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Poker is a famous pastime, one that doesn’t need to be played for money to be enjoyed. Professional players may not agree with that assessment, but even they can think back to their humble beginnings when they wanted to learn the basics of the game without losing their bankroll.
No matter the reason for wanting to play free poker, there are many places to find it. Nearly all of the major online poker sites offer dot-net websites that can be played without any financial investment whatsoever. Those sites allow players to compete for play-money and coins, and while players may be able to buy a few coins with real money, the vast majority of them compete for the simple love of poker.
What are the Benefits of Free Poker?
With no money at stake, can poker really be enjoyable? Yes! The game is one of strategy and excitement, the thrill of the all-in and the suspense of the river card. And the pure fun of it is why it is played by millions of people of all ages at kitchen tables around the world.
There are numerous benefits of playing free-play games, though. Whether one aspires to become a professional player or simply to improve those skills enough to beat family members at the next reunion, there are many things to gain by putting in some time at the play-money tables.
There are a variety of ways to bet on most sporting contests, from something as simple. How do sports betting odds work? Sports betting odds are created by bookmakers to show what the outcome of a game or event is likely to be. They also dictate how much profit a player can make when betting. How does sports betting work. Sports betting is a type of gambling that involves wagering on the outcomes of sporting events. Those who bet on sports will often bet on everything from NFL and NBA games to tennis matches and even.
- Learning the Basics:The best way to learn the basics of betting, raising, and position is to practice. Of course, using primers on websites like ours is always a great starting point, but it doesn’t always make sense until those lessons are put into practice at actual online poker tables.
- Practicing Strategies: As a player improves, it is beneficial to devise strategies or take ones found in books and on instructional websites and try them out. Play-money poker is the best place to see how well those strategies work for each player and if they work as intended. Every player finds different strategies that work best for them.
- Bankroll Management:Before investing hard-earned money to an online poker site, try to manage play money first. Since a skilled player never puts more than 10% of their bankroll on the line at any one time, it is a good idea to try that method with play-money poker and learn how to manage that bankroll, even if it doesn’t contain real money.
- Discovering Swings: Poker can be filled with upswings and downswings. No matter how much skill is employed, the luck of the draw can get even the best players time after time. While the odds are always in the favor of the players who use skills, getting the full experience of the potential downswings of poker is a good lesson.
- Managing Tilt: Even with no money on the line, the actions of other players or frustrations with one’s own play can put players on tilt. It’s not uncommon to see players go crazy in the chat boxes at free-play poker tables because they ran into bad luck. Learning to manage tilt comes easier before real money is on the line.
- Garnering Experience: Most live poker players know that poker online is different and adjustments must be made. Starting on a play-money site is the best way to get the feel for the online tables, even for those with experience in live games.
Warnings about Free Poker
This is not as ominous as it sounds, but there are some things that players should consider when playing free poker. It is going to be different from real-money poker online in several ways.
First and most importantly, players on free poker sites tend to be much looser in their playing styles. Without real money on the line, they might be more apt to call on every street, bluff more often, and play more wildly in general. This will change when switching to a real-money site, but there are quite a few players on free sites who take it seriously.
Second, don’t get tricked into buying play-money coins! Free poker sites always provide ways to win more free chips or coins, so there is no need to buy any if the option presents itself. If a player is that desperate for coins or chips, it might be time to read about tilt and figure out a way to manage it.
Third, there is no need to rush from play-money to real-money poker. Winning a few hands or even a few days in a row doesn’t mean the jump should be made immediately. Take the time to experience some of the ups and downs, and don’t get overconfident because of a few million play chips.
What are the Top Free Poker Sites?
The best place to play poker for free is with PokerStars, 888poker, or PartyPoker. Instead of using the dot-com website address, simply replace with dot-net to access the free-play sites. These sites have invested a great deal of time and energy into providing an extensive free platform as well as offering tutorials, lessons, and tips for every level of player – from new to advanced. Take advantage of the information at no charge.
Ultimately, those sites will also offer special deals and bonuses to open a real-money account on their sister dot-com sites. While there is no rush to do so, it is good to have those bonus options to make the most of that first deposit when the time comes.
Even if sites don’t offer a specific free-play site, other poker sites like Ignition Poker and Intertops offer information that is meant to help new players improve their play. Most sites also offer things like freeroll tournaments that cost nothing to enter but give players the chance to win real money. This helps new players build their bankrolls with little to no initial investment.
No matter where a new player chooses to play, it is always beneficial to gain experience and move up slowly. Every pro player will give that same advice.
Is Learning Online Poker Easy?
I used to get intimidated by the enormous variety of poker sites online. What’s more, I had heard all sorts of stuff about how online poker players were really good, how I’d have a hard time at the tables, and how I should just stick to play money games to avoid losing my house. Had I taken these things to heart, I might not have learned poker at all! But I took the dive, head-first, and am glad I did. Nobody is ‘really good’ online. I didn’t have a ‘hard time’ at the tables. And I still have a roof over my head. Everything I had heard turned out the be the opposite of reality. Poker is an easy game if you play at one of the soft poker sites. The only hard thing about it is learning the rules, and even that only takes about five minutes.
Don’t doubt for one second that you can easily learn to play poker. And take it from me — you’ll be much better off learning online as opposed to in a casino.
Why Learn to Play Poker Online?
For starters, you’ll see more hands per hour online than in a brick and mortar cardroom. Online poker is inherently faster than live, because it’s easier to click a button than to shuffle chips and read stacks. The faster pace means you’ll be exposed to more poker situations in a shorter period of time playing online. This will make you a better player in the long run.
Second, playing poker on a software client is much more convenient than playing at a live table. In a casino, you’d have to memorize chip values and learn all sorts of arcane casino-specific rules. Online software displays bet amounts and stack values in plain-old number format — so easy to read! I can’t stress enough how helpful this is when you’re learning.
Third, you’ve got all the resources you can find on the net available to you when playing online. You can keep a poker table open on one half of your screen, and a starting hand chart on the other half. You can search Google if you run into tough situations. You can vent about bad beats to your friends via IM. I could go on and on about all the benefits to playing online. But I’d end up writing an entire book. Suffice it to say that the best poker sites to learn poker online beat out the best casinos any day.
3 Important Factors: Easy, Appealing, and Fun
Once you’ve made up your mind to learn the game online, it’s time to pick a site. This doesn’t have to be hard, or intimidating. Just ask yourself the following three questions about any poker site you come across:
1. Does this poker site look easy to use?
2. Is this poker software visually appealing?
3. Does this poker site look like it’s a fun place to play?
Factor 1 is pretty simple. If a poker site looks confusing or complicated, what’s the point? When you’re just learning how to play poker online, you don’t need all sorts of fancy features to deal with. You just need a simple, sensible poker client that will help you ease into the game. I found 888 poker to be one of the easiest poker sites for me. Everything I needed to get started was basically available on one screen. I just downloaded the client, clicked the link to register for an account, and boom! I was done.
Factor 2 boils down to personal preference. You’re not a professional grinder, so you don’t need to put up with crappy software just because the games are ‘good.’ Pick a poker site that agrees with your aesthetic sensibilities. In this regard, I found Bovada Poker to be the clear winner. The table layout is very simple — no distractions. Bet amounts are clearly labelled, action buttons are prominent and visible, and the games flowed smoothly. Bovada almost won me over with its well-designed software (I chose 888 though, in the end.) Try both sites, and see which you prefer.
Factor 3 is, again, a matter of personal preference. Does a prospective site look like fun to play on? If you aren’t having a good time — especially while you’re learning to play poker online– you won’t want to stick with the game. So if anything about a site puts you off, try a different one!By
Choosing to play poker online for money is simple – once you know what to look out for. This page covers everything you need to know on playing poker online in the US. We break down how to find a safe and easy to beat poker room, and rank the best casino sites to play online poker real money in the United States. This includes poker sites like Bovada Poker, Ignition Poker & America’s Cardroom.
Before you jump into a US real money poker game, though, here are the key factors to consider:
- Site Safety: Choose licensed, trusted and tested rooms
- Game Selection: What choice of games are available, and at what buy-ins?
- Bonuses / Rewards: How well will your play be rewarded?
- USA Friendly Poker Site: This depends on which state you are playing from.
These days, the biggest and best US poker rooms are based offshore. They are licensed by their host country, and welcome players from all over the world – including the USA.
You can also find smaller in-state poker rooms. Four individual US states currently provide regulated online poker rooms, namely Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Games are shared between players from the first three states mentioned, with the US poker market expected to grow as more states start to offer regulated online poker for real money in the future. Likely contenders include such states as West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri and New York.
Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money in 2021
Deposit Limits: $10 - $5,000
Accepts: Visa, Bitcoin, Mastercard, Bank Wire
Ignition is a popular option for players in the United States. They offer most popular cash game variants and more than $1.5 million in weekly online poker tournament guarantees. Ignition also offers Zone Poker, similar to Zoom Poker where you’re moved to a new table and dealt a new hand every time you fold.
Ignition Poker also offer a wide variety of poker promotions.
Join Ignition Poker here and get up to $2000 free!
Deposit Limits: $10 – $5,000
Accepts: Bitcoin, Visa, Bank Wire
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Licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Bovada is one of the oldest online poker sites servicing America. Bovada offers anonymous tables and a mobile-optimized design allowing play on all mobile platforms. The design makes it feel like you’re playing in Las Vegas rather than your home computer.
They offer a wide variety of cash games and tournaments with over $1.5 million in weekly guarantees.
Join Bovada Poker here and get a $500 bonus!
Deposit Limits: $25 - $2,500
Accepts: Bitcoin, credit cards (MasterCard, Amex, Visa), money transfers
Intertops Poker is fully licensed by Curacao and the Netherlands Antilles and offers a wide variety of cash game and online poker tournaments. Their software is available as both a PC downloadable client and a mobile-optimized web version.
This site is perfect for players looking to grow their poker bankrolls at lower stakes.
Join Intertops Poker here and claim a 200% match bonus!
Deposit Limits: $25 - $25,000
Accepts: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Visa, MasterCard, Money Transfers, Bank Wire
BetOnline is the newest online poker site for American players. This site is part of the BetOnline group which includes a well-known and reputable Sportsbook as well as an online casino. BetOnline launched their poker room in 2012 and has quickly become one of the largest US accepted poker rooms on the market.
When you make your 1st, 2nd and even 10th deposit to the poker room, you will receive 25% upfront in cash.
Join Bet Online Poker and qualify for a $1,000 deposit bonus!
Deposit Limits: $25 – $25,000
Accepts: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Visa, MasterCard, Money Transfers, Bank Wire
Sportsbetting.ag offers a robust online poker option with excellent cash game and tournament action. For cash games, they provide weekly cash leaderboards with $10,000 in prizes weekly. They offer over $45,000 in weekday guarantees, over $130,000 in guarantees on Saturday and over $275,000 in guarantees on Sunday.
If you like fast-fold poker variants like Zoom Poker, you’ll love Boost Poker. Get a new hand every time you fold in this fast-paced game.
Join Sportsbetting.ag – 100% up to $1000 for new US players!
Deposit Limits: $50 - $25,000
Accepts: Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin
America’s Cardroom is one of the most popular online poker rooms for American players with over 1 million hands of poker played daily. They are a popular room because they readily accept American players and offer a wide variety of online payment options including Bitcoin.
America’s Cardroom offers a wide variety of tournaments with substantial daily guarantees. Their Sunday tournaments have guarantees ranging from $50,000 to $150,000.
Join America’s Cardroom here and claim $1,000 in bonus cash!
Deposit Limits: $50 - $10,000
Accepts: Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Wire
Black Chip Poker is a legally licensed online poker real money site for US players. Licensed in Costa Rica, BCP is part of the Winning Poker Network. New players qualify for a 100% deposit bonus up to $1,000 or you can take advantage of the cryptocurrency offering, giving you a 200% match bonus when you make your first deposit with Bitcoin.
The poker room provides a variety of tournaments including the Million Dollar Sunday tournaments.
Join Black Chip Poker here and claim a 100% match bonus!
You can play poker online for real money in the United States as long as you’re outside of banned online gambling states like Washington. If you’re looking for where to play online poker from the USA, or which casino sites accept US players, check out the poker websites above. Each casino site provides players with a special bonus and have the ability to process poker deposits.
8 Things to Look For Before Playing with Real Cash
The list below covers the main factors to consider when choosing an online gambling or online poker real money USA site. It is important to choose a site which works for your experience level and skills. If you are a recreational player, who enjoys the occasional casino game and casual poker game, then your requirements are different from those of a multi-tabling pro grinder.
1) Comparing The Features of Different Online Poker Sites
A great online poker site has a good selection of poker games featuring a wide variety of buy-ins and game combination. The Winning Poker Network, 888poker and partypoker, for instance, regularly runs large poker tournaments, while online poker players can easily find high limit poker cash games at site such as Bovada and Ignition. If you plan on enjoying poker from your iPhone or Android Smartphone, the fast-fold game ‘Zone Poker’ from Bovada is also good choice.
2) What to Look for in Poker Site Reviews?
When visiting an online gambling news or poker news sites, focus on those real money poker reviews based upon first-hand experience. This will show in comments about navigating through the menus, the softness (or otherwise) of the games – and other small features. When reading poker reviews, it’s also best to get more than one opinion for a more well-rounded view.
3) How to Compare Poker Bonus Offers?
Welcome bonuses are good for boosting your initial bankroll. However, different poker site have different bonus ratings, with these bonuses then varying in their size, as well as terms of satisfaction. Furthermore, your welcome bonus will typically expire after 30 to 60 days, so make sure your site offers subsequently offers ongoing rakeback, loyalty schemes and regular promos.
4) What Games and Variations are Available?
The three basic poker formats are cash games, poker tournaments and Sit n Goes. While No-Limit Holdem is the most popular variant offered at US online poker rooms, other poker formats available include Pot-Limit Omaha, Razz, Stud and Draw. Needless to say, choosing the biggest sites also means more games and a wider variety of stakes to enjoy.
5) Licensing at Legal Online Poker Sites for Real Money
Check the poker room has an online gambling license before depositing at any online poker real money USA site. After all, licensed legal online poker sites are required to adhere to the strictest legislation and operating standards. Reputable international sites are licensed by the governments of their host countries, with popular jurisdictions including Curacao, Panama, The Isle of Man, Malta and Kahnawake in Canada.
6) Banking at Poker Sites for US Players: Depositing and Withdrawing
Getting your money deposited on a online poker real money USA site is straightforward, with the most common poker deposit methods as follows:
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- Credit Cards: Widely accepted, though transactions can be blocked by banks, quick and easy when they do work.
- Prepaid Credit Cards: Check with your site for the best working brands, then buy from convenience stores.
- Bitcoin / Other Cryptocurrencies: One-off setup needed, though once you have a cryptocurrency ‘wallet’ these coins will solve your deposit and withdrawal problems completely.
- Money Transfer: Send cash from your local Western Union or MoneyGram office.
Deposit methods are fairly similar across the various online gaming sites, including credit cards, money transfers, bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, withdrawing with cryptocurrency is easy, with other ways to withdraw your cash including as a paper check or bank wire. Make sure you check for minimum withdrawal amounts, and any fees, though. Withdrawal options and administration charges may differ, too, so look for sites with a low minimum, and at least one free withdrawal per month, such as Betonline.
7) Poker Site Complaints: Red Flags to Look Out For
There are always bad players who claim that every site has a ‘rigged deal’ simply because they do not understand the game well and are not be able to win money playing poker. Far more important are any complaints concerning delays in payments, which are a red flag for any poker site. Also, customer feedback concerning the softness of poker games is important, with numerous comments suggesting a site is full of pro ‘grinders’ probably worth avoiding.
Check the terms and conditions of a poker site before you play with real money, and look out for online gaming caps on withdrawal amounts, high minimum withdrawals and time restricted bonuses. Reputable poker rooms have a ‘Responsible Gaming’ policy and self-exclusion options, as well as a number of contact methods, such as phone number, e-mail and physical address.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll find detailed answers to some common questions below. These cover a wide range of topics, from which is the best room through to how to play using Bitcoin!
What’s the Status of Online Poker in the US in 2021?
The first hand of online poker was dealt in 1998 and now there are millions dealt every single day. The industry has exploded and changed considerably during the past 23 years. That growth has been pretty volatile, especially in the United States where online poker has faced its challenges. It exploded during the early years only to have setbacks by the UIGEA and Black Friday. The latter was the biggest hit to date, but the good news is that things have been only getting better since then. More and more states are legalizing online poker and now that several have shown its success and ability to bring in revenue.
Is Playing Real Money Poker Legal from My State?
Offshore poker sites are not under US jurisdiction. They do, however, maintain their right to accept players from anywhere in the world, including the United States. There may be no US federal laws stopping individual players from enjoying casino games and real money poker online, but state laws do vary, though. Some States, for instance, already have legalized regulated online poker rooms, including New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania. On the other hand, some states have clearly banned real money online poker games, thus making poker illegal, including Utah and Washington State. While federal law prevents banks and gambling sites transacting within the USA, legislation does not cover individual players.
Are There Any USA Friendly Poker Sites That Accept Bitcoin?
Yes, all the main offshore online poker sites accept Bitcoin as a payment option. There are some sites which accept other cryptocurrencies, too, including Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum.
Where can I Play Poker Online for Real Money?
A perfect site would include soft games, a huge choice of tables, big guaranteed tournament prizes, plenty of promotions and bonuses – and smooth, fast software that can be accessed from many different devices. Several sites come close, with the biggest and best USA real cash poker rooms found here.
How do Poker Sites Structure Themselves to be Legal in the USA?
The ‘Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act’ of 2006 prohibits financial transactions to online gambling sites in the USA. Sites offering real money poker games to American players stay legal by being located outside of the US. The sites we subsequently recommend are fully legal in their host countries and maintain the right to welcome players from anywhere in the world, citing global free trade laws. Meanwhile, federal can enforce the UIGEA on the US banks and financial networks, but UIGEA does not cover players.
Is Playing Online Poker Profitable?
One of the best things about online poker is that skilled players are able to learn poker strategies and win money. While you won’t be profitable right away, if you are better than your opponents, then over time your bankroll will grow. You’ll need to study, though, and once you have identified your own leaks and developed winning poker strategies, making a living playing online poker becomes possible. You can even transfer your skills and poker strategies to the live arena and play at land-based casinos such as the Rio in Las Vegas, which hosts the iconic WSOP tournament series every year.
What Can I Do if a Poker Site is Delaying Payments?
That depends on the licensing arrangement of the site you are playing at. If you chose an unlicensed site, then your chances of getting money back if they close or go rogue are small. As far as legal online poker at international licensed sites is concerned, complaining to their official licensing body will provide you a much better chance of being paid. After all, the loss of a license is something many United States poker sites take seriously.
Is Online Poker Safe?
We’re sure you’ve heard a few scary stories about online poker, but if you follow all the elements we mentioned above, then you have nothing to worry about. Like in any business, there are good and bad actors out there and we’re doing our absolute best to show you only the best. All the sites we review and promote on our site have been proven safe over the years. If you make sure to follow all the guidelines we’ve established, you’ll be safe during all your online poker adventures.
I Don’t Know How to Play Poker, Any Advice?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Poker is like chess, it only takes a few minutes to learn the rules, but it takes a lifetime to master. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great and free resources all over the internet to help you improve your game. The basic rules are everywhere, including one by Bicycle cards. After you get the basics down, a good place to start deepening your game is on Two Plus Two, has threads detailing and discussing every kind of poker strategy out there.