When choosing between the best online poker sites, it can be hard to know what to look for. So much of what makes a poker site the best depends on personal tastes. One has to decide which types of poker games they want to play. They also need to consider which poker sites have the best software, the right tournament schedule, and the prize structure. For a beginner, this can all be a bit daunting.
Fortunately, no one needs to go it alone. We’ve compiled the definitive list of the best online poker sites of 2021.
Meet the author: As a professional poker player for nearly 13 years, my friend and I have been testing pretty much any online poker site that has ever existed. For more online poker and casino site reviews like this one, check out leanbackplayer.com website.
5 Best Real Money Poker Sites
- Best Overall: Ignition
- Best for Beginners: Bovada
- Best Bonuses: Cafe Casino
- Best RTG Poker: Bodog
- Best Daily Promotions: BigSpinCasino
1. Ignition – Best Online Poker Site Overall
Ignition Casino is a relatively new online poker site, launched in 2016. Thanks to the chance to learn from their competitors’ failures and successes, they have created one of the world’s best online poker sites. They have witnessed massive growth over the last few years, and we expect this trend to continue. With great bonuses and a variety of casino games, it’s an all-around winner.
- Great bonuses and depositing options
- Live dealer poker and casino games
- Excellent customer support
Bonus: 200% deposit match bonus up to $2000.
Link: Welcome Bonus
2. Bovada – Best for Beginners
Bovada Poker has been known for a long time as one of the most trusted internet gambling brands in the United States. Since 2011, Bovada has been providing online poker and other casino games to users across the world, while at the same time promoting responsible gambling habits and ensuring beginner-friendly tables. That’s why we chose it as one of the best poker sites for beginners.
- Beginner-friendly and stellar poker room
- Great bonuses and promotions
Bonus: 100% deposit match bonus up to $500.
Link: Welcome Bonus
3. Cafe Casino – Best Bonuses
Cafe Casino is a newer US-facing online poker site that is very well-known for its notorious bonus offers. They offer an excellent variety of casino games, and it goes without saying that these include all the real-money poker variations. Cafe Casino bonus offers vary from a 500% super welcome bonus to free chips and referral bonuses.
- Excellent bonus and promotional offers
- Fast payouts
- Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals
Bonus: 500% deposit match bonus up to $5000.
Link: Welcome Bonus
4. Bodog – Best RTG Poker
Bodog was founded in 1994 by Canadian entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, and the company has changed a lot over the years. Today, Bodgod offers various gambling opportunities under one roof – sports, race, and live betting, together with different casino games like poker. What makes Bodog stand out from the crowd is RTG (Realtime Gaming) video poker games.
- ‘Poker Bad Beat Bonus’ offer
- US player friendly
- Trusted and well-known brand
Bonus: 100% deposit match bonus up to $1000.
Link: Welcome Bonus
5. BigSpinCasino – Best Daily Promotions
BigSpinCasino understands that the online casino world is highly competitive, and to acquire new players and keep the current ones, they need to run bonuses and promotions constantly. This strategy has been paying off, and many bonus hunters have settled here. Aside from great bonuses, they have an excellent variety of slots, video poker, and table games.
- Excellent table and video poker games
- Many deposits and reload bonuses
- Daily and evergreen promotions
Bonus: 200% deposit match bonus up to $1000.
Link: Welcome Bonus
Are Poker Sites Legal in the US?
Whether or not real money online poker sites are legal in the US is a complicated issue. The answer is yes, but with some clarifications.
Operating real money online poker sites is legal in four states: New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. West Virginia voted to legalize online poker rooms in 2019, but so far, they have yet to enact that legislation.
Because there are no laws against playing online poker, US players can access these sites from anywhere in the country. However, the banking gets a little complicated with sites for US players, which is why most sites seek offshore licensing. These sites are registered outside the country, and can legally serve online poker players from any state.
So yes, online poker sites are legal to operate in certain states like New Jersey and Nevada, and online poker is legal to play in all states.
Different Games Online Poker Sites Offer?
Unsurprisingly, you can find a poker room for almost any type of poker game on most of the best online poker sites. Some of the most popular legal online poker games are:
- Texas Hold ’em
- Omaha Hi
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- 7-Card Stud
- 2-7 Triple Draw
- 5-Card Draw
- 5-Card Omaha
- Unibet Poker
- Chinese Poker
- Short Deck
- Black Chip Poker
- Stud Poker
- Zone Poker
Like at a traditional casino, Texas Hold ’em and Omaha are the most popular cash games, but there’s a huge variety of online poker games for a player to choose from.
Online Poker Software: Why It Is Important?
There are a lot of different types of poker software to help you get a leg up on the competition. There are game analyzers to help show you where you went wrong, courses to help you dominate online poker rooms, and even AI systems to make your moves for you. While we don’t condone doing anything to break the best poker sites’ terms of service, if you want to play poker online, you might need a leg up on the competition.
Here are some of the best online poker software:
- PokerTracker 4
- The Upswing Poker Lab
- Daniel Negreanu MasterClass
- Phil Ivey MasterClass
- Poker Copilot
- PokerStrategy Equilab
- The Poker Timer
- Poker Income Bankroll Tracker
- ICMIZER 3
Things to Consider Before Playing with Real Money
Playing poker for real money can be scary for a beginner, and there are some things you need to look out for before you play online poker. These things will help keep you safe, and your money secure when you play online poker.
Is the Online Poker Site Licensed?
It should go without saying that you should only play online poker for real money on sites that are properly licensed. If a real money poker site is not licensed by whatever country they operate out of, they could theoretically shut down tomorrow and take your money with them.
If you want to find out if a site is licensed to operate money games online, then you should scroll all the way down to the bottom of their web page. In their footer navigation, they will have some type of link to their licensing information. Sites like Ignition and Bovada have it right in their terms of service. If you can’t find it there, the best poker sites will have their licensing information listed on their about pages.
Depositing and Withdrawal Options
A big thing to consider when you are trying to find the best online poker sites is how you will be paying for each cash game.
Some sites allow a wide range of wire-transfer services like Paypal or Venmo, along with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Others require you enter your payment details directly on their site using a credit card like Visa, Mastercard, or Discover. This information will be displayed prominently on the poker site’s signup page.
Also, the best poker site will always have a prompt deposit and payout speed. If you have to wait a long time to get your money out, maybe you should consider different poker sites.
Reviews and Complaints
We are confident you’ll be happy with any of the poker sites we’ve listed above. But, if you are thinking about trying out a different site, make sure you check out the poker site reviews before making a deposit.
You can easily find reviews of different poker websites by Googling the site name and “review”. Another great trick is to search “Site Name” + “review” + “Reddit”. Reddit users don’t hold anything back, so you’ll be sure to find real information. These poker site reviews will be able to point you in the right direction.
Bonus and Promotion Offers
Most online poker rooms have a bonus code or promotional offer to incentivize deposits. When you are choosing between your two or three favorite poker sites, the bonus offer can be what really sets you over the top. Find the best poker site deposit bonuses, and you are almost ready to start playing.
Features & Games Available
If you’ve narrowed down which site where you are going to play real money poker online, there is one last thing to do. Check the list of games the site offers. If the site has all the cash game types you want to play, then make a deposit and jump into your first poker room.
European Poker Rooms: Are These Different?
The best poker sites in Europe and the surrounding region are similar to those operating in the US or for US players, but there are a few key differences.
First, European online poker rooms are going to have a different variety of play than their American counterparts. European real money online poker sites are filled with players from across the region, resulting in a much more diverse player pool. This leads to a different method of play and a different overall player experience.
In general, American poker players tend to play very controlled but aggressive games. European poker players tend to be more casual and make looser calls. This doesn’t mean they are weaker, it’s just a different strategy of gameplay.
While a more established online poker room will still have great software, many smaller European poker rooms will have software that feels unfamiliar to many American players. Us yanks are used to things that are sleek and intuitive, and also flashy and exciting. To the uninitiated, European region sites may be more difficult to navigate.
Traffic Volumes and Play Times
Many of the best online poker sites in Europe are still on the small side. That means that the less popular games will only have players in the poker rooms during peak hours, which could be a problem if you aren’t in a European region.
Obviously, if you are playing on a European poker site from the United States, then you probably won’t be playing at the same times as a lot of European players, due to the whole time-zone thing. That means unless you want to stick to Texas Hold ’em, you might be without any competition.
Rewards and Prizes
If you are considering playing on a poker site in a European poker room, then you have probably already considered the difference in currencies. However, cash prizes are not the only consideration.
Many European online poker tournaments have prize pools full of local rewards. Vacations and other physical prizes are common. And, if you cannot retrieve your prize, did you actually even win anything? You will want to find different tournaments if you don’t live in the region.
Is playing real money poker legal in the USA?
Yes, playing poker on online poker sites is legal in the USA. Operating online poker sites is only legal in certain states.
Are there any USA friendly poker sites that accept Bitcoin?
What is the best USA online poker site?
Is playing online poker profitable?
Of course, playing poker online can be profitable. There is a World Series of Poker where players can win millions of dollars. But playing poker online is still gambling. As with any poker experience, don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose.
Which online poker sites accept PayPal in the US?
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