Online poker is legal and regulated in seven states. It started in Nevada in 2013. Later that same year, Delaware and New Jersey joined the newly launched licensed online poker industry in the United States. Pennsylvania and Michigan would later approve and launch online poker rooms.
These games are also legal in Connecticut and West Virginia. However, there are no poker sites live in these two states. Six of the seven states with regulated online poker also have legal online casinos. Nevada is the exception.
Online poker players must be located in a legal state when in action. Geolocation software is used to determine where the player is when logging into the software and at the tables. The minimum age is 21 at all legal poker sites. Players may not be on a state exclusion list.
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Interstate online poker in the United States
Four states have joined an online poker liquidity-sharing agreement. It started with the governors of Delaware and Nevada signing a compact in 2014. New Jersey was added to the online poker interstate liquidity-sharing agreement in 2018. Michigan joined it in 2021.
Delaware and Nevada have only one poker network. There are three skins in Delaware. Delaware Park, Bally’s Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway each have a brand on the network that uses 888 software.
In Nevada, the monopoly site is operated by 888 under the World Series of Poker brand. WSOP.com also has a New Jersey poker site. These three states of 888 skins make up what was the first US interstate online poker network.
On January 1, 2023, PokerStars connected its Michigan and New Jersey sites. These players share cash games and tournaments. PokerStars does not operate in Delaware or Nevada.
Players on these networked sites exchange chips during cash games and tournaments. Some events on the 888 platform are not available in Delaware due to it not being branded with the World Series of Poker.
WSOP and its skins are among the most poorly managed online poker rooms in the history of the industry, in our opinion. Cashout delays, poor customer service, dated software and incompetent management ran players off and prevented the poker sites from ever being a relevant force. By the time the original management team was replaced, it seemed to be too late. We feel this has greatly damaged online poker’s ability to expand.
Two states with legal online poker are too small to sustain it
Connecticut and West Virginia seem to be too small for intrastate online poker. No sites have expressed interest in opening in these states. It appears that joining the online poker liquidity-sharing agreement is the best way to bring online poker to Connecticut and West Virginia. However, there is no clear path for WSOP or PokerStars to get there.
Legal US poker sites
There are several legal poker sites. Some operate in more than one state. The section below covers all available places to play legal online poker in the United States.
BetMGM Poker is live in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it is partnered with Borgata. The Partypoker brand is used on the same network in New Jersey.
The best part of the BetMGM poker network is that if there are multiple skins in a state, players can sign up at all and receive the first deposit bonus. This also applies to reload bonuses.
Each site on the BetMGM Poker network offers a new player bonus of 100% up to $600. This means the amount deposited is matched and placed into the poker bonus account.
The BetMGM, Borgata, and Partypoker first deposit bonus is broken up into 10 equal increments. A player that takes the maximum amount must deposit $600. The bonuses release $60 at a time. A $100 depositor would have $10 bonus increments.
The bonus is cleared at a rate of $1 for every $2 in cash game and tournament poker rake paid. This equals 50% rakeback. Players have 60 days to clear the bonus. Any bonus amount that is not released within 60 days expires.
PokerStars is the largest online poker brand in the world. It operates in dozens of regulated markets throughout the world. PokerStars has the busiest poker sites in Michigan and Pennsylvania. It is second in New Jersey. The Michigan and New Jersey sites share player pools.
New PokerStars players have the choice of two offers. One is a free $50. Playing one real money hand after making a deposit triggers this bonus. The PokerStars free $50 is awarded in the following way:
- Day 1: 2 $5 Spin & Go tickets
- Day 2: 2 $5 Spin & Go tickets and a $10 tournament ticket
- Day 5: 2 $10 tournament tickets
Higher volume players may want to opt into the larger bonus. It is 100% of the first deposit amount up to $600. It releases at a rate of $5 for every $15 in cash game or tournament rake paid. This equals 33% rakeback. Players have 120 days to clear the bonus.
WSOP.com operates in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey. It has struggled to maintain basic competency in its operations during its 10 years of US operations. Player complaints about poor customer service, arrogant management, archaic software, and payout stall tactics have hurt its credibility to the point that we feel it is the worst option for legal US online poker.
WSOP.com offers a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus to new players. However, we do not recommend playing there as it has not demonstrated that it can operate its business in an appropriate way. We consider it to be a rogue poker site.
Other legal poker sites
There are three poker sites in Delaware. These are operated by 888, the same company that has demonstrated management problems at WSOP.com. Delaware Park, Bally’s Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway are the brands. These are also racinos in the state.
Pala Poker has a New Jersey poker site. It is small. It only deals tournaments.
How to make an online poker deposit at a legal site
It is much easier to make an online poker deposit at a licensed site than an offshore one. Banks are happy to work with legal gaming sites.
Deposit options include credit and debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, the Play+ prepaid debit card, electronic wallets like PayPal, electronic checks, bank wires, and cash through PayNearMe or a casino cage. Deposits are typically instant.
How to make an online poker withdrawal at a legal site
The best part of playing online poker at a legal, licensed site is how easy it is to withdraw. Available options include debit cards, check by mail, electronic check, bank wire, and cash at a casino cage.
Types of games dealt at online poker sites
The main game dealt at online poker rooms is no limit Texas hold’em. Blinds usually start at just a penny or two and can go up to the highest of limits, like $25/$50 or more. Pot limit Omaha is another popular online poker game. It has similar limits to no limit Texas hold’em.
Other standard online poker games include fixed limit hold’em, fixed and pot limit Omaha hi/lo, seven card stud, and seven card stud hi/lo. PokerStars offers razz, five card draw, triple draw, badugi, and mixed games.
Cash games and tournaments are available at most legal US poker sites. There are also sit and gos, including jackpot ones like Spin & Gos at PokerStars.
Legal US online poker FAQs
What is the minimum age for online poker in the US?
Licensed online poker sites require players to be at least 21 years old.
What types of games do online poker sites deal?
No limit Texas hold’em is the most popular online poker game. Pot limit Omaha, fixed limit hold’em, fixed and pot limit Omaha hi/lo, seven card stud, and seven card stud hi/lo are among the other popular games.
Do online poker sites have tournaments?
Yes. All US poker sites deal tournaments, including sit and gos.
Do legal poker sites have deposit bonuses?
Yes. Most online poker rooms offer players a deposit match.
How does an online poker bonus clear?
Regulated poker sites have deposit bonuses that equal 20% to 50% rakeback.
How do I deposit into a legal online poker site?
Credit cards, debit cards, bank wire, electronic checks, wallets, and cash are common online poker deposit options.
How do I withdraw from a legal online poker site?
Electronic check, bank wire, check by mail, debit card and cash at a casino cage are among the withdrawal options available at legal poker sites.
What are the typical cash game limits at legal poker sites?
Cash games usually start at pennies. Higher-limit games may go up to $25/$50 or higher.
Do US poker sites connect players in different states?
Yes. PokerStars networks players in Michigan and New Jersey. WSOP.com connects Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey players.