In 2021 there are only a few USA friendly poker sites I am comfortable recommending to my friends and family.
The major difference between these poker rooms is that Bovada and Ignition offer anonymous online poker while Betonline and Sportsbetting poker use normal screen names.
In a broad view the majority of players should embrace the anonymous tables at Bovada as it levels the playing field as much as possible. Especially new players.
Poker Sites I Trust
After the history Kickass Poker has had, I trust very few poker sites. Very few.
The sites I trust today are:
- Bovada Poker
- Betonline Poker
*and their sister sites
Bovada Poker – known for soft games and anonymous poker tables.
Betonline Poker – accepts players from all 50 states and Canada and has the highest success rate for credit card deposits.
For 15+ years (since early 2004) these sites have consistently maintained a positive reputation in the gambling industry and have provided on-going effort at player resolution.
I know these poker sites have paid out big when winners win, and do so every time. Each of these sites come with a ‘sister site’ that is another brand name skin that shares poker player traffic together and the same management. These sister sites are Ignition poker and Sportsbetting Poker respectively. I recommend these sites if you like the bonus offer better or want a change of scenery.
Play Online Poker
“The majority of players are looking for reasons to fold. I am looking for reasons to play.”Daniel Negreanu
Bovada Poker – my long time favorite: Anonymous poker designed to attract and engage casual poker players instead of professionals. My top recommended site for new players from the US.
Bovada accepts bitcoin, bitcoin cash along with Visa, Mastercard and AX. Be warned that credit cards are hit or miss making deposits. Do not be alarmed if your credit card is declined for deposits. The credit card companies are blocking transactions as best they can.
You can read my Bovada poker bitcoin guide to get learn more about why they are my top rated site. Credit card processing is getting more and more expensive and difficult for the online poker rooms so this acceptance rate may be less depending on when you read this.
Betonline Poker : Top rated deposits and withdrawals for all of North America. Traditional online poker (non-anonymous).
They accept bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, dash and ripple for crypto deposits. They also offer Visa, MC, AMEX, P2P for deposits. These guys are well known for having some of the biggest fish you can still find in the online marketplace today. They also take a wider variety of cryptocurrency, giving you even more flexibility with your deposit methods. If you want to play poker with a username and see everyone else names then BOL is a solid choice.
Ignition Poker – sister site to Bovada.
Sportsbetting Poker – sister site to Betonline.
Bovada, Betonline and Sportsbetting include an attached sportsbook where you can bet on your favorite team or put together long shot parlay bets if you desire. They all offer casinos.
The casinos are a fun distraction if you want some non-poker gambling to pass the time. They have the latest and greatest casino games, 3d slots, table games and even live dealer via webcams. There are multiple types of black jack, interactive slot machines and most every table game you would see in Vegas.
I’ve won money at the poker tables and lost it at the casino more than I’d like to admit. Good times.
In addition to these poker centric gambling sites, there are a handful of additional sportsbooks I trust if you are looking for some non-poker related gambling and more options when betting sports.
These other sportsbooks have pretty horrible poker options so I do not add them to my list of recommended poker sites.
How Was Trust Earned? – Why are They Legit?
I trust these sites because of the history I have with them.
I began working with the Bovada group in 2004. I began working with the Betonline group a few months later. The operating principles these gambling sites have maintained make them the absolute best choices for US based poker players since Black Friday back in April 2011.
I’ve personally worked with them for over fifteen years. It is a long time to build a relationship, and a long time to make sure things stay positive across a multi-faceted industry.
I am comfortable recommending these sites to my friends, family and you.
You should do your own due diligence. I mean this sincerely.
If you were to spend some time reading the forums and subreddits dedicated to sportsbetting and gambling you’ll find an active, open and current number of complaints from players about these sites I claim as legit. It’s true, I’d bet someone is complaining about Bovada or Betonline right now.
In my opinion, the majority of these claims appear to be from disgruntled players who lost money and are unhappy about it.
Most of these people have likely not met the terms and conditions of a bonus they accepted in one way or another. Usually they accept a bonus and do not realize that there are strong terms and conditions in place that must be met in order to make a withdrawal. The t’s and c’s will get you.
Sometimes players will disagree with the way a sports bet was graded or how a unique situation was handled. It happens and it is the nature of the beast. While things haven’t always been 100% perfect for either of the companies, they have always worked to make things right and when players win, they get paid. The underlying principles of the companies are that of a fair bet for everyone.
I tell my friends and family (and you) to not expect to win. Only deposit money you can afford to lose. But if you do win, and if you have properly met any terms and conditions then they will 100% pay you. I know of multiple people who have withdrawn five figures+ with no issues from these gambling sites.
At the time of this publication, Bovada offers the largest player pool for US players with Betonline offering the next largest.
Offshore Poker Sites vs Regulated Ones – And Getting Paid Your Money
In the USA there are two broad categories we can put online poker sites into. Offshore sites vs state sanctioned / regulated sites.
A small handful of states now offer state regulated online poker; New Jersey, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and Delaware at the time of this publication. If you live in one of these states then it is likely that the offshore sites will not work for you.
Over time more states are likely to be added to this regulated list so this is not about who is and who is not regulated. With a regulated state, the players have more recourse if something goes wrong. The state regulators can get involved if they deem it so.
With the offshore poker sites you have limited recourse if you feel you have been wronged. This fact is one of the reasons it is super important to only play poker at one of the sites you trust to be legit.
While you are playing poker against other people, the poker site itself is the one whom you’ve deposited your money with. And the one whom you trust to pay you when you request a cashout.
I do not want you to feel like you have to win against the poker room itself just to cash out. Winning money from other players is hard enough, getting it from the poker site should be easy.
That thought is one of my guiding principles when deciding which offshore poker sites I am willing to have on these pages.
Getting paid out from a legit offshore poker room is fairly easy. They will pay you out with bitcoin or perhaps a check send via overnight FedEx delivery. Bitcoin is much easier, faster and safer once you are set up properly to use bitcoin.
Poker Bonuses – Scams Or Not?
Never accept a bonus without reading, understanding and agreeing with the terms and conditions from any online poker room, casino or sports betting site.
Bonus offers come with strings attached that always affect your ability to withdraw your money.
The online casinos are not just giving you free money. Those days are long, long over. *Bonus money comes with strict requirements that must be met before a withdrawal is approved.
The claims of ‘bovada is a scam’ from many disgruntled customers you will find online stem from the fact that they accepted a bonus without reading the terms and conditions.
These are usually related to the casino or sportsbook because the Bovada poker bonus is independent, automatic and without withdrawal requirements as you earn it over time.
All of the sites we recommend offer no-bonus options where you can deposit and withdraw without rollover requirements.
Players get hooked by bonuses.
Understand what you are getting into before you swallow that hook. Accepting a bonus is by your choice so just know that it is not really just free money. Visit the site and see the flashy bonus offers. Then read the fine print! It matters.
That’s not to say that all bonuses are bad. It depends on what you want out of it if you should accept a bonus.
Usually a bonus is some percentage matched of your first and or second deposit amount. If you just want to gamble, have fun and don’t plan to withdraw anytime soon and want to maximize your entertainment dollar then a bonus might be great for you.
It depends on the bonus and or promotion and they change and are new ones all the time. We do not keep up with those changes here, but you can see the latest online gambling promos, mostly casino and sportsbook promos, on this website.
*at the time of this publication, the Bovada poker bonus is automatic and paid out as real money as you earn it by playing real money poker (see offer).
How Bitcoin and Poker Really Works
Here is how it works when playing poker with bitcoin.
You don’t actually play poker with bitcoins themselves. At least not yet.
Instead you use bitcoin as the payment gateway into and out of the poker site. You use it to deposit and withdraw, but not play games with directly.
You visit the poker site and purchase USD$ valued poker chips with your bitcoin at the market rate at that point in time.
You play poker with those USD$ valued chips; hopefully increasing them.
When you cash out from the casino completely (not just from your table), your USD$ valued chips are converted back into bitcoin at the market rate at that point in time. It is sent to your personal bitcoin wallet where you can then do what you want with it. You can sell it for USD, you can hold bitcoin or you can use it to buy something.
Gambling With Price Swings of Bitcoin
The price of bitcoin fluctuates constantly.
It is not uncommon to see significant swings up and down in very short time periods.
You should have a plan to convert bitcoin back into USD$ once you cash out from a poker site.
Selling your bitcoin for U.S. dollars is a fairly easy as well. We’ve created a couple of guides on how to sell bitcoin and get real US dollars and a bitcoin basics guide you can read through to get set up properly.
Crypto Gambling Scams And Tips To Avoid Them
Since bitcoin has irreversible transactions, once you send your bitcoin it is gone. It is up to the receiving party what to do with it now. You can not do a chargeback.
Bitcoin transactions are one way only so you must be extra careful when transacting with bitcoin.
If a flashy casino catches your eye and you make a bitcoin deposit then it is up to them whether or not you ever see your money again. If they are a scam, they’ve got your money now and there is little to nothing that you can do. So first, make sure you are with a legit gambling site.
Secondly, you need to be careful that you are receiving and sending bitcoin in a secure, safe manner.
- No malware, no keyloggers, no hacked software on your computers or phone.
- Always double check your send to bitcoin addresses.
- Use a secure bitcoin wallet.
- Use an established gambling site that uses crypto for money in and out.
Make sure you do not have malware on your phone or computer. Some of these malicious programs target bitcoin transactions in some manner and try to intercept them by replacing the send to address and hoping you do not catch the mistake before confirming the send.
Double check your send to (and receive) addresses. If you have a hardware wallet like the Trezor then always confirm on the hardware device itself.
Use a secure bitcoin wallet. I really love my Trezor hardware wallet (trezor.io) and my GreenAddress.it hot wallet for my iphone. They work, they are secure and they have served me well.
Rogue crypto-casinos exist. I would advise avoiding the newer, untested and unproven online crypto gambling sites unless you have strong social proof that has convinced you of their trustworthiness.
Be super aware that many of these scams employ shills and fake online personas to claim how good something is. Be extremely cautious. Especially if you are looking to take advantage of a bonus that seems to good to be true. It is.
Poker Sites Offering No Download
I get asked a lot of there are any sites I recommend that you can play without downloading software.
The answer is ‘yes’ there is a work around to play poker at Bovada without downloading software. Essentially what you are doing is accessing their mobile poker site on your PC. Here is what you do:
Bovada Poker No Download
- Register a Bovada Account
- Visit the m.bovada.lv/poker mobile site.
- Play online poker without download.
Real money cash games start a $.02/05. Sit & Go’s up to 3 tables are offered. There is no way to play free poker without a download on Bovada. To play the free money games you need to download their poker client or visit a free games site like Blockchain Poker where you play for satoshis (sats, which are the smallest denomination of a bitcoin). You get a starting balance of sats when you begin which are worth tiny fractions of a penny at the moment at Blockchain Poker.
Instant Play and No Download at Betonline
- Register at Betonline
- Type in this address: poker.betonline.ag/mobilepoker/index.htm
- The instant / mobile site loads up
- You will likely have to login again and then you can play tourneys and cash
The Real Deal On USA Poker Sites Today
The days of the wild west scam poker sites are over for people who are doing some research before blindly signing up at the first site they see. Since you are here reading my page on the very select few legit US online poker rooms I’m willing to bet that you are not going to get scammed, and that if you do decide to play online poker you are going to do so at one of these sites. .
Along with Bovada and Betonline, there are a few other options. I’ll go ahead and list our guides below so you can learn more.