Learn all there is to know about playing online poker in the United States, find out the latest developments, and discover the best and safest sites where you can play without any fear or concern.
Last Updated: October 2, 2023
Are you a US poker player looking to play your favorite game on the virtual felt? You have come to the right place as we offer you a complete overview of the best online poker rooms in the US and all the best apps where you can play quality games.
Online poker has been in the USA since its very inception, but in 2011 all the major operators were banned from the country for failing to respect the ambiguous laws and regulations in place at the time. It took a while, but in 2013 the first 100% legal and regulated online poker sites launched in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Today, legal online poker is available in several states.
In this comprehensive guide to online poker in the US, we bring you a full list of states where you can play, the top operators spreading real money games, and everything else you need to jump into the action.
|US Online Poker|
|📢 Status||Up to each individual state to legalize and regulate online gaming. Online poker is currently legal in 7 US states, but live in only 5.|
|📍 States with Legal Online Poker||Connecticut (not live), Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia (not live), Rhode Island (not live)|
|📅 First US Online Poker Site Launched||Nov. 8, 2013 in Delaware|
|🔥 Top US Poker Sites||PokerStars, BetMGM Poker, WSOP, Borgata Poker, partypoker|
|🏆 Top US Online Poker Tournaments||PokerStars’ Championship of Online Poker (COOP) and Spring Championship (SCOOP), WSOP Online Circuit Series, WSOP Online Gold Bracelet Series|
|🎁 Best Rewards Programs||PokerStars’ Stars Rewards, BetMGM Rewards|
|🔞 Legal Age to Gamble||21+|
Yes, real money online poker is legal in the US. However, the game is not regulated on the federal level. States have the right to pass their own online gambling legislation. So far, only a handful of states — Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Rhode Island — offer legal, regulated online poker.
The state of Nevada was one of the first to legalize online poker and offer the first licensed sites. Nevada online poker is alive and well today. However, WSOP Nevada is the only operator offering legal poker games in the state.
One of the most popular American markets, New Jersey was at the forefront of the legal fight to bring online poker to America. Today, poker players in NJ can enjoy playing at a number of reputable licensed sites. Players can take advantage of the best New Jersey online poker deposit bonus offers and get in on the action at PokerStars NJ, BetMGM Poker NJ, WSOP NJ, partypoker NJ, and Borgata Poker NJ.
Learn more about playing in the Garden State with our full guide to NJ online poker.
With 10 million citizens, Michigan is the second-biggest state to offer games on the virtual felt and has quickly been gaining on Pennsylvania, trying to grab the title of the biggest online poker market in the US.
In May 2022, Michigan officially joined NV, DE, and NJ in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), allowing MI operators to share liquidity across the other three MSIGA states. On January 1, 2023, PokerStars MI was the first operator to pool its Michigan players with the players on PokerStars NJ, creating the first MI-NJ network and only the second multi-state online poker network in the country.
While no plans have been announced yet, we expect WSOP and BetMGM to follow suit in the coming months, linking up their MI rooms with their other networks, especially after seeing PokerStars absolutely dominate the market since it went live with its combined MI-NJ network.
BetMGM Poker MI, PokerStars MI, and WSOP MI offer regulated online poker in Michigan.
Since legalizing online poker in 2017, the state of Pennsylvania has built up a massive industry around it, licensing several high-end sites and apps within its borders.
The four brands offering legal online poker apps in PA are BetMGM Poker PA, Borgata Poker PA, PokerStars PA, and WSOP PA.
Head to our Pennsylvania online poker page for more details about playing in this state.
A small and unassuming state, Delaware was the first to make online poker legal back in 2013.
Delaware still offers online poker, but the small population limits player pools in tournaments and cash games. Delaware’s participation in MSIGA helps tremendously, allowing WSOP/888 to share liquidity and pool players from Delaware’s three 888-powered racinos with those in NV, NJ, and MI.
Delaware players can enjoy online games at sites operated by Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway, and Delaware Park, each of them powered by the 888poker software.
West Virginia made online poker legal in 2019 and has since begun to issue its first gaming licenses to online operators. However, currently, there are no poker rooms operating in the state.
This could be due to the fact that WV is a small market, and operators are waiting for more developments on the multi-state poker front before expanding. Luckily, WV regulators have mentioned interest in joining a multi-state compact — a prospective happening that would surely draw more interest from operators like WSOP, PokerStars, and BetMGM. Because we believe so strongly that WV will be next to join MSIGA, it was our number one pick in our “Which State is Next for Online Poker?” series.
The law regulating real money online poker in CT was passed in May of 2021. Due to an intricate legal situation in the state, only two licenses are available, but these have not been issued as of yet. So, although online poker is technically legal in the state, no licensed platforms are live in CT as of right now.
However, we are still optimistic. Several potential developments would lead to the advent of the first poker sites in Connecticut. While West Virginia was our number one, Connecticut wasn’t far behind in our predictions of states most likely to get online poker soon.
Rhode Island passed a set of laws regulating online poker in 2023, and these laws will come into full effect on March 1, 2024. With this, it became the eight US state to regulate online poker. However, it may still be a while before there are actual poker sites going live in Rhode Island.
With the population of just 1.1 million, the state does not represent a particularly attractive market for US poker sites on its own. In all likelihood, Rhode Island will need to join the MSIGA before there is any real movement. Once that happens, however, we will likely see one or two operators entering the market.
|Regulated Online Poker||Live Poker Sites||MSIGA Member|
Online poker is booming in the US, with new operators entering the market every year. Here is the list of the operators that currently spread legal online games within the United States:
The world’s leading online poker operator is available in NJ, PA, and MI and offers some of the biggest tournaments and a host of cash game tables across all stakes and game types. As of Jan 1, 2023, PokerStars NJ and PokerStars MI share their respective player pools.
As one of the leading platforms in online poker worldwide with immense experience, PokerStars brings everything players could ask for, from rich tournament action, over cash game tables featuring a wide range of stakes (from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10+), to the best selection of different variations.
While pretty much all operators spread No-Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, PokerStars US is the only one offering less popular variants, including Seven Card Stud, Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, 8-Game Mix, and more.
Hosting online WSOP events in NJ, MI, PA, and NV, WSOP.com is one of the major online poker brands in the US. While cash games are also available, WSOP.com is most appealing to players for its variety of tournament options.
The platform is truly unique for its ability to offer coveted WSOP bracelets to its online player pool and provide all sorts of satellite and feeder events for the live World Series of Poker taking place every summer in Las Vegas. Bracelet-awarding events are supplemented by WSOP Circuit tournaments, where players can win more bling in the form of WSOP rings.
New players are welcomed with a rather generous bonus on their first deposit, and WSOP US does a fine job of keeping their existing users happy with frequent reload bonuses, leaderboards, and other promotions offering extra value.
BetMGM Poker is the third major name in the American market, with a presence in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey. The room is operated by MGM, a company that has a strong presence in the country and has built its reputation primarily through its various live venues across the USA.
While online poker may not be the main thing BetMGM is known for, the operator has established itself well, even facing strong competition. The company partnered up with partypoker to acquire its software, allowing them to offer a stable and reliable platform for all fans of the game.
BetMGM spreads cash games (PLO and NLHE) as well as multi-table tournaments, and they have hosted many large events with impressive guarantees over the years. Its progressive jackpot sit-and-go (SPINS) is also quite popular with the players, offering big potential returns.
Available to players in NJ and PA only at this time, Borgata Poker is part of the big BetMGM family, runs on partypoker software, and is backed by one of the largest live casinos in Atlantic City.
Borgata shares its player pool with BetMGM in both states where it operates, which helps both rooms boost their player numbers and create more action across the tables.
Borgata runs on the same software and has a pretty much identical offering as BetMGM, with cash games, MTTs, and SPINS. The welcome bonus is quite solid as well, especially for players with bigger bankrolls.
Learn more about this dark horse in our Borgata Poker Review or just sign up and check it out yourself
Run It Once Poker is the latest addition to the growing group of licensed sites in the US. The site is owned by Rush Street Interactive (RSI), a company that owns brands like BetRivers and already has a strong presence in several US states through its casino and betting products.
In the latest strategic move, RSI has partnered with Phil Galfond, a well-known poker pro, to bring his Run It Once platform to the US market. It is still unclear what states the room will go live in at this point, but the launch seems imminent.
The introduction of RIO Poker US will add some novelty to the mix as this modern platform brings some interesting and player-friendly features that can help it stand out from the competition.
Learn all about the forthcoming launch of this long-awaited US poker platform in our complete Run It Once Poker US Preview and stay tuned for more updates as soon as they become available!
Players in the US are presented with many options to play real money online poker, with both legal and risky offshore sites offering their services. Of course, we always recommend playing at a legal and regulated room for many different reasons.
Here are the main things you should look at when picking an online poker room to play at:
Learn more about what to look for when picking a safe and legal online poker room over on our sister site Poker Shield.
Whatever your preference might be, you should have no problem finding something to perfectly match your taste. There are several major game types you’ll find on all major poker sites in the US, including:
All regulated US rooms provide plenty of cash game action across the board. Whether you are a beginner looking to build your bankroll or a seasoned veteran, you will have no problems finding something that is just right for you.
On the low end of the spectrum, there are cash game tables featuring blinds as low as $0.01/$0.02, where you can buy in for as little as $1. From here, the stakes progress naturally, i.e. $0.05/$0.10, $0.10/$0.25, $0.50/$1, $1/$2, $2/$5, capping of at the $5/$10 limit.
Most rooms feature your standard variations: No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Omaha 8. PokerStars is the only operator that stands out, offering you a chance to test your skills in more exotic variants like Seven Card Stud, 2-7 Single and Triple Draw, and more.
Generally speaking, the traffic at the US cash game tables is pretty solid, but there are differences between the states. You will never struggle to find action at lower limits, but higher stakes games run more during the peak (evening) hours and weekends.
Cash Games at US Sites Overview
|Lowest Stakes||Highest Stakes||Games|
|$0.01/0.02||$5/$10||NLHE, PLO, O8, Stud, Razz, Draw Games|
For the fans of tournament action, US sites offer plenty of choices. Daily schedules are ripe with action across all buy-in levels, from just $1 up to $500+.
Naturally, the biggest and most important weekly events take place during weekends, especially on Sundays, which is when all major operators host their flagship tournaments, such as:
Daily and weekly tournaments are just one part of the whole, though. US players also have many series to look forward to throughout the year, featuring large events with massive prize pools.
Players in MI, NJ, DE, NV, and PA get to compete for WSOP bracelets online every year, which certainly adds to the excitement and appeal of WSOP US.
PokerStars US may not have any bracelets to give out, but their tournament series regularly break records and exceed guarantees. This is also the only operator in the country offering tournaments featuring less popular variations such as Stud, Razz, etc.
The third major player in the regulated space, Borgata/BetMGM, is known for throwing smaller, shorter series. While the guarantees may not be as generous, the competition also tends to be softer.
Best US Online Poker Tournaments Overview
|Operator||Popular Tournaments||Major Series||Games|
|PokerStars||Sunday Special||'COOP, Winter Series||NLHE, PLO, Stud, Razz, O8, and more|
|WSOP||Sunday Major||Bracelet Series, Online Circuit||NLHE, PLO|
|BetMGM/Borgata||Sunday Main||State Championship||NLHE, PLO|
While every operator has its own name for them (Spin & Go’s, SPINS, BLAST), all of them offer jackpot sit-and-go events. The appeal of these is the ability to turn a small buy-in into a massive prize that can exceed 10,000x, provided you get lucky.
|PokerStars||Spin & Go||10,000x|
Different fast-fold variants are available at different sites and have been featured at cash game tables and tournaments. However, these have been hit-and-miss in the US market as the player pool does not seem big enough to sustain them over longer periods.
Are you interested in playing online poker in the US and are looking to set up your first account? Here are the general steps you will need to follow to get started:
While online poker is now regulated in a number of states, and others are contemplating following the trend, all regulation is still done exclusively at the state level. Operators must obtain licenses in each state where they want to offer services.
Under the terms of all licenses given out by the various state gaming regulators, only players playing from within the state in which the operator is regulated are allowed to play for real money.
This means any American citizen or resident can sign up for an account at a site that’s regulated in any of the states, but they can only play real money poker when they are physically present in that state.
To ensure that players abide by the rules, the operators go beyond simple GPS tracking of the devices players are playing on (which can be tampered with) and install their own geolocation software on your device.
Whenever you download any legal US online poker app or platform to a device, you will be asked for consent for such geolocation software to be placed on your device.
The software will track your actual location and ensure you are not trying to play from outside the legal jurisdiction you are allowed to play in.
There are no privacy concerns in place, as all operators are obligated by their license to keep all player information private and secret at all times.
If you decide not to install the geolocation software, you will not be allowed to play real money games until you do.
It is important to note that all legal online gambling sites are obligated to track your geolocation and make sure all players on their platform are in perfect compliance with the state and federal regulations and laws pertaining to iGaming.
With so many different operators out there — many of which advertise to be “the best poker site for US players” — how can you be sure which sites are regulated and which are not? Here are a few things to look out for in your pursuit of a legal place to play:
Since online poker rooms are still so few and only available in a few states, you may be wondering why you should go through the trouble of finding one. After all, you have heard of people playing at offshore sites and having a decent enough experience. However, there are clear advantages to playing at regulated sites, and here are a few of them:
Tournaments have always been the biggest reason for people to take up online poker, and that is one thing that has not changed over the past few decades. Offering big, often life-changing wins available to everyone, tournaments made poker the phenomenon it is today.
There are numerous options available for playing online in the USA. All licensed operators offer rich daily multi-table tournament (MTT) schedules, combined with major series taking place throughout the year, offering six and seven-figure guaranteed prize pools.
When it comes to daily schedules, you can find anything that suits your bankroll and preferences, from complete freerolls to high-roller events that will cost up to $1000 to enter. There is also a good spread of satellites and feeder tournaments, allowing those with smaller bankrolls to qualify for larger events at reasonable prices.
Tournament series are where it’s at, though, usually offering several weeks of non-stop action and boosted guarantees. While some of these are one-off occurrences, there are quite a few that US players can pretty much count on every year, such as:
Regulated rooms offer some of the world’s biggest and most lucrative bonus offers and promotions. As the sites compete for traffic and new players, welcome bonuses have never been juicier, and players can benefit from a host of valuable promotions and reload bonuses as well.
The first thing to welcome players at practically every regulated US room is a welcome bonus. These bonuses are often worth as much as $1,000, which is a great way to start building your bankroll.
Online poker bonuses are generally issued to players as a form of rakeback, which means you will have to play real money games to get your hands on the bonus. As you play real money poker and accumulate loyalty points, your bonus will be released in 5%, 10%, or more increments. In either case, expect a high return on any rake paid while your welcome bonus is active.
While getting a deposit bonus when you fund your account for the first time is common worldwide, no deposit bonuses are seldom found outside of the US. However, you can get free cash or tournament tickets at US poker rooms at most sites just for signing up.
These no deposit bonuses are given to every player who signs up as a chance to try playing real money games without any real risk and is a great opportunity to explore the site. If you live in a state where online poker is legal, you should look into the no deposit bonus offers that are available.
Scroll up to the top of the page to see how the leading operators’ bonuses compare.
Another great way to benefit from playing online is through the various loyalty schemes and rewards programs that the operators have in store for you. Loyalty points are awarded based on how much you play and the rake you pay, and they can be converted into cash, bonuses, and other real rewards.
Ensure you understand the loyalty scheme of the site you plan to play at before committing any significant funds. After all, the difference between an outstanding loyalty program like BetMGM Rewards or PokerStars Rewards and a poor one can be a very big factor in your bottom line.
Freeroll tournaments are among the most popular promotions available at poker rooms in the US. As the name suggests, these tournaments are free to enter, but they offer prizes that have actual value. Sometimes, it is cash, sometimes tournament tickets for real money events, and every now and again, there are valuable items and even travel packages up for grabs.
While some freerolls are free to enter and available to all players on a site, most have certain requirements. For example, there are often freerolls for new depositing players or those open to players who perform well in other real money events, etc. Either way, when available, these provide a great opportunity to boost your bankroll.
As long as you play at a fully licensed and regulated site, you will have no problems depositing money and withdrawing funds from your account. While the exact options may vary from one state to another, all licensed operators support a solid number of completely safe and reliable methods.
It is important to note that, unlike with offshore sites, your money and sensitive financial information are treated with the utmost care and always protected. State regulators require this from all licensed sites, so you can play with confidence.
As for the methods that are available, these include:
Cryptocurrencies are not supported by any legal gambling sites in the US, and if you come across any operators that accept crypto, you can immediately be certain that the relevant state authorities do not license them.
Live poker is available across the country, and no matter where you live, there is likely an in-person poker room close to you. Now that online play is also becoming more widely available, let’s weigh the pros and cons of online vs. live poker and determine what advantages you may get from playing on the virtual felt.
The history of online poker in the US is as long its history worldwide, as some of the first operators launched in the States at their inception. Here is how we got from there to here in a few major milestones.
In the US, online gambling is currently regulated at the state level. Every state has the right to create and pass its own rules and legislations, and these laws are only valid within the state borders. Currently, no federal laws deal with online gambling in the US, and it does not seem likely such a law will be passed in the foreseeable future.
In the current setup, operators regulated by a particular state are only allowed to offer real money online gambling for players physically present within its borders. For example, a person from California can register with a site licensed in Michigan, but they will only be allowed to play real money games while physically present in Michigan.
The term multi-state poker or interstate poker (also referred to as Shared Liquidity) in the US means allowing players from different states to play against each other in the same player pool. Without federal regulation in place, it is down to states to figure out how and if they want to allow this.
To those unfamiliar with the topic, it may seem that states would be quick to jump at the opportunity to merge player pools and create bigger, more sustainable environments. However, while there is no federal law regulating online gambling, a federal act — the Wire Act — has been giving state regulators a pause when it comes to crossing state lines.
Passed in 1961, the Interstate Wire Act was designed to prevent illegal betting across state lines. The Act made using wire communications to place bets outside of state lines illegal. Its original intention was to hinder mob activity in the sports betting business.
At first glance, nothing in the Wire Act pertains to online poker, and the idea of online gambling was not even a thing at the time. However, as often happens with old laws, this particular one found its way into the modern environment.
It was in 2018 that the US Department of Justice released its interpretation of the Act, claiming that its scope extends beyond sports betting and covers other forms of online gambling — online poker included. This was the DOJ going back on its earlier interpretation from 2011, which stated that activities unrelated to sports betting were outside the Wire Act scope.
This interpretation is probably the biggest reason why there has not been more movement on the interstate poker front.
Prior to this, in 2014, Nevada and Delaware had already signed an interstate compact. New Jersey joined the agreement, which came to be known as the MSIGA (Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement) in 2017. Michigan joined the MSIGA party five years later, signing on in April 2022.
To this day, these four states are the only ones to share player pools across borders. WSOP US was the first — and for a very long time, the only — operator to really take advantage of this opportunity, linking up platforms in NV, DE, & NJ.
The PokerStars US Network went live on January 1, 2023, combining its Michigan and New Jersey player pools. It was the first network to share liquidity with Michigan since it joined MSIGA the year prior and only the second multi-state online poker network in the country. The value of shared liquidity can easily be seen in PokerStars’ post-merger numbers. The bigger pools, bigger tournaments, and bigger prizes have clearly been a big hit, helping the Red Spade soar to the top of the MI & NJ markets.
Although three more states now have regulated poker (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Connecticut), state regulators have been reluctant to look into possible interstate compacts because of the 2018 DOJ decision.
However, things have been looking better for the future of the game, as the 2018 Wire Act interpretation was repealed, opening the door for new expansions.
The 2018 DOJ decision, accompanied by threats and warnings (which never came to fruition), was a reason for concern for state governments. New Jersey, which spearheaded the path of safe and legal online poker in the US, filed a lawsuit demanding answers and clarity. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission did the same, fearing that this could harm their interstate sale of lottery tickets.
In 2019, a US District Court dismissed the DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act, underlying that it had “significant coherence problems.”
The DOJ filed an appeal, and the case went in front of the Court of Appeals. The case was heard once again, and the Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, striking down the 2018 interpretation.
The DOJ had one last instance available to them, as they could have taken the case to the US Supreme Court. But with the new administration in place in Washington, the interest in pursuing this matter seemingly disappeared.
Finally, the path was clear for the expansion of US online poker.
The MSIGA is currently the only active multi-state online poker compact in the US. It was originally signed between Nevada and Delaware, and New Jersey joined a few years later.
With some clarity on the Wire Act situation finally available, other regulated states have been looking into their options, and Michigan is leading the way.
Namely, the state was approved by the other three states’ regulators to join the Multi-State agreement as its fourth signatory and subsequently became a full member of the agreement. Michigan is the second-largest regulated state, with a population of over 10 million.
Currently, there are three sites operating in the Mitten State: PokerStars, WSOP, and BetMGM. All three have a presence in New Jersey, but only PokerStars has combined its MI and NJ pools thus far.
PS MI became the first operator to take advantage of new circumstances, combining its player pool with PS NJ as of January 1, 2023.
You can sign up with any regulated site by visiting the operator’s page and filling in the required details to open your account. While it’s possible to sign up from pretty much anywhere in the country, you should keep in mind that you will only be allowed to play for real money while physically present in the state where that particular room is regulated. So, for example, you can only play on PokerStars PA while in Pennsylvania.
Every state has a regulatory body in charge of licensing and overseeing all online gambling. In the US, online poker rooms are regulated on the state level, and no overarching federal body oversees their operations.
The best way to know if a site is legal is by checking out its licensing information. This info is available on the page, usually in the footer, and it clearly indicates what organization is in charge of its licensing and regulation. In New Jersey, for example, this would be the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
On top of this, regulated sites are owned by well-known companies and do not cater to players from the entire country but rather from the individual states where the operator is licensed. Licensed US gambling sites also do not accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Not all of them are available across all regulated states, but you can rest assured that these are your best and safest picks.
No, US online poker rooms are not rigged. The United States has strict regulations in place to ensure that all games are fair and honest for players. The various state gaming commissions and regulatory bodies that oversee online gambling, such as the Nevada Gaming Control Board, conduct regular audits and inspections of the software and systems used by these sites to ensure that they are operating fairly and that all games are random and unbiased.
Regulated online poker rooms in the US have more robust security measures in place to protect player information and ensure fair gameplay. These sites are licensed and regulated by a reputable authority, such as a state gaming commission, which provides oversight and enforces regulations to ensure that the site is operating in a fair and safe manner.
Additionally, advanced technology and encryption methods are used to secure players’ data and funds, ensuring that the players are protected.
It’s important to note that, as with any online gambling, choosing a reputable and licensed site is crucial. Make sure to check that the appropriate regulatory body has licensed the site and has a good reputation before playing.