Texas Holdem for Real Money for United States Players

October 13, 2006 is the day the online poker music died. That was the date President George W. Bush signed into law the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006. Essentially the obscure law was intended to prevent key American ports from being consumed by foreign interests. Just one of the parade of faceless legislation that marches through Washington under the guise of keeping the country running.


But at the last minute, the Republican-controlled Congress slipped an entirely unrelated provision into Title VIII of the Act that reverberated across computer screens worldwide. It is known as the UIGEA – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 and it “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”

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Texas Holdem for Real Money for United States Players


The UIGEA was aimed at online poker players. The law did not make it illegal to play poker online but it scared off banks and any third party processors who would fund a poker player’s bankroll. Overnight American online casinos scurried underground and foreign online casinos cut ties with American players. While online casino gambling continued to grow and develop around the world, the American market was left to stand on the sidelines, shuffling its feet and looking forlornly at the ground.


It is coming on ten years now, so what is the current state of real money Texas Hold’em in the USA? In the interim, the online poker industry has taken on the UIGEA in court but nothing of note has ever emerged from the legal labyrinth. There have been appeals to the World Trade Organization with the expected results – nothing – from pleading to an international organization lacking enforcement apparatus. Essentially, the American online poker player is in the same position as October 13, 2006 – it is possible to find overseas operators who are willing to challenge the murky provisions of the law and accept U.S. players. It just takes time and effort to uncover them.


The situation, however, is improving. The states of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have legalized online poker and there is more pro-online gambling bills percolating in American legislatures. Ironically, the decline of popularity in poker in general may be working in the favor of real money online games in 2015. The online game was getting so much publicity in the early years of the 2000s that brick and mortar casinos believed they were losing players and money to the virtual online tables.


The result was a strange alliance between the casino interests and the moralists who are always looking for a chance to outlaw any form of gambling. Together, they were able to get into the ear of lawmakers and eliminate online poker. But after the passage of the UIGEA online poker players did not log off their computers and head to land-based casino card rooms in droves. In fact, a general malaise has settled over the poker world.


So the online real money games in the United States are coming back, slowly but surely. In the near future the floodgates may open completely. If and when that happens American Hold’Em players can once again log in with impunity. They most likely, however, will not find the vibrant online poker community they were forced to abandon a decade ago.