Whether you play poker professionally or are just starting out as a recreational player — online poker sites offer a variety of games to suit everyone. The best site for you will depend on your style of play and some specific preferences. Things like game availability, software, and payouts will play an essential part in determining which online poker legal site to bookmark in your browser.
Let’s face it. Nothing beats the thrill of a winning streak. But when it comes to online poker rooms, winning isn’t just about how well you can play. Your overall experience depends on the online poker site you choose. Each site offers a variety of different features to its players. However, one of the most important things to consider when looking for an online poker site is reliability and security. Nothing puts a damper on a winning hand like a shady site that crashes before you get to rake in your chips—or even worse, claiming your winnings only to find some problem with withdrawing the funds into your account.
We’ve taken a look at the best poker sites online in 2021 and brought you our top picks. You can trust each site on our list to be reliable, secure, and offer an exceptional gaming experience.
Top 5 Best Legal Online Poker Sites
To make things easy for you, we’ve gone one step further in narrowing down our list of the best online poker sites in 2021.
- Ignition — Best for High Website Traffic
- Bovada — Best for Anonymous Games
- Cafe Casino — Best for Game Variety
- Bodog — Best for Mobile Play
- BigSpinCasino — Best for Bonuses and Promotions
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
#1. Ignition — Best for High Website Traffic
Ignition is a relatively newer platform, but this is one of the top choices on the market right now when it comes to the best online poker sites. Since its start in 2016, the site has garnered millions of positive reviews from its users and has happily avoided any scandals. We found Ignition to be an excellent choice for professionals and people willing to play with high stakes.
This online poker site has a bit of everything. Ignition offers a wide variety of games and great bonuses for all members that help boost your overall playing experience. In addition, they have some of the highest traffic, which means there are more players online at any given time.
However, Ignition isn’t currently operating under an official license. Nonetheless, its reputation is backed by thousands of happy users. It’s important to note that a lack of license doesn’t necessarily make an online poker site less legitimate, nor the other way around. Licenses are a way to externally regulate and make the companies accountable as per market standards. A lack of license isn’t something that could or should discourage anyone. Ignition has proved its trustworthiness and reliability year after year.
Good Website Traffic: Always be ready to play! Ignition’s website has over 1,000-3,000 active users at any given time. Their high traffic makes it an excellent option for live matches 24/7. With so many active players at any given time, finding live partners to play with won’t be an issue on this website.
Learning Curve: With this poker site, you can learn from competitors’ failures and success to up your game at every match. This makes it one of the best online poker sites for professionals who like to track their performance and that of their competitors. If you’re looking for competitive games and high stakes, Ignition might be the best option for you.
Wide Variety of Games: Just like most other best online poker sites, Ignition has a well-nurtured repertoire of poker player favorites. You’re sure to find a game that suits you, from the classics like Texas Hold’Em to more unique games like Zone Poker.
Mobile App: The best online poker rooms offer a wide range of playing options. We don’t just mean a variety of different games, but a range in ways to play them. Whether you like to play on a big screen, on your tablet, or your phone, with the Ignition app and website, you have the option to play however you’re most comfortable at any given time.
- 200% match bonus up to $2,000
- Good website traffic (about 1,000-3,000 players online at any given time)
- Excellent bonuses and welcome bonus for all new players
- Wide variety of casino games and live dealer poker
- Commendable customer support
- Mobile app
- No official U.S. license
#2. Bovada — Best for Anonymous Games
Bovada is one online poker site that is loved pretty much around the world. It is accessible from anywhere, except for Latin America and a few U.S. states. This online casino has been running since 2011 and offers a responsive website design that makes the online poker experience fit your desired device. Play at your leisure and with absolute ease.
One of its main characteristics is its anonymous system, which allows for a very laid-back atmosphere on the website, making it an enjoyable platform for everyone from the freshest of beginners to the most seasoned pros.
Thanks to this anonymous feature, the winning rate is fairer for all. Since anonymous games make it impossible for long analytics to be kept about players. Sure, there might be slumps along the way, but this system essentially prevents any predator sharks from swooping into prey on those with less skill in the game. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners but also professional poker players. With less competitive games, maintaining a profitable winning rate is easier with Bovada.
Great for Both Pros and Beginners: Thanks to its anonymous match system, this is one of the best online poker sites for players of all skill levels to compete fairly. At the beginning of every game, each player is given a randomly generated number. This prevents other players from keeping a record of game style on anyone, thus making the game more about the match itself than any long game strategy.
High User Activity: Bovada is ranked high as one of the best online poker sites for live dealer games and casinos. No matter the time of the day, the Bovada website or mobile app will likely have a selection of ready real-life players to join your game.
Tournaments: If you’re interested in finding the best online poker sites for regular tournaments, then look no further. Bovada holds some of the best tournaments overall. They often have lots of active participants and great prizes. Their tournaments are accessible for players of all skill levels and are open to people worldwide.
Easy Payments: Whether you prefer to make your deposit in cryptocurrency, via bank transfer, or even courier check—Bovada makes payments easy. A Bitcoin deposit is the quickest way to see money show up in your account. These payments are usually processed in 24 hours or less. Additionally, if you are transferring a minimum of $10 or a maximum of $5,000 in Bitcoins, your transfer is completely free. In comparison, credit card payments are also accepted but have a 5.9% transaction fee.
- Quick and efficient payouts and deposits
- Beginner-friendly site interface
- Great bonuses
- Mobile-friendly display
- Efficient customer support
- No official license
- Practically non-existent VIP program
#3. Cafe Casino — Best for Game Variety
The Cafe Casino website has been online since 2016. Fortunately, they’ve really managed to prove themselves as one of the best online poker sites since their inception. Players on this site have heaped their praise on the online casino. Online poker site reviews are often about the great deals and rewards that Cafe Casino offers, as well as their easy-to-use platform. Additionally, this site is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
As if that weren’t enough, this reputable casino all offers a great variety of games. Their library is full of all the casino classics and also includes certain unique games to keep you interested. Their video poker games start at relatively low wages, $0.05 a hand, so this platform is ideal for users who are looking to get a feel without having to invest too much money to get started.
Fantastic Bonuses: The superb bonuses that this site offers are one of the reasons it is on our list of the best online poker sites. Cafe Casino is well-known for its bonus and rewards schemes to entice players. Whether you are new to the site, or a seasoned vet, this platform caters to all their players and offers various promotions to keep you engaged. Additionally, Cafe Casino offers a welcome bonus to every new player to boost your matches.
Fast Payouts: The only thing better than winning is getting your prize ASAP. With the deposits and payouts timeframes of Cafe Casino, the wait is short and sweet. All deposits and withdrawals are processed quickly, and without complications, so you can start playing without issue and enjoy your prizes without a care in the world. However, keep in mind that Cafe Casino does have a limit for maximum deposits and withdrawals.
Accepts Bitcoin: You can use Bitcoin on the Cafe Casino site to make your life easier for deposits and withdrawals. All Bitcoin transactions are processed exceptionally quickly. Sometimes, you’ll be able to see your money in your account in a matter of hours. In addition, the platform offers extra bonuses for users that play with cryptocurrency.
Responsive Customer Support: Knowing there is a great customer support team provides peace of mind for Cafe Casino’s players. They offer live chat customer support for instant assistance with whatever issue you may have. Additionally, you can contact their team via email or phone and expect a prompt response.
- 350% match bonus up to $2,500 for bitcoin deposits
- 250% match bonus up to $1,500 for credit card deposits
- Vast selection of online games
- Both new and veteran player bonuses
- Fast payouts and withdrawals
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- Options for deposits and withdrawals have a maximum limit
- Only accepts players from the U.S.
#4. Bodog — Best for Mobile Play
Bodog was initially created in 1994. However, it was reimagined and brought online in 2004. Its long years of renown and experience make it a reliable option when looking for the best online poker site. When it comes to real-time gaming, this one takes the cake.
Since its original launch, Bodog has received multiple reforms and updates in its software, making it a pillar in endurance and quality. Bodog is the best online poker site for real-time poker playing, with software tuned for the smoothest matches, without complications. Playing through Bodog, you can expect a fine-tuned experience. Moreover, this platform has a diligent customer service operation that is well-equipped to handle any issues or complaints through its diligent customer service.
Furthermore, Bodog manages to successfully nurture a completely recreational vibe while still catering to its pro players. Thanks to its anonymous game system, every player is given a randomly generated number upon entering every room, at every new match. This means game style and other stats can’t be stored and analyzed by other players. This feature is part of what makes Bodog such a fantastic option for beginners.
If you’re the type that likes to keep long records and analyze your opponent, the anonymity might be a deal-breaker for you, but the truth is that this feature reflects positively in the overall fairness of the games and winning streaks. Since no one knows who the other player is, nor can anyone create a trackable record of the game style of any of the other players, every match is a new beginning.
Offers More Than Just Poker: You can turn to Bodog for more than just your online poker fix. Besides offering live poker and other casino games, this platform caters to a variety of gambling. Bodog is fairly all-encompassing, whether you’re looking for somewhere to place sports bets, race bets, or are interested in other kinds of betting.
Realtime Gaming: Bodog is one of the best online poker sites with real-time gaming software and options for a real-life experience from the comfort of your home. With Bodog, you can play every match with absolute peace, without fear of crashes or unexpected room exits. This is thanks to their partnership with renowned software from Betsoft and Realtime Gaming.
Anonymous Gameplay: Like some of our other favorite online poker sites, Bodog offers an anonymous player system. This system can benefit beginners and encourage overall more laid-back games. This system makes it impossible for users to keep any extensive or regular record of players. Incidentally, this helps to keep any poker sharks at bay.
Optimized for Mobile: Whether you prefer to play at home or on the go, the Bodog mobile app will keep you connected at all times. There’s no need to worry about laggy gameplay or screen optimization when playing online with Bodog. Furthermore, their desktop site has even been tailored to suit a mobile browser. This means you can still log in from your phone even without the app. Wherever you are, you can log in and try your luck. However, we recommend only playing over wifi to ensure a smooth gaming experience.
- 100% match bonus up to $1,000
- Excellent reputation and overall trusted poker site
- Fast withdrawals and deposits
- Good customer service to handle issues with the site
- Optimized for mobile
- No waitlist for tables
- No VIP program or Rakeback.
#5. BigSpinCasino — Best for Bonuses and Promotions
BigSpinCasino is the newest online poker site to make our list. This online casino has only been operating since 2017, but what they may lack in experience, they make up for in reputation. Though they’ve only been around for a few years, they have quickly adapted to the market and asserted themselves as one of the big players in the world of online poker. Since going live, the site has successfully managed to run without any major incidents or complaints from its users.
One of the reasons we were initially attracted to BigSpinCasino, is the same reason why thousands of players were quick to sign up with them. Of all the online casinos, this one offers some of the best bonuses and promotions. In fact, they are renowned for changing their promotions on a daily basis. This means that everyday players are given a new opportunity to compete and level up their game with the promise of some kind of reward. However, it may be worth keeping in mind that this policy might also attract many bonus hunters and make the matches more overall competitive.
Overall this poker site has a good reputation for being reliable both in functionality as well as privacy and how it handles its users’ money. You can enjoy great gameplay and high payouts, all with the peace of mind that your money and personal information are closely protected.
Extensive Game Library: The variety of games in this online poker site includes all the classic favorites and then some. BigSpinCasino offers table and video poker games, which are powered by high-end gaming software. You can expect a large game library, each offering high-quality graphics and an engaging audio experience.
Bitcoin Payments: BigSpinCasino does accept most of the regular payment methods you would expect. However, they are also completely crypto-friendly. That is, they are adapted to accept modern methods of payment, like Bitcoin. This growing market is ever-present in most platforms as a payment option, thanks to the facility it offers its users. You can use your Bitcoin on BigSpingCasino without issue. Moreover, you may actually gain some benefits as BigSpinCasino often runs promotions for Bitcoin players.
User-friendly Interface: Something that is important to assess on any online poker site is the overall user experience. You’ll want to make sure you sign up to a site that offers an enjoyable and easy-to-navigate user interface. We liked that BigSpinCasino had an intuitive and comfortable interface. It was exceptionally easy to search through their extensive game library, and we had no problems signing up and getting started. If you plan to spend a substantial amount of time playing online poker, the accessibility and visual appeal of BigSpinCasino’s website make them one of our top contenders.
- 200% match bonus up to $1,000
- An extensive repertoire of bonuses and promotions are offered daily
- Excellent table and video poker games are available
- Bonus hunters abound
- High minimum table limits
How We Made This List Of Top Platforms To Make Real Money
The easiest way to know the top poker sites is very simple—try them. We tried and tested every site on our list and weighed up the pros and cons of each. To start, we took a look at the biggest names in online poker and then whittled that list down to the top five. We are confident that this list encompasses the best online poker experience you can get in 2021. In order to determine this, we examined specific criteria that we felt were absolutely essential for a good online poker site to have.
What We Looked For
- Reputation: When it comes to investing real money poker online, reputation plays a crucial role in choosing the right site for you. If a random passerby stopped you in the street and asked you for money, claiming to be a successful investor and promising to help you earn double or more on your investment — you would probably be pretty skeptical. The same goes for online poker sites. You don’t want to see your hard-earned money disappear. The easiest way to check a website’s reputation is to see what its users are saying. Overall, it’s also important to check out their security protocols and ties to recent scandals. Preferably they won’t have any.
- Availability: Just like a casino would, online poker sites have peak hours and off-peak hours. An excellent online poker site will have a decent amount of traffic at all times so that you will always be able to play and enjoy it, regardless of what time you’re logging in. Moreover, the sites that feature mobile optimization are superior to those that don’t. Being able to play from your smartphone means the site is more accessible, no matter where you are. In general, these sites tend to have higher traffic because of this as well. Overall, sites that either had a dedicated app or were adapted to suit mobile screens were more accessible.
- Game Variety: For the most part, the right online poker site for you will come down to a matter of preference when it comes to game variety. However, we thought it was important that our top picks offered a wide range of games to suit every player. All of the sites on our list have classic casino games, such as Texas Hold’Em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, Zone Poker, and so on. On top of that, our favorite online poker sites have exclusive games and feature large game libraries.
- Software: The software powering each online poker site will essentially make or break the game. Good software will allow you to experience smooth, lag-free gameplay and engaging graphics. On the other side of that, bad software can ruin the entire experience for you. We’ve made sure the online poker sites on our list have powerful software behind them. From signing up and navigating the site to cashing in your first win — the better the software, the easier and more fun the whole process is.
How to Choose the Best Online Poker Site For You
If you’re struggling to pick which online poker site on our list would be the best one for you, we don’t blame you. To make things even easier, we’re here to help. Here are some of the things you should consider to decide which site would best suit your preferences.
- Games Available
Most online poker sites will have at least the casino classics available. Only some will offer more games on top of that. Deciding what games you prefer to play and which site does them the best is an easy way of narrowing down your own list. If you are interested in more unique games or things like live dealer options, you’ll need to look for sites that offer that. Overall, choosing a site that has a wide variety of games available might mean you find new games you enjoy without having to sign up to multiple casinos.
- Software and Interface
For smooth, uninterrupted gameplay and easy-to-use websites, look for an online poker site that is partnered with gaming software. These sites tend to deliver outstanding game experiences. Trusted entities such as Rival Gaming, Real Time Gaming, Betsoft, and others have been in the online poker market for a long time. You can trust that they know what they’re doing when it comes to providing a unique and engaging game.
Additionally, you want to make sure you choose a site with an easy-to-use interface. The more user-friendly a site, the less time you have to waste trying to navigate through their game libraries or figuring out how to make a payment. That means you have more time for the real reason you’re there: playing poker.
- Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Payment options will vary depending on the site. You will likely want to pick an online poker site that works with a variety of standard payment options. These include debit and credit cards. However, you may be interested in an online poker site that is equipped to accommodate more modern methods of payment, like cryptocurrency. Furthermore, plenty of sites even offer bonuses for playing with Bitcoin.
Keep in mind that most payments will take between two to ten business days to be processed. The time range will vary depending on the site you choose and your method of payment. Often, cryptocurrency payments are processed faster.
- Prizes and Bonuses
One of the best parts of playing online poker is the numerous prizes and rewards. Some online poker sites offer enticing welcome bonuses that allow you to double your first deposit and have more money to play with. Look for sites that are able to offer bonuses that you’ll be happy to take advantage of. It can make playing more fun when you know you can earn certain bonuses and rewards via poker cash games even if you don’t necessarily win the pot.
Additionally, plenty of online poker sites will run weekly or monthly tournaments. The prizes for these are significantly higher than the average game. For players that are looking to win big, tournaments and other competitions offer the chance of a higher payout. However, you’ll want to balance this one with looking for a site that is reputable about paying out what they’ve promised.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Online Casinos
Q1. Which are the best online poker sites that are legal in the USA?
All online poker sites are technically legal in the U.S., provided they are adequately regulated within their country of origin. However, things begin to enter a sort of a gray area when you start playing with real money. Most of the non-U.S. poker sites have found creative ways around the vague U.S. legislation that could possibly apply to online poker, so they are happy to accept U.S. customers. Strictly speaking, there are no federal laws that outright prohibit online poker. That said, it is only officially legal in the states of Delaware, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan.
Even so, while a license is a great way to ensure security, it doesn’t mean just because a poker site is unlicensed, it’s a no-go. A site’s trustworthiness is often tied to a previous good track record to its name and a lack of significant scandals to hinder its reputation.
Q2. What’s the difference between regular online poker games and ‘Live Dealer’?
Essentially the speed of the game. Overall, both games are more or less the same. They follow the same rules. However, a live dealer game may take longer to complete since you are playing live — as in, with other people who are online. Both are fun and engaging options. It just depends on your preference. If you’re looking for a less automatic, more genuine-like feeling, you might want to opt for a live dealer game. But, if you’re after a more fast-paced game and different variations to play, then look at some of the other game options.
Q3. Is playing online poker safe?
Yes, especially if you choose one of the best online poker sites listed here. Still, err on the side of caution and be mindful of how you play and handle your winnings. If you choose a safe website, you have no reason to worry.
Licensed poker sites are regulated through standards that ensure the safety of your winning, and even sites that, for whatever reason, don’t currently have an official license can have good rapport and reputations that will ease your mind. Just make sure to always check the website’s track record and possible scandals and steer clear from anything that seems too shady.
Finally, if you’re nervous about revealing yourself online, there are online poker sites that offer anonymous games. These are great for beginners who are looking to develop their sense of the game without being recognizable to others that might be able to pick up on their tells. Opting for this mode of play could be a good choice for anyone who is worried about attracting poker sharks.
Get Ready to Up For Real Money Poker Online
Our list of the top five best online poker sites offers something for everyone. From beginners to pros, these sites offer reliable, quick, and fun options when it comes to gambling online. Whatever your expectation for the world of online poker, we are confident that one of these sites will be able to exceed it.
Keep in mind that if you’re hesitant about a site’s trustworthiness, it’s always a good idea to check customer reviews. Other users will be able to give you unbiased feedback that can help you gain a lot of insight into what a particular site will or won’t be able to deliver.
We recommend trying out at least a few, if not all, the sites on our list. You can utilize different bonuses to gain a lot of free play on each site and get a feel for them. Testing out different sites will allow you to understand what features you prioritize and what kinds of games you enjoy playing.