When we talk about poker websites that accept real money bets from US players, there are two distinctly different topics at hand: legal online poker as offered in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, or foreign websites that are not regulated within the United States and accept American players against the will of the US government. For the purposes of this article, we will go over each of these in separate sections.
We will go over three basic tenants of playing online poker: which poker rooms offer the best welcome package, which ones have the best tournaments, and which US poker site has the most traffic.
Legal Online Poker
As far as the legal poker rooms are concerned, the number of players is the biggest issue so far in the short amount of time that online poker has been legalized in the states mentioned above. This is naturally a bigger issue in Delaware and Nevada because both states have 2.8 million and less than 1 million people respectively. Compare that to New Jersey and the 8.8 million people living there and you can see why there might be a lack of players at the poker rooms in these two states.
The main problem that these legal sites have is that they cannot share players across state lines. All of the players that they have must reside within the border of that particular state. There have been some preliminary talks about creating legislation that would merge the player pools from the states that have regulated poker rooms, much like the lottery does with the Mega Millions or Powerball; but this would not be likely until a larger state such as California or New York decides to pass their own legislation.
With that being said, New Jersey does have some viable options as far as legalized online poker is concerned. There are currently 7 poker websites that have been regulated by the state of New Jersey. The most popular of these sites is currently WSOP.com. This is followed by Party Borgata NJ (BorgataPoker.com and nj.PartyPoker.com), UltimatePoker.com, 888Poker.com and the Ongame New Jersey (BetfairCasino.com and GoldenNuggetPoker.com).
The legal poker sites in New Jersey are all fairly comparable when it comes to offering welcome bonuses and tournaments. This sites offer their biggest tournaments on Sunday afternoon and evening. WSOP.com doesn’t offer a bonus, but has the largest tournaments. Ultimate Poker offers a match bonus up to $500 for new players and the other sites offer a no deposit bonus between $10 and $25 to new players in addition to the deposit bonus. PartyPoker NJ offers the largest poker tournament – the weekly $50K GTD Sunday tournament.
Nevada only has 3 regulated websites. WSOP.com again has the highest traffic of these sites with UltimatePoker.com a close second. RealGaming.com is a distant third and is relatively new. Delaware also has 3 regulated websites: DelawarePark.com, DoverDowns.com and HarringtonGamingOnline.com; all three are a part of the same network – the 888 Delaware poker network.
US Friendly Online Poker Rooms
The websites that are listed below currently allow real money online poker players from states other than the three mentioned above. Before you get started, you should be aware of any state or local laws that prohibit playing online poker. You have a very low chance of being prosecuted, but you should be aware that you are breaking the law if you live in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah or Washington state. In addition to that, there are also laws against online poker in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming; but there is less to worry about as an individual in any of these states.
Top Traffic Websites for USA Players
Bovada.lv currently has the largest player pool with a 7-day average of about 1,500 real money players. The peak traffic is around 5,000 players. They offer a 100% bonus up to $1,000. There are also weekly $5K PTS Freerolls and a $100K New Player Qualifier that new players will receive a ticket to play. This qualifier can gain you a free seat into the Sunday $100K GTD tournament.
The Merge Poker Network is the second largest pool of poker players with a 7-day average of around 1,000 and peak traffic around 2,000 players. The Merge Poker Network consists of almost 30 different poker rooms or “skins” with the most popular being CarbonPoker.ag, Aced.ag and Sportsbook.ag. Each site has their own bonuses, but the tables and tournaments are combined between all of the different sites.
The Winning Poker Network is the third largest poker network that allows USA real money players. This network has a 7-day average of about 500 players with a peak close to 1,000 players. This network includes 12 current poker sites using the Yatahay poker software including 5Dimes.eu, BlackChipPoker.eu, Bookmaker.eu, TruePoker.eu and AmericasCardroom.eu.
The Chico Poker Network is next with an average of 300 players and a peak of about 500 players. This includes poker sites like BetOnline.com and Sportsbetting.com. They use the same software as the Equity Poker Network, which has similar traffic numbers and is used by FullFlushPoker.com.
Next is the Revolution Poker Network, also called Cake Poker. This is a collection of over 50 different skins with the most popular being IntertopsPoker.eu, Sportsbetting.com, Dimeline.eu, TheGreek.com and PurePoker.eu. The advantage of this network is that most of these sites are primarily sports betting sites with very few online poker pros. But that being said, there is only about a peak of 300 players on this network.
Bringing up the rear is the First Fidelity Network. This is a group of sportsbooks that use the Action poker software. The most popular of these is YouWager.eu. This poker network averages less than 20 players and has a peak of around 50 players.
SealsWithClubs.eu and LockPoker.eu are independent online poker rooms. Both of them have between 200 and 500 real money players. SealsWithClubs.eu is unique in that they only accept bitcoin as a deposit method. Other less popular bitcoin poker rooms include PocketRocketsCasino.eu and SatoshiPoker.org. These sites currently have minimal player at the tables.