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I know that after "Black Friday" many online poker sites didn't allow U.S. Players to play for real money anymore. I've heard/seen that it's possible to play via bitcoins and/or other proxy methods. Other than those ways described, is it possible to play in the US for real money?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

As of July 2012, the two biggest places for US players to play are currently on sites that are part of either the Merge Network (such as Carbon Poker and Black Chip Poker) or the Revolution Gaming Network (such as Lock Poker and Cake Poker). Both sets of sites get a reasonable amount of traffic, offer good rewards and rakeback, and most importantly still accept US players. I deposited with one of them using my credit card in early July.

It's also worth noting that Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have passed laws to license and regulate intrastate online poker by the end of 2013. That should create new options for players residing in those states, but it might also make it so those players can't play on foreign sites (which includes every site in operation prior to 2013).

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New Jersey can be included within the second paragraph as well now. – Silversana Jan 4 '14 at 20:48
I do not understand. Surely Pokerstars would be happy to join the market if there was a possibility. Are the Merge Network and the Revolution Gaming Network operating illegally? This seems the only case, but it's strange, because I don't see how authorities have been able to push away Pokerstars and not this networks... What am I missing? – doplumi Aug 18 '14 at 8:26
Pokerstars (and Full Tilt, and Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker) were part of a legal action by the US Government in April 2010. Each of them was involved in some sort of criminal activity (mostly various methods of tricking banks into accepting their transactions without knowing it was a poker transaction, which the US deemed to be financial fraud). It is the fallout from those activities that currently prevents Pokerstars from operating in the US. – Jeffrey Blake Aug 19 '14 at 12:16

I believe plenty of sites offer ways (I am sure PokerStars does ) to play for real money. The trick is you are never "playing for cash".

You purchase some "gaming currency" with real money, then you can gamble with the "gaming currency" and eventually cash out the gaming currency for USD.

edit(1): It appears it's much easier than I thought... Looks like it's as simple as throwing down a little plastic. Links below:

Edit(2): I stand corrected.

Can I use a VPN or IP randomizer to appear as though I am outside the US and still play on from within the United States?

No. Real money play is not allowed from within the US under any circumstances. Players who attempt to play for real money from inside the US with the aid of VPNs or other technical workarounds will lose their playing privileges and/or funds in their account.

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This applys to US players as well? – Digital Fire Jul 3 '12 at 20:22
Dated Apr 6th 2011, I may be wrong: – Christopher Lates Jul 3 '12 at 20:24
I realize that you added an edit to show that you were wrong, but this would be far better edited if you removed and/or added strikeout to the first few lines. – Jeffrey Blake Jul 4 '12 at 14:56
I am not familiar with the proxy methods you mentioned, but there are sites that allow US players to play. such site is I am sure there are many more sites like this one. – amigal Oct 11 '12 at 21:09

There's a hack that allow you to play online poker for real money in the US and anywhere in the world for that matter. You basically play in Seals with Clubs by using Bitcoins. Back when this question was first posted the site wasn't that big, but today it holds enough tables and player to make it an pretty nice site. Since bitcoins have no regulations yet you can play uninterrupted from anywhere worldwide.

The problem lies in how to obtain the Bitcoins, but there's a process that can easily let you by Bitcoins with Paypal or a credit card and after that you're good to go. You can check this post for the full explanation of the process.

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To add to what Jeffrey said, you can play on the Merge Network. However, setting up an account that can be used to process deposits and withdrawals is kinda a pain. From what I remember there is some paper work you have to fill out, along with a scanned copy of your driver's license. To be honest with you it's really not worth it. It takes about 8 weeks to process checks and the player pools are somewhat small.

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I play for real money almost every day on Bovada and enjoy it very much. It is legal to play online for US citizens/residents. Some states may specifically disallow it but most don't. There's no federal law against playing online poker. It's just not legal for US banks to make transfers to poker sites. This means you have to use Western Union to fund your account which is a pain but doable. When you withdraw you will get a non-descript check drawn on a foreign bank. Just deposit it in the atm and wait a couple of days. You'll get your money.

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Technically, it is not even illegal for banks to make the transfers. The law sets up penalties for financial institutions which process payments for "illegal online gambling transactions." However, except in states where online poker is actually illegal, that does not apply. However, banks don't want to chance it. They mostly refuse to process online poker transactions as a just-in-case approach, so that they do not have to worry about the specifics of what is legal where. – Jeffrey Blake Aug 19 '14 at 12:23

If you are looking to play poker online for real money.

go to that link, make your account and start playing

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in december, i got accounts at bovada, bcp, and acr. tried at carbon, but they did not like the visa card that i used for the other 3 casinos.

see my answer to this question.


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The easiest way to get back in the game is to play in freerolls and low buy-in added value tournaments.

This keeps your exposure low and abilities and training up. If you have a choice to play at a legal site give it a go but you should also keep an eye and dial on more established sites which bring in better and more regular players.

The style of a winning player can't be easily determined on a legal site which has less player tracking details.

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Some of the English here is a little incoherent and the link is opaque. Can you clean it up, and make the link address transparent? otherwise I'll remove the bits that aren't clear, thanks. – Toby Booth Jan 18 '14 at 0:06
The link leads to a sign up page for an online poker site... seems spammy. – Chris Marasti-Georg Jun 18 '14 at 18:21

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