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Legal, regulated online poker sites in the US offer a safe game that you won’t inherently find if you use offshore, unregulated (at least not by US gaming authorities) poker sites.
With that in mind, this guide will help you determine what exactly constitutes a safe online poker site. The goal is to help you sign up, deposit and play at only the most trusted and reliable poker sites.
When you play poker online for real money, safety and security are paramount. That includes ensuring:
- The game itself is fair.
- Your funds are always secure.
- Proper security is in place and persistent, effective efforts are in place to identify any hints of player collusion.
If you’re worried about finding a safe poker site to play on, this page we’ll answer all your questions including:
List of the safest poker sites for US players
The US online poker market consists of some of the most trusted names in online gaming. You can trust these major brands to offer you plenty of action in a secure and fair environment.
Among them will be many names you likely recognize including PokerStars, partypoker, WSOP, 888poker and Borgata Poker. If you don’t live in a fully legalized and licensed online poker state, Global Poker is a trusted and safe sweepstakes poker site many players use.
So far, these are the operators that offer legal and safe real money online poker in the US:
1. PokerStars – $30 Free Play
- Available in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey.
- Largest online poker operator in the world.
- Great software and tournament experience.
- Numerous promotions and major tournament series are available
- Home Games feature to set up and play private poker games and tournaments with friends online
- First-class customer support team on call 24/7
- Industry-leading security protocols to monitor fair play & collusion
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2. WSOP.com – $10 Free
- Available in New Jersey and Nevada.
- It shares a liquidity market in the two states and with 888poker in Delaware.
- The site uses partner 888poker’s software.
- Offers online bracelet events and live WSOP event qualifiers.
- World-renowned brand with commitment to customer service and player protection
3. 888poker.com – $20 Free
- Available in New Jersey and Delaware.
- Remains the sole online poker operator in Delaware.
- Partners with WSOP on qualifiers.
- It’s a proven international brand with excellent poker experience.
4. Partypoker/Borgata Poker/BetMGM – $25 Free
- Available in New Jersey and a leader in the industry.
- Both are major poker and gaming brands in New Jersey and abroad.
- Partypoker offers qualifiers for its live events.
- Borgata Poker & BetMGM Poker skins offer qualifiers to live events at the property.
Is Global Poker a safe, legal and legitimate online poker option?
If you’re outside the regulated markets mentioned above, you have another option: Global Poker.
This site is based on a poker sweepstakes model.Global Poker’s sweepstakes license (like the one given to McDonald’s Monopoly game) makes playing its free sweeps cash games legal in much of the US and Canada.
The site is based more on social gaming than traditional online poker. Players use virtual chips (Gold Coins) they can win for playing, but these don’t have any cash value and they can’t redeem them for real money.
However, when purchasing more Gold Coins, you also receive the site’s sweepstakes currency called Sweeps Coins. This virtual currency can be used for Sweeps Coin tournaments and ring games. Unlike Gold Coins, accumulated Sweeps Coins can be redeemed for real money.
Global Poker offers a safe and secure alternative for poker players. VGW Holdings Limited, a publicly traded company incorporated in Australia, owns Global Poker. The site is also licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority.
Alongside the playing experience, excellent customer service and easy deposit and withdrawal methods have been confirmed with Global Poker. Like the regulated casino poker sites mentioned above, security and safety hasn’t been a concern.
What is a safe poker site?
So what should you consider when getting started with online poker? Some signs will easily show a poker site is safe and regulated. Here’s what to look for:
1. Safe poker sites are licensed and regulated by states
In the US, there are four states currently offering legalized online poker:
West Virginia online poker was also legalized in 2018/2019 but has not gone live yet. All six states feature a completely legal and regulated market overseen by state government authorities.
Just like traditional retail casinos and poker rooms, reliable online poker sites face strict licensing and regulation. The sites can only operate in complete compliance and enforcement.
2. Safe poker sites use proper technical security and geolocation
These regulations make your information and funds secure. Online casino and poker operators have systems in place to offer numerous player protections that are required by state laws and regulations.
Geolocation software also makes sure all players are located within the legal jurisdiction. State regulators require this technology to keep the game safe from outside influences.
Another key security issue is the prevention of player collusion and gameplay issues like chip dumping. Each operator monitors gameplay in this way. Software monitoring commonly uncovers player collusion and discrepancies. It assures you of a safe and fair game of poker.
3. Safe poker sites have proper deposit and withdrawal methods
Along with gameplay, online poker operators also make sure your funds are secure. That goes likewise for the deposit and withdrawal process. Whether you fund your account through e-check, debit card or another form of payment (e.g., PayPal), the licensed poker site ensures your personal information, account and other information are secure.
Players who use offshore sites will not encounter measures as stringent and have no way to know if their funds and information are safe. They also have little to no recourse if their funds are confiscated or their account is closed.
4. Safe poker sites have government oversight
Poker sites in legalized US states are regulated by laws and rules enforced by those states’ gaming commissions. This statute should give you a level of confidence in secure online poker rooms that don’t come with using unregulated poker sites.
In the four legalized states currently offering online poker, the regulating bodies are:
- Nevada Gaming Control Board
- New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
- Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
- Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement
The entities ensure that play is truly random through random number generators and that the game is fair for everyone playing. They also monitor to make sure payouts are made fairly and that operators follow proper and legal procedures.
5. Safe poker sites have proper channels for customer service and disputes
The gaming regulators in each state offer recourse for those who may have a complaint or dispute. Reputable poker sites also provide customer service support for those looking to ask a question or have an issue resolved.
Most operators offer several means to contact customer service and support, including:
- An FAQ section
- User help database
- Email support
- Live chat
- Customer service phone number
How do I know it’s a safe and trustworthy poker site?
There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting an online poker operator. Beyond state regulators and gaming commissions, some other factors can help ensure numerous player protections:
- State-Approved Partnerships: Each online poker operator must have a live casino partner in each state. Casinos must meet extensive regulations, and this adds to player safety. It also gives you a local, trusted brand.
- Reputable Companies: In addition, most companies offering online poker within each state are trusted and proven brands. Many are also public companies and not the fly-by-night operations one might find in the offshore, unregulated market.
- Approvals and Inspections: Each legal site has a seal or statement somewhere on the home page, which indicates it is a regulated site. For example, PokerStars NJ has a link to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. These sites are regularly inspected and monitored by these commissions.
- Mainstream Deposit and Withdrawal Methods: Along with being regulated and having casinos in the jurisdiction as partners, trusted online poker sites use accepted, mainstream deposit and withdrawal methods. Those include PayPal, e-checks, bank transfers, e-wallets, and debit and credit cards, among other options. Some even allow deposits at a casino partner’s cashier cage. You can also expect quick turnarounds on withdrawals as well.
- Support and Customer Service: Reliable poker sites offer numerous ways to help with an issue or concern, from email and FAQ to live chat and a customer service phone number. Offshore operators might not provide this support.
- SSL Encryption: A critical focus in the security effort, secure sockets layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client. It helps keep your player information private and safe.
How to download a safe online poker site and set up an account
Live poker casino online. Because of SSL and encryption technology, downloading a poker app or desktop-based poker client is exceptionally secure. The same goes for depositing and cashing out.
Unlike offshore and unregulated sites, legal online poker sites guarantee your funds are safe and secure. Trouble or long delays getting payouts are a common complaint about unregulated sites, but this is not an issue if you use regulated, secure and reliable poker sites as mentioned here.
Downloading is simple. Simply use any of the links above to get started, which will also allow you to take advantage of the listed free no deposit poker bonuses and the additional deposit match bonuses.
You then enter some necessary information like name, address, email, username and password. Once that’s complete, you may have to confirm your identity and email.
Deposit and withdrawal methods at a legal online poker site
After getting an account set up, making a deposit is also a simple process. Reliable online poker sites offer several safe deposit methods, including:
- E-check bank payments (ACH transfers)
- Visa or Mastercard
- Wire payments
- E-wallets, such as Neteller and Skrill
- Cash at partner casinos
When cashing out your winnings, the process is safe and secure as well. You can receive your winnings back via the method you used to deposit.
Trusted poker sites offer fast and secure payouts through several options. Some offer a paper check option for payouts as well. Many even provide cash payouts from casino partners at the cashier cage.
What’s one thing you don’t have to worry about with a regulated site? Funds not being there or disappearing out of the blue.
Your funds are not intermingled with operator or casino funds at a secure, legal poker site. The money is held in separate accounts and available to you 24/7 so you can feel confident that your funds are safe.
Are poker apps safe?
Free Online Poker Sites
As online poker has grown, the use of mobile phones and tablets has become an even more popular way to play in the last several years. All major safe US poker sites offer mobile poker apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices with excellent app interfaces .
Secure poker app providers include:
Poker apps provide the same security as desktop poker clients. Apps must still meet tight regulations from each jurisdiction’s gaming commission. Poker apps also include geolocation software to make sure every player is within the state offering legal online poker.
How do I keep my poker account secure?
Regulated and reliable online poker sites offer a secure environment for signing up, depositing, cashing out and playing. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your online poker experience remains safe.
Here are a few security recommendations:
- Use proper security protocols when depositing.
- Be careful when playing on public Wi-Fi.
- Don’t share usernames or passwords with anyone.
- Make passwords challenging to figure out.
- Don’t leave a game open on a device or computer that’s unattended.
How do I recognize an ‘unsafe’ poker site?
This question is good to keep in mind when jumping into online poker for the first time. Many offshore poker sites will not offer any regulatory information or display the legal sealof an appropriate governing body or regulatory commission.
They may also feature more obscure website addresses and not be a well-known brand. Offshore operators may also make use of less scrupulous deposit methods, which come with many security concerns.
Some unregulated poker sites make it challenging to find where they are based. It is a red flag as to the site’s legitimacy and security protocols. Your player funds may not be safe with these sites or using their deposit options.
You should never use a questionable deposit method. Also, transferring funds to players you don’t know can be sketchy. Look out for these types of scams on unregulated poker sites.
Safest poker sites FAQ
After considering all these facts and concepts, here are some key ideas to remember:
What do I do if I think I’m playing on an unsafe poker site?
Research the site and determine if it’s a legitimate US poker site. If not, look for a legal option, including those mentioned in this guide. You may want to withdraw your funds from an offshore site and use a legitimate, secure option.
How do I know if a poker site is reputable?
Make sure it’s a legal US site by looking for signs that it’s licensed by a state regulating body. However, beware of imposters that may represent themselves as a legal option. When in doubt, contact your state gaming commission to see if the site falls under its jurisdiction.
Is it safe to play against players from other countries?
Legal US online poker uses “fenced-in” markets, and only players within specific states can play. Any site featuring players from other countries doesn’t fall in line with American law. It can be a major security issue, and you should avoid these sites.
Are Bitcoin poker sites safe?
Again, many of these sites use cryptocurrency to get around American law. Just because a site accepts a deposit doesn’t mean that it’s a legal, regulated site. Review this article for websites that are legal in the US, including sweepstakes poker sites like Global Poker.
Do I need to worry about viruses from poker sites?
Regulated online poker sites offer secure, safe environments. They meet rigorous licensing, technology and regulatory requirements to stay in business and to keep serving players. You will never download any malware or viruses from a legal and regulated poker site.
There are three primary ways to play video poker online, depending primarily on in which state you live, but also based on the type of video poker games you are looking to play.
Whether you are an expert at traditional poker or just interested in learning the game, there are tons of options available online. Free video poker games give you the chance to play the game without depositing a cent, so you can enjoy a fun hobby without worrying about deposits and withdrawals. It also has the advantage of letting you play from home, rather than traveling to a casino that might be miles away from you.
- Play free video poker online – Available in all states
- Play video poker for cash prizes at online sweepstakes casino sites – Available in all states except Washington
- Play video poker for real money – Available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia
Play Free Video Poker
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If you don’t happen to live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or West Virginia your best bet is a sweepstakes online casino where you can play online video poker for cash prizes.
How Sweepstakes Casinos Work
Online sweepstakes video poker is an alternative for those who aren’t in areas where real money poker is legal. These sites take old laws about sweepstakes and use them as a way to offer legal options for those who want to play poker recreationally.
Sweepstakes casinos use digital coins instead of real money as currency. Players accumulate digital coins by winning games and can later exchange them for cash prizes. Because sweepstakes casinos are not legally classified as gambling, they are popular among players who live in states that have not yet legalized real money online gambling. The sweepstakes format provides a similar, but legal alternative to the online casino experience.
In order to participate in a sweepstakes casino’s games, you must first buy their coins (or whatever they label as their sweepstakes currency). Your purchased coins typically come with a set number of free sweeps coins. You cannot directly deposit money into an account or withdraw money.
Your purchased coins are valid only for recreational gaming at the sweepstakes casino. Your free sweeps coins can be played on sweepstakes games, and your winnings can then be exchanged for real prizes.
Licensed by Malta Gaming Authority, Chumba Casino is arguably the most popular sweepstakes casino on the market. It has a large selection of slot games, blackjack, roulette, and video poker.
New players can take advantage of their no deposit bonus of 2,000,000 gold coins and two sweep coins. Additionally, the casino offers a first purchase deal of $30 gold coin package for only $10.
Chumba Casino is a great option as it offers both slots and table games. Its variety is what makes it a unique sweepstakes casino.
Playing Free Video Poker At Legal Online Casinos
When you want to play video poker for free at a legal online casino, you have a variety of options. There are tons of variations of poker, and you can find almost all of them in an online version so you can play from home. With the advent of free poker games, anyone who is over 21-years-old and in the United States can enjoy a game of poker whenever they feel like it.
Do Legal Online Casinos Offer Free Video Poker Games?
As more states legalize online casinos, having access to online video poker is becoming easier than ever. While most of these casinos offer real money games, there are also demo and practice modes where you can play without spending a single dime. Everyone can play free online slots, even those in states where online gambling is not yet legal.
The best option for choosing a reputable site for video poker is by looking at large brands you have heard of in the past. The websites that operate in partnership with physical casinos are an excellent place to start since they need to adhere to specific rules and regulations.
Do I Need An Account To Play Free Video Poker Games Online?
It depends on where you want to play. In some cases, you can play by just navigating to the site and clicking on a game. However, there are other instances where you must register to access the catalog of games at a poker site. If you prefer a quick and easy poker game, you’ll want to look for sites without registration.
Keep in mind that sites with registration may offer perks to those who become members, which can make signing up feel like less effort. When it comes to real money video poker sites, you must sign up to be a member just to play the practice games. If your privacy is important to you, you may have to use other websites for your video poker.
Is There Any Way To Win Real Money Playing Free Video Poker?
In most cases, the sites that have free video poker do not offer cash payments. Instead, you will typically be racking up virtual currency that cannot be turned into money. Free games are usually used by players who just want to have a good time or who want to practice outside of paid games to become better at a particular type of poker.
However, there are some exceptions in terms of free sites that offer real money. Most of them are going to be found in sweepstakes video poker sites, which we’ll look at in more depth below.
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BetMGM casino is brought to you by the same company that operates MGM casinos across the United States including Las Vegas. BetMGM offers over 100 casino games including slots, blackjack, roulette, and more! All of your Las Vegas favorites are there.
Playing Las Vegas-Style Video Poker Online For Free
If you’re searching for legal online casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that have Vegas-style video poker, you have plenty of options. Both of the states have a wide variety of casinos that offer video poker and many of the games are based on Vegas poker options. Three of our options for playing video poker online in these states are listed below for your convenience.
BetRivers Casino is partnered with the land-based Rivers Pittsburgh Casino and offers a selection of video poker options. Users can log in to play practice games or deposit money to play for cash if they are located in Pennsylvania. In addition to providing video poker, this casino also has hundreds of slot games, as well as table games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.
Hollywood Casino is another online legal casino in Pennsylvania that provides the option to play poker. This was the first online casino to launch in the state and it partnered with IGT to power the gaming options on the website and apps. This casino also offers dozens of slot games, roulette games, blackjack, baccarat, and more.
Those who are looking for New Jersey video poker will find it in various locations, including BetMGM. There are many variations of poker at this provider, including Regal Jacks or Better, Triple Play Draw Multi-Hand Poker, Bonus Poker, Texas Hold’em, and more. It also offers a variety of slot games and table games that you can peruse.
Playing Video Poker For Real Money Online
For those who want to spend money playing poker, there are several options available. However, this is only the case in states where you can legally gamble online. If you are not in one of those locations, real money gambling on video poker is not allowed. While more states are slowly allowing online real money poker, it’s a good idea to know what the rules are for your specific location.
States With Legal Online Video Poker
Before we delve into other specifics, knowing where online video poker is legal is essential. It might be surprising to learn that some states allow online poker but don’t allow online table games and slots, while others go in the opposite direction. Since it can be confusing to determine what states allow legal online video poker, we have provided a list of legal states below:
If you don’t see your state listed above, playing video poker for real money is not allowed in your state. There are two alternatives available to you if you want to enjoy video poker. The first is to choose a free online site that has poker available and the second is to use a sweepstakes gaming site like Chumba Casino.
How Many Different Video Poker Games Are Available?
Counting up all the different video poker games would leave you with a number that might be mind-boggling. Many types of poker have been introduced in an online version that you can play on your own without other players. In fact, if it’s available in a land-based casino, you can likely find it in a video poker option.
However, different websites and apps are going to have different games, so finding one that has your favorite type might take time if it’s a lesser-known variation. Those who are fans of games like Jacks or Better, on the other hand, will find this kind of poker on nearly any site that includes poker.
What Are The Smallest Stakes You Can Play Online?
This is another question that will depend on the provider you use for your video poker. However, what you should know is that video poker typically requires bets that are much smaller than traditional poker in a physical casino. While some of these poker games have high payouts, they don’t always require you to empty your wallet to try to win.
Because these games have lower stakes than a typical poker table, they make an excellent option for those who are just learning to play. They also feature the opportunity to get better for those with some level of experience without spending too much. Once someone is happy with the progress that they’ve made with video poker, they can try live games or traditional poker with more confidence in their performance.
Fundamentals Of Video Poker Strategy
Just like other forms of poker, video poker has many different strategies that players employ to ensure they win more from their hands. Different people enjoy different techniques, so there are many to choose from. Having a basic strategy you can use will help you do better at video poker, whether you are just beginning with the game or have been at it for many years.
Video Poker Strategy Basics
While games like slots rely only on luck, poker is a casino staple where the players have a lot of impact on how the game ends. Since you have more choices in terms of what cards you keep, which you discard, and what hand you play at the end, you can learn to play a hand that is the most beneficial and likely to result in a big payoff. However, a lot of players continue to rely only on play streaks or hunches to decide how to play a game.
The strategies that can help you win are based on math, which is excellent for anyone who has excelled at this subject in the past. Some approaches focus on getting royal flushes as often as possible, which is the best hand you can have in most poker games. Others are going to have a focus on winning every hand, even if it’s by a small amount through a hand that has less optimal cards.
Video Poker Strategy Charts
Those who are interested in serious strategy in video poker may choose to use a video poker strategy chart to do so. These charts will show that cards you can have to get the most significant return on the match. Below the best return, it will show the next best and continue in this way until you should discard an entire hand rather than saving any of it.
For example, when playing Jacks or Better, the chart would show a royal flush on top, followed by a straight flush, four cards of a royal flush, a full house, and so on. If you’re looking to improve your ability to play poker, taking a look at strategy charts can put you on top of your game.
Video Poker: The Five Minute Guide
No matter what kind of poker you like, you’ll find it in an online video poker version. This kind of poker involves one player against a computer dealer, rather than having several players at a table who are competing against each other. While the most common poker variations are Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild, you can also find a selection of different games to play.
Basic Rules Of Video Poker
Since there are dozens of video poker variations, going through the rules of each one would require a long article all of its own. However, since Jacks or Better is one of the most popular options, we’ll use that as an example to explain the rules of video poker.
The basic idea behind this kind of video poker is to acquire a five-card poker hand with a winning combination. The lowest winning combination is a pair of Jacks. Other combinations that can win a hand include the following:
- Two Pair – Two card pairs that have the same number or symbol
- Three of a Kind – Three cards with the same symbol or number
- Straight – Five cards that make up a sequential order of numbers
- Flush – Five cards that have the same suit
- Full House – A pair along with a three of a kind
- Four of a Kind – Four cards with the same symbol or number
- Straight Flush – Five cards of the same suit that are in sequential order
The Royal Flush is the best hand you can get and consists of cards of the same suit that go from 10 to Ace. The idea behind the game is to get the best hand possible to earn the most points. You are dealt cards and choose which to discard before being dealt more to make up your final hand.
Common Video Poker Variations
We already mentioned that Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better are two variations of video poker, but there are dozens of others. Aces and Eights is another version where you get additional coins or money for having Aces or Eights in your hands. Double Bonus is a video poker game where you get massive bonuses for four of a kind hands. Some of the other games you will commonly see include:
- Bonus Deuces Wild
- Deuces and Joker
- Double Double Bonus
- Jokers Wild
- Tens or Better
The House Edge In Video Poker
One of the reasons that so many people enjoy video poker is because the house typically has an exceedingly small edge. While a slot machine might return only 70 to 90 percent of what you spend on it, video poker at an online casino is more likely to offer a return of 95 to 99 percent. This means that playing video poker is going to be better for your wallet than many other online casino games.
However, keep in mind that different casinos have different odds and may have a unique house edge. This is also an excellent reason to choose a reputable site or app that lets you know what you’re getting into when you sit down to play a game.
Free Video Poker Online Play FAQ
Yes. Some websites that offer free video poker will allow you to play without making an account. However, other websites and apps may require you to register before you take part in games. In most cases, if you do register, you will get some kind of reward for doing so. If you prefer to play without registration, make sure that’s an option at the site you are visiting first.
Yes. With sweepstakes video poker sites, you can often win real money or other premium prizes even though you are playing for free. At websites like Chumba Casino, you can earn coins that may be turned into real money for playing particular games, taking advantage of promotions, or making deposits to play additional games.
Yes. One of the best ways to get better at video poker is by playing free games. You can enjoy learning all the best strategies without worrying that you’re going to break the bank. Since these games are often the same as real money poker, you can take the knowledge you gain and use it to win cash once you’re happy with how you are playing.
No. Most of the free video poker games online do not require a flash player, although there are some exceptions. If you aren’t interested in a flash player, you will have no issues finding games that don’t require it. However, having one available may make your options more robust if you want to play a specific game or use a particular website.