Legit Poker Sites for US Players July 2024

Kickass Poker Blog

Kickass Poker

Hi and welcome to Kickass Poker!

My name is Jason and I’ve been in the online poker industry since October of 2003. That’s Haley Hintze up there writing the Kickass Poker blog, which she has been doing so (on and off) for over a decade now.

Over the years my team and I have worked with virtually all of the best and some of the worst poker operators over the years. The worst being Full Tilt Poker and Absolute/UB.

Today I am doing things simpler. I am only working with a super short list of the very best poker sites. Additionally I write and edit the bitcoin gambling guides.

Haley keeps our readers interested with investigative reports from around the world of poker.

And that’s Kickass Poker in a nutshell.

Real Poker Room Reviews

Most poker reviews are not worth the page they are written on. I make sure mine are different.

Many ‘poker site reviews’ remind me of Amazon reviews that were paid and bought for in exchange for the product. The majority of poker review sites are no different. The webmaster or forum spammer gets paid a commission for telling you how great the poker room is. The “review” provides hardly any actual experienced opinion.

With my poker reviews you are going to get my personal opinions, feelings and beliefs about the poker site in question. Yes I’ll give you a breakdown of the important details and some of the things you will want to know. I’ll have a depositing how to guide focused on bitcoin and any of the important bits laid out before you open up your wallet if at all.

I know you can spot a garbage review from a real one after a few sentences.

With my reviews you will learn my honest opinions and examples of what you can expect. You decide if this is a poker site you would like to play at or not.

I am only reviewing the legit online poker sites that I personally like anyway.

It is wise to learn from others mistakes. If you stick to the very limited number of sites listed here you can rest assured that you are getting a fair gamble.

I’m not going to shout the praises of the site to try to get you to sign up. I’m also not going to spend 7000 words explaining every nuance of what happens when you click a button looking at your software settings. You can figure those things out as you go.

I will tell you the things that you will probably want to know and you can decide from there if the site is right for you.

I want you to avoid the bad poker sites.

Legit Online Poker Sites

How do you measure how legit something is? It is a question I asked myself when I worked on trying to rate a dozen different poker rooms in a top to bottom “legit-ness scale”.

I had poker rooms ranging from 1 star up to 9.7 stars. It got dicey when trying to figure out who was better than who even though shady things had happened at multiple sites.

Who was more shady, who was more legit? It got more and more ridiculous the more I worked on the idea and thought about it.

I decided that my idea of a poker room rating scale sucked and scrapped the project completely.

Either a site is legit or they are not. There is not much wiggle room in between.

I decided to ditch the idea of a “legit-ness rating scale” all together and instead I asked myself one question.

If my good friend asked me where he should play online poker at, where would I tell him?

If a gambling site is listed here, I trust them enough to recommend them to my friends who want a place to gamble online. That to me is the first and most important thing and that’s why there are only a few recommended poker sites on my list.

Trust & Reputation in Online Gambling

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been in the online gambling industry for a long time now.

I’ve met in person the people behind these companies. I’ve ate dinner with them and gotten to know them. I know what to expect and over time they have consistently delivered.

If you want to gamble online then these online poker sites are the only ones I recommend to friends, family and you.

They are indeed the Kickass poker sites you can feel comfortable playing at today.

Do not get me wrong here – most players lose money eventually. Even players who win money playing poker will leave it at the blackjack table quite often.

Only deposit what you can afford to lose. Gamble responsibly.

Do not accept bonuses that you do not understand the terms and conditions of. They come with strings attached that affect your ability to withdraw.

Reporting on Poker Scoops, Scandals and Scams

Join us in the Kickass Poker blog with Haley dropping hard truths and inside scoops from the seedy underbelly of the world of poker.

Ok, maybe not all the posts are that dramatic but you will find the most interesting tidbits from the world of poker and online gambling from a veteran of the industry, Haley Hintze.

She keeps up with latest on-goings with a no holds barred attitude.

Read at your own risk.

A Little History – Back When Poker “Kicked Ass!”

I first started playing online poker back in 2003. I was young and fairly newly married at the time. The wife and I were watching TV and I saw a commercial for PartyPoker.

I could play poker online for real money. Holy shit is this for real!?

I went online, created an account, whipped out my credit card, punched in my numbers and the next thing you know I am playing poker on my computer against other people for real money.

This was brand new to me at the time… I joined thousands of other fresh fish who wanted to be the next Chris Moneymaker. Tens of thousands of us went online and started playing poker like crazy.

The poker boom began.

Online Poker Sites Go Crazy

In the short few years that followed, dozens of poker sites littered the online landscape.  

They were competing with each other trying to attract us poker player to their poker room so they could get their piece of the huge online poker gambling pie.

These sites offered crazy bonuses. I’m talking stuff like totally free money just for creating an account. Real money free rolls with a tens of thousands up for grabs, huge deposit bonuses and guaranteed tournaments with a ton of extra money in the prize pool and more offers that were constantly rolling out. So much so that there were forums and communities that arose just to ‘bonus hunt’ and take advantage of this free money.

Today if a poker site was offering these kinds of bonuses we would warn you that it is too good to be true and almost certainly a scam. Back then it was not too good to be true. But it was too good to last. These outlandish promotions offered so much value to players it really was a great time to play online poker. 

It was Kickass Poker indeed.

Looking back, things changed really fast. Poker sites opened and closed with various scandals and scams. Laws were written and re-written and challenged and changed. Everyone was jostling for a piece of the juicy online poker pie.

After legislation known as the UIGEA, the major payment processing provider called Neteller pulled out of the USA in 2007. They were handling the lions share of payments to and from online casinos and this was a huge blow to the industry. Or so we thought. Overnight hundreds of payment processors sprang to life to handle payments, and get their piece of the pie. Demand was, and actually still is super high for online gambling in the United States.

Due to regulations and laws and who knows what political pressures, the large public companies in the EU like PartyPoker, 888 and others left the USA.

This left US players with only the offshore poker rooms with licenses in Isle of Man, Costa Rica, Antigua, Barbados and other similar jurisdictions left to serve the demanding US online gambling market.

Those jurisdictions included sites including PokerStars, FullTiltPoker, Bodog, UltimateBet, Absolute Poker and a host of others left to battle for the US marketshare.

The Poker Boom Kept on Booming.

And it boomed up until 2011 when the infamous “Black Friday” for online poker hit like a ton of bricks.  The US indicted PokerStars, FullTilt, Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, seized their domain names and froze their bank accounts and assets.

The largest poker sites in the US were effectively shut down overnight. The remaining US facing poker sites circled the troops and for a while stop trying to attract US based players. They flew under the radar and remained outside of the jurisdiction and the watchful eye of the USA.

Eventually things calmed down with PokerStars paying fines and paying back players and leaving the US market completely. Once the weather looked better these offshore US friendly poker sites re-emerged and began operations as usual.

Today there only a few poker sites I recommend after everything that has came and went in the world of online poker over the years.

Poker Today – Poker Resurgence

I still love playing poker today.

I make a habit of visiting the nearest casino whenever the WSOP circuit is in town and taking a few shots in the ring tournaments.

But poker, and especially online poker, is way different than when I first started playing and when we first started this website.

The days of easy money from other players and the poker sites themselves is long gone. The fish were eaten. The poker sites that survived learned how to structure their bonus offers in ways that didn’t hand out free money like candy. They also matured and quality poker sites rose to the top.

In addition to the money itself tightening up from players and sites, making deposits and withdrawals has undergone an entire revolution.

How the Online Poker World Looks Right Now in 2022

  • The U.S. poker market has consolidated to a small handful of legit offshore poker sites
  • Deposits and withdrawing is shifting rapidly towards bitcoin (see how it works in my guide)
  • Credit card acceptance rates for depositing is on the decline
  • The average poker player is better at poker than in the early days
  • The poker sites and sportsbooks themselves are no longer giving away fist fulls of cash at every turn. You have to earn any bonus and they are not so easy to do so.
  • Regulation is moving forward, even if at a snails pace for legal online poker across a small handful of states.

To play online poker from most of the USA you need to use one of the offshore poker sites. These sites take credit cards, but the processing has became so expensive and problematic for the online poker sites that some of them have moved to bitcoin as the only option. At the time of this publication, credit cards work about 50%-65% of the time at Bovada and Betonline.

Kickass Poker’s Crypto Guides

Bitcoin deposits are virtually 100% successful with extremely small transaction costs. Bitcoin is providing the solution to fast, secure and provable deposits and withdrawals from your favorite online poker room.

Other crypto like Ethereum are being used to offer provably fair online casino games where you can verify that you are getting the odds advertised to you and that the game was played fairly. This is pretty cool.

Online gambling and bitcoin are evolving hand in hand and it’s an awesome time to be involved.  Welcome to the new age of bitcoin online poker. 

Bitcoin Poker – How It Really Works

If you are new to bitcoin or just intimidated by how complicated it all seems then don’t panic. I’ve been down this road and I know the path.

I show you easy and secure ways to get started without having to purchase anything.

Start with my Bitcoin Poker 101 guide. I show you the how, where and what exactly to do to get started with bitcoin safely if you want to gamble with it, or just to own it yourself.

Start to finish, my guides will show you how it all works so you’ll know what you are getting into before you begin.  

In addition I list the very short list of poker sites and sportsbooks I recommend. These sites have stood the test of time for players who are looking to play poker online for real money at a legit, honest and fair gambling site.

You will not find poker strategy, playing tips, or hand advice. There is more of that already on the web by professional poker players than you could consume in one lifetime from far better players.

*Kickasspoker of today is way different than when we first started. You can learn more about us and get in touch with our contact info.