What Options Do US Poker Players Have? (June 2011)

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What Options are there for US Poker Players Online?

Since the April 15th Blackout, US poker players have lost the privilege of playing at the world’s biggest poker sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and UB.com.

Actually, scratch that, UB.com is now dead (fired 99% of their employees in May 2011) and UK poker rooms such as 888 Poker and Party.Bwin now seem to be the real players.

So what options do you have if you’re a poker player from the US?  This is a question that I get asked all the time. However the difficulty is that the rules are constantly changing.  The US DOJ seems to be taking poker gambling sites and sports betting operators down left right and centre each week.  For example, some legendary sportsbooks such as Bookmaker.com, BetCris and BetEd.com were taken down recently.  BetUS.com and Sportsbook.com stopped accepting US players too!

In terms of poker, the few remaining and legitimate rooms to play at are Carbon Poker, Lock Poker and Bodog. Lock Poker recently announced plans to stay open for the long term.  However the problem with these rooms is that because their traffic has increased by more than 150% it has made their payment processors and support team work overtime.  Emails from the Carbon Poker reps are much slower than they used to be (which you can’t really blame them for), but the main problem is still depositing and withdrawing your funds if you’re from the US.

Victory Poker, one of the “up and comers” in the industry, recently closed their online poker room.  The VictoryPoker.com website will now become an affiliate site promoting other poker rooms and their entire player based has been moved over to the Cake Network.  TruePoker.com also tried their best to remain open however they domains were seized by the FBI and subsequently lost their US facing poker site.

Bodog has always has been an OK poker room for fish and recreational players.  However, they really lack a proper weekly guaranteed tournament and multi-tabling software for professional grinders which limits their appeal to me.

The worst thing for most US poker players at 2+2 and PocketFives.com is that since May 2011 Carbon Poker ceased offering 27% rakeback to players.  Before they changed this, Carbon Poker were the only US-friendly room that offers rakeback.  There are now no choices for US players who want to receive rakeback (however you can still take advantage of VIP and loyalty points at Carbon which are pretty much the same thing).

Cake Poker and Power Poker are both another US-friendly network (at the time of writing – June 2011) which are a really good choice.  Although poor software and promos let Cake Poker down in the past, beggars can’t afford to be choosers these days.  Cake Poker offers a top 100% up to $1,000 bonus for new players.  You can also still use PokerTracker 3 here (data mining software and Poker HUD) which is another good thing for pros.

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