Online Poker for Real Money

Playing online poker for real money in the US requires you to find a secure, licensed online poker room to ensure you have the best possible online poker experience. The best sites on the market offer the most popular games, including Texas Hold’em, as well as generous bonuses and loyalty programs, state-of-the-art software, and helpful customer support teams. There are many top-quality online poker rooms available to US players, including Ignition, ACR, and Bovada, each boasting significant player traffic, making it easy to play your favorite games.

Why Play At Real Money Poker Sites?

Playing free online poker is good for learning the rules and basics of the game, but it won’t give you the best opportunity to improve. In free games, there’s no risk of losing money, so you will have the tendency to make wrong moves without any penalty.

When you play for real money, even small amounts, you’ll have a financial incentive to make the correct plays. Playing against skilled players on the best online poker sites is the best way to improve your game. Take a look at some of our favorite sites below:

The Top Online Real Money SItes

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When it comes to real money online poker sites, the internet is flooded with recommendations, but not all of them are trustworthy. At Tight Poker, we believe in providing you with the best recommendations possible, which is why we use a strict set of criteria to rank the top online poker sites for real money. You can trust our list to be reliable, honest, and based solely on the quality of the sites themselves and the criteria below:


Why settle for playing poker for free when you could be experiencing the thrill of playing for real money? While free poker games can be fun, they lack the excitement and investment that comes with gambling your hard-earned cash. But the benefits of playing at real money poker sites don’t stop there. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits:


Playing free poker games can be a fun way to pass the time, but let’s be honest, there’s not much strategy involved. With no real consequences to losing, players tend to make reckless decisions like going all in with a terrible hand. However, when there’s money on the line, the game becomes much more serious.

People are less likely to make foolish plays because they don’t want to lose their hard-earned cash. Plus, playing against better players is one of the best ways to improve your game, and real money poker sites attract skilled players who will challenge you to become a better player yourself.


Without stakes, there’s little to get excited about during a game. The best games we’ve ever played are ones where we felt something when we won or lost, thanks to the emotional investment we had in the game. Unfortunately, play money games can’t recreate that same feeling, but gambling with your own money certainly does.

Every win and loss will be felt more acutely, creating a thrilling experience that just isn’t possible with free poker games. Of course, it’s vital to keep control of your emotions and gamble responsibly, and that’s something we always recommend at Tight Poker.


Even if you’re not playing for high stakes, you can start earning rewards through loyalty programs. These programs offer bonuses and real money rewards for playing on their site, regardless of whether you win or lose. It’s always nice to get something for nothing, and these types of perks are simply not available when playing with play money.


Almost everyone has tried their hand at play money games, experiencing the thrill of seeing their virtual bankroll skyrocket and daydreaming about what it would be like if those winnings were real. With real money poker games, this fantasy can become a reality.

Of course, winning at poker requires plenty of effort and commitment, but it is possible. By playing real money poker games, you’ll have the opportunity to win actual cash, something that is not attainable in free poker games.


When it comes to selecting a poker site, the decision-making process can be overwhelming with so many options available. However, every player has their own set of preferences and requirements when it comes to choosing a real money online poker site. To help you make an informed decision, here are some key factors to consider:

Picking Your Poker Site Based On Your Skill Level

One of the best ways to find a poker site that’s right for you is by picking on based on your current skill level. Different levels of poker players require different things from a poker site, and while no one wants to admit they’re a beginner, you’ll find that a site tailored to recreational players will suit you better than one that caters to hardcore poker grinders.

Let’s take a look at the different features you should prioritize based on your skill level.

Recreational Players

As someone who plays the game for fun, you want to maximize the amount of time you spend playing as well as make the most of the deposits you make. One of the things you should be looking for is a site that offers a wide variety of games that cater to your online poker needs. While No Limit Hold’em might be your main game, you may want to branch out and try a bit of PLO or Short Deck that you’ve seen on your favorite poker stream, so you need a site that supports that need.

You should also look for sites with generous deposit offers and reload bonuses, as recreational players will often make more deposits than hardcore players. As your volume isn’t going to be as large, rakeback programs should be considered secondary to reload bonuses, as you’ll find that these are often more valuable to recreational players.

Another thing to consider is how easy the site is to use. I remember when I first started playing online poker, I picked my poker site based on how good the software looked and how easy it was to navigate. The game is confusing enough without having to search for hours to find what you want to play!

Hardcore Players

If you’re a dedicated poker player who puts hours of grinding in each week, your needs will be different from those of a recreational player. One of the main concerns will be traffic at the stakes you play; if you’re looking to make serious money playing poker, you need to know there will be games available whenever you have time to play.

This is why it pays to look at the traffic comparisons for different sites. For example, at the time of writing, I’ve found that GGPoker has a 7-day average player traffic of around 9800, whereas 888poker only has around 500 – you can see based on these numbers which site is better if you want to be guaranteed a poker game.

However, traffic isn’t the only thing you should consider when choosing an online poker room. Dedicated players should look carefully at the rake structure and the rakeback programs of different sites. When I was at my most dedicated, my main focus was finding the site with the best rakeback program to ensure that I maximized my profits. This is because playing on a site with a lower rake or a better rakeback program could be the difference between you being a winning player or a breakeven/losing player.

For example, let’s take a look at two poker rooms that charge a rake of 8bb/100 hands. Site A offers 20% rakeback, whereas Site B offers 30% rakeback. Over 10,000 hands of $0.25/$0.50, you’ll have to pay $400 in rake on both sites. However, on Site A, you’ll receive $80 in rakeback, whereas on Site B, you’ll receive $120 in rakeback. That’s nearly a full buy-in difference, just from playing on a different site!


If you’re looking to play poker with real money, there are three formats you can choose from: cash games, tournaments, and Sit & Gos. Each format offers a unique way of playing poker, so it’s essential to select the one that best suits your preferences. Another great thing about online poker is that you can tailor your game selection to suit your bankroll.

If you want to start off small and play for a couple of bucks, there are tables where you can do that, and if you want to splash around like a high roller, there are higher-limit cash games and tournaments available. Let’s take a look at the three formats and the range of buy-ins you can expect for each type of game.


Playing cash game poker involves using chips with real monetary value, where every decision made can impact your winnings or losses. It’s a versatile option for all kinds of players since it can be played in various poker variants, including Texas Hold’em, Stud Poker, 5-Card Draw, and PLO.

Most online cash games limit the number of players to six, offering more action compared to traditional full-ring formats that seat nine players. However, some sites offer limited nine-handed traffic, but six-handed tables are where the majority of the action happens.

It’s crucial to pick a table size and focus on it, as six-handed cash game poker requires a different strategy from nine-handed games. Cash games are perfect for those with limited time since they allow players to come and go as they please and rebuy as much as they want, provided they have enough funds.

  • Buy-Ins and Costs: Online poker cash games allow you to play for pennies all the way up to thousands of dollars. The lowest stakes you’ll find at most poker rooms is $0.01/$0.02 with a $1 minimum buy-in, and the highest stakes are often around $50/$100 with a $5000 minimum buy-in. You’ll find that on the majority of online poker sites, most of the cash game traffic is at $2/$5 and below, as the higher stakes games don’t often run.


Tournaments are a popular form of poker that offers an exciting and competitive experience. Unlike cash games, tournaments require players to buy in for a set amount of money and play with chips that don’t have a cash value. The game continues until a certain percentage of players are eliminated, and the remaining players receive prizes based on their final ranking.

The number of players who win prizes varies between poker sites, with most sites offering prizes to the top 10% to 20% of players. The ultimate goal of the tournament is to be the last player standing and win the first-place prize. However, winning a tournament requires a vastly different strategy than cash games, as players can’t leave until they either win or get eliminated.

To improve your tournament poker skills, numerous strategy articles are available on our How to Play Poker page to help you take your game to the next level.

  • Buy-Ins and Costs: If you’re looking to make a large return from a small investment, tournaments are the game to play. They offer games from as little as $0.25 up to $1000+ tournaments, so no matter your bankroll, you’ll have a game to play. Like cash games, you’ll find most of the action at the lower stakes tournaments, but you can expect to see a lot more high-stakes tournament action than high-stakes cash game action.


Sit & Go poker tournaments are a fast and exciting way to experience tournament poker. These mini-tournaments have a limited number of players and begin as soon as the required number of players registers. Most Sit & Go tournaments online have between 2-9 players, which means they can be completed quickly compared to multi-table tournaments.

While the number of players limits the amount you can win, Sit & Gos are a perfect option for players who want to play tournaments but don’t want to spend hours at the table. With most Sit & Gos offering a maximum win of around 3x your buy-in for 1st place, there is still plenty of excitement and rewards to be had.

  • Buy-Ins and Costs: Like tournaments, Sit & Gos have a wide range of buy-ins to choose from. You can buy in to some Sit & Gos for just a few cents, while the highest stakes Sit & Gos cost $1000 to play. Depending on the site you’re playing on, action at the high stakes is often very limited, with almost all the action being at lower stakes. However, as Sit & Gos are much faster-paced than regular tournaments, you can play a lot more per hour, so even the lowest stakes games require a big bankroll.


Now that you’re aware that the action is on real money poker sites, the next step is to create your account. Fortunately, signing up for a real money poker site is a straightforward process, and we’ve put together a useful guide to assist you every step of the way:


While not every country allows real money online poker, some sites have found a way to circumvent this issue using a sweepstakes model. One of the most successful examples is Global Poker, where players purchase digital currency that can be used to play poker instead of real money. When players want to cash out, they can redeem their digital currency for prizes, including cash. This approach allows players to experience online poker with a similar feel to real money play, while also providing legal access to millions of players worldwide.

Real Money Poker Apps

Providers have developed mobile apps that allow people to play real money poker on the go. These apps offer various features to their players, and we’ve explored them all to provide you with a brief overview of what each of them has to offer.

Which states have complete legal online poker?

Following the fallout from Black Friday in 2011, the online poker market in the US has gradually been on the rise. As of now, there are seven states that have legalized online poker, and we’ll take a closer look at them.


Nevada and Delaware were the pioneers in legalizing real money online poker in 2013. They are also part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which allows states to share player pools. This translates to a more competitive and exciting gaming experience for players, as there is more liquidity and bigger prize pools to win. and 888Poker are the two regulated sites operating in Nevada and Delaware.


New Jersey was not far behind in legalizing online poker, with Governor Chris Christie signing Bill 2578 into law in 2013. Since then, New Jersey has emerged as a thriving hub of US poker, with Pokerstars’ relaunch into the US happening in the state. Players in New Jersey have access to real money games on 888Poker and, and the state is also part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.


Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online poker in 2017. With a population of 13 million, it has quickly emerged as one of the largest poker markets in the US. Pokerstars and are the two main options for Pennsylvania players, while there are also rumors of 888Poker soon joining the mix. Pennsylvania is not part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, but there are discussions of a similar agreement with New Jersey alone.


Four years after Pennsylvania, Michigan legalized online poker in early 2021. Despite being relatively new,, Pokerstars, and 888Poker are already offering real money games to players in the state. Michigan has also been approved to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which will further enhance the gaming experience.


The most recent addition to the list of states with legal online poker is West Virginia, which approved poker sites to launch their platforms on July 1st, 2021. While still in the early stages, players in the state can access real money games on Pokerstars, Party Poker, and However, it is uncertain if West Virginia will join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.


Connecticut has recently joined the list of states that have legalized online poker in the US. In May 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill into law, which legalized online gambling in the state, including online poker. Connecticut has not yet joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, but it is expected to do so in the future, which will allow players to participate in larger player pools and compete for larger prizes.


In conclusion, the best real money poker sites available to US players offer a secure, licensed platform with cutting-edge software that enhances your gaming experience. Sites such as Ignition, Bovada, and ACR all provide you with access to your favorite real money poker games, such as Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. They offer a variety of generous bonuses that provide you with additional value from your deposit as well as a variety of payment methods that make it easy for you to manage your bankroll. Whether you’re a beginner or a bonafide poker expert, the best online poker sites will provide you with a fun, challenging, and rewarding online poker experience.

Did this article deal you a winning hand?

Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!

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Jordan conroy


Jordan Conroy, a respected name in the online poker arena, has cultivated his authority through years of dedicated play and content creation. Since 2020, he has earned a stellar reputation for his in-depth analysis of poker theory and his ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest developments in the poker world.

Jordan’s dedication to staying at the forefront of poker knowledge allows him to consistently deliver top-quality content that resonates with both novice players and seasoned professionals.

Beyond his poker expertise, he brings a diverse perspective, closely following other competitive domains like soccer, snooker, and Formula 1, enriching his insights and providing a comprehensive understanding of the gaming landscape.

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