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Author ImageAuthor: | Last Updated: November 2023

Whether you are a novice looking to learn the basics or a seasoned player looking to refine their skills, our comprehensive poker guide aims to be your go-to source for all things poker.

Below, we provide information on the legality of online poker on the U.S. soil, teach you the basics of playing poker online along with helpful tips to help you grow as a player, and offer you our finest selection of poker rooms online.

The legal status of online poker in the U.S. has been debated for years. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, does not explicitly prohibit online poker under federal law. Individual states however, have the authority to regulate or prohibit online gambling in their borders.

Online poker has been around since the late 90’s and continues to revolutionize the gambling industry with the convenience and variance it brings to the online poker community. The WSOP 2003 victory of Chris Moneymaker, an amateur who qualified through an online poker site popularized online poker and helped its explosive growth.

While it didn’t criminalize online poker and only brought restrictions on financial transactions, the UIGEA had a significant impact online poker. In 2011, the U.S. government indicted several major online poker sites and suspending their operations in the U.S. which is remembered as the infamous Black Friday event.

Years later, states like Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania legaled online poker within their borders, ushering in a new era for online poker sites.

As of now, the legality of online poker continues to be a state-by-state matter. While some states allow and regulate online poker, others do not. It is important for online poker players to keep up with the laws of their respective states and only play on licensed and regulated offshore casinos.

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Offshore poker rooms refer to online poker sites that operate outside of the United States. In most states, offshore sites operate on a gray area of the law, allowing users to enjoy playing poker online even if they have no access to physical casinos. To date, no one has ever been prosecuted in America for playing on an offshore site, regardless of their home state.

Offshore gambling sites obtain licenses from governing bodies outside the US, and these agencies have strict rules around segregation of funds, anti-money laundering procedures, game fairness, and Know Your Customer compliance.

Ignition Casino

Ignition Poker is one of the most premier online poker rooms that offers a user-friendly experience with a myriad of weekly tournaments and diverse range of features.

One of the standout features of Ignition Poker is their easy to understand rake system. Tracking their rake contributions is seemingly effortless and transparent process, resulting in a transparent and fair environment.

Ignition Poker boasts a versatile platform, available on your browser or via a downloadable poker app. Both versions of Ignition Poker offer great gameplay and seamless deposits and withdrawals.

What makes Ignition Poker the best poker room available is their plethora of weekly tournaments. Regardless of what day of the week you tune into Ignition Poker, you can find a tournament that caters to both beginners and seasoned players.

Ignition Poker also offers anonymous tables. In other poker rooms, players will identify themselves with a screen name, allowing you to keep tabs on their playing tendencies by taking notes. Ignition eliminates this with the anonymous table feature, allowing players to start each game with a clean slate, ensuring no one has advantage over anyone.

  • Year Opened: 2016
  • Poker Welcome Bonus: 100% up to $1,500
  • Average Monthly Players: 1000-3000
  • Available on Mobile?: Yes
  • Most Popular Banking Method: Crypto

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Poker is one of those games where it is essential to have great grasp of how to play and a solid strategy if you want to consistently win. Poker combines elements of skill, strategy, and psychology with a dash of luck thrown in. We do not suggest relying purely on luck when playing poker as a seasoned player that is more knowledgeable will have an edge over you, resulting in more losses than wins.

Basic Poker Rules

Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, however, some variants of poker use multiple decks or add a few joker cards. The cards are ranked regardless of suit from high to low as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Ace can both be high or low but it is usually high.

After the cards are dealt and the rounds of betting start, players can choose actions ranging from bet, fold, call, or raise depending on their hand and by reading their opponents. All hands in poker have five cards and the goal is to win chips by forming the best hand or convincing your opponents to fold.

Of course, this is an oversimplified explanation of how to play poker online. Mastering how to play poker takes time and dedication but you are on the right tract to start winning online poker games! To get a better understanding of what online poker is all about, check out our beginner’s guide.

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There are various online poker modes you can choose from and your choice can impact your potential winnings. Different poker modes offer specific advantages and disadvantages that will impact your success in the game. It is important to be well informed about the pros and cons of different poker modes so you can choose what suits your playstyle best.

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Digital or RNG poker provides convenient and accessible poker action 24/7 and allows multitabling with wide range of stakes along with a usually softer competition compared to live games. Poker games powered by random number generators are often single player games, or at least, against computers. This is a great way to practice your skills before you start playing live poker.

Live Dealer Poker

Compared to other poker modes, live dealer poker offers an immersive and social environment with real-time reads, psychological strategies, and bluffs. Live dealer poker requires a solid internet connection to participate, as the game is streamed from a casino studio. You won’t be able to see other players, but you will be able to use chat boxes and other features to interact with your opponents.

Poker Tournaments

Poker tournaments offer a competitive and structured environment with the potential for big wins in large events in which strategy and skill are essential. Success in a tournament requires a better understanding of tournament strategy and human psychology since tournaments can be volatile with many inexperienced players busting before reaching the money. The buy-ins and entry fees can be a significant amount with a fierce competition in major tournaments, however, winning a big tournament brings with it a certain prestige and recognition in the poker community.

Video Poker

Video poker is a solitary game with poker and slot machines mixed together. Video poker often offers a high RTP (return to player), making it a worthwhile poker mode to try out despite the lack of social interaction involved. Many players who enjoy the strategic aspect of poker might find this poker mode to be not as intellectually stimulating.

RNG and video poker are the two most popular poker modes online, though you would not find them in conventional poker rooms. If you would like to give RNG poker and video poker a try, we recommend joining one of the reputable online casino sites.

Poker is one of the most popular card games online with a great amount of variance players can choose from. Here are the four most popular poker games online:

Texas Hold'em

Texas Hold’em Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant worldwide thanks to it’s easy rules, but complex gameplay. The use of community cards is what sets it apart from other forms of poker, allowing players to use the five cards dealt face-up in the center of the table to complement their to hole cards. Winning in Texas Hold’em requires excellent command of Hold’em strategy along with the ability to read your opponents.


OmahaOmaha has become quite popular for its action-packed nature and bigger pots, cementing its place among aggressive and high-stakes players. Just like Texas Hold’em, Omaha has five community cards players can use but the key difference is players receive four hole cards instead of two. This rule allows for a challenging gameplay with greater complexity that results in stronger hands, bigger pots and a more competitive poker experience.

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card StudSeven Card Stud is a classic choice amongst traditional poker players, as the players must rely on their own hand building and opponent reading skills. Unlike the previous variants, Seven Card Stud does not have any community cards, instead players receive three face-down and four face-up cards to build their best 5 card poker hand over multiple betting rounds. This emphasizes the importance of reading opponent’s hands in a game where partial information dictates play.

Five Card Draw

Five Card DrawA favorite among casual players looking for a quick and fun poker experience thanks to its simplicity is Five Card Draw. It is very easy to play as the goal of the game is to exchange the five hole cards to improve one’s hand after a round of betting. Bluffing plays a big role in this poker variant and it is a reason for its popularity.

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Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have been leaders in the efforts to legalize online poker in the United States, being among the first states to legalize online poker. Below we have a table with all 50 U.S. states and their stance on online poker. You can use this table to see if online poker, land-based poker, and mobile poker are available within your state.

  • Legal – The state has legalized online poker and the market is fully launched
  • Offshore Only – The state has yet to regulate online poker but bettors can use offshore casinos
  • Pending – Legalization is in progress, and bettors can still play at offshore sites in the meantime
State Online Poker? Land-Based Poker Rooms? Mobile Poker?
Alabama Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Alaska Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Arizona Legal Legal Legal
Arkansas Offshore only Legal Legal
California Legal Legal Legal
Colorado Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Connecticut Legal Legal Legal
Delaware Legal Legal Legal
Florida Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Georgia Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Hawaii Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Idaho Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Illinois Pending Legal Pending
Indiana Pending Legal Pending
Iowa Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Kansas Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Kentucky Pending Legal Offshore only
Louisiana Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Maine Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Maryland Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Massachusetts Pending Legal Pending
Michigan Legal Legal Legal
Minnesota Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Mississippi Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Missouri Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Montana Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Nebraska Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Nevada Legal Legal Legal
New Hampshire Legal Legal Legal
New Jersey Legal Legal Legal
New Mexico Offshore only Legal Offshore only
New York Pending Legal Pending
North Carolina Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
North Dakota Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Ohio Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Oklahoma Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Oregon Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Pennsylvania Legal Legal Legal
Rhode Island Legal Legal Legal
South Carolina Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
South Dakota Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Tennessee Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Texas Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Utah Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Vermont Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Virginia Offshore only Offshore only Offshore only
Washington Offshore only Legal Offshore only
West Virginia Legal Legal Legal
Wisconsin Offshore only Legal Offshore only
Wyoming Offshore only Legal Offshore only

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The following poker rooms have made it to our favourite poker sites list because all of them offer the best possible experience to their players. Bovada made it to our list with its easy to use interface, BetOnline with its plethora of weekly poker tournaments and SportsBetting.ag took its place with its innovative software.

Poker Room Welcome Bonus Minimum Deposit Types of Poker Available Read Review
Bovada Casino 100$ up to $500 $25 Zone poker, No limit Hold’em, Fixed limit hold’em, Pot limit Omaha, Fixed limit Omaha Read Review
betonline logo 100% match bonus $50 Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Fast fold, 6+ Hold’em, Sit n Go’s, Multi table tournaments, Daily tournaments, Sunday main event Read Review
SportsBetting Logo 100$ up to $1000 $50 No limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, Omaha, 7-card stud, Americana, 32 card draw Read Review

If you want to find out how we choose the best poker sites, or to find the best online poker site for you, visit our poker sites guide.

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Playing your first hand of poker is a fairly easy process! Here are the steps you need to take to get your online poker adventure started:

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The first step is to find a poker room that suits your needs. You can browse through our recommended poker sites to get started.

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Once you have chosen your desired poker room, the next step is to create an account.

Ignition Sign Up

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Now that you have a fresh account to play online poker with, make your first deposit and don’t forget to claim your bonus.

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With your boosted bankroll thanks to your welcome bonus, find your favourite poker variant and a table with stakes that suit your bankroll. For this step-by-step, we chose the crowd favourite, Texas Hold’em.

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When you sit at a table, all players will need to place their bets before the cards are dealt, these bets include ante bets and blinds. Everyone receives two hole cards and then can decide to either fold, check, or bet/call. Whenever a player decides to check, the opportunity to check or bet is passed on clockwise to the next player until someone decides to make the first bet. Once a bet is made, the remaining players need to match that amount.

Step #6: The Flop

Once the betting is done, the three community cards (the flop) are dealt in the middle of the table. Players now have a slight idea about the strength of their hand

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After bets are concluded, the fourth community card is revealed. At this stage, players have a better understanding of the strength of their hand.

Step #8: The River

After another round of betting is done, the fifth and final community card (the river) is dealt. Now players can clearly assess the strength of their hand and the final round of betting begins.

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Players reveal their hands to see who has the strongest hand out of all. The player that has managed to build the strongest hand out of the remaining players wins.

Online Poker Tips

Online poker is easy to learn and hard to master. Here are some online poker tips to help you get started:

  • Choose your starting hand carefully – You don’t have to commit to a hand you find weak, remember you can always change tables and start with a better hand.
  • Recognize your opponent’s betting patterns – Take advantage of the notes feature in a poker room to keep tabs on your opponents and their betting tendencies.
  • Understand hand rankings – A good understanding of hand rankings is crucial in online poker. You can keep a rankings guide handy on a different tab when you play online poker.
  • Learn how to bluff but in moderation – Use the chat feature to bluff your opponents but make sure to keep it in moderation as bluffing is a double-edged sword.
  • Start with playing single table – You can play online poker on multiple tables at once but we recommend starting with a single table until you get the hang of it.

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Poker is indeed a form of gambling, but it is fairly different than other forms of gambling. While chance plays a role in poker, it is not as fate deciding as it is in blackjack. Skill and strategy have a significant impact in a player’s decisions and their success as a result. According to a research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research titled: The Role of Skill versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker highly skilled players achieved an average return on investment of over 30% compared to -15% for all other players. This research suggests that poker is a game of skill rather than chance.

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Poker can evolve from just a hobby to an addiction if the thrill of the game and the adrenaline rush becomes consuming. Which in turn, leads to binge gambling and chasing losses. It is important to set strict limits for time and money spent on online poker. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, free and anonymous help is available 24/7.

  • The Responsible Gambling Council provides tools to help you talk about responsible gambling practices, manage your own play, learn how to spot the signs of risky gambling behavior, and find out where you can turn to for help.
  • The provides counselling for people who gamble and can link people to the support and resources they need.
  • The American Gaming Association provides information about the gaming industry in the US.
  • The National Council on Problem Gambling has compiled a list of resources on problem gambling issues, including links to other problem gambling related websites and resources.