US Online Poker FAQ
- Is US online poker legal?
There is no federal law preventing American online poker players from indulging in the nation's favorite card game. There are however restrictions on United States citizens operating online poker sites, and on financial institutions processing transactions relating to online poker or other forms of online gambling.
- Are there any states it is specifically not legal in?
The majority of states have no specific laws explicitly allowing online poker licenses to be issued, but to the best of our knowledge even in these states no player from America has ever been charged for simply playing online poker.
- What is the UIGEA?
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, is a law passed in 2006 which restricted financial institutions from processing online poker transactions. It is a common misconception that UIGEA outlawed playing poker: this is untrue, although a number of USA sites erred on the side of caution and voluntarily withdrew from the United States market after the bill was passed into law.
- What is Black Friday?
Black Friday in online poker terms is April 15th, 2011. That was the day when the three biggest US-facing online poker sites were targeted by the United States Department of Justice, and all of them ended up withdrawing from the US market. However a number of legal online poker sites have remained operational in the States.
- Are the sites you recommend safe for US players?
Our reviewers have carried out extensive research on all the USA poker sites we recommend, and we will not recommend an online poker site if we do not have reason to believe it is safe and secure for American players.
- How do you rate and review sites?
We assess sites based on a number of key criteria, including:
- Amount of traffic
- Great welcome bonuses
- Low deposit limits
- Many withdrawal methods
- Strength of software
- Ability to play on many different devices and operating systems
- What deposit / withdrawal methods can I use?
The available deposit methods vary from site to site, but include
- Credit cards
- Bank Wire
- Western Union
When it comes to withdrawals there are fewer options for United States players, but the most popular are bank wire, paper checks, Western Union and MoneyGram. We recommend you check our review section to find out which USA online poker sites accept which methods.
- Will the legal situation in the US change?
It is already changing. In the past two years some three American states have passed online poker laws, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, and more of the States have bills at varying stages in the regulatory process. We would not be surprised if a fourth state has regulated online poker before the end of 2017.
- Can I play legally for play money?
Yes. Many real money online poker sites for players from America will have a play money option where you can improve your game by practicing for free without risking any of your money. A lot of American poker players start out this way.
- Can I play online poker on my mobile?
A great number of United States-facing online poker sites also allow American players to enjoy the same games on their mobile device. Some will have native apps for iPhone or Android, some will allow players to play instant play poker games on their mobile internet browser.
- Do I need to download software to play online poker?
While you can download software for online poker, this is often not necessary. Most online poker sites for players from the States will have a no-download or 'instant play' option. This lets players log in from anywhere with an internet connection and start playing online poker through their web browser.