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In the United States, is it legal to play online poker games with play money as long as the winnings cannot be converted to cash or anything of value?

For example, if a user buys 10,000 chips with $5 of real money and is able to win or lose chips in games/tournaments, but can never convert those chips back to cash/value, is it legal?

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You should probably check your local state law, however I believe the answer is no, it's not illegal. Morally and ethically you could argue it's not right, but it's totally legal to charge for tokens in games, with no means to convert those tokens back to a real cash value. Many video games do this, again morally and ethically not great, but no laws particularly against this currently. That may change in the future after all the recent abuses and problems coming from loot boxes.

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