Safest US / American Poker Sites

Gambling online has always been risky. I suppose anything to do with using your credit card online is, though. But gambling has added risk because you have to worry about a site's integrity, as well as the (other) players. For a US player, you also have to worry about the US government intervening, too. So there is a lot of risk, which has only increased 100x following Black Friday.

What about US Laws? Is Online Poker in the US Even Legal?

We can't tell you if poker is legal in your area. There are states in the USA where online poker (and gambling) is illegal, and in some cases a felony. So you'll want to do your own research before choosing to play poker online.

In general though, no, online poker is not illegal. Many people believe it is because of the UIGEA that was passed in 2006. However, that bill was put into effect to prohibit transactions from taking place from banks to online poker sites. This had nothing to do with whether or not online gambling is legal.

The problems from Black Friday doesn't mean that it's (online poker) illegal either. The sites that found themselves in trouble were in trouble because they broke the law in terms of the UIGEA. They tried to find ways to get money to/from players banks to their poker accounts. So they got in trouble for fraud and money laundering. But it did put a lot of sites into the spotlight, and scared even more to leave the US market behind.

Which US Poker Sites Are the Safest?

So to help you choose the safest poker site for US players, we've complied a top list. Find the room that interests you most, then just click the link to visit their site.

United States / US Poker Rooms

Rank
US Poker Site
Signup Bonus
Poker Room Highlights
Review
1
Ignition Poker
100% to $2000
  • Best software available for US players
  • Excellent VIP poker rewards
  • 100% to $2000 deposit bonus
2
25% cash to $900
  • New poker site offering cash bonus
  • Accepts US deposits & credit cards
  • 25% instant bonus up to $900

How to Find a Safe US Poker Site

Finding a safe US poker site isn't hard. It just takes more research on your part. When you shop around for other items, whether it's a TV, car or bank, do you just go in and buy / sign-up? No, you do your homework first. You should do the same when shopping for a new poker site. Here's how.

Is the Site Licensed / Regulated?

Licensing is a good indicator of how trustworthy a site is. For a site to have a license they need to pass criteria and pay for licensing, which is expensive. They also need to run their business in an ethical manner, or else that license can be revoked.

Sites that are licensed (usually) have their software tested, too. The software is tested for randomness to make sure that there are no patterns for players to figure out and exploit.

A quick note -- not all sites can be licensed. For example, licenses aren't issue in Costa Rica. In these cases you'll want to look for other details to prove a site is trustworthy. You can do that by reading room reviews are forum posts. One way to tell is if a site is headquartered in Costa Rica and says that their licensed in/by Costa Rica -- that would be a red flag for me (why would they lie about that?).

Read Poker Reviews

Another way to find safe US poker sites is to read reviews. Reviews will (should) tell you about the site's history, their games, banking methods, support and personal experience. From reading the review you should know enough about the site to make an educated decision.

Many people believe that reviews aren't actually reviews, just summaries of the information on the site. But what these people don't realize is that the people writing these reviews keep in touch with gambling forums, news/media outlets and so on, so we are kept up to date on what sites are legit. In fact, many poker portals won't even list sites that are bad for you to play at.

Forums

Forums are one of the fastest ways to find out whether or not a site is legit. Players that are stiffed or face bad service will post their experiences (quickly) in the forums.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't believe every post that you read. Many players that post are just bent out of shape because they still think online poker is rigged. Their gripes have nothing to do with the room itself. So you'll want to look for some consistency in the complaints about a particular room.

Domain Names

Although not the best indicator of safety, one thing I look at in a poker site is their domain name.

On Black Friday sites with a .com domain name were seized. Essentially a .com is subjective to being confiscated because they're on/in US jurisdiction. In fact, the company that provides .coms is located in California.

To avoid a domain seizure-like situation, the safest sites will be those that have other domain extensions, such as .eu or .lv. These can't be confiscated by the US government. Sneaky? Yes, but your money is much safer on these sites compared to a .com.