Playing Poker online in the US legally

Playing poker over the internet was an option available to everybody prior to 2006. There was no legislation that prohibited players, based in the US, from signing in to a website for poker and playing poker games available over there. The scenario changed when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed. According to this law, financial institutions were banned from facilitating the transfer of money from user accounts to any poker website that was based offshore.

This made it extremely difficult for people, who lived in the US, to transfer money to or receive money from poker sites. As a result many poker websites that were based offshore stopped allowing US based players to participate.

However, not all offshore poker websites have done this, and players from the US can still play poker at these websites. But these players will have to find their way around the strictures of the Act if they want to be able to use their bank accounts for all the necessary transactions.

In 2013 a number of states began to devise legislature that allowed gaming commissions and divisions in their given states to establish and regulate poker websites. Hence it is now completely possible to play if you are based in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey and access a website that is commissioned by their gaming divisions.


It is expected that people would have lots of questions if they want to play online poker which actually involves money. Below is a common list of questions and related answers.

What are the poker games that can be played online?

Texas Hold Em Poker and Omaha Poker are the most popular online versions of poker currently available. However, there are other poker sites and you should explore these as well. They will have additional variants of poker that might not be available on other websites.

Is online poker completely fair?

Poker websites that have legal licenses can be trusted to host poker games that are completely randomized. These are websites that have been thoroughly evaluated and subsequently licensed by their respective state authorities. The games, number generators and the software employed are certified after rigorous testing and are consistently checked and monitored.

What are the stakes for which I can play?

The stakes for which people can play online poker can vary greatly. There will be poker tables within a very broad range of stakes, in every designated poker room. So for example you can find no-limit poker games as well as pot-limit poker games. Apart from that there will be a lot of poker games that can be played freely along with tournaments that you can participate just for the sake of acquiring experience in playing.

Are there tournaments for online poker?

There are definitely online poker tournaments and as a matter of fact, you will discover that, by playing in specific online tournaments, you have a chance of winning an entry into a major tournament that is happening on land, rather than online. All kinds of online poker tournaments are available and these include multiple freeroll poker tournaments. Also, these tournaments have real money for prizes.

Can poker be played any time of the day?

These websites are perpetually open, so there is no restriction on when people can log in. However, there are peak times and off-peak times which can affect the number of people you will find to play with, whenever you log on.

What’s the legal age for playing online poker?

You have to be over 21 years of age if you want to play poker online in the US legally. People, who are 21 years of age or below, are restricted by law to engage in online gambling. Whenever a person registers with a poker website, they have to provide evidence of their age. Usually this can be done automatically. If, however, the site cannot verify the age of the person, they will be asked to send documentation that proves their age. The person’s account will not be active until the documentation has been sent.

Are there free poker games online?

If a person just wants to experience playing poker in an online environment or gain some playing experience, they can log in to any of the US authorized poker sites and play the numerous versions of free play poker games that they have to offer. Apart from that, new signups will receive invitations to participate in freeroll poker tournaments that have numerous cash rewards.

Can I earn comps while playing online poker?

Online players receive poker comps as giveaways. However before rushing off to play at a website, you should take out some time to compare the different comps that websites offer. You will see that coupling comps along with bonuses and promotions at a given website will yield the maximum benefit for you.

Are there online freeroll tournaments?

As previously mentioned, you can find freeroll poker tournaments at all poker sites that have been legally authorized by the US government. Poker tournaments for which entry is free are frequently held. Players who are new, often receive invitations to participate in specific freeroll tournaments. So do check whether you have received any such invitation whenever you signup.

What are the bonuses that I can avail for free online?

There are a number of usual poker site bonuses that you will be able to avail if you sign up with any poker site that is based in the US. There are sites that give bonuses free of any charge at all. You can avail these whenever you sign up with a site. The credits will be transferred to your account. Some sites give bonuses that are a percentage of the amount you initially deposit. These bonuses can vary in value from site to site.

JURISDICTIONS which are legally licensed in the US

At the moment, there are two commissions that have the authority to issue licenses to poker websites. Apart from that, there are three US states where you can legally play poker.

Nevada Gaming Commission

The commission can now issue licenses to gaming companies that are Nevada-based. Any such company that wants to start providing gaming services that include online poker with real money can apply for a license. Players can safely play on websites with this license, and can trust the security provided by the site.

New Jersey Casino Control Commission

Players living in Delaware or New Jersey can now easily play poker legally online with real money, provided they are playing at sites that have a license from New Jersey Casino Control Commission.


You should know that there are a number of poker websites that have not acquired licensing in the US. These sites still let players sign up and play poker with real money. Almost all of these websites are based in two countries.

Antigua Directorate of Offshore Gambling

Antigua is a country that has been giving licenses to sites for providing people with the opportunity to gamble online, for years now. However websites overseen by the government of the country are decreasing. This is because there are a lot of countries, America included, that do not legally recognize these websites.

Government of Curacao

Curaco’s government provides a license that is easily obtainable for anyone who wants to develop an online poker website. It is to be noted that the license is not specifically a license for gambling; it simply gives permission to a company to trade in the country.