Poker remains one of the most popular card games in the world. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century. More recently, online poker for real money has become a very popular gambling activity among avid players in the US. With this guide, you will learn about the best poker sites for real money, online poker legislation, online poker bonuses and more!
- Current Best Online Poker Offer for Real Money
- Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money
- Free entry for WSOP Poker Tournament
- Free Online Poker Sites
- Online Poker Bonuses
- Online Video Poker
- Where is Online Poker Legal?
- Real Money Poker Apps
- Sweepstakes Poker
- Online Poker Variations
- Best Online Poker Games
- How to Cash Out When Playing Online Poker
Current Best Online Poker Offer for Real Money
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Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money
There are plenty of ways to play poker online. However, some online poker sites have been able to elevate their game much higher against all the competitive sites. The following five sites would have to be considered the best way to play online poker.
This site was launched in 2017. It has quickly become one of the largest online poker networks in the state of New Jersey. The site is connected with Borgata Hotel & Casino as the biggest land-based gambling resort in Atlantic City.
One of the main reasons BetMGM Poker is so popular is a highly attractive incentive program. This includes various bonuses, promotions and VIP perks. The site has also received high grades for game fairness and security.
There are excellent tournament opportunities on a weekly basis that are geared towards casual players. There are cash games, single-table tournaments, multi-table tournaments and fast-fold poker options.
Banking is made easy with a prepaid BetMGM card. Visa/Mastercard credit cards are also accepted for deposits along with bank transfers, PayPal, EChecks and Skrill. Withdrawals are processed with the same methods except for credit cards and bank transfers.
This is a sister site to BetMGM and Party Casino and also part of the Borgata Hotel & Casino. This is one of the older online poker sites. It was launched in 2001 by PartyGaming as a general online poker site. Real money poker can be found at Nj.partypoker.com. This site was launched in 2013.
This real money poker site offers one of the best bonus offers on a player’s initial deposit. It also offers an occasional reload bonus and loyal players can earn spot bonuses.
A few of the highlights at Party Poker include the depth of game selection. It is also known for having a high promotional value compared to online play. In 2019, the site upgraded its mobile capabilities. This has led to SPINS Tournaments and one-handed gameplay. Improved table tilling allows players to easily move from game to game.
The game selection includes cash games, no limit Hold’em games, pot limit Omaha games and multi-table tournaments.
Party Poker also offers a prepaid card. Deposits can be made with Visa/Mastercard, Neteller and Skrill. Withdrawals can be paid by check or through Skrill.
Opened in 2017, this is one of the newer sites to play online poker for real money. Pala Poker operates with a proprietary platform as a stand-alone site. It is also connected with Pala Casino as a popular online casino site. The poker site also has ties to Borgata.
Traffic continues to build as this site tries to make inroads with online poker players. One of the more attractive features is the five-tiered customer loyalty reward program. Players can earn status points as a rate of 50 for every $1 paid in tournament fees. Reward points are awarded based on a player’s current status.
Online poker play consists of cash games including fixed and no-limit Hold’em. Sit & Go options offer lower-stakes play. Multi-table tournaments are primarily geared towards no-limit Hold’em. There are plenty of low-stakes, fast-resolving tournaments.
The visuals of the site itself are aesthetically pleasing. This adds an immersive feel to the gameplay experience. The mobile app is easy to navigate and stylish in its presentation. It can be used to make quick deposits and withdrawals.
Banking methods for deposits include Visa/Mastercard, eChecks, PayPal, Neteller and a Pala prepaid card. Withdrawals are processed through eChecks, PayPal, Neteller and the prepaid Pala card.
This New Jersey-based real money online poker site was launched in 2016. It is part of Resorts Digital Gaming. Overall, Pokerstars is the world’s biggest online poker site.
One of the biggest draws for serious players is the award-winning operating software. This allows players to customize their online gameplay experience. Examples include four-color decks, auto-rebuy, fast deposits and lobby design.
This site is also popular for its lineup of tournaments. There are guaranteed weekend tournaments, major tournament series and innovative game variations including Spin & Go, Zoom and Power Up.
This could be one of the most recognized online poker sites in the world. Players looking for real money options can turn to WSOP NJ. This site is known for offering the most comprehensive collection of poker games. It is connected with Caesars Entertainment. This is the gaming giant that runs the annual World Series of Poker Main Event.
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WSOP NJ is part of the All American Poker Network. Its affiliation with other members makes this the biggest poker room network in the country. A larger player base guarantees bigger and more frequent cash game tables on a regular basis.
Many of these big-money tournaments offer six-figure guarantees. There are numerous satellite events to win tickets for WSOP live events. This site also generates the highest cash-game traffic in New Jersey.
The WSOP VIP customer loyalty program is linked to Caesars Rewards. The new player bonus is one of the best in the industry. Play is rewarded with Action Player Points. For every 50 APP’s. players receive $5 of bonus money in their online account.
The biggest game by far is Texas No-Limit Hold’em. However, other variants include Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo.
There is also Limit versions for Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud Hi/Low. Other options include Sit and Go and multi-table tournaments.
All major credit cards can be used for deposits as well as eChecks, PayPal and PayNearMe. Withdrawal requests can be paid in eChecks and PayPal.
A player’s VIP status is directly linked to total hands played. There are six levels in this customer loyalty program. The higher the level, the better the perks. Earned StarCoins can be used to enter exclusive tournaments. They can also be redeemed for cash.
The game selection is highlighted by single and multi-table tournaments. Zoom Poker is this site’s version of Fast Fold Poker. There is a daily lineup of tournaments known as Hot Turbos, Nightly Stars, KO Fever and Moonlight Express.
Deposit options include Visa/Mastercard, PayPal, Skrill and eChecks. Withdrawals can be requested through PayPal, Skrill and eChecks.
Free entry for WSOP Poker Tournament
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|Online Poker tournament||VegasInsider.com WSOP Cappers Poker Series|
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|Sign Up Procedure||Read on Vegas Insider|
|Available in||New Jersey and Nevada|
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Free Online Poker Sites
There are a number of ways to play online poker for free. The five sites listed above would top this list as well. Building a strong reputation as a real money online poker site, this carries over for casual players looking to play poker for free.
One of the main things that all five of these real money sites have in common is a safe and secure way to play poker online.
BetMGM offers free play for many of the same games the site offers for real money play. This is a great way for new players to get their feet wet without losing their shirt. It also offers an excellent tutorial covering the basics of play for each game.
Free poker games can be downloaded at PartyPoker.net. One unique aspect of this site is Team PartyPoker. This is made up of some of the best players in the world. Collectively, they provide insight, tips and other helpful information to both novice and highly skilled amateur poker players.
Pokerstars offers both ring games and tournaments for play using a virtual bankroll. Ring games are classic poker variants that can be joined and left at any time. Players determine how much of their virtual cash to bring to the table. New players can receive up to $35,000 in virtual cash when signing up.
Pala Poker has made a name for itself with its free daily spin for $1 million for real money players. It also offers one of the best online guides to play poker. It covers all the basics for the most popular versions such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha.
One of the best online poker sites to play for free is WSOP. It offers a stand-alone site PlayWSOP that offers free versions for poker play. Players can start with $25,000 in free poker chips. Games are available 24/7 for both individual play. Group play is against other players from around the world.
Online Poker Bonuses
Real money poker sites have an extensive promotional lineup of bonus offers. Most are geared towards new players when they first register for an online poker account. Other offers cater to regular players through a customer loyalty program. Every player should familiarize themself with the rules and requirements attached to any bonus offer.
Best Online Poker Bonuses
What are the different kinds of poker bonuses?
There are different kinds of poker bonuses:
A No-Deposit bonus offers free cash for just signing up. A new player can get up $30 free to try out the site before making a cash deposit into their account. There is a strict rollover requirement for any money won. This pertains to how many times that free cash must be wagered before requesting a payout.
This type of no-deposit bonus can also be awarded in free chips that work the same way.
The most common bonus offer for new accounts is a matched welcome bonus. This pertains to a set percent match on an initial account deposit. One common example would be a 100% matched bonus of an initial deposit up to $500.
The actual bonus payout is tied to earned points for onsite play. The more real money poker games played or tournaments entered, the more points received.
Freerolls refer to free entry into specified tournaments with guaranteed prize pools. Freerolls are generally tied to deposits and reloads into an online account. Reloads pertain to additional account deposits.
Most sites offer an overall customer loyalty bonus program. Points are awarded for all online play. Some programs are multi-tiered with particular perks and incentives tied to a player’s overall VIP status.
As mentioned, it is very important to understand the requirements to collect any bonus offer. The sites offering the lowest rollover requirements to collect free funds tend to offer the most attractive bonus programs.
Online Video Poker
Another popular way to play real money poker online is through online casino sites. Similar to a land-based casino, the online casino sites offer a video poker section with different variants to play.
These type of casino games pit the player against the house in a one-on-one competition. Basic versions of video poker include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Joker Poker. There are literally hundreds of different types of video poker games.
Players in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have a number of great options to try their luck playing video poker at an online casino site. The short list of sites would include:
Most of the online casino sites in these two states have ties to land-based casino venues as well. For example Draftkings acts as the online casino face for Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Sugarhouse is the online version for Rivers Casino outside Philadelphia.
Online gambling in NJ has been a very profitable way for land-based casinos to expand their overall monthly revenue. This is also the case for casino venues in PA.
Slots still generate the highest revenue figures among all casino games. Yet, video poker has established itself as a highly popular online gaming activity. This type of poker play is completely different from playing poker online in real money games and tournaments. Yet, many avid poker players enjoy the diversification video poker games offer.
One of the main attractions of video poker is a certain element of skill. Many online gamblers associate video poker with slots. In reality, slots are basically games of chance with random results. There is definitely a huge element of luck playing video poker but players still need to make decisions that have an effect on any hand’s outcome.
Many video poker games offer a Return to Player (RTP) that would rival any table version. Professional poker players that understand the basics of proper play can generate a return of 99.5 percent with optimal play. The house is usually okay with this since it knows that a very small percentage of video poker player possess this level of skill.
Where is Online Poker Legal?
State laws governing the legality of online poker in the United Stare are in constant flux. Going back to 2012, Nevada become the first state to offer real money online poker. Delaware went live with legal online poker shortly after that in 2013.
As of January 2020, real money poker online was legalized and regulated in six different states as follows:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
The three biggest states for playing poker for real money in terms of online traffic are New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Three other states in the process of offering real money poker online are Kentucky, Connecticut and New York.
NJ Online Poker
One of the first legal poker rooms in the Garden State was 888 Poker in 2013. WSOP also went online along with BetMGM to form two of the biggest online poker sites in the state. By 2016, PokerStars was up and running. This highly popular site has been able to gain close to 40 percent of the market over the past four years.
Before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 shutdown Party Poker, this was the premier poker site in the US.. It made its return to New Jersey in 2013 through a partnership with Borgata.
Legal online poker in NJ can be traced back to 2011. At that time, State Senator Raymond Lesniak submitted a bill for consideration. His proposed legislation tied land-based Atlantic City casinos with playing online poker for real money.
In February of 2013, then Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law. The top online poker sites quickly forged partnerships with the biggest Atlantic City casinos such as Borgata, Resorts, Caesars and Harrah’s.
PA Online Poker
The Keystone State became the fourth state in the country to offer real money poker sites. This was part of the comprehensive gambling expansion bill H 271 that became law in 2017. Federal intervention into parts of this bill delayed the launch of real money poker online by two years.
History was made on Nov. 4, 2019 when PokerStars PA went live. Currently, seven different land-based casinos have gained approval to offer poker online. Like New Jersey, land-based casinos have partnered with the top online poker sites.
PokerStars PA is associated with Mount Airy Casino in the Poconos. Party Poker and BetMGM are connected to Valley Forge Casino outside of Philadelphia. Harrah’s Philadelphia has partnered with WSOP. The four remaining casinos with a gaming license for poker are in the process of finding an online software provider.
NV Online Poker
Legal casino gambling in Nevada can be traced back to the early 1930’s. This state was also a pioneer in real money online poker. The first online poker room went live in February of 2013. In association with Station Casino, the first site to launch poker online was Ultimate Gaming.
WSOP was also quick to market through a partnership with Caesars Entertainment. This poker site was launched in September that same year. Real Gaming teamed up with South Point to launch a site the following year.
Both Ultimate Gaming and Real Gaming never caught on with Nevada poker players. Both gave up their efforts to leave WSOP as the major player in the entire state.
The immense popularity of the annual World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas continues to fuel interest in WSOP online.
In 2016, Nevada joined New Jersey and Delaware in shared player pools. This has also helped to drive poker action online in the state.
Real Money Poker Apps
One of the fastest growing trends in the entire casino industry is mobile play from a handheld device with internet service. Recent advances in technology along with sophisticated online gaming software solutions have made this possible.
The growing popularity of playing poker online for real money has resulted in a wide array of mobile betting options. Just like any app, some for poker are better than the rest. This applies to iPhone and iPad apps as well as apps for Android devices.
Players interested in mobile poker play should give any app a trial run. The experience is going to be different than desktop or laptop play. Low stakes play at popular sites such as Party Poker, BetMGM and Pala Poker is a good start.
Mobile play offers less external information and fewer gaming choices, so players also need to temper their expectations. Convenience is the primary benefit and the best apps work to close any gaps with other forms of online play. Mobile players should keep things simple and maintain focus on the task at hand. The lack of bells and whistles will actually improve mobile poker play when cash is on the line.
BetMGM has recently updated its poker app to improve game flow while ironing out some bugs in previous versions. It provides access to a larger pool of players than most other apps. Players will have greater access to daily, weekly and monthly tournaments.
Mobile play at Party Poker has also been upgraded. The latest version has added a portrait mode as well as a centralized raise slider bar. The games lobby has been updated with richer graphics, animations and sounds. The entire mobile playing experience has been redesigned to create a more immersive feel.
Pala Poker offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. This unique player software makes it easy and safe to play real money poker online against other players. Known for excellent reliability, this app has gotten positive reviews from a number of industry experts.
This form of poker offers players a chance to test their playing skill for free. Some sites offer Sweepstakes Coins or other forms on virtual currency.
This form of online currency cannot be purchased directly. Yet, it can be earned for online play. Real prizes or actual cash can still be won playing poker at these designated social networking sites.
The sweepstakes model is geared towards players that do not have access to real money online poker sites. Instead of actual cash, Sweeps Coins can be used for online play. As players accumulate this from of virtual currency, it can eventually be traded in for actual cash or prizes.
Online Poker Variations
When it comes to real money poker sites, there are generally four different variations of online play for cash:
This is a traditional way to play with chips having a direct monetary value. The two main games are full-ring and six max. Full-ring games can accommodate up to nine or 10 players in a standard poker format. Six max limits the table to six players.
This is a more structured way to play poker under specific rules. There is a specified buy-in and play continues until one player wins the total pot.
This is a single-game poker tournament that accommodates a set number of registered players. Once all the available seats have been filled, play will begin. Most SNGs limit the table size to nine players.
Under this format, the top three players are paid out of the total buy-in funds. A newer version of this format is Lottery SNGs. This version consists of three-handed games with random prize pools up to 10,000x the initial buy-in amount.
Fast Fold Poker
The final variation is a cross between cash games and a tournament format. Instead of one single table, six to nine players are placed into a separate pool. Pools are formed by buy-ins. Once a player folds their current hand, they move to a new hand against different players. The software for this variation was first introduced in 2010.
Best Online Poker Games
When most gamblers think of real money online poker, they defer to standard No-Limit Texas Hold’em. This may still be the most popular form of playing poker online but it is rather subjective to say it is the best.
One of the greatest aspects of poker in general is the variety of ways to play. New Jersey, as the hotbed of real money online poker, offers the biggest selection of gameplay variants.
Limit Hold’em has become popular with casual players with predefined betting limits. Mainly confined to cash games, low-end table limits are set at $2 and $4 betting increments. Pot-limit Hold’em caps bets at the total amount of money in the pot when that bet is placed.
A fun variation on traditional Texas Hold’em is Omaha. The main difference is four hole cards and five community cards. Omaha continues to grow in popularity among online poker players. There are Limit and Pot options for this game as well.
Another way to play poker online is 7 Card Stud. This was the most popular version of poker before Texas Hold’em was even invented. Poker traditionalists gravitate towards online 7 Card Stud as the ultimate way to read other players’ hands.
How to Cash Out When Playing Online Poker
Every real money online poker site has specific rules and regulations tied to cashing out. As a general rule, players should always consult the entire set of house rules at any site they gamble at.
A few of the basics involved with cash outs start with the actual method. Most sites will request that withdrawals are paid out the same way a player’s original funds were deposited. If this is not possible, a viable alternative is a paper check via mail or bank transfer.
The following are a few more general steps in the process for making withdrawals:
- Most withdrawal requests can be made through the banking section of the site. Players may also be directed to the online cashier.
- Methods vary from site to site. Common ways to cash out such as checks or transfers are usually related to the methods used to fund an online account.
- NJ online casinos also offer prepaid cards tied to an actual land-based casino. Withdrawals from an online account can be made directly from the cashiers area at that particular Atlantic City casino.
- Withdrawal requests are normally subject to an internal security review. Timing for releasing funds depends on the actual site
- Multiple cash out requests can be merged during the review process.
- Any added bonus money must comply with all required terms in order for those funds to be withdrawn.