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Top Online Poker Casinos for US Players

Poker is the most popular card game in the US.  Here we bring you comprehensive online guide for anyone ranging from a beginner to the seasoned player. We took into account all important game elements, including the overall quality, bonuses for new players, available cash games & tournaments, liquidity, fishiness, and more. Explore our list of licensed casinos to begin playing.

Best US casinos with online poker

Poker: cash games vs tournaments

There are many poker variants. The most popular type that players enjoy nowadays is called Texas hold’em poker. All online poker sites offer two major ways to play this game — cash games and tournaments. If you opt for cash games, you’ll need to select a virtual table and buy as many chips as you want.

On the other hand, tournaments are a bit more organized. Players need to pay a buy-in prize, and all players receive the same number of chips. Their buy-ins are added to the prize pool, which is then distributed to the best players.

Everyone is seated plays with the aim of taking the 1st-place prize. Of course, every tournament organizer decides how many players will get the money and how to distribute the prize pool based on your performance.

Poker laws in the US

Live poker is basically legal in any state where casino gambling is legal, and that’s why many land-based casinos across the nation feature great poker rooms with ongoing cash games and tournaments. However, things look a bit different when it comes to online poker. So far, only a handful of states have legalized this activity, meaning you have to be in one of them if you want to play legal poker on the web. At the moment, the states that legalized online poker are New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Please take into account that the US laws are rapidly changing and evolving and online gaming trends have seen a steady increase year on year. Given the trends and the potential for revenue in taxes, it is likely that many more States will legalize online poker as well as other casino games in the nearby future.

Your complete guide to poker hands

There are so many different versions of poker out there. However, the one thing that all makes them poker games is the poker hands. Poker hands are ranked in order from best to worst, and each player tries to make the strongest hand possible. The most important thing for beginners to know about poker hands is that they rank in order from best (Royal Flush) down to worst (High Card).

Poker Hands

An in-depth explanation of each hand

The Royal Flush is the best possible poker hand. It consists of five cards, all from the same suit and this order: The chances of getting a Royal Flush are one in twenty-five thousand.

A Straight Flush is the second-best possible hand in poker. It consists of five consecutive cards, but not from the same suit and this order: The chances of getting a straight flush are one in seventy-five thousand.

A four of a kind is the third-best possible hand in poker. It consists of four cards that are all the same number, but not from the same suit and this order. The chances of getting a four of a kind are one in twelve.

A full house is the fourth best possible hand in poker. It consists of three cards that are all the same number and coupled with two other cards that are also of the same number.

A straight is when five cards are drawn, and they have a consecutive numbers, but not from the same suit. The chance of getting a straight is one in thirty-three.

Three-of-a-kind has three cards that are all the same type. The odds of getting a three of a kind are one to thirteen, and the chances that some have a higher hand is four to thirteen.

Two pairs have two cards of the same numerical rank combined with two other cards from a different numerical rank. The odds of having this or any combination is one to ten, and your chances for beating someone else’s hands are five to ten.

A pair is when you have just two matching cards, for example, two fours, two eights, or any combination of the same rank. Your odds for this hand are one in ten, and your chances to beat someone else’s hands are five in ten.

A high card hand is when you have a single card with a higher numerical value than anything on board at the time. The chances that you will get a high card hand are one in thirteen, and the odds of winning against someone else’s hands are six in thirteen.

A flush is the fifth best possible hand in poker as it has five consecutive numbers, but they must be from the same suit. The chance of getting a flush is one in fifty-two.

Popular variations you should learn how to play

As we previously discussed, there’s a wide array of poker games available in online casinos and poker rooms. However, some happen to be more popular than others. Let’s check out the leading types of poker.

  • Texas hold’em — This is the most popular type of poker which is played by the majority of online poker players. Each player gets two hole cards, and they need to match them with five community cards to make a five-card hand.
  • Omaha — Omaha is similar to Texas hold ‘em, but players receive four instead of two hole cards. Moreover, they need to match only two of their hole cards and three community cards (out of five) to make a five-card hand.
  • Seven-card Stud — Every player gets a total of seven cards, with four of them up and three down. Your job is to make the best possible five-card hand with what you have. This is just one of the many Stud poker games.
  • Five-Card Draw — This is one of the basic poker formats where everyone gets five cards and needs to make a valid hand. Players can usually replace some of their cards to improve the hand. Video poker is based on this format.

Play poker for free

If you’re not interested in playing the popular card game for real money, then you can choose to play it for free. There are plenty of online poker rooms that don’t use real money for this game. Even some real-money rooms and casinos allow players to enjoy this game completely free of charge.

Playing for free is common practice. Some individuals just prefer not to place any real money whilst other just want to test their strategies and perfect them or test out new ones.

The good news is that you can switch to real-money play whenever you feel ready. If you’re good enough, you’ll even be able to become a professional poker player and play the game for a living, as many players already do.

But if you want to remain a casual player and like to play poker just to have fun, then free poker is a perfect option for you. The best part is — you can play it as much as you want.

Play for real money

Real-money poker is much more popular than its free counterpart. Simply put, many players who enjoy this game also want to make a profit, so they see no point in playing poker for free.

If you’re one of them, and you’re ready to make a deposit and start your online real-money poker adventure, make sure to check out some of the best casinos that offer poker.

Another huge advantage of real money poker is that you can receive bonuses when making real-money deposits. You see, many poker sites and online casinos want to attract more players, and that’s why they offer lucrative rewards to anyone who opens an account and makes a deposit.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to deposit, as some sites offer small bonuses that you’ll get just by opening an account. These are usually referred to as poker sign up bonuses or poker no deposit bonuses.

What is a basic strategy?

Poker has simple rules. It’s a very straightforward game on the surface. However, beneath the apparent simplicity of the game you so often see in movies, you’ll find that poker is actually quite complex, with entire books written about its strategy.

Overall, the strategy is based on your experience level. There’s a basic, intermediate, and advanced poker strategy.

Even new players need to learn and practice a lot before they can reach the intermediate level. Which ever strategy you adopt and whatever your level, part of your strategy should always include: observing your opponents, learning the lingo and being patient.

Strategies to avoid

There’s just one rule when it comes to poker strategies — whatever you do in excess is probably not good. Let us elaborate.

Playing too loose

If you decide to play any hand out there hoping that you’ll just “go with the flow,” you’ll probably lose a lot of money.

Playing too tight

If you don’t play any hand unless it’s a pair of aces, you’ll miss on plenty of opportunities while other players seize them.

Chasing losses

If you play cash games and you’re on a losing streak, perhaps you have stumbled upon the so-called “sharks”  Instead of trying to chase losses, the best strategy is to quit.

Not using any strategies

Hoping that the element of luck will get you through the day is just wrong in poker, which is widely regarded as a game of skill.

Poker styles of play

Every poker has a specific style of play based on the number of hands they play and the number of chips they bet overall. The styles are divided into four basic categories:

  1. Tight — A tight player will not play many hands. In fact, they’ll fold on most hands unless they are certain they’re going to win.
  2. Loose — A loose player will play more hands overall. They will even play the cards that objectively don’t have much chance of winning.
  3. Aggressive — An aggressive player will make a lot of bets, open a lot of pots, and put other players under pressure.
  4. Passive — A passive player will not be the one making bets, but they will usually call other bets and wait for the action to unfold.

Most of the players are actually a combination of the four. There are, therefore, the following types of poker “personalities:”

  1. Tight-Aggressive — Plays few hands but bets aggressively.
  2. Tight-Passive — Plays few hands and usually just calls when they decide not to fold.
  3. Loose-Aggressive — Plays a lot of hands and makes bets all the time.
  4. Loose-Passive — Plays a lot of hands, but usually just calls instead of showing aggression.

Positions

How you’re going to approach your hands mainly depends on your position. As you probably already know, the dealer button is shifting one position every round, and so do other player positions. Just remember that those who get to be the last to place a bet have more information than those who are first to do it. That’s why it’s always better to show aggression in late positions.

Here’s the list of all positions:

  • Early positions: Under the gun (UTG and UTG +1)
  • Mid positions: MP and MP +1
  • Late positions: Hijack (HJ), Cutoff (CO), Button (BTN)
  • The Blinds: Small Blind (SB), Big Blind (BB)

Odds and outs

You should always be able to calculate your odds and determine the number of “outs” you have when you play poker.

Odds simply determine your chances of winning a certain hand. These are calculated in several ways, but we’ll not discuss the math here. If you’re interested in how the odds are determined, make sure to watch a couple of useful videos on this matter.

Outs are the number of cards you may need in order to make a winning hand. Let’s say that you have two cards of hearts, and the flop shows another two cards with hearts. Since there are a total of 13 hearts cards in a 52-card deck and you have four of them, it means that you need one of the remaining nine hearts cards on the turn or the river. In other words, you have nine outs.

Tips & myths

One of the most enduring and alluring table games played by great fictional characters like James Bond and Homer Simpson, Poker is steeped with myths. Alongside our list of myths, we also give you some helpful tips.

Poker tips

Here’s a list of several essential poker tips that should help you improve your game:

  • Get familiar with basic strategies and try them out in free or low-stake games in order not to lose a lot of money while learning.
  • Start your poker career by playing low-stake games even if you have the budget for more, and only switch to mid or even high stakes if you feel ready and confident enough.
  • Always devote some time to finding the best cash games and tournaments for you.
  • Always adjust your playing style based on your table, but the safest way to start is with a tight-aggressive style.
  • Always pay attention to your current position at the table, as late positions usually have a slight advantage over the early and mid ones.
  • One of the main advantages of online poker is that you can play at several tables at once (multi-tabling). Well, don’t do that unless you’re 100% certain you can pull it off, which also requires a lot of practice.
  • Don’t get distracted by social media, mobile devices, TV, and other things — focus on playing poker.

Poker myths

There are plenty of myths circulating the web about poker, and most of them simply aren’t true. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones:

  • Poker is gambling — This is partially true as poker involves making bets and receiving rewards. However, poker isn’t a gambling game such as slots or roulette, where the element of luck is the only thing determining the outcome. In fact, poker is a game of skill.
  • Always play for high stakes — Some poker players believe that playing for high stakes is like learning how to swim in deep waters — you’ll eventually learn it and master it. This is a wrong approach, as it’s always better to learn how to swim when your feet can touch the ground.
  • You need to be a math wizard to succeed in poker — This is not true. Although some mathematical operations are welcome, they become part of your poker routine once you master them. It’s no rocket science.
  • Online poker is rigged — This is also false. As long as you play the game in an online casino or poker room that’s legal and regulated, you can rest assured that poker is not rigged.

Your Questions Answered

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