Safest Online Poker Rooms
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In the early-to-mid 2000s online poker
players, specifically those in the US, enjoyed the luxury of
focusing less on finding safe poker sites and prioritizing
now-forgotten features such as upfront bonuses, freerolls, and
horribly loose tables. As the industry matured and was subsequently
assaulted heavily by the US government in 2006 and 2011 finding a
stable safe poker site with both financial security and fair games
has become more important than ever.
The cheating scandal and total
financial collapse suffered by Absolute Poker/UltimateBet
underscores the fact that even high profile sites do not always
equal safe poker sites. The vast majority of poker rooms have a
trustworthy track record and are licensed by their respective
government. However, players should be aware of the history and any
potential warning signs of a new prospective poker home. In addition
to only reviewing rooms we trust personally the goal of this article
is qualify what makes a safe poker room and list our top picks for
License and regulation
Player reputation and loyalty
Every safe poker site is going to be licensed and regulated by their
location's government. Usually that's a tax-friendly island like
Antigua or Malta but many are also overseen by the Kahnawake tribe
in Quebec. An active license ensures that a safe poker site has
passed the certification process by its relevant government
authority and is able to host games because of its good standing.
While there are certainly exceptions on both sides a longer history
of player activity and successful withdrawals tends to signify a
safe poker site. In as young of an industry as online poker 4 or 5
years of stability would classify as significant. Again, Absolute
Poker and Ultimate Bet proved that isn't always the case but safe
poker sites that have profited from player trust are almost always
intelligent enough to continue what made them successful. If a poker
site has suspicious table activity (Pitbull Poker is one marked
example) or unexplainable lapses in hand data they typically are
exposed within a year of operation.
Payment processing difficulties are the nature of the
beast in US poker. However, safe poker sites with segregated player
balances and sufficient cash liquidity just get payouts done.
Temporary withdrawal hiccups such as bounced checks are acceptable
and perhaps even expected but one of the first signs of impending
poker room doom is inconsistent payout delays and/or cancellations.
There is no way to guarantee the
future of any business in any industry but long-term positive player
experiences may be the most logical and dependable way of
determining if a room is currently a safe poker site. Our poker room
reviews come from personal experience and a decade worth of riding
the ups and downs of the industry. We do not recommend a poker room
that we don't feel comfortable depositing at ourselves. We also
always take into account any player feedback and scour other sources
to see what other players are reporting both for safety and overall
Below we rank our current top recommendations for safe poker sites.
BOVADA (full review) Out of every
US poker room on our list
Bovada has the longest history, most of it
under its original Bodog brand name. Initially building its brand
for sports betting in the late '90s
Bovada has quietly offered one
of the safest poker sites for US players since its inception. They
are fully licensed and regulated in Costs Rica with their reputation
largely built from treating players fairly, providing timely
payouts, and offering personalized support. Aside from the 100%
bonus Bovada is easily earns a spot on this list as a safe poker
BETONLINE (full review)
While US poker rooms seem to be perpetually changing their
status BetOnline is our current top
US choice as a safe poker site.
They have had some support growing pains but remain one of the
easiest to cash out and deposit with thanks to block-free credit
card deposits. BetOnline
has been licensed in Panama for over a decade
and have built a solid history of player loyalty. The speed and
number of cashout methods at
BetOnline has never been a problem.
Bonuses for our new players include free tournament money and
SPORTSBOOK POKER (full review)
Sportsbook Poker can easily be considered a safe poker site if
only because of their acquisition of the highly sought-after UK
online gaming license. Available to few but coveted by many the
premier UK license virtually guarantees the financial stability and
game fairness of its holder.
Sportsbook Poker, now the largest brand on the Merge network,
has online gaming roots going back to the mid-1990s and thus has
always excelled at easy deposits. Coming close to our top two poker
Sportsbook Poker is able to process almost any US credit card
without being declined and without extra e-wallet signups or fees.
Boasting a player base that is largely attracted to the sports
branding the cash game action is fast, furious, and one of the
loosest left in the US market. As a safe poker site
Sportsbook Poker also offers our players a 150% signup bonus for
poker play in addition to instant free sports funds.
LOCK POKER (full review)
Lock Poker has come a long way since our initial
skepticism about their long-term health.
Lock Poker has become one
of the best US choices as a safe poker site with improved cashout
times and the purchase of their own network. Acquisitions like that
are made with the future in mind. In addition to the significant
150% bonus given to our new players we feel more confident than ever
in Lock Poker as a safe poker site.
CARBON POKER (full review)
Beginning its history as poker.com almost a decade ago
Poker is the head of its own network and one of the
largest safe poker sites remaining in the US market. The
Carbon Poker player traffic is strong and our new players also receive a
special 150% bonus. Combined with owning a large network and a long
history of player satisfaction
Carbon Poker is easily one of the
safest poker sites in the US market.
SPORTSBETTING POKER (full review)
Sportsbetting Poker is one of the safest poker sites in the US
market thanks to new ownership that has over a decade of industry
experience. This all-in-one gaming site has significant financial
backing and is held to an extremely high licensing standard by the
Panama government. Credit card deposit rates at
Sportsbetting Poker are nearly 100% with any US credit, debit,
or prepaid gift card. The payout system is also one of the few that
offers numerous options to receive funds within a week at reasonable
fees. For cash game players
Sportsbetting Poker is one of the loosest safe poker sites with
tables active up to the $5/10 level. Our new players also receive
instant free tournament dollars and instant free cash in the sports
888 POKER (full review)
Poker could very well be the safest poker site online in
terms of company security. Its
parent company is one of the most valuable publicly traded gaming
corporations and thus players will never have a problem with cashout liquidity.
Poker has really improved the actual poker room from an afterthought
to one of the best online with an $8 no-deposit offer for our
players, busy loose tables, and strong software. The only downside
is the lack of US support. As long as online poker exists
will be alive and kicking as a safe poker site.
WILLIAM HILL POKER (full review)
William Hill is another extremely safe poker site
thanks to its public stock and large brand name.
William Hill is
also on one of the largest and most stable non-US networks in iPoker.
This betting house has an actual public presence in Europe, meaning
William Hill would be risking complete a complete brand failure if they
abandoned their online segment. This is a safe poker site brand with
real physical locations and transparent ownership. Our new
William Hill players
receive an instant $20 bonus in addition to a 100% play-through
View a complete list of
US poker room reviews.
More US poker information:
Online Poker Isn't Illegal
Where to Play Poker from the US
Legal Poker Sites
USA Online Poker
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