Before diving straight into the US friendly online poker rooms available today we’ll discuss the current climate of poker as it relates to players in the United States.
Playing Texas Hold’em and other poker variants online is a favorite pastime for many people in the country. A lot of people can become quite good at poker this way, providing a way of earning an income from home. Online poker tournaments with big guaranteed prize pools are perhaps the biggest lure for those thousands of real money poker players who are looking to get their poker fix.
But when the two biggest US poker sites (PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker) closed their doors to players in the United States, as a result of what is now referred to as “Black Friday” in online poker, USA players lost access to their funds, and in the case of Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker, are still waiting to get access back to their bankrolls at these poker rooms. Fortunately, players on PokerStars had paid out its USA players within weeks of Black Friday.
Poker in the United States Post Black Friday
After Black Friday, there were big changes that occurred in the US online poker market and players responded to them in different ways, depending on whether they wanted to continue playing on other sites, as well as how much of their income they derived from poker. No longer being able to play poker on these sites that were unfairly targeted by the US Department of Justice obviously came as a huge shock when Black Friday hit.
When these sites left the US market, this meant playing poker online for an American was no longer as great an option for many players. Even after pulling out of the American market, Pokerstars hosts the largest online poker tournaments in the world with six and seven-figure prize pools the norm. The second biggest poker site, Full Tilt Poker, is well known for their high-stakes cash games, which has included many legendary heads up battles at the nosebleed tables between Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey and Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies.
So, as you can imagine, not being able to play in real money games on these sites was a big deal for many online poker players in the U.S. and there was no way other US-facing sites could step in and easily fill the gap in the market. There were no other sites that were at the same level and which had the same amount of traffic as Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. With no Stars and Tilt, there were fewer established online poker rooms to play at, and not just in terms of how long the poker site had been in business.
A lot of the smaller poker sites just don’t have enough traffic to be able to host the big money guaranteed poker tournaments that many tourney grinders were used to playing on the highest traffic sites. In some cases, it was also now taking much longer to receive cash outs of winnings. It became such an issue for US online poker players that many pro poker players decided to pack up and leave where they had lived their entire lives just so they could continue playing abroad on their favourite poker rooms.
Interestingly, even though a lot of people in the industry including many pro poker players expected a huge decline in WSOP attendance numbers for the 2011 WSOP because it came shortly after Black Friday occurred, as it turned out, the overall attendance numbers actually increased from 2010 to 2011, although there was a slight decline in registrations for the actual main event.
Finding US Friendly Online Poker Rooms
Obviously, leaving the country is not a practical option for most people, and there are many online poker players that are looking for new US online poker rooms. The good news is that you will find that even though there is a more limited choice of sites available that still accept US players, there are still a number of great sites out there to choose from. Well-respected US poker sites like Bovada Poker and Americas Cardroom, the flagship skin on the Winning Poker Network (WPN) are welcoming US poker players to join their sites.
The traffic at these sites are starting to grow as more and more US poker players are looking for a new site to play at. You won’t find as much action as you may have on larger sites like Full Tilt and Poker Stars in the past, but there are still plenty of tables to play at. You will find most Hold’em tables at the micro stakes to be fairly well populated for both cash game tables and tournaments.
Unique features of Bovada’s Poker Room are their anonymous tables. This came as great news for many casual players, as they felt they were at a huge disadvantage to serious poker players who made use of poker HUDs and pulled up stats on their opponents in an attempt to gain an edge.
To keep up to date on the top US poker sites to play at, the list put together on www.uspokersite.net is not all the new US online poker rooms, but are ones that can be trusted and will offer great bonuses, promotions, game play and customer service.