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In a day that has been referred to as Black Friday, the FBI seized the domains of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, blocking US poker players from playing at these hugely popular online poker sites. It now means that US online poker players who formerly enjoyed the hospitality of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars real money games must look elsewhere.
While the online poker sites have closed down to USA players and are in talks with the US government, there are growing calls for the regulation of US online poker but it seems as if it is going to be a long time before US players will be accepted again at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, but in the meantime player balances will be returned.
With the two largest USA online poker sites shut down and access closed to US players, it is important to look at alternatives. While PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker US players are allowed to play for play money at the poker sites, they are blocked from real money games.
We know that you USA players who played at Full Tilt and PokerStars players are looking for new sites to play at, so we have compiled a list to help you find a new, safe poker site. These online poker sites are the best options for US players - all offer big welcome bonuses (to help you recover some of your frozen cashier balances), plenty of deposit options (to get you to the tables fast) and great customer support (to answer your questions quickly). Every poker player knows the importance of building of bankroll – so start re-building yours today at one of the top-rated USA poker sites.
Have more questions? We have answers, check out the FAQ below for some of the top questions.
We are also aware that US poker players have many questions regarding the current situation in 2013. Therefore, we have done our best to provide you with the answers to the most common questions US players might have regarding playing at Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars (and other sites which have also blocked US players).
Why did the FBI seize PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker?
Allegedly, the sites were using some rather underhand tactics to process payments and to hide the fact that US players were playing for real money. This has still yet to be proven, but if it is it could constitute money laundering. The US Department of Justice then agreed to a deal with PokerStars and Full Tilt to shut down poker to US players in exchange for their domain names being returned (e.g. PokerStars.com & FullTiltPoker.com), to help US players learn more about future cashing out their remaining balance.
Why can't I play with real money on Full Tilt or PokerStars in the USA?
Currently, the US government has closed many international sites for US real money play – and PokerStars and Full Tilt are two sites you can no longer access. However, both sites are working to find ways to offer games to US players and, with the changing legislation in the USA, it won’t be long before they are back.
Can US players play on PokerStars or Full Tilt at all?
You can still enjoy poker for play money on Full Tilt and PokerStars. It is only PokerStars and Fullt Tilt real money USA players that are blocked.
What about player cashier balances in Full Tilt and PokerStars?
Both online poker sites have issued statements assuring USA players that the balances contained in their sites are safe. The US government has also made it clear that it is not after the money in the accounts held by USA players. In fact, the government was adamant that, although US players should be blocked from playing at Full Tilt and PokerStars, their real money balances should be returned.
I am a US player. Can I withdraw my real money balance from Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars?
Yes you can. While the websites and the government have both stated that they don’t want to block withdrawals, US banks have stopped processing transactions by the poker sites. However, US players are able to recover their balances by applying directly through the DOJ who is processing US player withdrawals from these sites.
Can US players make deposits at Full Tilt and PokerStars?
No. US players can't add money into their account. You won’t be allowed to play for real money and you will also be blocked from withdrawing it. So it makes no sense for US online poker players to make any deposits at these poker sites.
Can USA players still play other online poker for real money in 2013?
Yes, there are still numerous legal online poker sites that accept US players and allow them to play for real money. Check out the US poker sites page or the poker rooms listed in our top list above for some of the best.
Doesn't the UIGEA make it illegal for USA players to play online poker?
No. The short answer is that playing US online poker is legal. What the UIGEA does is stop banks and financial institutions in the USA from processing payments for online gambling activities. There are still other payment methods you can use to go around this and the USA poker sites listed above offer these deposit options. The allegations against Full Tilt and PokerStars are that they forced or tricked banks into processing these payments in defiance of the UIGEA.
What kind of deposit methods can I use to play at other online poker sites that accept US players?
A number of eWallets are available and good options when making deposits in 2013. USA credit card transactions are much harder because of the restrictions that banks are under as a result of the UIGEA. However many online poker sites on the above list accept US credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.
Does this mean the death of online poker in the US?
Unlikely. Online poker in the USA is currently going through the equivalent of a nasty illness, but the prognosis is positive. There is going to be a period in which online poker in the USA feels miserable – and the legalization of online poker in Nevada shows it is well on the way to recovery. How soon will it be happy and thriving again? We can’t say. However, consider that during the height of the prohibition era there were estimated to have been nearly 100,000 “speakeasy clubs” in New York City alone. When the people want something, it’s very hard to keep it down and US players really want online poker. One thing is for certain – there is a lot of votes tied up in this issue and that is going to make the politicians take a long hard look before doing anything rash.