Online poker’s Black Friday happened quite a while ago and many of us expected there’d be some significant changes on the online poker scene in the States over the years. However, the progress has been very slow and not much has changed since April 15, 2011. In many ways, US players are exactly where they were more than six and a half years ago.
A few US states have regulated online poker, but even in these instances, the local traffic is fairly low and not quite comparable to the situation we had before Black Friday, when players from the States were a part of the international player pool.
As most of you probably know, there are no “big name” poker operators accepting US players as of now. While some like Party Poker exited early of their own volition, others like Poker Stars and former Full Tilt were forced out. The climate is such that big rooms simply prefer to stay away and wait for the legal resolution rather than taking the chance and testing how far the DOJ and the government are willing to go to suppress online poker.
At the same time, a number of relatively smaller operators saw their opportunity and decided to roll the dice. Although there is risk involved, these rooms made up their minds and calculated it was worth it. So far, it seems they are left alone and players are allowed to play online poker with the rest of the world, although there are some bumps along the way.
Where Can US Players Play?
Right now, there are a few online poker rooms accepting players from the States. Some are better than the other, and we’ve now had enough time and evidence to see which operators can efficiently overcome various hurdles and deliver a satisfactory level of service.
Bovada Poker is certainly one of the absolute leaders in this department. In business for well over a decade, this online poker room has shown they have necessary resources, the know-how, and, most importantly, willingness to do whatever it takes to provide the kind of service players rightfully expect for their patronage.
There are several things working in Bovada’s favor at the moment. First and foremost, they are capable of processing deposits and withdrawals from the US players efficiently and within reasonable time frames. The speed of withdrawals is one of the biggest complaints US players have when it comes to various online poker options, so Bovada certainly tackled the most important issue – and they did it well.
The room has also included bitcoin as one of their banking methods, which makes it even easier for the players from the States to move their money around.
On top of all of this, Bovada Poker also provides a very decent client that looks good and offers plenty of options to make the playing experience enjoyable and comfortable. Combined with their fairly generous welcome package, Bovada leads the way among the US-friendly poker rooms.
Although they’ve had their fair share of problems, Americas Cardroom (ACR) is another decent option for players from the States. The room has certainly done a lot to improve their banking sector, introducing dozens of various cryptocurrencies lately, giving players more options to use when depositing.
Although ACR’s software isn’t what you’d call state-of-the-art, it still does the job reasonably well. Also, the room offers one of the most generous welcome bonuses you can find these days, which is why many players outside of the US make ACR their home. While not perfect, Americas Cardroom has its strong points, and it is definitely another decent alternative for US players looking to play unrestricted online poker.