October 20, 2017

Welcome to USPokerSites.co, your source for everything US online poker-related. While the US online poker market is not as viable as it once was years ago, the market is still a gem in the online poker world. Players still have a rather long list of reputable operators, which offer some of the best rewards and bonuses in all of online poker. Despite being much maligned in the media and perhaps in social circles, the US online poker market is still excellent.

A lot has changed since the prime years of the online poker boom, but there is still plenty of action for cash and tournament players on US friendly poker sites. Players can deposit within a matter of seconds using their credit card at most sites, and while withdrawals may take a little longer to process these days – players are still being paid in a timely matter.

The US market is also changing for the better. Many states have legalized intrastate poker and dozens are considering similar legislation. Changes in the Wire Act now give players a definitive answer to the question of "Is online poker legal in the US?" Today is an exciting time to play online poker for real money in the United States. We, at USPokerSites.co will be along for the ride with players in this new era.

History of Online Poker in the United States

The first few online poker sites premiered before the turn of the century. The first real money online poker room online was Planet Poker, which took its first real money action in 1998. Planet Poker started off slow but then begun to gain a following and solid liquidity. Planet Poker’s success spawned more online poker rooms, including Party Poker and Paradise Poker.

In the years that followed, online poker became increasing more popular with numbers increasing each and every year across the world, especially in the United States. Party Poker was the dominate force in the market, but there were many up and comers who were eager to challenge Party for dominance in the market.

In 2003, an account from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker won a seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas Nevada from a $15 satellite on PokerStars. He went on to win the Main Event against seasoned poker pro, Sam Farha. "The Moneymaker Effect" as some have called it vaulted poker into the mainstream and started what some call, "The Poker Boom."

The Poker Boom's prime years were between 2003 and the end of 2006. In this period, those logging on to play online poker in the US were growing at an exponential rate. In each year, the number of players online doubled from one year to the next.

Passage of UIGEA

While online sportsbooks had long known the US Department of Justice was not happy with their activities offshore, online poker had seemed to skate by relatively untouched from Federal prosecution. However, this changed in late 2006.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was attached to the Safe Port Act, a must pass bill that was signed into law by the president months later after passing congress. While the UIGEA was not geared towards individual online poker players, it did attack US poker sites and other online gambling sites that offered their services to US citizens. Also, targeted were financial institutions and payment processors that facilitated online gambling transactions.

The passage of the UIGEA resulted in an immediate change in US policy, but players were still unsure about how this would affect their ability to play online poker. While some sites and companies immediately pulled out of the US market, such as Party Poker – others stayed.

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker became the two online juggernauts vying for the most traffic in the coming years. The UIGEA regulations did knock out some payment processing options for players, such as Neteller, but for the most part things went uninterrupted.

Black Friday

No one knew quite how serious the US was about stopping illegal offshore operators until April 15th, 2011, a day that has been dubbed “Black Friday” by online poker players. A federal court out of Southern District of New York seized many financial assets of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute poker and indicted their owners and chief operating officers. They also charged many people behind payment processing operations that were used to facilitate gambling transactions.

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker immediately pulled out of the US market while other sites took it was a major threat to their business. However, players’ bankrolls were, for the most part, saved. PokerStars credited players back within a few weeks, and though Full Tilt Poker was insolvent, players will receive their funds through a remission process after a PokerStars’ bailout.

Current Legality

Even with the indictments and pressure from the Feds, there was still no law on the books (at least from a federal perspective) that explicitly outlawed online poker or even playing on an unlicensed site offshore.

While the FBI head said on several occasions that “online gambling was illegal”, this simply just was not true. No individual has ever been charged federally for gambling online, whether that is sports betting, poker or casino gambling. A Washington State man was once charged with a misdemeanor for sports betting online but paid a $500 fine for over $200,000 in winnings. This was the only instance of an individual player being charged with a crime for internet gambling in the United States.

Nearly 9 months after Black Friday, the DOJ did something that gave American online poker players plenty of hope for the future. They changed their position that the federal Wire Act of 1961 made all online gambling legal and stated that the law would now only be applied to online sports betting and exclude casino and poker games. This change in policy gave states a green light for states to introduce intrastate online poker with Nevada already passing a law earlier in the year to do so.

As of July 2013, Nevada has legalized online poker in New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online poker and online casino games. While liquidity may be a problem for these states, Nevada has already worked out a law that would allow Nevada and other states to enter into a compact and share player pools. Many state legislatures across the nation are introducing similar internet gambling bills.

Current State of Online Poker in US

While states begin to regulate online gambling on an intrastate level, there are still plenty of fantastic options for players no matter where they are living in the US for real money online poker. Online poker for real money is not a new concept, just because government officials are coming around to the idea.

No Limit Texas Hold’em is by far the most played across US sites with Pot Limit Omaha and Limit Hold’em games a distant second. Multi-table tournaments are still going full steam ahead on US-facing rooms and offer nice overlays along with a legion of fishy players. Sit n’ Go tournaments are hit or miss at some sites but still have decent following and plenty of liquidity.

Players will have no problem depositing and withdrawing from online rooms and for those that still have dreams of becoming on online poker professional – good news, the market is still full of fishy inexperienced players to exploit.

About USPokerSites.co

USPokerSites.co aims to become one of the most valued resources for all your most influential US online poker news, reviews and information. We’re players ourselves, and we value an honest voice in an industry that sometimes cannot be trusted. We won’t recommend a site to players that we wouldn’t play at ourselves.

We also aim to help players improve their game and profits by keeping them more informed about the industry and keeping them up to date with the best offers. Some sites excel in areas where others don’t, and we’ll do the best steer players in the right direction based on their stake level and game type. This also includes bonus offers and promotions of US poker rooms. We’ll highlight the best the US market has to offer for our visitors.

Finally, we will keep players up to date on not only US online poker news, but the worldwide industry as a whole. Statewide or federal regulation efforts will also be covered as we look forward to a legal regulated industry in the United States.

Our goal in creating USPokerSites.co is to offer players an honest one-stop shop resource for poker in the United States. Many poker "review" or affiliate promoted sites may lie to players and mislead them into depositing with shady sites or operators. These sites do not care about the players who make them money, but instead are just looking for a quick buck out of greed.

We're firmly against this business model and believe that if you are honest with players, then they will come back, and you can establish trust. We know the US online poker industry from front to back, and we’re offering all our knowledge to the players.