Real Money Online Poker Sites for US Players
Since the passage of UIGEA in 2006, online poker in the United States has been in the dark ages. While no federal law makes playing online poker illegal, operating a US real money poker room became very challenging post Black Friday. Now on a state by state basis, America is legalizing online poker and giving players more options for playing with real money. Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have already legalized and regulated online poker!
Regulated online poker is setting off a second boom in the poker industry. Recreational players are once again returning to the games and volumes are increasing on major US online poker operators. With increased volumes come better promotions, and there are many exciting promotions being offered on several websites.
US Poker Sites With The Best Freerolls
One of the great benefits of the new environment is the increasing number of US poker freerolls, which is a good way to build your bankroll. Freerolls are risk free for you! They allow you to play in tournaments where the poker operator puts up the prize money, meaning there are no entry fees. Online poker freerolls are a relatively good place to hone your poker skills because there is real money on the line, even if it isn’t yours. When comparing poker freerolls, look for the operators that are offering the biggest prize pools and have the smallest number of players.
888.com has been a leader in the freeroll space and offers some major opportunities for new playears. Currently, they offer a $3500 freeroll for all new signups. The WSOP poker room gives you access to seven smaller ($100) freerolls when you are a new customer. That helps you to balance out the luck a little bit and gives you more chance to build your bankroll. This is part of their “Welcome Week Freerolls” promotion. Party/Borgata is also investing money in freerolls for US customers and they have a $1000 freeroll every Sunday. The 888 freeroll currently appears to be the largest, but it is important to keep your eye out for the best current promotions. Freerolls are a great way to build your bankroll.
10 Tips for Choosing The Best Online Poker Site
1) Look for Websites With High Player Traffic in the Games you Like
Volume is key when deciding where to play. There is no point in finding an amazing network that rarely has any games running. If player volume is too low, you may not be able to find the game you want at a time that you are available. Every poker room has it’s own unique character, so make sure you check to find out if you will fit in. What time of day do you like to play? Check and see if the games you want to play are available at that time of day. If tournaments are your thing, then you may want to check the tournament schedule and see if it fits your needs.
2) Find a Good Deposit Bonus
A good deposit bonus should also factor into your decision. Along with freerolls, deposit bonuses are a great way to build your online poker bankroll. Be careful to choose the deposit bonus that is right for you! Some bonuses take a lot of work to clear, so you may find it challenging to benefit from them if you don’t normally play as much as they require. Often the biggest bonuses are the most challenging to clear. Therefore, if you are a casual poker player, you are often better off targeting small bonuses or “instant bonuses.”
3) Read Reviews
One of the best ways to find out about a poker room is to learn from those that have come before you. Check and see what users are saying about the room before you sign up. Is withdrawing your money easy to do? What is the software like? These are all topics that will be covered in reviews and can help you to choose your poker room.
4) User Interface
How easy is the software to use? Most new environments (including a new poker room) will feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but you should be looking for software that is simple, easy to use, fast, and secure. The poker lobby is a key part of this equation. Filters are a great way to simplify the lobby in a way that makes sense for you. Make sure your poker room has a good filter system.
5) Customer Service
You should already have a bit of a sense for what this will be like from reading reviews. It may seem like customer service isn’t that important to you, but when something goes wrong you will want a friendly and helpful support person on the other end of the line. Sometimes even an issue as simple as Mastercard putting a hold on your credit card can become complicated if customer support is bad. Live support is also a nice feature since it often allows you to deal with situations immediately rather than waiting hours for an email response.
Again, just like deposit bonuses, this is a great way to build your bankroll. They are risk free and since there are no entry fees, the competition can be lighter than in real money tournaments. As a result, if you play some good poker, freerolls present a great opportunity to win some money! One word of advice: play tight early on and wait for premium hands since your opponents will likely be playing crazy…
7) Safe, Secure, and Fast Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Look for a poker room that has multiple deposit and withdrawal options. If your poker room thinks outside the box beyond bank transfers and credit cards, that is probably a good sign. E-wallets can be a great way to quickly transfer money between websites. This can be especially important if you are looking to build your bankroll through deposit bonuses. Moving money quickly will be an important tool to help build your poker bankroll.
8) Improve Your Experience With a Nice Table Setting
This is along the same lines as what we discussed earlier. Just make sure that your poker table has easy to use buttons for bet sizing, going all-in, folding, etc. Sometimes you will see something really annoying like an all-in button that is located where you might accidentally mis-click. Imagine the frustration of having big money on the line and accidentally going all-in and losing with a terrible hand. Not fun.
9) VIP Status
Some poker rooms offer great VIP support for certain players. This might include special trips overseas, improved customer service, access to large private freerolls, gifts, or even cash bonuses. It is definitely worth checking to see which poker room may offer you VIP treatment.
10) Poker Training
Once you are up and running, it will be time to focus on improving your game! There are many ways to keep your game sharp including strategy articles, training videos, advanced analytical poker tools, private coaching, etc. In some cases a poker room may include a “poker school” where you can improve your game.
US Online Poker Sites Ranked & Reviews
888 Poker Review : 8.5 out of 10
One of the oldest online poker rooms in the world, 888.com has been around online gaming since the beginning of the poker boom. Their brand is highly respected in the poker world and is a leader in the newly regulated US market. You’ll notice their experience with their software, which is practical and fast. This room has plenty of micro, low, and mid-stakes games running at most hours of the day. You will also find plenty of SnG’s and MTT’s to choose from, which isn’t the case at all US poker websites. Action at the highest buy-ins is a bit lacking, but very few operators boast significant volume in the highest games.
Deposit options are plentiful at 888.com including your choice of Visa/Mastercard, Skrill, PayPal, etc. Their customer service is also friendly and prompt in the event that you need their support. Generally, the sign-up process should be seamless and not require assistance. The primary reason I don’t give them a higher rating is that the website would benefit from a few more recreational players.
WSOP Poker Review: 8 out of 10
Since the early days when Benny Binion created the WSOP, it has expanded into the largest annual gathering of poker players in the world. Now the WSOP has expanded its reach into the world of online gaming and has created a very snazzy poker room. They also have a pretty cool mobile app which is being released soon. The bonus clears a bit slowly.
Volume is a bit lacking in certain areas like SnG’s but for most lower stakes ring games there are plenty of options. The obvious benefit of this network is they run extensive WSOP promotions. Deposits and withdrawals are swift and reliable like at the other major regulated US poker rooms. You can also count on fast and friendly customer support. If their volume was better and they had a few more recreational players I would have given them a higher rating.
Party/Borgata Poker Review: 9 out of 10
For years the Borgata has been the best live poker room in Atlantic City, drawing players from all around the tri-state area to their live casino and carrying a wide variety of games. Their online poker room includes 24/7 support, a new depositor freeroll, and a seamless poker platform. Volume is solid in most games and growing. Weekend tournaments can have significant prize pools and are a great opportunity for US players. There have been some issues with players close to the NJ border, as their geo-targeting software may kick you off if you are too near the border. However, this is rapidly being fixed.
Again, deposits and withdrawals are not a problem with this site and customer support is friendly. Most of the new US card rooms are solid, but Party/Borgata edges them out in my opinion because of the increasing volume and solid tournament fields.
Good luck choosing your site and building your bankroll!