What Are The Best VPNs To Play Online Poker in 2018?
NordVPN is the best VPN to use for accessing online poker sites, many of which block players in the United States due to the murky state and federal laws governing online gambling. The provider offers fast and secure connections, good multi-platform support, privacy protection and much more.
In addition to opening up access to online poker servers, NordVPN is also a great way to secure your everyday internet use. It keeps your internet connection protected against monitoring by hackers, your ISP and the government.
About Online Poker
Online poker is a multi-billion dollar industry. Millions of gamblers around the world turn to the internet to get their poker fix. Playing in online poker tournaments offers a fun and exciting way for gamblers to play when they can’t get to their closest casino or card club. It also provides an easy way to practice for your next big live tournament.
Unfortunately, poker servers aren’t available to many users due to geographical restrictions or roadblocks put up by schools and employers. However, by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), players can access online poker servers in other countries, allowing them to place their wagers and show their cards.
Top 5 VPNs for Playing Online Poker
Why Do Players Need a VPN to Unblock Online Poker Sites?
While online poker servers are available in most parts of the world, the legality of online gambling is up in the air for some countries, such as the United States. Users in these countries don’t have easy access to online poker games. Players who want to ante up online will need to jump through a few hoops to gain access to online poker tables.
Online gambling resides in the murky gray area of U.S. law. While online gambling itself isn’t actually illegal, the feds came up with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which states that financial institutions are not allowed to accept money from unlicensed gambling sites. “Licensed” sites need to be licensed within the United States.
Getting an online gambling license in the States is no easy task. Online wagering sites must not only comply with federal laws, but the laws of individual states as well.
This is where it gets a bit confusing. So far, only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have passed laws concerning the licensing of online poker sites. This means there aren’t a huge number of gambling sites operating under the U.S. regulatory flag.
There are poker sites that do accept players from the U.S. However, they are unlicensed and operate in offshore locations where U.S. regulators can’t touch them. It should be noted that the online poker casinos can take their time when paying out your winnings, sometimes taking weeks or more for the cashout to take place.
Also, even though poker sites such as BetOnline and SB Poker may have good reputations, nothing is stopping any unlicensed online casino from disappearing with your bankroll. While it may not be likely to happen, it’s a good idea to keep that possibility in mind. Check with other online poker players for their opinions on a particular online poker website.
A VPN is one of the best ways to access online casinos that might normally be blocked in your country. Players in the U.S. make use of VPNs to access poker games in other areas, while the legality of such gaming remains in question in their country.
A VPN offers players a way to “tunnel” through to other countries, where they can access international online casinos. A VPN also provides an encrypted internet connection, which can appear to be coming from a country other than the user’s actual location. This allows American users to play at casinos that may block them from their gambling servers.
How to Select the Best VPN for Playing Online Poker
There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when selecting a VPN provider for use with online gambling. In this section, I will cover the major considerations you should keep in mind when choosing a VPN provider.
These considerations are also applicable to VPNs for everyday uses, such as protecting your personal information from prying eyes or for viewing streaming content that might not be available in your area.
Global Server Coverage
In order to connect to international online poker gaming servers, you’ll want to find a VPN provider that offers connection options in the same country or in a country near where the casino’s servers are located.
Any VPN worthy of using for your important online connections, gaming or otherwise, should offer fast speeds and low latency numbers. While you’ll usually take a bit of a speed hit when using a VPN, your connection should still be fast enough to complete any online task you wish to perform.
VPNs are not just for gaming - they also provide a great way to view or listen to streaming content that might not normally be available in your country. In addition, you can access P2P/torrent file sharing while you’re connected to the VPN, with no fear of being discovered by your ISP or content providers. After all, you’re a gambler, not an idiot.
When considering any VPN provider, always consider how well they protect your privacy. While you may not care much about it when playing poker, it can become a factor when you’re using your shiny new VPN to protect yourself while engaging in other online activities.
Always look for a provider that is located in a privacy-friendly country, keeps no logs of your online activities and offers anonymous payment options, such as Bitcoin or department store gift cards.
The table below shows my favorite VPN providers ranked on a scale of 0 to 5, according to the level of privacy they offer. I considered their location, their logging policy and whether or not they offer anonymous payment methods.
With the continuing expansion of online poker parlors, multi-platform support will become increasingly important. While most players likely play on their Windows or Mac computer, many also take a seat at the table via their smartphone or tablet.
Any VPN that is a good choice for online gambling will offer a “kill switch” feature. While at first this might sound like a bad thing, a kill switch actually protects online gamblers. If a player were to lose their VPN connection and didn’t have a kill switch, their actual IP address and location would be visible.
Exposure of a player’s actual IP address could lead to a player being banned from an online casino and even possibly losing their online winnings. A kill switch prevents this from happening, allowing the player to keep his winnings where they belong - in his pocket.
Also, the legality of playing online poker for real money from a location in the United States is murky at best. While the U.S. government doesn’t have specific laws banning online poker-playing, saying only that such play “may” be illegal, many states do attempt to regulate online play.
As this is a yes/no, binary question, the providers below are listed in alphabetical order.
Other Factors to Consider
While price will be a more important factor to some more than others, when looking for a VPN provider, never let it be the only consideration. While there are plenty of bargain-basement providers around these days, make sure the one you are thinking of signing on with hasn’t cut corners to offer such a low price.
Make sure to also consider a service’s connection speeds, server availability, customer support and the protection they offer before signing on the dotted line.
Also, be sure to visit the website of each VPN you’re considering to check their current pricing. Most vendors run specials from time to time, resulting in considerable savings.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
While everything I’ve laid out here so far are important factors to consider when searching for your VPN provider, I haven’t mentioned one factor that can prove to be the most important one of all if you’re trying to get connected at 2am, and just can’t get things to work: customer support.
When researching the quality of a provider’s customer support, always take a look at what types of support they offer. At the very least, a quality provider should offer a trouble ticket submission form and a comprehensive, easy-to-search support library.
It’s a definite plus if the service also offers online support chat. Don’t expect to find any providers offering phone support. That’s usually the first thing to go when cutting costs.
The table below lists VPN providers according to the type of support offered, how quickly they respond to inquiries and how accurate their answers are.