Current State of US Poker

Poker is the most widespread card game played in real casinos and on the internet, and this is no different in the USA. It really should come as no surprise to see just how popular the game has become in the United States, because most of the poker rules are rather simple to learn, and that makes the game accessible for anyone who has made up their mind to try this great game. But although online poker in the US really thrived especially when the entire nation took notice after Chris Moneymaker won millions of dollars as an amateur player in the World Series of Poker Main Event, since then things have drastically changed for US online poker players.

What eventuated is that many online US poker players decided to stop playing completely and focus just on live poker or stopped playing all together. For those still wanting to get their online poker fix, they were still able to do so, with sites accepting them. However, due to the changes in the online poker landscape, there were far fewer options available to US players. In fact, some professional players actually made the decision to move overseas just so that could still play on the top sites, as that’s where most of the action and big money tournaments reside.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

U.S. online poker players have had much difficulty in playing poker online since the UIGEA came into effect. Although this online gambling bill didn’t target the players or the poker sites, it made it much more difficult to deposit funds onto online sites. In some cases, major brands like 888.com and PartyGaming left the USA market post UIGEA, mainly because they were publicly traded companies, but at that time there still were other companies that kept their doors open.

Black Friday – The Day That Changed Online Poker in the United States

The online poker landscape in the U.S. was dealt another setback when “Black Friday” hit in 2011. This time the federal authorities indicted executives of three of the world's largest and most reputable online poker brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker. No one was really expecting it to happen quite like it did, and prior to Black Friday, although it may have been a bit more difficult to deposit funds onto online real money poker sites for U.S. players and some of the major players no longer serviced U.S. customers, not much besides that had really changed, so it came as a huge shock to most people.

US Online Poker in Today's Environment

Today the game is played by keen Americans on US online poker sites as well as all-in-one gambling websites that still accept players from America. That being said, there are only a handful of offshore operators that still accept U.S. customers. Numerous US facing online poker sites provide all the necessary software to try free poker games and real money cash games at competitive stakes, but since they are smaller sites the action at the highest stakes games, especially for non-Hold’em games, isn’t the best.

Over the past several years, there has been a lot of discussion in regards to a proposed licensed, regulated and legal framework for online poker in the United States. Although there was talk as to having a regulatory framework for online poker on a federal level, this hasn’t happened yet, and it’s looking a lot more likely like it will happen on a state level. In fact, there has already been progress in this direction, and Nevada was the first state to allow its residents to play poker online against other people from the same state. For the avid poker fan, it was hardly surprising when Nevada, a global gambling destination, launched Ultimate Poker for Nevada residents.

Although other U.S. states will be looking at online poker as a revenue booster, as of right now, there are currently no other states that have regulated the game, so online poker players outside of NV have no choice but to play on these offshore sites. Obviously, it carries with it more risk, as these online poker sites aren’t regulated here, leaving customers exposed to the chance of their being non-payment of winnings and other issues, with no recourse of action if something does indeed go wrong. That said, many online poker players who love playing online poker are willing to take the risk, and it’s possible to limit the risk if you have your bankroll spread on a few sites, and choose to only play on the most trusted US poker sites.

When choosing a US poker site, always check to see how long the company has been in business. For the most part, operators have been involved in online gaming for many years. You’ll also want to check how much traffic the different U.S. online poker rooms get. If there is little traffic then it’s going to be difficult finding action for the games you play.