Poker is incredibly popular among younger gamblers, and there are millions of 18+ poker players in the United States alone. However, most land-based card rooms and casinos set their age limits to 21 and up, making 18 and up online poker sites the best options for up-and-comers and those who call themselves new to the fold – or the raise!
If you want to enjoy a selection of different poker games over the Internet, we’ve got the best sites to try listed here. With our brief poker games guide, you can learn the basics of what to play – and where to play – in just a few short minutes. Small blind or big blind, you’ll see all the cards when you play at the best online poker sites.
Best 18+ Poker Site For US Players
100% Poker Bonus Up To $500
With millions of US players, you might think Bovada is a full house. But for poker enthusiasts, the site is a bona fide royal flush! Licensed under the umbrella of the international Bodog brand, Bovada has been offering online poker to US players (18+) for years. The site also includes other casino table games to amuse yourself between hands, as well as hundreds of slots and video poker selections.New card sharps who sign up today can take advantage of Bovada’s 100% deposit match bonus, which adds up to $500 in digital poker chips to your bankroll! (Currently, Bovada does not accept new members from DE, MD, NJ, or NV.)
18+ Players Enjoy
- Browser-based mobile poker options
- Poker suite download for Mac and PC
- Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo supported
- Speed play + multi-table play supported
- Free poker games to hone your skills
- Sit & Go tournaments
- Cash tables and jackpot tournaments available 24/7
- $1.5 million in weekly guaranteed payouts
- US poker players aged 18 and up welcome
- Includes full casino, sportsbook, and racebook
Is It Legal for 18-Year-Olds To Play Real Money Poker Online?
It is legal to play poker for real money in 48 out of 50 US states according to US gambling laws. The two exceptions are Washington and Connecticut, which both have laws against all forms of online gambling. (However, these laws are historically unenforced, and it is highly unlikely you will ever get in trouble for playing Internet poker in these states. Still, proceed at your own risk.)
Some states even have domestic online poker services. These include Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Other states are considering formally legalizing the practice, as well.
For the rest of the US, gamblers can use offshore cardrooms to play real-money poker. These venues are safe to use and offer guaranteed payouts, and there are a number of other perks to moving your poker game online that you can learn about below.
Types of Poker Games Available to Players 18 and Over
There are several main kinds of poker that players enjoy, and the most trustworthy poker sites offer plenty of digital felts for each one. The different kinds of poker will appeal to different players, and you can generally choose from the following:
Please be aware that the poker games list above is not comprehensive, but every major poker operator offers each of these at the very least. Be sure to browse the poker game selections at different sites to see the best of what every service has on hand. And remember, you can always sign up at multiple different poker sites to ensure the best choice of games.
Texas Hold ‘Em vs. Omaha
While there are lots of poker variants out there, the main types of poker games you’re going to come across are Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha. The difference between Texas Hold ‘Em and poker games like Omaha is something of much interest among greenhorns, as the games vary significantly, and most players tend to gravitate towards one or the other.
That said, Texas Hold ‘Em is more popular overall, which means that most high-level tournament poker will offer classic Hold ‘Em action. The poker hand rankings are the same between the games, and for now, the main distinction is that while Hold ‘Em has two “hole” cards (i.e. cards that are dealt to each player) that must be combined with the three river cards, Omaha gives each player four hole cards, two of which must be used with the three river cards. Omaha Hi/Lo is just like classic Omaha, only the pot is split between players with the best (highest) hand and the worst (lowest) hands.
Because Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo offer more chances to win and make strong poker hands, many beginners start out with these variants before refining their poker strategies for the main Hold ‘Em events.
Pros And Cons Of Online Poker
- No Poker Face – When you play poker on the Internet, you don’t have to worry about hidingyour wide eyes whenever you’re dealt a good hand. You can grin from ear to ear without making your opponents suspicious, and you can laugh and cheer without the rest of the table folding. Online poker requires no poker face. Heck, you don’t even have to wear pants! (Albeit strip poker is probably more fun IRL than online.)
- Maximum Anonymity – When you’re a good gambler, it’s generally not advantageous for others to know who you are. Win too much at a California card room, for example, and you’ll soon find yourself unable to find challengers or barred from the premises entirely. That doesn’t happen at 18+ poker sites, which means you’ll always have a seat at the table.
- Speed Play – Speed play poker allows gamblers to enter a pool of players as opposed to just one table. You face different opponents for every hand, and when you fold one hand, you can be immediately placed in another game at another table. Most 18+ offshore gambling sites offer this fast poker variant.
- Multi-Table Play – “Multitabling” is an online poker method where you can play at several tables simultaneously. Different sites have different maximums, though it isn’t uncommon to see limits of 10+ tables available. If volume is your game, online sites are all in on multi-table poker.
- Timed Pacing – With live, in-person poker, there is usually some downtime as tension builds and players calculate odds and bluff each other out. With the online game, there is a hard timer that guarantees the pace of play remains constant.
- Auto-Fold Options – As a way to promote the timed play nature of online poker, the top sites will let players automatically fold their hands if it’s their turn and they lose connection temporarily or are otherwise AFK (“Away From Keyboard”).
- Easy Research – If you’re playing poker in person, you can’t really jot down notes about your opponents’ moves. The best players do this in their heads naturally, but the average player needs more concrete ways to keep track. Playing online, it’s easy to keep notes about every hand your opponents play, referring to them round after round.
- Play Anywhere – Nothing beats the sheer convenience of online poker games. Because all the best poker vendors offer full mobile suites for their card games, you can play anywhere in the US that you have an Internet connection. Ante up wherever you are, whenever you want!
- Free Poker Games – All the best poker sites have free online poker games available, where you can test out the gameplay before spending real money. You can’t do that in Sin City!
- 18+ Allowed – At all the top online poker sites, you only have to be 18 and over in order to sign up and play. However, if your state has minimum poker age laws in effect, it is recommended that you abide by these, even when playing with an offshore operator.
- Limited Bluffing – One of the main tools in the poker pro’s arsenal is his or her ability to bluff their opponents. Bluffing is such a core part of poker that many old timers won’t play online because that aspect of the game is so comparatively limited. If you want to know how to bluff at online poker, there are several schools of thought on the subject. But ultimately, if bluffing is a big part of your repertoire, online may not be the best solution for your needs.
- Can’t “Read” Opponents – In poker, body language is critically important. Often, the difference between winning a big pot and folding a strong hand is the confidence that comes from watching your opponents and seeing if they show any “tells.” You can’t do that online. (Of course, the future is always fast approaching, and VR poker games could revolutionize the online environment in just a few short years, allowing you to see and react to your opponents in real time.)
- Limited Social Element – As with other kinds of casino gaming, for many players, the biggest allure to poker is the nature of the event itself. Many players enjoy the bright lights and crowds of a classic card room, as well as the hustle and bustle of the venue in general. Comped drinks and food services are also common considerations for in-person poker.
- No WSOP Qualifiers – When you play poker at offshore sites, you cannot earn seats at the World Series of Poker tournaments that are held all around the USA. Overseas poker sites are not affiliated with the WSOP, but you can get a lot of good practice at these venues in case you ever decide you want to try for a bracelet!
No Limit Vs. Pot Limit Poker
There are two main types of financial poker rules (or betting structures) to be aware of: no-limit poker and pot-limit poker. A third version, called fixed-limit poker, is also common, but it is not as readily available online and is only included here for reference.
If you want to know what games each poker site specifically offers, you can read our detailed reviews here.
- No Limit Poker – Commonly abbreviated as NL poker, no-limit is the game most televised poker viewers are familiar with. Effectively, any player can raise any amount at any time, regardless of the pot size. No limit poker often has players going “all in.”
- Pot Limit Poker – Also called PL poker, pot-limit poker limits the amount any player can raise to the maximum current pot size. If there’s $40 in the pot, for example, your maximum raised bet can be only $40.
- Fixed Limit Poker – Limit poker, or fixed-limit poker, has predetermined bet sizes. These typically include the “big bet” and the “small bet,” and players can only raise their opponents in these increments. Each table or house will have different limits in play.
18+ Poker Games FAQs
There are literally hundreds of poker types out there, and rules modifications effectively add multipliers to this. In addition to the above common online versions of the game (aka “community card poker”), popular variants like five-card draw (draw poker), five-card stud (stud poker), H.O.R.S.E., Razz, High Chicago, Low Chicago, Countdown, Billabong, Shanghai, Follow The Queen, Chinese Poker, and more are often available as video poker selections at online betting sites.
Most poker sites have two main categories of poker to choose from: cash games and tournament games. Cash games (aka cash tables, ring games, or live action games) are simply tables you can join, play at for as long as you like, and cash out whenever you wish. Cash games lend themselves especially well to multi-table play.
Tournament poker is different. Here, players pay to enter tournaments, win tables with non-cash-representative chip totals, and advance to further rounds. The final table is like the championship, where the winner receives a predetermined amount of prize money (with runners up receiving a portion of the total pool).
In the US, different states have different gambling laws and poker age standards. Most states with legal domestic poker put their ages at 21+, but the majority of states don’t have age minimums on their books at all. This means that – in those states – you are free to join online 18+ poker sites as long as you’re at least 18 years old.
No. In order to receive any payouts, offshore poker sites will require proof of identity and age. If you are under 18 years old and make a withdrawal claim for your poker winnings, you will have your account banned and your funds – including your bankroll and your winnings – forfeited.
While most sites will technically allow you to sign up and play free poker if you’re under 18 years old, it’s recommended that you don’t attempt to do this. Per every top operator’s terms of service, you have to be at least 18 to join. Thus, it’s possible that a player could sign up at 17, play free games until they’re 18, and then make a deposit and play for real money.
However, the site may flag your account if it was created before your 18th birthday, and that may lead to account suspension and funds forfeiture. It’s simply not worth the risk. If you’re under 18, there are plenty of free poker video games and poker apps out there to choose from (like Zynga poker and other brands).
While similar in concept, they are worlds apart in environment and atmosphere. Online poker is a far more casual experience, though it can also be a rapid, intensive one (as players can play at several tables at once). In Vegas or AC, poker rooms are attractive to those looking for a night out, good food, and good drinks. Additionally, many casino-based poker tourneys are play-ins for larger WSOP events, which is something that offshore poker doesn’t support.
The best poker strategy is to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Helpful, right? But all joking aside, there isn’t a single winning strategy to employ. Every player is different, and your success will require a combination of intelligence, tactical planning, experience, and a bit of luck. However, despite that last criterion, poker is 90% skill-based, and you’ll need to hone your craft to see the biggest returns.
Poker chip values are set by the house, and each game will have different wagering limits and so on. That said, a $5 chip is always going to be a $5 chip, and poker betting sites make your chip values clear and easy to track.
While video poker is not a staple at online cardrooms, it is available at most online casinos such as Bovada Casino. There are usually going to be dozens of different types to choose from. Free video poker games are available at most sites, too, so you can try out all the different themes and table rules before you bet real money.
“Baccarat poker” is a misnomer, as the game is simply called baccarat. And though it is a card game played between two hands (the “player” versus the “banker”), it is distinct enough from poker that it falls under the category of “table game” at most casino sites. There are many versions of baccarat, and most online casino sites have table game options covering the popular varieties.
There are a handful of domestic US states that offer legal online poker within their borders, and residents there can download iPhone poker apps and Android poker apps from the App Store and Google Play, respectively. However, you cannot install native apps for offshore poker sites, as these sites rely on browser-based gameplay. Of course, that means there’s never anything to download or update when you play poker at offshore cardrooms, and you can use any modern connected device to do so.
If you type “poker near me” into Google and have location services turned on, you will get a list of the nearest domestic venues where you can enjoy real money poker games. However, online poker is always going to be the most convenient option, and you’ve already got a host of options nearby. In fact, if you’re reading this, you’re looking at the closest poker destination: the Internet!