borgata Poker and tend to cater to the recreational player. New players garner $75 in tournament tickets and a deposit match that reaches a maximum of $1000.
Available in Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, WSOP.com is operated by Caesars. We think the main attraction WSOP offers to players is the chance to play in satellite tournaments with the grand prize being a bracelet that gets you into the world-famous World Series Of Poker. They also commingle their pools with 888 Poker, making for bigger pots and larger wins. WSOP.com offers a $10 no deposit bonus and up to $1,000 in a matching first deposit bonus.
The largest real-money online poker operation in the USA, PokerStars offers no limit hold’em, cash games and hold’em tournaments. A unique feature at PokerStars that we really like is that players at PokerStars can also watch and play against Team PokerStars Pro, their group of elite pro players. Newcomers to PokerStars start off with a welcome bonus of $100 in bonus play once you’ve played one hand on their site.
You’ll grab a deposit match of up to $1000 and $75 in tournament tickets when signing up with Borgata Poker. There are daily C-note tournaments and a SPINS leaderboard with three levels of buy-in.
Just for signing up at 888 Poker, you’ll get a $20 free deposit bonus. They’ll match your first deposit up to as much as $1,500. They commingle their pools with WSOP.com to create better payouts.
How To Play Poker Online
If you’re new to poker, one of the features we like is that the online sites are happy to educate newcomers.
Generally, poker games start out with a forced bet. As players ante up to launch the game, they are creating the beginnings of the pot that will ultimately go to the winner of the hand.
The number of betting rounds that follow depends upon the type of poker being played. Popular poker games such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha follow a standard four-round betting format. There’s the pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river. In both of these games, players are dealt two hole cards, which they can only see, and five community cards, also known as the flop. Players may use any of their two hole cards and the five community cards to assemble the best possible hand.
During game play players can call, which is matching the highest bet of the round, fold, which puts them out for that hand, or raise, which would increase the highest bet of the round.
At the end of the game comes the showdown, when all of the players’ cards are revealed. At this point, the winner is the player with the highest-ranking hand. In poker, a royal flush is the best possible hand, followed by a straight flush, four of a kind, a full house, a flush, a straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair and a high card.
There are three types of betting stakes for online poker games. With a fixed limit game, a maximum bet amount is established prior to the game. A pot limit game will allow bets up to the amount of money that is in the pot during the hand. No limit games enable players to wager everything that has chips on any bet during the game.
Playing online poker on U.S. sites like partypoker or PokerStars involves several steps, from setting up an account to learning the basics of the game.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started:
- Check Your State’s Regulations: Online poker isn’t legal in all U.S. states. Check to see if your state allows online poker and if the site you’ve chosen operates in your state.
- Create an Account: Visit the website of the poker platform (like partypoker or PokerStars) and download their software onto your computer or mobile device. Then, click on the ‘sign up’ or ‘join now’ button to create a new account. You’ll be asked to provide personal information such as your full name, date of birth, email address, and home address.
- Verify Your Account: After signing up, you’ll need to verify your account, usually through an email link or a verification code sent to your phone.
- Make a Deposit: Once your account is set up and verified, you’ll need to deposit funds to start playing. Go to the site’s cashier section and choose your preferred payment method. Enter the amount you want to deposit and confirm the transaction. Many sites offer a welcome bonus, so look out for a promo code to enter when making your deposit.
- Choose Your Game: With funds in your account, navigate to the lobby and select your preferred type of poker game. Both partypoker and PokerStars offer a variety of games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud. You can also choose between cash games, tournaments, and Sit & Gos.
- Learn the Basics: If you’re a beginner, spend some time learning the basics of poker. Understand the poker hand rankings and the structure of the game you’ve chosen. Many online poker sites have guides and tutorials available.
- Start Playing: Once you’ve chosen a table, click to join and start playing. Remember, poker is a game of skill and luck, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t win right away. Always play responsibly and only bet what you can afford to lose.
Remember to keep checking the website for promotions and tournaments. These can be a fun way to challenge yourself and potentially win larger payouts.
Types Of Online Poker Games
There are a number of types of poker you can play at an online site. Let’s look at some of the more popular styles of poker.
Texas hold’em is far and away the No. 1 game with online poker players. Featuring two hole cards, a five-card flop and four betting rounds, it’s the form of poker played in all major tournaments. Omaha would be the next most popular poker game. Its play unfolds in identical manner to Texas hold’em.
Other games frequently offered at online poker sites are five card draw, seven card stud, three card poker, Caribbean stud poker, and Razz.
Where To Find Live Poker Tournaments
All of the top online poker sites in the USA will be offering regular tournaments. There are daily tournaments with small entry fees, up to major events with very lucrative prize pools
In 2023, PokerStars, through commingling of its New Jersey and Michigan pools, announced that going forward they would be offering a guaranteed $1 million in weekly prizes across all of their tournaments.
WSOP.com is unique in that it offers qualifying tournaments to earn a spot at one of the tables in the internationally-famous World Series Of Poker.
A Guide to Bonuses and Offers from US Online Poker Sites like Borgata, PokerStars, and BetMGM Poker
Online poker sites like Borgata, PokerStars, and BetMGM Poker offer various types of bonuses and promotional offers to attract new players and keep existing players engaged. Here are some common types of offers you might encounter:
- Welcome Bonus: This is a bonus offered to new players when they sign up and make their first deposit. The bonus is often a match of your deposit up to a certain amount. For instance, a site might offer a 100% match up to $600, which means that if you deposit $600, you’ll have $1200 to play with.
- No Deposit Bonus: This type of bonus does not require a player to deposit any money. After signing up, players receive a small amount of cash or tournament tickets to try out the site’s games.
- Reload Bonus: These bonuses are given to existing players when they deposit additional money into their accounts. They usually involve a certain percentage of the deposit amount.
- Freeroll Tournaments: These are free-to-enter poker tournaments that offer real money prizes. They’re a great way for new players to build their bankrolls without any risk.
- VIP Programs/Loyalty Rewards: These are schemes where players earn points for playing real money games. The points can be exchanged for various rewards such as cash, tournament entries, or merchandise.
- Refer-a-Friend Bonus: If an existing player refers a friend to the site and the friend signs up and makes a deposit, the referring player might receive a bonus.
- Bad Beat Bonus: This bonus is awarded to a player who loses with a strong hand, usually aces full or better. Not all sites offer this bonus, but it’s a nice consolation prize if you lose with a strong hand.
These offers can add significant value to your poker experience, but it’s important to read the terms and conditions of each bonus to understand the wagering requirements and withdrawal conditions.
You may also be interested in viewing top casino promotions and bonuses, use betMGM promo code or enter bet365 bonus code to claim your offers. Online casinos are available in New Jersey, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Online Poker FAQ
Online poker originated in the USA in 1998 when Planet Poker launched the first site. Today, poker sites in legal US States are all licensed and regulated in the same manner as online sports books and online casinos.
No, but you will need to be physically located in that state while you are playing. Geolocation software is utilized to confirm this fact.
You must be 21 years of age to legally play online poker at a legal and regulated US site.
Yes, many online poker sites in the U.S. offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices. These apps allow you to play poker on the go, participate in tournaments, and manage your account. Some of the poker sites with top-rated mobile apps include PokerStars, WSOP.com, and partypoker.
Playing online poker is generally safe, provided you choose a regulated and licensed poker site. These sites use advanced encryption technologies to secure players’ personal and financial information. They also use Random Number Generator (RNG) software to ensure that the dealing of cards is fair and random.
Depositing and withdrawing money on online poker sites can be done through various methods, depending on the site. These methods often include bank transfers, credit and debit cards, e-wallets like PayPal and Skrill, and sometimes even cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, the available options vary by site and location, so players should check the specifics on their chosen poker site’s banking page.
Yes, online poker is legal in some states in the US, including Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Other states may have different rules, so you should check local regulations. We recommend betMGM, use code USDOTBET to get your welcome offer.
Bonuses vary by site but generally offer something extra for your play, such as matching a certain percentage of your deposit, offering tournament tickets, or providing extra cash for certain play requirements.
In most cases, bonuses need to be “earned” by playing a certain number of games or generating a certain amount of rake.
A no-deposit bonus is a small amount of money given to players just for signing up. You don’t have to deposit any of your own money to receive this bonus. View all no deposit bonuses here.
Usually not. You’ll need to meet certain playthrough or wagering requirements before you can withdraw your bonus money.
Yes, legal and regulated online poker sites in the US such as SOP, Borgata Poker, BetMGM use state-of-the-art security measures to keep players’ personal and financial information safe.
You can play a variety of poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and more. Many sites also offer tournaments and cash games at a variety of stakes.
No, you must be physically located in a state where online poker is legal and regulated to play for real money.