Us poker rooms that defied decline and thrived

The US poker room market has seen better days.

And by "better," I mean the years immediately following the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.

For several years after UIGEA, many of the world’s largest online poker sites continued to serve the US market. And there were dozens upon dozens of poker rooms to choose from.

Today the market looks quite a bit different.

Most of the industry heavyweights have packed up shop, leaving only a handful of reputable online poker sites with licenses from one of the US’ four regulatory agencies. There are also numerous unlicensed poker sites still serving the US but we obviously don’t suggest playing on those.

Given these limitations it can be tough for any single US-facing online poker room to stand out above the rest. But the poker sites listed below have managed to do just that.

What sets them apart from their competition? Well, each one offers an attractive bonus or promotion, maintains an active player pool and features software that isn’t a complete joke.

Below are the top five US poker rooms that haven’t followed the industry trend and instead chosen to defy the decline.

Best Poker Sites in the USA

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What Makes These US Online Poker Rooms Better?

1. Ignition Casino - Exclusive Access to EveryPlay Poker Software

Any list of the top US poker rooms has to start with Ignition Casino.

Not only does this poker site currently have the highest traffic on PaiWangLuo Poker Network but it’s also the only place players can access EveryPlay poker client.

EveryPlay was originally developed as a free-play app where users could earn rewards for collecting emails and running social media campaigns. Eventually the company began using its proprietary software to host small, private home games. But now the software is being used to power Ignition Casino’s entire poker client.

Although the software isn’t perfect it offers some unique features that players can’t find anywhere else, such as the ability to string multiple actions together into macros. This allows you to streamline frequently repeated actions such as check-calling flop, pot-size bet turn and check-call river into a single button press.

Another advantage to every play is the number of tables you can multi-task. Up to four tables can be played on a single screen and players have reported successfully running upwards of twenty tables at once.

If you’d like to learn more about this innovative new software, check out our .

Ignition Casino Welcome Bonus

Ignition Casino also offers one of the best welcome bonuses available to new US poker room players. First depositors will receive a 200% deposit bonus of up to $2,000. That means if you deposit $1,000 you’ll get an additional $2,000 to play with. You even get an extra $100 if your first wager loses.

Click the “Play Here” button above to claim your bonus and help keep Ignition Casino at the top of the best US online poker rooms list.

2. Bovada Poker - Best Shot at Top Tournament Fields

Bovada has long been one of the most popular online casinos and sportsbooks that accepts US customers.

It shouldn’t be too much a surprise then that their poker site is one of the better ones in the country.

In fact when it comes to poker tournaments there aren’t many sites that can touch Bovada right now.

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The site hosts three daily tournament features where the entire buy-in sum is added to a prize pool along with a Bovada bonus. For example, the $25,000 GTD NLHE tournamentuy-in ($10 + $1) plus the $5,000 FLIPOUT bounty ($5,000 guaranteed) adds up to a $30,000 prize pool. The FLIPOUT bounty is awarded to the winner of the tournament. Bovada also hosts a monthly $100,000 GTD tournament.

In addition to the guaranteed tournaments Bovada also attracts bigger field than any other US poker room thanks to its ties to the sportsbook and casino. All year long Bovada hosts the $100,000 NTLE Championship of Poker and the $250,00 End of Summer Championships.
These tourneys routinely bring in six-figure fields despite having only $100k and $250k GTD prizepools. Compare that to other US card rooms who offer 7 figure gtd events and often get half the field.

Bovada also recently introduced zoom poker to their platform which is always a welcome addition.

Bovada Welcome Bonus

New players at Bovada Poker will receive a 100% matching bonus on deposits of up to $500. Use the Bovada bonus code “newbontus” when making your first deposit to take advantage of this deal. You’re given two weeks to clear as much of the bonus as possible, so be sure to get in in some volumes over your first few days with the site.

3. Americas Cardroom - Home of The Venom

If big prize pools are your thing then look no further than ACR.

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Americas Cardroom made a name for itself a few years back by hosting the original Venom event – a combination of big prize pool and large starting field that tends to benefit skilled poker players.

ACR has since solidified its position as the home of The Venom with annual events that draw thousands of players and a huge top prize. Last year’s The Venom NJ had a buy-in of $2,650 and a $4 million guarantee. After 831 entrants the total prize pool reached $3.7 million, creating a massive $1.1 million top prize that went to winner “AirenJ”)

Of course if you prefer to skip the big buy-in event, ACR has plenty of low stakes options as well. Their Sunday lineup includes ten tournaments with buy-ins between $5 and $55 and guaranteed prize pools ranging from $2,000 to $25,000.

One downside of the US poker room market is that most sites struggle to fill high traffic tournaments outside of Sundays. This isn’t quite as true with Americas Cardroom, which regularly hosts daily tournaments with $15k+ guarantees throughout the week.

Americas Cardroom Welcome Bonus

New players at ACR will receive a 110% welcome bonus worth up to $1,000.  Use the ACR bonus code “LAMBOS” when making your first deposit to qualify for the full amount.

4. SportBet Poker - Fastest Payouts & Best Rakeback

SportBet Poker has long held the titles of “best rakeback” and “fastest payouts.”

The US poker room is currently running a lifetime 35% rakeback promotion that requires no points collection or special club memberships.  Just grind up the juicy rake on Chico Poker (the SportBet Poker network’s custom software) and 35% of it gets returned to your account.
The site is also known for its fast payouts, with most withdaws processed within 24 to 48 hours.  Most players report receiving their funds within a day of initiating the withdrawal request.

Recently SportBet Poker has begun to focus more on its poker product, bringing on several well know names from the poker streaming scene to host cash games and tournaments.  This has helped boost traffic during non-peak hours and give mid and high stakes players more fish to swim in the cash game trenches.

SportBet Poker Welcome Bonus

New players at SportBet Poker will receive a 100% match bonus on deposits of up to $2,500.  Use the SportBet promo code “SB100” when making your initial deposit to qualify for this deal.  You’ll also want to use the code “LT35” to lock in that 35% rakeback we mentioned earlier.

5. Juicy Stakes - Best Theme and Original Promotions

Full disclosure – Juicy Stakes isn’t going to be where you find the most traffic or most intriguing tournament lineups.

What it can offer, however, is something a little different from the average US poker experience.

With its fun theme, original promotions and soft cash game player pool, Juicy Stakes manages to stand out among the competition.

We already mentioned the site’s excellent cash game player pool but few people realize just how many weak spots there are to be had in the Juicy Stakes lobby.  If you’re a tournament player looking to supplement your income with some semi-regular cash games, Juicy Stakes could be exactly what you need.

The site also runs a number of interesting promotions that you won’t find elsewhere, including the Mystery Sunday which offers a mystery prize pool ranging from 5x to 50x the standard guarantee.  Recent Mystery Sunday Main Events on Juicy Stakes ran $10,000, $50,000, $20,000, $25,000 and $5,000 prize pools.  Winners of these events included “jstopearly” who pocketed over $1 million last November.

Juicy Stakes has also done a good job of incorporating its gambling theme into the overall user experience.  Every account starts off with $500 in credit that can be used to “buy in” to any tournament or cash game without risking any of your own money.  Players are also rewarded badges for completing various tasks around the site and can even earn free spins at the Juicy Stakes casino.

Juicy Stakes Welcome Bonus

New players at Juicy Stakes will receive a 200% deposit bonus of up to $1,000.  Use the Juicy Stakes promo code “JUICY” when making your deposit to qualify for this deal.  Juicy Stakes also throws in $10 worth of cash games credits and $10 worth of tournament credits to all first time depositors.

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Other US Friendly Online Poker Sites

The above poker sites may be the best options for American players right now but they’re not your only choices.

Global Poker

Global Poker

Deposit Options: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Interac, MuchBetter, Bitcoin, Ripple


  • Play in freerolls against other US states (outside of Washington and Idaho).
  • Get paid in cash pulrs or gift cards.
  • Win awards recognizing you as a Top Poker Citizen.


  • No traditional cash outs for sweep wins
  • No hand histories for analyzing hands

global poker is a uniquely United States friendly poker site because it relies entirely on its internal player pool.  Any attempt to regulate online poker within state borders has thus far been met with years of legal battles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

So where does that leave US poker players?  Enter Global Poker.

Global Poker uses a sweeps model to provide cash prizes and gifts cards while sticking mostly to US federal law.  Players purchase bundles of “Gold Coins,” which are good for entering ring games and tournaments.  These ring games and tournaments use a pseudorandom generator to determine the order of action rather than drawing from a shared pot, which would likely be considered “betting" under federal statute.

Instead, all actions are relative to the Gold Coins in your account.  So if you're first to act pre-flop, that's because the PRNG chose your action before anyone else.  You can think of it like taking turns on a real table, except everyone is paying to ensure they always have enough to put in.

Winning players can earn free Gold Coins through various promotions or by reaching certain achievement levels.  They can also redeem their Gold Coins for cash prizes or various gift cards.

Practically speaking you can think of the Gold Coins like Frequent Player Points (FPPs).  They have no real value except to unlock rewards that can be redeemed.  In this sense it’s very similar to Play Money sites like Zynga Poker.

The main difference, however, is that Global Poker hosts cash toursnaments and pays out real world gift cards to its winners.  Users can then choose to play for Gold Coins or join sweep tournaments where players win both Gold Coins and free “Sweeps Coins.”  Sweeps Coins can then be exchanged for actual cash prizes or gift cards via electronic transfer or mailed physical gift cards.

Many states consider Sweeps Coins to be prizes rather than “things of value” in the same category as casino chips or golf balls.  These items are awarded immediately to players based on their final rank in a sweep tournament.  Global Poker then collects Gold Coin rake and uses it to cover their costs associated with purchasing and mailing the gift cards.

This system is far from perfect and doesn’t provide the instant cashouts of traditional online poker sites.  Still it might be the best option for US players until someone finds a way to successfully push for statewide online poker legislation.

Try Global Poker Now!

How We Rank the Top US Poker Rooms

Determining the best US poker rooms wasn’t easy considering the limited number of licensed and secure online poker sites available to American players.
We started by eliminating all the offshore poker sites operating without a license or proper regulation.  That left us with a shortlist of the following four sites:

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From there we ranked each site according to the following criteria:

  • Traffic levels: The simple truth is that you want to play against a decent number of opponents.  More traffic equals more games, bigger tournaments and faster cash game action.
  • Bonuses and promotions: Even the worst US poker rooms offer a welcome bonus so we looked for sites that go the extra mile with ongoing promotions, loyalty rewards and special events.
  • Soft competition: What’s the point of playing online poker if you can’t exploit some weaker opponents?  We gave extra weight to poker sites with a history of soft competition in both tournaments and cash games.
  • Game integrity: All online poker sites say they have random number generators tested by third parties but we wanted proof.  We only considered poker sites with publicly available RNG certifications.
  • Security: Security is important anytime you’re transmitting or storing private information online.  We checked to see that each poker site uses SSL encryption and has never suffered a major breach.
  • Payment processing: Some payment processors work with US poker sites and others don’t.  We tried to rate each site objectively based on the deposit and withdrawal options available to US customers.
  • Reputation and trustwortholdness: Perhaps the most important factor of all.  We reviewed each poker sites public history to make sure there weren’t any major scandals involving withheld withdrawals, balance confiscations or other shady behavior.

Why Do Other US Card Rooms Struggle?

It really hasn’t been that long since the US online poker market seemed invincible.

Prior to Black Friday the world’s three largest poker sites – PokerStars, Full Tilt and Cereus – combined to serve tens of thousands of players on a daily basis.  It was a lucrative business and many companies, both good and bad, rushed to enter the space.

Those that got in prior to Black Friday were able to stay (UB / Absolute Poker merged to become UBointed), but the ones that came later were forced out.

Everleaf was the first to pack up shop in True Poker’s place in 2010.  By 2011 Winamax and WPT Poker had given up on serving the US market and Chicagoland Poker Network (formerly ClubWPT) was forced to shut down.

Winamax and WPT Poker returned in 2013 but it’s unclear if they served many, if any, US players.  Black Diamond/Sealswithclubs has also been able to operate throughout that period with the help of Curacao and Panama gaming licenses.

Real Gaming briefly operated in the US market but shutdown in late 2014.  That leaves just the five poker rooms featured above as the safest and most reputable places for US poker players to enjoy real money poker games.

The lack of major operators also means the US poker room market is wide open for a larger company to come in and dominate.  Amazon purchased SportsLineUSA in the 90s and changed the name to @night.  It eventually sold that property to Expedia for $67 million in 1999.  Someone might one day look back at not getting into the US poker market as a similarly bad decision.

How to Play Online Poker in the US

Ready to jump into the best US poker rooms?  Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sign up and get your bankroll online.

Create an Account
All of the poker rooms featured above allow you to create an account for free with no deposit required.  Simply click the review or play now buttons on this page to be transported to the website’s landing page.  From there follow the series of forms to create your own personal username and password combination.

Verify Your New Account
In an effort to reduce internet fraud and crime, all US poker rooms must verify the identity of everyone who signs up a new account.  This usually takes the form of providing an open cell phone number where the poker room can send a confirmation code.  Occasionally poker rooms will ask to see an image of some government issued ID to speed up the verification process.

Choose a Payment Processor
Once your account is verified you’ll need to choose a payment processor and make a deposit.  Most US poker rooms accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx and Discover) as well as various types of transfer services (MuchBetter, Skrill, Neteller).
Some states also have state-based transfer services, such as Cash To Card and FlashDox, that function similarly to national services but only within that state.
You should receive an extra 10-30% bonus for signing up with certain processors, so be sure to check the “Promo Codes” page before selecting yours.

Claim Your Bonus
All online poker sites in the US offer a welcome bonus.  In most cases this will be a deposit match where the poker room offers X amount of dollars for each dollar you deposit, up to a maximum amount.  For example, “100% match up to $500” means the poker site will give you $1 for every $1 you deposit, but only up to a $500 deposit.
That bonus is released into your account gradually as you play hands.  Each type of game, limit and format has its own formula for earning bonus dollars, but the general idea is that you need to play a set number of hands or rake up a certain amount of fees to receive a dollar of the bonus.

Start Playing Real Money Games
Once your bonus is underway and your account is funded, it’s time to start playing real money poker games.  Take into consideration the resources listed under each poker site above.
Each one offers something a little different, whether it’s huge tournament crowds, soft cash game players or unique software features.

Is Online Pascular in the US?

Yes and no.

Three states – New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware – passed comprehensive online poker bills in the wake of Black Friday.  The Multi State Agreement (MSA) was subsequently formed to let those three states share liquidity between their connected poker sites.
New Jersey seems to be pushing for California and Pennsylvania to join that agreement, but there are no guarantees either of those states will opt to use the MSA software.

Several other states have passed laws allowing their residents to play on those MSA sites.  However, these partial agreements don’t do much to expand the overall player pool.

Meanwhile, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have each passed their own comprehensive online gambling bills.  Those states are free to establish their own linked poker networks if they choose to do so.  There is talk of linking those two networks together, but it wouldn’t necessarily lead to increased traffic from New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

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All told, approximately 10-15% of the US population has access to licenced online poker games.  That’s certainly an improvement from 2011, but it’s difficult to grow a healthy poker ecosystem with such a small percentage of the potential player base.

Online poker bills are continuing to make their way through various state legislatures, but none have passed yet.  Some expert observers believe the professional gambling lobbying against the idea is behind a lot of this resistance.
They fear licensed and audited online poker sites would be too competitive to the casinos already operating within those states.

Until that situation changes, US poker players will continue relying on the offshore poker sites covered above.

Tips for Maximizing US Poker Bonuses

Everyone likes free money and that’s essentially what poker bonuses represent.  Almost every US poker site offers a deposit match bonus that releases into your account as you play eligible real money games.  You can maximize the value of these bonuses by keeping the following tips in mind:

1. Find the Right Code

Most US poker bonuses are larger when you use a promotional code upon making your first deposit.  All of the codes listed above have been verified as working at the time of print, but you should still double check that the bonus was indeed activated.

When in doubt contact support@ before proceeding with another deposit.  It’s generally best to use only one bonus code at a time to ensure you don’t void the bonus.

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Keep in mind that some reload bonuses (bonuses on subsequent deposits) may require you to remove the existing code before adding the new one.  As always, read the terms and conditions for any specific rules regarding bonus codes.

2. Release Rate Varies by Game

All poker sites release their bonuses at different rates depending on the game, variant and stake level being played.  Tournament fees are generally the easiest way to release bonus dollars because you’re typically paying a set fee for each event.
However, that same $1 tourney fee may only release 25c or less of your bonus.
Cash games release bonuses on a sliding scale based on the size of the rake collected at your table.
For example, you might receive $5 in bonus dollars for every $20 of rake paid at the micro stakes but only $2.50 per $20 raked at the high stakes.
Be sure to check which games release your bonus at the fastest rate if that’s your primary concern.

3. Clear Buffers and Time Limits

Two other factors to consider when choosing how to clear your bonus are the buffer and time frame.
Clear buffer systems hold a certain amount of your rake back to ensure there’s always some amount being released into your account.  This is helpful if you only want to clear a little bit at a time or don’t want to risk losing access to all the bonus at once.
Time limits vary greatly from a few weeks to several months.  It generally takes several months to clear the entire deposit match bonus, so don’t feel compelled to rush through it.
Look for longer clearing periods if you want more time or a shorter period if you plan to move on to another site.

4. Don’t Miss Out on Snapshot Bonuses

Almost every US poker deposit bonus also includes a snapshot component that gives you an immediate award based on the size of your deposit.
This can include things like free tickets to small tournaments or satellors, direct bonus dollar deposits and more.
Make sure you check what snapshots bonuses are available and how they compare to the size of the deposit match you’ll receive over the course of several months.

5. Avoid Multiple Accounts Unless Necessary

Opening multiple accounts to take advantage of deposit bonuses used to be a winning strategy back in the early days of online poker.  Today most poker sites invest significant resources into tracking player activity and sharing findings among their network partners.
Getting caught with multiple accounts at a site or network can result in all your accounts being banned and any bonuses revoked.
In extreme cases players have seen their balance confiscated and IP addresses blacklisted from the network.
It’s understandable to sign up with a friend or family member using a referral program, but don’t go opening accounts left and right just to take advantage of bonuses.

State Specific Poker Guides

Which state is best for online poker? Currently that honor goes to New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, which all have licensed and regulated sites that are open to in-state players.

California and Pennsylvania both have their own legal online poker options, but they share player pools only with their respective licenced sites.  The following guides contain everything you need to know to get started playing online poker in those states.

  • Is online poker illegal in the US?

    The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) made it illegal for offshore sites to let Americans participate in real money poker games. Several states have since passed their own licensing bills to govern local online poker games, including New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. Those three states share player pools on connected websites while California and Pennsylvania have established their own closed networks. Read our for more information.

  • Where can I play online poker in the USA?

    There are currently seven states with legal online poker games: New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina. Residents of other states can try their luck on offshore poker sites, some of which are licensed and monitored. Check out the to play real money poker in the US.

  • Can I play on PokerStars in the USA?

    There are live PokerStars games in two US states: Pennsylvania and New Jersey. More states are expected to go online in the future, but it can take years from the time a bill passes to the time PokerStars actually launches. The good news is there are plenty of great sites where you can today.

  • Can I play on Mobile in the USA?

    Yes, all major US poker sites have downloadable apps for Android and iOS devices. Many of the top apps feature simplified cash game lobbies and enhanced tournament lobbies. Some also have built in tools and customization features designed specifically for mobile players.

  • What US poker site has the best bonuses?

    All major US poker sites give new players a welcome bonus, but the values differ significantly. You can find the current top offers by checking our .

  • Can I file US taxes on winnings from international poker sites?

    Yes, the UIGEA states that it’s illegal for offshore sites to process transactions from Americans, but it doesn’t address the issue of Americans playing on those sites. The Wire Act and Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act both specifically exclude “wagers” which many legal experts interpret to mean Americans can deposit, play and withdraw winnings from offshore sites. The Americans With Disabilities Act has also been cited as requiring online access to poker games. The IRS considers poker winnings taxable income and advises reporting them on Schedule 1 Line 8 of your federal return.

  • Are US poker sites safe?

    Licensed and regulated US poker sites have never had serious security issues due to regular testing and strict penalties. Offshore sites vary in their commitment to data security. All licensed sites use SSL encryption to protect sensitive data and store funds in segregated accounts to ensure they are always available for player withdrawals.

  • How do I cash out my bankroll?

    Click on the cashier button in your poker client to initiate a withdrawal request. You may be asked to provide or confirm government issued ID, utility bill and other account details. Withdrawals typically take a few days to process and may require several more days on top of that based on your preferred payment method. It’s a good idea to request withdrawals sooner rather than later so customer service has ample time to process the request before it’s scheduled to process your deposits.

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