Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006, online poker in the USA has been in a bit of a grey area. The act made it illegal for financial institutions to facilitate gambling transactions, but it did not specifically make online poker illegal. This has led to a bit of a confusing legal landscape, with some states clearly outlawing online poker and others taking a more hands-off approach.
This confusion was further muddied by the Department of Justice’s 2011 opinion that the Wire Act of 1961 could be interpreted to prohibit all forms of online gambling, not just sports betting. This put federal prosecutors in a tough spot, as they now had to decide whether to go after online poker sites or not.
The DOJ eventually decided to go after the major US-facing poker sites in what is now known as Black Friday. This led to many poker sites shutting down or leaving the US market, and left countless US poker players without a place to play.
There are still a few online poker options for US players, but the selection is quite limited compared to what it once was. If you want to play online poker in the USA, your best bet is to find an off-shore site that is willing to take your business. These sites are not subject to US law, so they can offer a much wider range of games and tournaments.
Just be sure to do your research before signing up for an account. There are plenty of reputable poker sites out there, but there are also a few bad apples. Stick with a site that has a good reputation and is known for treating its players fairly, and you should be able to enjoy a safe and fun online poker experience.