Best Online Poker Casino Sites 2023
Even if the boom of U.S. online casinos has resulted in new, innovative games, there are several long-time favorites that still remain solid as the core foundation of many online casinos and gambling sites.
The best sites provide online players with a whole host of ways to play online poker for real money. Look for sites that offer different ways to play, from money games that offer real money prizes, to sites that use premier online poker to offer the best experience.
For as long as we can remember, poker has been one of the games of choice of many casino players worldwide, especially because it is a game where skill and strategy matter. Every year, events like the World Series of Poker are frequented by seasoned players, newcomers, and even enthusiastic celebrities who are vying for the major prize which in 2023 will be $12.1M.
Throughout this guide, we will review the best U.S. online poker casino sites, so that you can experience that exhilarating feeling of seeing what the river card brings from the comfort of your home. We will also cover the basic rules of poker, its main variations, and share some actionable strategies and poker tips to maximize your chances of winning.
Most Popular Online Poker Casinos
|FanDuel Online Casino||Get 50 Bonus Spins and Up to $1,000 back in Casino Bonus if you’re down after your first day!||1. Top brand recognition|
2. Robust poker game offering including Texas Hold’Em Plus
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|Stake.us Online Casino||Get $30 in Stake Cash and 250,000 Gold Coins||1. Video poker available|
2. Online casino that pays out in cryptocurrency
3. Dynamic social community that makes play fun and engaging
4. Generous welcome bonus
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|Global Poker Online Casino||Get 5,000 Gold Coins to start playing free poker||1. Community of over 250,000 US poker players|
2. Exclusive tournaments
3. Great place to get started playing free poker online
4. Weekly bonuses and events
5. Wide variety of poker games: Texas Hold’Em, Omaha, Bounty, Jackpot, Crazy Pineapple
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|bet365 Online Casino||Get a 100% Deposit Match Up to $1,000||1. Poker variety including Texas Hold’em and Omaha|
2. Brand presence all over the world
3. Top-notch customer support
4. Attractive deposit match bonus
5. User-friendly interface
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|BetRivers Online Casino||Get a 100% Deposit Match of up to $250 as a Casino Bonus||1. Texas Hold’em, Three Card, and Four Card Poker available|
2. Deposit bonus
3. Exclusive games
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|Caesars Palace Online Casino||Get a $10 sign-up bonus, a 100% Deposit Match up to $1,000, and 2,500 Reward Credits||1. Legendary poker brand (Caesars sponsors the World Series of Poker)|
2. Attractive bonus
3. Rewards program
4. Extensive variety of games
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|Hard Rock Online Casino||Get a Deposit Match of Up to $1,000 and 1,000 Free Spins||1. Amazing 3D graphics and smooth gameplay|
2. Recognized brand
3. Epic promotions
4. Deposit bonus
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|888 Online Casino||Get a $20 No Deposit Welcome Bonus||1. No deposit welcome bonus|
2. Mobile gaming
3. Comprehensive poker options including Live Ultimate Texas Hold’em
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How to Play Poker Online
If you are eager to get started on your online poker journey, it first helps to fully comprehend how the game is played. In this section, we will guide you through some poker fundamentals.
With the exception of some specific variations, poker is typically played with a standard deck composed of 52 cards. Depending on the type of poker that you are playing, one or two jokers might be used as wild cards.
As a rule of thumb, a typical poker hand consists of five cards. It is your job as the player to create the best possible hand between your private cards (two in Texas Hold’em, four in Omaha) and the community cards.
Community cards are those transparently placed on the table for everyone to see. For example, in both Texas Hold’em and Omaha, the community cards include the flop, the turn, and the river. The flop is the first three cards to be publicly displayed. The fourth card is the turn, and the fifth and final card is called the river.
Now, let’s take a look at the different hands that you can form so you can incorporate this when you start to play poker online.
Five of a Kind: This is the best possible hand that you can aspire to have. In order for a “five of a kind” hand to be possible, at least one card must be wild, for example, a joker. If jokers are not included in the deck, then it will not be possible to have five of a kind, as the maximum per kind is four.
Royal Flush: When playing with a standard, 52-card deck (without jokers), this is the best hand possible. To get a royal flush, you will need to have number 10, the jack, the queen, the king, and an ace, all of the same suit. For example, you could get a diamond royal flush if you have the diamond 10, J, Q, K, and A.
Straight Flush: If you still have five consecutive cards of the same suit, but not the royal cards, most likely, you will still win the hand. For example, if you have 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, all in spades, you will have a straight flush.
Four of a Kind: Colloquially known as “poker” in some gaming environments, this is also one of the most solid hands you can have at the table. If both you and your opponent have the four of a kind card, the one who has the highest card wins. For example, four aces would be higher than four 10s.
Full House: To get a full house, you will need to have three cards of one kind and two of another. For example, if you have three jacks and two 7s, you have a full house.
Flush: If you have five cards of the same suit, you have what is called a flush. A flush is valid even if the five cards are not in sequence, for example, if you have 8, 4, 3, 10, and K, all of hearts, you have a flush.
Straight: A straight is formed when you have five sequential cards, even if they are not all of the same suit. For example, you might have the numbers from 3 to 7, but two are diamonds, one is a club, one a spade, and the other one a heart.
Three of a Kind: Whenever you get, between your hole (private) cards and community cards, three cards of the same kind, and cannot form a combination with the other two, you have a hand called “three of a kind.”
Two Pairs: If you have, say, a pair of 4s and a pair of 8s, you have a hand called two pairs.
One Pair: This is one of the most popular combinations, albeit one of the lowest-ranked. When you have “one pair,” it means you were only able to get two like cards.
High Card: This is the lowest hand in poker. If you are left only with a high card, it is a good occasion to fold, unless you’re incredibly skilled at bluffing.
The first thing you need to do is to choose a reputable online poker site. You can go to our casino hub and check out the different platforms we recommend, depending on the type of games you are looking to play.
Once you’ve selected the right site for you, you will need to create an account. When doing this, you will certainly be asked for some personal information, so make sure to have it ready. This includes your full legal name, age–particularly important for legal compliance purposes–and physical address. Platforms might also ask for your SSN for their Know Your Customer requirements.
Create a username and password. Remember that, when you are in the process of creating your account, this is the moment to key in your bonus code. While many online poker casinos will credit the bonus automatically, others will not let you cash in your bonus if you do not provide them with a bonus code at the moment of signing up.
After your account has been verified, if you have a poker bonus, you should be able to see it now in your account balance, as long as it was a no deposit bonus. Now you can make a deposit. After your deposit has been processed, you’re good to go, and you’re ready to start playing the poker variety of choice! Remember that, while you can make playing poker a profitable endeavor, there is always an inherent risk to online gaming, so only play what you can afford to lose.
Real Money Play vs. Free Poker
With the booming emergence of social casinos throughout the United States, online poker players and enthusiasts no longer have to risk their real money to play poker online. However, there are both pros and cons to real money poker and free poker.
The first obvious benefit of playing real money poker is that you have the opportunity to win cash. At the same time, especially for players who are not responsible or good at budgeting, this can be the highest drawback. The main piece of advice we can give for real money online poker players is to play responsibly, and to create a bankroll that you can manage.
Playing free poker is a great way to understand the game better without investing any real money upfront. That way, by the time you decide to engage in real money play, your skill level will be higher, and your chances of winning will be better. An alternative for this are social poker casinos. These are great because not only do they let you play for free, but also, they are usually home to thriving communities. These communities can be a great place for you to learn tips and exchange strategies and ideas with other players. Two great social casinos that offer poker are Stake.us and Global Poker.
Choosing the Best Real Money Online Poker Site
When rating and evaluating the best online poker sites, we take into account a variety of criteria. Here are some factors that we consider…
- Legal and Regulatory Status: If a real money poker site is not properly licensed and regulated, we do not consider it. It is that simple.
- Bonuses and Promotions: These are a great way for you to test the waters and see how good you can get at the poker table before wagering real money. We also like poker sites that reward loyalty and provide bonuses to existing users.
- Poker Varieties: Do they offer Texas Hold’em, Omaha? Can you play with a live dealer? Do they have community tournaments where you can win exciting prizes? The more a poker site can answer these questions with “yes,” the more likely we are to recommend it.
- Convenient Banking Options: Imagine pulling off a royal flush and winning big money, and then not being able to withdraw your payout. At Lines.com, we only recommend poker sites that allow you to easily deposit and withdraw funds at your convenience.
- Customer Support: Our favorite casinos are those that have a 24/7 live chat feature, where a human being responds to any potential queries.
- Terms and Conditions: The best casinos have terms and conditions that are easy to understand. A common term that you need to be familiar with is the playthrough requirement. In a nutshell, this is the amount of times that you need to play your real money welcome bonus before you can withdraw it. For example, if you get $10 with a 20x playthrough requirement, it means that you need to bet $200 (the result of $10 * 20) to be able to withdraw your winnings from the bonus. If a casino cannot explain it to you as simply as we did, we won’t recommend it.
- Player Reviews: Casinos and poker sites build a reputation for themselves with their actions. We scout both the App Store and Google Play Store to see what people are saying, and especially support those poker sites that have a customer representative ready to respond to any query.
Because poker is such a popular game worldwide, people have inevitably developed different varieties of it over time. These varieties have gained widespread adoption across distinct geographical regions.
Here are some of the most popular poker types that you will be able to play for real money at the poker sites we recommend.
Texas Hold’em Poker
This is the main event at the World Series of Poker, and it is one of the most popular poker games worldwide. At Texas Hold’em, the main distinction is that you will be dealt two hole cards, and be able to use those together with the five community cards to create the best hand possible.
There are many similarities between Omaha and Texas Hold’em, however, there is also one key difference. That difference is that instead of two hole cards (private cards), you will receive four. Of these four, you will be allowed to use two cards, in addition to three out of five community cards to make the best possible hand.
Seven Card Stud
If you play Seven Card Stud, you will receive seven cards–a combination of private and publicly visible cards–and you need to create the best five-card hand possible with these seven cards.
Five Card Draw
Here, instead of receiving two or four private cards, you will receive five. Also, if the initial cards you receive do not work for you, you will get the opportunity to exchange them.
This game is one of the most beginner-friendly options around, and basically, it consists of making three separate poker hands with the cards you are dealt, and competing against others to see who has the highest hand. Unlike Texas Hold’em or Omaha, there are no bets during rounds of play. All you need to do is make the best poker hand possible.
Double Flop Hold’Em
This game is based on Texas Hold’em, however, its main variation is that instead of one set of community cards (flop, turn, river), there are two, which opens up the door for many more combinations.
This game is based on Seven Card Stud, and if you play it, the additional rule that you need to remember is that if you get the lowest public (face-up) card on the first round, you must pay in an additional “forced” bet.
Online Poker Bonuses And Promotions
As the competition to keep users engaged intensifies, many real money online poker sites are giving ongoing poker bonuses and promotions. This way, everyone wins. Poker players get rewarded for their loyalty, and poker sites avoid losing users.
Here, we cover some of the most common online poker bonuses and promotions that you are likely to encounter.
This is offered by poker sites as a sign of appreciation for a new player. Welcome bonuses can be given in various ways. For example, if the welcome bonus is a no deposit bonus, it means that you will either get some free money to play poker with, a tournament ticket, or, if you are dealing with social casinos, virtual currency. You can use these to play your favorite poker games.
The other way is a deposit bonus. To get this, you will be required to make a deposit into your account. Deposit bonuses can be, for example, a deposit match. In this type of bonus, the poker site matches whatever amount you deposited up to a certain limit. It can also be a risk-free play, where, if you lose a particular amount of money, the poker site will give it back to you, giving you a second chance.
Reload bonuses are a way in which poker sites reward user loyalty and ongoing activity. This will be typically granted to you after you make a follow-up deposit.
Free Tournament Entries
These are particularly common, especially at sites that are focused on poker, like Global Poker. These sites generally organize tournaments, and as a benefit, they might provide players with access to these tournaments and the opportunity to win real prizes without charging an entry fee.
Online poker sites offer loyalty programs that reward ongoing activity. Also, some of these rewards programs–like Caesars Rewards–are embedded within a larger platform. This is great, because it allows you to combine your points from poker, sports betting, and additional casino activity to redeem prizes.
More community-oriented sites often have a leaderboard, in which players can see how their stats fare in comparison to other players. Some of these sites, occasionally, run leaderboard promotions, in which they provide special rewards to players who have had stellar performances at the poker table or that have won certain online poker tournaments.
Advanced Tips to Win at Poker
One of the most exciting things about poker is that it is a game of skill and strategy. And while no poker strategy is flawless, it helps to have some tips that can tip the scales in your favor.
Understanding Poker Bets and Round of Play
Before you jump in, you also need to understand how poker bets work, and the game’s rounds of play.
Introducing Blind Bets: In Texas Hold’em and Omaha, there are two blind bets, the small blind and the big blind. These are forced bets, which ensure that there is a pot to compete for and that every hand has some action. The player who is responsible for both the small blind and the big blind rotates every hand.
Betting Rounds: When playing poker, you can place bets at various rounds. Each round has different conditions, as the publicly visible cards differ.
- Pre-flop: Betting at pre-flop means placing a wager before any community cards are revealed, relying solely on how you feel your private cards will perform.
- Flop: Here, you are betting after looking at the potential combinations between your two private cards and the three community cards, and speculating on what the two future cards will be.
- Turn: A new card has been revealed, so you have the chance to bet again, now with more information.
- River: After the river, you can see the five community cards and form the best possible combination. This is the final round of betting.
In each of these rounds, you can take several actions. If you are to succeed at poker, it is key that you become familiar with these terms:
- Check: When you do this, you are essentially passing without betting. This is great if you feel uncertain, however, there’s a caveat. You can only check if no one else has made a bet during that round.
- Bet: Based on the table’s blinds (which determine the betting structure for the minimum bet), you can place an initial bet. This will obligate every player to at least match your bet to stay in the hand.
- Call: If another player has made a bet, you have the chance to “call” which means to match that bet.
- Raise: Besides calling, you can also bet more than what the previous player did.
- Fold: If you do not feel you have a good enough hand, you can always fold. When folding, you will lose any bets (including small or big blinds) that you have made during this hand.
In each round, the best hand takes the pot.
This might not qualify as an “advanced” tip, but believe me, if you get this wrong, no advanced poker strategy matters. To be able to succeed in poker–as in any other betting game–managing your bankroll is key. First, you need to establish your limits. Find a fixed amount that acts as your bankroll. It needs to be something that you can afford to lose, and from now on, you will manage it as your poker portfolio.
Then, you will divide this portfolio into units or “buy-ins” to be able to sit at poker tables. You can establish one parameter for games and another one for tournaments. This bankroll will help you understand which games to sit at. Choose tables that match your skill level and bankroll amounts. Last, but not least, a key aspect of managing your bankroll is to set winning and losing limits. To succeed in the long run, it is key to know when to call it a day. There will be winning days and losing days, and you must accept that.
Understanding Pot Odds and Implied Odds
Just like in sports betting, when playing poker, you can also weigh your probability versus the implied probability of something happening, and spot value betting opportunities. To do this, first, become familiar with the concept of pot odds. Basically, you can calculate pot odds with this formula:
Pot Odds = Pot Size / Cost of Call
The pot size is how much money is involved in the pot right now, and the cost of call is how much you would need to put down to “call” the next bet.
Another concept that helps with this is implied odds. Here, you are not only considering the odds of the current pot, but also, integrating the potential future bets you could win if your expected hand materializes. Implied odds go up as the pot grows in value.
To analyze odds correctly, you need to pay attention to the community cards.
Let’s look at the following example…
There is $100 in the pot, and your opponent just placed a $20 bet, therefore, the pot odds would be 5-1.
You have a Q and an 8, both diamonds, and the board shows two more diamonds (J and 2) and one spade (5), and you’re waiting for the river. Assuming that there are no jokers in play, there are 4-1 odds that you will get a diamond, since every card will either be a diamond, heart, spade, or club.
Then, there are the implied odds. You can say that, in addition to the pot, there will be another $50 in additional bets. Therefore, your potential future winnings are $50.
To calculate the implied odds, assuming the cost of call is still $20, you would calculate $50/$20, which is 2.5.
Therefore, you would sum this up by saying:
- Real Odds: 4-1 = (25%)
- Pot Odds: 5-1 = (20%)
- Implied Odds: 2.5-1 = (28.57%)
If you consider the pot odds and the real odds, it would be worth it for you to make the call. If you consider the implied odds, maybe not so much, because you would need to pay an extra prize to access those winnings, and this impacts the overall probability and decision-making process.
Even though this is a classic play, and one of those that has made poker so popular, it is not as easy as it seems. There is a lot of strategy to bluffing, as, first and foremost, you need to refrain from emoting at any time. This is something that not all players can do. Then, you need to have utmost confidence, and be prepared to maintain your poker strategy or be willing to fold if you are able to perceive that the other player does have something better.
Read the Other Players
To increase your odds of a successful bluff, it helps to learn how to read other players. Pay attention to their tics and moves after each play, and whether they are displaying any signs that could indicate their future move.
Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
If you know how to manage your emotions, you are already one step ahead of most poker players. This is because, at its core, poker is a very emotional game. Poker players often get caught in their own mental bubble, and make poor decisions as a result. Therefore, work on yourself and develop your emotional intelligence. It will help you considerably at the poker table, besides substantially improving your life.
Take Advantage of Your Position at the Table
In a section below, we will explain the table positions in more detail. However, to give you an intro, you have learned that there are big blinds and small blinds. This means that every round, you are in a different position at the table, so your turn to place a bet will vary. Capitalize on this. See how other players are reacting and what the dynamics are. This way, you can take advantage of whatever position you are in and steer the psychology of the game in your favor.
Best Poker Sites for Beginners
Stake.US Online Casino
Backed by a global brand that boasts partnerships with popular sports teams like Everton Football Club and with celebrities like Drake, Stake.US has made a splash since it entered the United States market. By joining Stake.US, you will be able to hone your poker skills for free, taking advantage of the welcome bonus that this social casino has to offer. Also, a great feature of Stake.US is that it has a vibrant community, which means there are a lot of people to exchange tips and strategies with. This makes the experience a lot more fun. Join Stake.US now and get $30 in Stake Cash and 250,000 Gold Coins to start playing your favorite games now!
Global Poker Online Casino
While Global Poker is a poker site that has gaming offerings for all levels, the fact that it is a social casino and thus, one in which you can get started for free, makes it very attractive for beginners. Also, this is a special casino for poker players, because it focuses mostly on poker, organizing exclusive online poker tournaments and contests and offering attractive prizes. By doing this, Global Poker has been able to form a community of over 250,000 poker players. Join Global Poker now and get free Gold Coins, which you can use to get a seat at the poker table!
Poker Table Positions Explained
Throughout the guide, we have briefly touched on the poker table positions, and why they are key factors in determining the strategy that you should adopt to win. Here are the basic types of positions for you to become familiar with. As we have stated, every round (every hand), the positions rotate.
Dealer: This is the most advantageous position at the table. By acting as the dealer for the current hand, it means that you will be the last one to make a decision except for the pre-flop round. This also means that you get to see how everybody reacted to their cards, and you can leverage this to your advantage by determining the direction in which the round goes.
Small Blind: This is the person sitting left of the dealer. Every betting round, the person who is assigned the small blind has to place a forced bet to contribute to the pot. This person is second-to-last in the pre-flop betting round’s decision-making.
Big Blind: Typically, the big blind is twice as much as the small blind. This is also a forced bet. In the pre-flop betting round, the big blind is the last one to act.
Early Positions: The player who is seated left of the big blind is the first one to act once the flop has been revealed. The player who is the first one to act in the hand is considered to be “Under the Gun,” a reference to the pressure they have about being the first decision-maker.
Middle Positions: Players who are in the middle positions at the table (after the early positions) are considered to have a mild advantage because they get to see how some of the other players act before they need to make a choice.
Late Positions: The last positions are called the Hijack and the Cutoff. These are two of the most advantageous positions, because they have seen how other players have responded and have more information with which to make decisions.
Online Poker's History
Free online poker has been played, to some capacity or extent, from the late 1990s, in the early days of the internet. Using text-based interfaces, people could compete against each other online.
The first official site–or at least, the one that is credited as such–to offer real-money games is Planet Poker. Taking advantage of the dotcom boom, this poker site grew quickly, and it laid the groundwork for the online poker industry to develop.
As the levels of internet adoption grew, players were drawn to the convenience of playing poker from the comfort of their homes. This, in addition to the skyrocketing popularity of events like the World Series of Poker, resulted in the creation of new sites, among them, PokerStars, one of the most famous real money online poker sites to date.
Throughout the history of online poker, there have been some black events, including one called Black Friday, when the United States government enforced a crackdown on some of the top online poker sites, among them, PokerStars and Full Tilt. This led to a complete shutdown of online poker in the country. However, since then, and especially after the U.S. government left online gambling legislation in the hands of each individual state, several states have legalized the ability to play online poker. With the emergence of social casinos and the sweepstakes model, the number of states where you can play online poker has increased substantially.
Top 3 Poker Sites in 2023
bet365 Online Casino
Bet365 is one of the world’s most recognizable brands in terms of online gambling, and poker is no exception. The company, which first made a name for itself in the sports betting domain, has now entered the rapidly developing U.S. market. To attract new users to its online poker rooms and everything it has to offer, it is matching up initial deposits up to $1,000. Bet365 has quickly risen to prominence due to its solid reliability, wide game variety, and excellent customer support.
Caesars Palace Online Casino
Caesars Palace is an established name in the poker world. First and foremost, its parent company, Caesars Entertainment, is the main sponsor of the World Series of Poker. The brand is also a Las Vegas staple, operating the iconic Caesars Palace on The Strip. To incentivize new players, Caesars is giving a $10 sign-up bonus and matching up deposits up to $1,000, in addition to 2,500 Rewards Points for its highly-coveted loyalty program.
FanDuel Online Casino
Over the past few years, FanDuel has become synonymous with online entertainment in the United States, and its casino app is no exception. By joining FanDuel, you will be able to play in some of the best online poker rooms, engage in a thriving community and learn about different styles and strategies. For new players, FanDuel has a promotion in which, if you lose up to $1,000 during your first day, the poker site will reimburse it as a bonus.
Online Poker Sites We Do Not Recommend
Unfortunately, just as there are great online poker sites, there are also online poker sites that you are better off avoiding. For example, a very shady casino network includes those owned by the Virtual Casino Group, a company based out of Costa Rica, which has earned an infamous reputation for not paying players their winnings. Other sites include OddsPoker and Carbon Poker, which have been bashed on players’ forums for either not paying their winnings or delaying payouts.
Do casinos charge to play poker?
Yes, poker sites and casinos charge a house fee, which sometimes is also called a rake. This is their cut for hosting poker games.
Is online poker legal?
Online poker is legal in many states across the United States. However, double-check what your state’s legislation is prior to playing real money online poker.
What types of online poker are available?
Popular options include Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Varieties like Five Card Draw and Seven Card Stud are also available, among others.