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?
As of October 2017, the two biggest places for US players to play are currently on sites that are part of either the Pai Wang Luo Network (such as Ignition Casino and Bovada Poker) or the Winning Poker Network (such as America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and True Poker). Both sets of sites get a reasonable amount of traffic. PWL Network does not offer much in the way of rewards or rakeback, but it has anonymous tables that prevent player tracking and thus the games are quite soft. WPN has a high rewards VIP program or a 27% rakeback program. Most importantly, both options still accept US players. I have deposited with them using my credit card in the past, and more recently using Bitcoin. According to The Merkle, America's Cardroom just started accepting over 60 cryptocurrencies on top of Bitcoin.
It is also worth noting that Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have passed laws to license and regulate intrastate online poker. This created a number of new options for players residing in those states, who had access to both regulated state sanctioned games and offshore poker site games regulated in foreign jurisdictions. Just recently, the Governor of New Jersey signed an agreement with DE and NV to combine and share player pools in all three states.
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.
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:
- Pokerstars "Real-Money" page: http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/real-money/
Edit(2): I stand corrected. http://www.pokerstars.com/usaplayers/faq/
Can I use a VPN or IP randomizer to appear as though I am outside the US and still play on PokerStars.com 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.
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.
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.
If you are looking to play poker online for real money.
go to that link, make your account and start playing
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.
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.