When online poker first boomed in the early 2000s, it was big. Games were soft, tournaments were massive, and cash games were always full. While Black Friday put the brakes on that boom, the industry is poised to boom again. As states in the US and the federal government continue to overturn anti-poker legislations, the way is paved for online poker action as we’ve never seen before.
The best news is that the early stages of the boom are already here, and you can play online poker for real money right now! Included in this guide, you’ll find the best online poker sites for every need, breakdowns of the strategies needed to win, and full explanations of everything else you need to know. The time is now to get the cards in the air, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your chair.
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Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
The overall quality of your online poker experience is heavily driven by the poker site you choose to play at. The best online poker sites for US players offer fast payouts, extensive gaming action, great bonuses, and a trustworthy experience. While options are somewhat limited compared with the rest of the world, there are still high-quality poker rooms offering action.
Below you’ll find an up-to-date (and regularly updated) list of the top poker sites in the United States. All of these sites are regularly vetted by our team of experts and compared against other industry options. If you’re looking for the top online poker rooms in the states, these are your industry leaders.
- Bovada Poker
- BetOnline Poker
- SB Poker
Best Online Poker Sites for Non-US Players
Black Friday may not have shut down poker sites for the rest of the world, but it did cut out a large percentage of the player pool. As legislation changes and some players move to new parts of the world, the poker economy in places like Europe, Asia, South America, Canada, and South Africa continue to recover and get better. The best poker sites for Non-US players are safe, secure, payout fast, and have extensive action on real money poker.
Play Texas Hold’em Online for Real Money
Undoubtedly the hottest poker variation in existence is Texas Hold’em. The game is action-packed and gives players the opportunity to win (or lose) big on every single hand. Invented in the early 1900s in Texas (of course), the game has exploded in popularity over the last century.
Because of the many nuances and skillsets needed to be a winning Texas Hold’em player, it’s no surprise that the World Championship of Poker is decided by playing Texas Hold’em.
Best Texas Holdem Poker Sites
The best Texas Hold’em poker sites deliver massive tournaments, full cash game tables, great bonuses, and plenty of fish for you sharks to chomp on. As the United States moves toward full-on regulation of the game, the action and site options continue to grow. The best way to ensure the most success and the biggest pots is by sticking to the top-rated online Texas Hold’em poker sites.
Other Popular Online Poker Variations
Texas Hold’em may be the granddaddy of them all, but it’s not the only poker variation available. Many different versions of poker exist, and each of them offers unique opportunities to win and make money.
Pot Limit Omaha (PLO)
If playing a game with two cards is fun, playing a game with four cards must be twice as fun, right? Well, if you ask the players who love PLO this question, you’ll get a resounding yes. PLO has been around for years, but over the last decade has exploded in popularity, mainly due to the excitement and heightened action the poker variation brings to the table.
Hands down the most classic form of poker is a tie between Stud Poker and Draw Poker. While many seasoned players love the game, Stud Poker is not just for older folks. The younger generation is finding the value and excitement that can come from this heavily analytical form of poker.
Prior to Texas Hold’em coming onto the scene, the poker variation you probably played growing up was a form of Draw Poker. The several different variations of draw poker allow players to dump hands and cards that aren’t profitable for the chance at picking up a winner.
Best Real Money Poker Sites for Beginners
Many of you reading this guide may be new to the game of poker. Maybe you’re new to the game altogether? Maybe you’ve played before but never online? Maybe you’ve played for fun but never for real money? Whatever the case, you’re in the right spot.
When you’re first starting out playing poker online, you don’t want to be overwhelmed or swallowed up by sharks. The best US real money poker sites for beginners are user-friendly, offer low stakes, provide play money tables, and are not infested with good players.
Safest Poker Sites Anywhere Online
You won’t find us recommending any online poker rooms that are not the safest and most protected experiences. That being said, there are some options that go above and beyond when it comes to safety, security, and user protections. If this is of the utmost importance to you, we’ve included a thorough and regularly updated list of the safest online poker sites below.
The Legality of Online Poker Sites for Real Money
Over the years, real money online poker has had some major ups and some major downs. As governments around the world jockey to figure out how to deal with online poker, the climate continues to change rapidly. If you’re worried about the legality of online poker, we’ve pulled in some experts to help break down the current situation for you.
Laws and regulations will depend heavily on where you live. Additionally, things change rapidly, so it’s always important to stay up to speed. Our experts will look at the legality of online poker in all major jurisdictions. Be sure to keep an eye on our news section to stay as up to date as possible when things change.
Playing Online Poker Tournaments for Money
Real Money poker tournaments are heavily responsible for the industry boom over the past two decades. There is just something exciting about knowing you can turn a smaller buy-in into a massive win just by beating out some competition. Online poker tournaments come in all shapes and sizes.
You can play tournaments for buy-ins as little as a penny or as much as $100,000. Prize pools at top poker sites have been known to be millions and millions of dollars.
In the guide linked below, we break down every detail you need to know about online poker tournaments where you can win real money. We’ll discuss the types of tournaments available, live vs. online, how to get started, and where to find the best action.
Sit and Go Poker Online
If you’re looking for a little real money poker tournament action, but you want it on demand, you’re looking for sit and gos (SNGs). These smaller entrant pool tournaments don’t have scheduled start times like multi-table online poker tournaments. Instead, you sit, and when all the seats are filled, you go. But don’t let the simplicity fool you into thinking there isn’t a ton of money to be made in SNGs.
Whether you want to play heads-up SNGs, single-table SNGs, multi-table SNGs, satellite SNGs, or shootout SNGs, we’ve got you covered. Our dedicated guide covers everything you need to know about these tournaments, including where the best action is, the strategies needed to win, and how you can get started right now.
Playing Real Money Cash Games Online
Online poker tournaments are great, but you’re required to sit until the tournament is over. Cash games, on the other hand, give you the flexibility to come and go as you please. If you want to play just a couple of hands, great. If you want to play for 20 hours straight, you’re nuts, but go for it! Some of the most profitable poker players in the world make their living from playing cash games.
If you’re ready to get started with online poker cash games or you want to take your game up a notch, stay tuned. Our dedicated cash game poker guides get into how and where to find the best action, the strategies needed to crush all stakes, and resources that can help you to grow as a player.
Online Poker Bonuses
Did someone say free? We did! The best poker sites for money know that, to stay relevant, they need to incentivize new players and reward loyal customers. The way the companies do this is through poker bonuses. Some of the most popular poker bonus types include:
- Deposit bonuses
- Welcome bonuses
- Tournament tickets
- VIP rewards
- Frequent player points (FPPs)
- Added casino or sports betting bonuses
If you love the words “free” and “bonus,” be sure to check out the poker sites listed at the top of this page. They all have a long standing history of taking care of their customers with generous real money online poker bonuses.
Answering Questions About Online Poker
Is It Legal to Play Poker Online for Money?Online poker is legal in most parts of the world! The exact answer to your question will depend on where you live, and the current rules and regulations put out by your government. Our online poker legality page breaks all of this down by location with updates when anything changes.
Is Real Money Online Poker Safe?Yes! If you choose to play poker online at reputable online poker rooms and do your part, your experience will be completely safe. What is your part? This includes things like using strong passwords, never playing poker when you're intoxicated or emotional, and never logging into your account from a public device.
Can I Play Online Poker From the US?Yes! There are plenty of top online poker sites offering action to players located in the US. You won't have access to all of the options available to the rest of the world, but there are certainly some high-quality options with big games and huge prize pools.
Is Texas Holdem the Only Type of Poker I Can Play Online?Nope. You can play all variations of real money poker online like PLO, Draw Poker, and Stud. Additionally, some online poker websites offer the ability to play wilder games like Crazy Pineapple and Chinese Poker. Texas Holdem is the most popular game with the most action, but you can find games across the board for whatever variation you are looking for.