Legal US Poker Rooms FAQ
By now you should have a good idea about what you want from a top legal poker site in
America. Hopefully, we have spelled out all the good stuff (bonuses, customer support,
fishy sites, playing on your smartphone or Mac) and the bad stuff to avoid (crummy
cash-out times, sites with no players, terrible software).
But to wrap it all up in one handy bundle, here is a quick FAQ which should answer some
of your most common queries. Happy hunting on those online legit US poker tables, and
let’s all end up just a little bit richer!
Is Online Poker Legal In The USA?
It’s a common misconception that recent legislation in the US made playing online
But that’s a lazy assumption by the mainstream media. What you need to know is that
in 2017, you are free to enjoy Omaha, Hold’em or 2-7 Triple Draw
Blood River (or whatever sick Dealer’s Choice game you can imagine) on the web.
Laws like UIGEA, passed in 2006, made
the processing of financial transactions at Internet betting sites illegal – not the
poker itself. So, when you’re firing up the laptop to grind away a few hours at the
cash games, you can play safe in the knowledge that you are not breaking the law.
Can Americans Play Online Poker At Any Site Out There?
Sadly not. Some of the biggest sites in the world still don’t accept US players – at
least not on a countrywide level, so depending on where you live in the USA, you may
have to settle for playing at one of the many alternative rooms. But don’t worry,
follow our expert guide at legalpoker.com,
and you can find a top legal poker room on the web with plenty of players and lots
of great games.
Are There Online Poker Sites Just For US Players?
Yes! Just as American poker players online have been frozen out of playing at
international poker sites on the net, there are plenty of Internet rooms –
especially in newly regulated markets like Nevada and New Jersey – that cater to
American players, and American players only. Play with your countrymen today!
Do I Have to Play For Real Money - And Is Real Money Play
You certainly don’t need to play poker online for real money, and some sites open to
US players ONLY provide play-money options. Play-money poker online lets you
practise games you may not have tried before committing real dollars; you can als
join great leagues with the chance to win prizes like holidays and gambling trips to
Remember, real-money poker online
for US players isn’t illegal, and has never been made illegal on a nationwide scope.
Certainly, some sites have made the playing of online poker an offense, but no one,
as of March 2017, has ever been arrested for enjoying a hand or
two of Texas Hold’em on their computers.
What Payment Withdrawal Options Are There?
UIGEA made some methods of depositing real cash onto legal poker sites in the US
problematic, and subsequently it’s been much harder for American players
in 2017 wanting to play poker online to get their cash in and
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are still plenty of banking options open
to US Texas Hold’em or Omaha players online – you just need to know which one works
for you. For example, some credit
and bank debit cards may work with
certain sites, but the fees and cashout times can vary.
Meanwhile, wire transfer services like Western Union are convenient and fast, but may
carry huge minimum deposit requirements if you are to avoid hefty fees. Check out
our dedicated deposit method pages on this site for more information.
How Fast Are They?
No two banking methods are created equal, and as such the cash-out times can vary
hugely. While you may be waiting 2-3 days for a credit card withdrawal, check or
wire transfer times can take much longer.
Are There Any Safe US Poker Sites Left?
While it’s true that there have been plenty of scandals surrounding poker sites open
to American players over the last few years, controversies surrounding missing
funds, late or non-existent cash-outs, or top-down cheating from poker room
employees are few and far between in 2017.
Arguably, it’s never been safer to play at US legal poker sites than today, but you
should still tread carefully before opening a real-money gaming account online.
Trust our reviews here at LegalPoker.com, pay attention to our ratings, and you’ll
have a much happier Internet poker journey.
Can I Play On My Mobile or Tablet?
Gambling hasn’t been left out of the mobile phone explosion of the past couple of
years. There are now more gambling apps than ever which allow you to bet, play poker
or spin a roulette wheel on your phone or tablet – anywhere, any time.
Playing poker on your mobile phone is the thing of the future, and with more powerful
portable devices coming out every year that can handle the software needed for
Internet poker, expect more people to ditch the PC in favor of their cells
Are There Any Federal Laws Relating to Online Poker?
Other than the aforementioned UIGEA, which governs the processing of payments at
online poker sites, there are no other federal laws at present pertaining to the
legality of Internet poker.
When Will Online Poker Be Legal Again In The US?
It’s hard to say. Efforts have been made in recent years to introduce federal
legislation regulating online poker across the US, but as of
March 2017, all attempts have failed. Time will tell if legal
poker sites in America become accepted in every single state – you could well be
reading this same paragraph in 20 years time.
For now, a state-by-state easing of online poker legislation seems the most likely
way forward. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are leading the way – expect more
states to follow as we move into 2018.
Can I make money playing poker online?
Yes, but how much depends on what you're willing to stake and how willing you are to
learn. Poker is predominantly a skill game, and the better you are the more your
skills can overcome the luck element. The key when starting out is to grind, that is
to work your way steadily up through the levels, multi-tabling micro-stakes games
and playing simple, ABC poker.
Can I play in online poker tournaments?
Yes, all good sites carry regular tournaments with buy-ins ranging from a dollar to
thousands. The best poker rooms will offer guaranteed prize pools which give you the
chance of bagging a life-changing first prize. A good tip is to hunt out poker
tournaments with overlay, where not enough players buy-in to meet the site's
guarantee. Overlay is the extra cash 'topped up' by the poker room.
Can I play in US Dollars?
Yes. All good sites let you deposit and play with USD or convert cash when you load
up, and there are many US-facing sites that deal specifically in US currency.
Can I play online when visiting a different state?
Yes, normally. Some states like Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey now have intra-state
legal sites that cater for players strictly within state borders. Most other states
will let you play at unregulated poker rooms online.
Can I play online with friends?
Yes. Some larger poker rooms operate 'Home Games' where you can set up your own Sit N
Gos or cash games, and set the buy-ins and blind levels.
Do I need a credit card to play online?
No. While all major legal poker sites accept credit cards as a form of deposit, good
rooms will let you deposit using a debit card or your e-Wallet. Oftentimes, a credit
card can be the worst form of payment as it can incur fees and charges, depending on
where you are.
Do I need to pay tax on poker winnings?
Yes. Under current US tax laws, and some state laws, all winnings at an online poker
table must be declared to the IRS. New, regulated sites in states like NJ and Nevada
have processes in place for you to sort this out.
How can I avoid breaking the law playing online poker?
Currently, online poker is specifically legal and regulated within Nevada, New Jersey
and Delaware. However, with the exception of some states like Washington, where it's
explicitly illegal, online poker exists in a gray area.
In most US states in 2017, there are no specific laws outlawing
online poker, and no federal anti-poker laws currently exist. That means as long as
you are playing at a safe, reliable overseas site you can continue to play poker on
your computer without fear of prosecution.
How is legal online poker regulated in the US?
In states that have passed their own poker laws, such as Nevada and New Jersey, poker
sites are licensed and regulated by gambling commissions within those states.
Most smaller sites you will find available online in the US, however, are regulated
in overseas jurisdictions like Costa Rica, Antigua and Curacao. You are always
risking cash when playing at overseas sites that are technically breaking US federal
law on receiving payments, but as long as you are careful with your cash and trust
our site reviews there shouldn't be any problems.
Is it legal to play mobile poker anywhere?
As with playing on your PC or Mac, it's legal to play poker via your smartphone in
regulated states like NJ and Nevada as long as you play within state borders. It's
sometimes trickier to play outside regulated states on your phone and you may
struggle to find dedicated apps for your tablet or cell.
Is poker a game of skill or luck?
There's no doubt that, when played well, poker is predominantly a game of skill,
although luck plays its part. Good players can read their opponents, and use
deception and bluffs to force players to fold superior hands. However, players
should all assess odds and accept that bad beats can happen. That's when the luck
element plays its part.
Is tournament poker play legal?
Yes. You'll find plenty of tournaments to play online, from small-stakes Sit n' Gos
to big-money satellites into live major events and guaranteed online tourneys.
Is there anywhere in the US where online poker is
Currently, only Washington State has explicit anti-online poker laws in place. It's a
Class C Felony to play for real money poker online but so far, no amateur player has
been prosecuted for enjoying a game of Texas Hold 'em online.
What happens when I win money at a non-USA site?
Winning cash at a non-US poker site is the same as winning money at a regulated USA
site. You'll have to make a withdrawal at the Cashier and choose a banking option.
Make sure you pick a banking method that is free from fees and that will process
cash-outs in a quick time for US players.
What is the minimum deposit for playing online?
Minimum deposits at online sites differ from site to site and from deposit method to
deposit method. A debit card deposit at one site might have a minimum load of $5
where another site will require $10. However, an e-wallet may demand $10 at one site
compared to $20 at a different site.
Why is the US tight on online gambling?
Most of the USA's gambling laws are either ancient or non-existent, and the country
has really failed to keep up with the online gambling revolution.
A lot of online betting and poker was, until recently, governed by the outdated 1961
Wire Act which outlaws bets made across state lines. While the original law related
mainly to sports betting, it was later used to beat online poker sites offering
games to American players.
Only when the Department of Justice relaxed their stance on the Wire Act in 2011 to
allow states to make their own laws if they saw fit has any progress been made. As
of April 2017 there are moves to have the Wire Act reinstated
and have ALL online gambling in the US made illegal, even in states that have
legalized it like Nevada.