Can I Play Poker on the Internet in the United States?

poker-roomYes, even if you live in the United States you can play poker on the internet for real money! In fact, I live in Florida and I just logged off PokerStars a few minutes ago where I spend quite a bit of time playing online poker, and where thousands of other U.S. residents hit the virtual tables every day!

What makes people even ask the question “can I play online poker in the United States?” is the notion that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), passed by former President George W. Bush in 2006, made it illegal for poker players to play for real money in the USA.

Contrary to beliefs that this bill made online poker illegal, what it actually did was it forbade American financial institutions from conducting transactions with online poker rooms. So in short, in made it more difficult to deposit money directly with your debit card and a with a few of the major credit cards.

Fearing further legal issues might develop from this bill, several major poker rooms pulled out of the U.S. market in 2006, including PartyPoker.com. However, many online poker sites continued excepting American players— most notably PokerStars and FullTiltPoker— and since the bill was passed these sites have flourished as thousands of new U.S. players sign up for real money accounts every day.

And depositing money on these sites remains simple. For instance, PokerStars allows you to deposit money into your online poker account using your Visa card, MasterCard, Diners Club card, E-checks, and more.

(For a complete list of deposit methods for trusted online poker sites read our article “How do I deposit money into my online poker account?”)

In addition, many of the poker professionals you’ve seen playing in the World Series of Poker on ESPN, also play online. And many of them live and reside inside the United States. Chris Moneymaker, Vanessa Rousso, Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, and 2009 WSOP Champion Joe Cada all live in the United States and all play in high dollar tournaments on PokerStars.com.

If online poker were banned in the United States these high-profile professionals would not be able to wager thousands of dollars playing poker on the internet.

As I write this legislators are working on a bill to fully legalize and regulate online poker and other casino games in the United States. Hopefully this bill will pass to clear up any issues online poker players may have. (For more information on this bill visit theppa.org). While we wait, ask yourselves if public poker figures like Greg Raymer would risk playing online poker in the United States if it was not legal, or safe.

In short, if you live in the United States you can play online poker. Just make sure you sign up with a reputable site like PokerStars, FullTilt Poker, or any of the other online poker rooms we recommend on ThePokerSource.com. These poker rooms are safe, secure, and provide hundreds of table options for both high and low-limit poker players.

For more information about playing online poker in the United States please read: