I spent several weeks testing popular Virtual Private Network (VPN) services with popular online poker providers.
The results are in, and ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use to protect your online poker table sessions in 2019. This provider offers excellent privacy, kill switch-protected connections and top-notch global server coverage.
ExpressVPN keeps online poker players’ online activities safe from prying eyes, protects you on multiple device platforms, prevents DDoS attacks and much more.
Disclaimer: The laws on online gambling are extremely complex and differ from one location to another. We do not encourage or condone illegal online gambling, or the use of a VPN to spoof geographic locations for the purpose of breaking local laws. It’s important to thoroughly research your country/state’s laws before using a VPN to access online poker websites.
Best Overall VPN for Online Poker
If you’re an online poker player that’s not willing to gamble on VPN protection, ExpressVPN is the provider for you.
Privacy is especially important to online poker players, because if your online gambling is exposed, you could be subject to fines – at the very least, you could lose your winnings and other monies you may have invested in online betting action.
This provider offers some of the best privacy protections in the VPN industry. It’s based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands and follows a strict no-logs policy, meaning there are no records of any of your online activities while you’re connected to the provider’s VPN network.
Additional layers of privacy are available thanks to ExpressVPN’s willingness to accept Bitcoin in return for its services, and to the kill switch protection offered in all of its apps (which are available for a large number of desktop and mobile platforms, as well as numerous routers).
ExpressVPN claims its server uptime is an impressive 99.9%, and I have to say, I’ve never had any issues with my connections while using this provider.
Online poker tables are located in numerous locations around the globe, making comprehensive global coverage an important factor when considering a VPN. ExpressVPN’s servers are well-located, with 2,000+ servers in 94 countries, providing some of the widest global server coverage in the industry.
This provider is definitely not a contender for best budget VPN, as it charges $12.95/month for a monthly subscription and $6.67/month for an annual subscription (with a 30-day money-back guarantee). However, an excellent overall level of service means it is an excellent value for the money.
Best Online Poker VPN If You’re on a Budget
If you’re an online poker player that would rather save their money for the next raise bet or the entry fee of the next big poker tournament, CyberGhost’s low price of $2.75 per month for 3 years of service will make it a genuinely attractive VPN option.
However, CyberGhost’s attraction doesn’t stop at its low price. It also offers fast, kill switch-protected connections, along with excellent privacy protections.
CyberGhost’s privacy protections include a strict no-logs policy, meaning they keep no records of your online activities while connected to their VPN network, and a Bitcoin payment option, which protects your payment info.
The provider’s VPN network of servers has over 3,000 servers located in over 60 countries around the globe.
CyberGhost is the best option for any online poker player looking to save a few bucks while gaining comprehensive protection for their internet activities.
Best Online Poker VPN If You Also Torrent
If you’re the type of online poker player who also likes to gamble on downloading the latest and greatest content from gaming, music and video content publishers, you’ll want to ante up some cash to ExpressVPN. This provider’s protective kill switch option and comprehensive privacy protections all make it the bid for the top VPN provider to protect your torrenting.
This provider protects your torrenting sessions from being exposed to your ISP or any entertainment industry lawyer types by providing efficient kill switch protection to kill your internet connection if you lose contact with the ExpressVPN servers. However, 99.9% server uptime means that likely won’t prove to be a problem.
Unlike some VPN services, ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all of its 2,000+ servers, located in 94 countries.
ExpressVPN resides in the British Virgin Islands, where the government respects online privacy. This means the provider keeps no logs of any kind, never keeping track of your online antics. This helps to keep your file sharing undercover, as well as your poker activities.
The provider also demonstrates a pro-torrenting attitude by allowing the activity on all of their servers, not just on a select few. Your content sharing will also click along at a nice clip, as the provider regularly provided impressive download speeds of 95 Mbps.
A $12.95 tariff per month if you go for the monthly payment option and a $6.67 charge per month for the annual plan are the most expensive in this roundup. However, the services that the provider delivers more than justify its pricing.
Best Online Poker VPN If You Also Stream
ExpressVPN is your best bet for a VPN to protect your Netflix and other streaming binges. The provider offers fast connections, comprehensive global server coverage and excellent resources to keep them in the game.
Netflix is ever vigilant for users who try to access a particular region’s content from outside that region. (Their contracts with the content providers specify that the content can only be streamed to viewers in specified locations.)
So, Netflix keeps watch for numerous connections coming from a single IP address, which is a good indication that a viewer is using a VPN. When this is detected, the streamer blocks the VPN’s IP address, preventing it from connecting to the Netflix servers.
It’s then up to the VPN provider to set up a new server, with a different IP. Some providers just don’t have the resources to continue to play this game of virtual whack-a-mole.
Luckily, there are providers that dedicate a good portion of their financial resources to keeping access to Netflix open for their subscribers. ExpressVPN is the best of these providers.
During streaming testing, ExpressVPN always provided excellent bandwidth (averaging in at 95 Mbps), and their connections delivered smooth streaming with little to no wait for the video to begin playing – even 4K content!
This provider’s privacy protections are among the best in the VPN industry, and will cover you when you head back to the card table. It follows a strict no-logs policy, meaning it keeps no records of any of your online activities while you’re connected to the provider’s servers.
ExpressVPN’s also accepts Bitcoin as payment for its services, and also offers kill switch protection in its apps (which are available for a large number of desktop and mobile platforms, as well as numerous routers).
ExpressVPN offers an impressive 99.9% server uptime, which I can attest to, as I’ve never had any issues with my connections while using this provider. The provider also offers 2,000+ servers in 94 countries, providing excellent Netflix unblocking power for most of the globe.
$12.95 monthly ($6.67 per month if you opt for a year-long agreement) definitely ranks ExpressVPN as a high-price spread provider, but premium service is worth the premium price.
Why You Can Trust Us
Hello again, everybody! I’m Chris Hauk. I have 20 years of experience in the IT industry, developing apps and websites, providing desktop support (both over the phone and on the spot), building and repairing computers, working in network administration and more.
While I’ve been a gamer since I was a young boy, I never was much of a poker player. However, I could play the hell out the card game of War on a rainy summer day.
However, online gaming has long been a passion of mine, so I have played quite a bit of poker online since I was introduced to it.
When testing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), the Pixel Privacy team tests them in the same manner that you might use them: in this case, for playing online poker. We purchased subscriptions to 14 of the top VPN services available today to do so.
We develop and use unique testing methods designed to put each VPN through its paces, with the aim of determining which provider will offer you the best online poker experience.
With that in mind, I performed thorough connection speed tests on each of the 14 VPN services.
Before testing any of the VPN services, it’s important to first set a baseline measurement by running connection speed tests using my unprotected, ISP-provided connection, which is an AT&T U-Verse 1-gigabit internet connection.
Once I’ve set a baseline for the performance I receive with my unprotected connection, I then connect to each provider one by one and run the same connection speed test 3 times per day for a period of 3 consecutive days.
For each testing session, I connect to a VPN server that’s located in my home country (the United States) and also to a VPN server located in another country. (I always connect to a server in the same region as the poker table I am connecting to – the United Kingdom, this time around.)
The tests were developed to simulate how well a VPN provider will perform on different days of the week, at differing times of day, for both domestic and foreign gaming sessions.
In addition to testing with standard utilities like the Speedtest app on my Mac, I also play online poker while connected to each VPN. This helps me determine how well the provider stands up to the unique needs of the game.
How does Pixel Privacy’s approach to VPN testing differ from that of other sites?
While we make use of utilities like Speedtest, we don’t limit our testing to just that and call it a day. Nope, we are just not those kinds of people.
For this article, I first spent hours and hours researching the issues online poker players face. (I know more than almost anyone would ever care to know about online poker laws in the United States.) I then determined how a VPN could help a gamer better enjoy their time at the online poker tables.
To do this, I played numerous hands of online poker. I admit that’s probably not considered much of a sacrifice to most of my readers. However, I am not a card shark, and I tend to fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
I am not too modest to say that these efforts result in some of the most thorough information to be found on the web when it comes to finding the best VPN for use with Online Poker.
This article provides an extensive look at the pros and cons of using a VPN to protect your internet connection while competing at the online poker tables. In this missive, I will share information about how a VPN can allow you to gamble for money without fear of anything but Lady Luck, and how a VPN can enhance and protect your other online activities.
When you reach the end of this article, I’m confident that you will have more than enough information handy to make an intelligent decision as to which VPN you’ll be willing to lay money on to protect your online poker sessions.
Why You Need a VPN for Online Poker
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects your online activities from prying eyes by encrypting and anonymizing your internet connection. A VPN accomplishes this by covering your connection in a tube of encryption, hiding your travels much like a tunnel does for a train.
A VPN app routes your internet traffic via an encrypted connection to the VPN provider’s servers. The servers then connect to the user’s desired content (website, files, video, etc.), funneling the content back to the user via the encrypted connection.
Now, right about now, you’re likely thinking, “All that is great, but how does a VPN help me when I’m playing online poker?” That’s a terrific question. But then, why else would you be reading this article? A VPN offers numerous benefits to online poker players.
A VPN can protect you from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from other competitors. A VPN can also open up access to online content you might not usually have access to, and allow you to play a few hands of poker from your computer or mobile device while at school or work.
In this article, I’ll cover the issues that you can face when playing poker online, and also explain in detail how a VPN can help you resolve those issues.
Subjects we’ll cover include:
- How a VPN Protects Your Privacy While Playing Online Poker
- How a VPN Prevents DDoS Attacks While Playing Online Poker
- How a VPN Protects Against Swatting Attacks
- How a VPN Unblocks Online Poker at School or Work
- How a VPN Opens Up Access to Geographically-Restricted Content
- How a VPN Unblocks You From an Online Poker Table You Were Banned From
How a VPN Protects Your Privacy While Playing Online Poker
When playing online poker, your privacy is of the utmost importance. If you live in an area where playing online poker for real cash is forbidden, such as most of the United States, you can lose all of your winnings if you’re discovered gambling online. (Only Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and soon Pennsylvania allow online gambling when real cash is involved.)
Since online poker companies want to stay on the right side of the authorities, they too are on the lookout for players accessing their tables from areas where online poker isn’t allowed. If they discover you’re in a forbidden region, they could keep all of your winnings and ban you from their tables.
A VPN that offers excellent protection for online poker players will offer comprehensive privacy protections. These will include being located in a privacy-friendly country, as well as having a strict no-logs policy when it comes to tracking a user’s online activities while connected to their servers.
Private payment options, such as a willingness to accept private payment options such as Bitcoin cryptocurrency, are a bonus.
A full-service VPN will also protect your privacy by providing a kill switch-protected connection. A kill switch completely disconnects your computer or device’s internet connection if you lose contact with the provider’s VPN servers. This prevents your connection from being laid open to observation.
How a VPN Prevents DDoS Attacks While Playing Online Poker
Have you ever had so many work or school assignments due at once that you feel overwhelmed and simply shut down, unable to do anything? That’s similar to what a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack against a targeted computer is like.
A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is when a disgruntled poker player, or some other less-than-honorable party, directs an army of computers (and other connected devices they have taken control of) to form a botnet, which is a string of connected computers that each perform the same task.
The botnet sends an overwhelming number of requests to a targeted IP address, resulting in the targeted device’s (usually a server or other type of computer) internet connection being overwhelmed by the requests being sent its way. This results in said target’s connection slowing down greatly or even shutting down completely.
As a rule, most online poker-related DDoS attacks haven’t been directed at individual players, but have instead been directed at the online poker servers themselves. There have been numerous reports of attempts to take down online poker servers, usually during high-stakes, “million dollar” competitions.
The culprits are usually hackers demanding “ransom” money from the online poker companies, asking for various amounts to restore connectivity to the poker “rooms.”
However, there have been cases of attackers launching DDoS attacks against a single player, usually a vulnerable player in a heads-up cash game. If the player’s connection is overwhelmed and can’t continue to play, the time allotted for their play runs out, and the player loses by default.
While it’s entirely up to the company running the online poker casino to protect their servers against DDoS attacks, individual players can use a VPN to protect themselves against such attacks.
A VPN protects against DDoS attacks by hiding your real IP address and substituting the address of one of their VPN servers instead. By hiding your IP address from detection, a VPN makes it much harder for a successful attack to be waged against your connection.
Although DDoS attackers can attempt to wage war on a VPN connection, providers use special mitigation techniques to defend against such attacks. The providers can recognize these types of attacks and defend against them.
When a VPN provider detects a DDoS attack (they recognize them when a massive load of requests is coming from multiple IP addresses), they activate their defenses, using special DDoS filter software to block the attack, as illustrated below.
When a VPN provider has proper DDoS defenses in place, you’ll see very little slowdown in your VPN connection in case of attack.
How a VPN Protects Against Swatting Attacks
First, you may be asking yourself, “Self, what is a swatting attack?”
A swatting attack is when a party places a fake emergency call to the local police or other government agency concerned with the safety of citizens and says there is an emergency, such as a bomb threat, a homicide in progress or other type of crisis occurring at the victim’s location. Respondents arrive, usually with a heightened sense of danger.
While there haven’t been any publicized cases of swatting against online poker players, it could happen. If you have the misfortune of beating out the wrong kind of person for a pot, or you irritate them with your style of play, the outraged individual could carry out a swatting attack against you. While a swatting attack could be waged for numerous reasons, the usual motive is revenge.
The swatter has usually discovered the victim’s physical address by using the target’s IP address to obtain a general location, following up using other resources, such as a Google search, to narrow down the victim’s actual location. (Look yourself up on Google or Bing sometime – you’ll be shocked at how much of your information is available to the general public.)
When police are sent out to check on the “emergency,” they don’t know what to expect, which sometimes results in tragedy. At least one swatting incident has resulted in the death of an innocent man.
A VPN protects you by blocking access to your real IP address, making it appear that you are located elsewhere. If a swatter attempts to detect your location, all they’ll see is the IP address of one of a VPN provider’s server farms, and nobody gets swatted.
How a VPN Unblocks Online Poker at School or Work
While I personally don’t see what the harm is in playing a few hands of poker while on a break at school or your place of employment, those institutions don’t tend to agree with me.
For some odd reason, both of these institutions seem to believe you should be spending all of your time working on the task at hand rather than bluffing other players that you have two pair, ace high. Still, do you see the harm in playing a few quick hands while eating your lunch? I certainly don’t.
In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to have supervisors that didn’t mind my taking a short gaming break while having my fifth cup of coffee during my mid-morning break. However, I’ve also worked for bosses that frown on any use of the internet that doesn’t directly involve your job description.
Currently, I’m lucky enough to have a job that actually includes playing games in the job description. That means I get paid to play games on company time. (Okay, only the games I’ve been assigned to write about, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal!)
Over the years, I have discovered that a VPN is the most reliable way available to access nearly any kind of blocked content, especially content that’s being blocked at school or work.
A VPN encrypts my internet connection, thereby preventing work or school network administrators from detecting my online antics, and they can’t block what they can’t detect.
Be aware: you may not be able to make use of a VPN if you’re using a computer supplied by your employer or school. Most institutions lock down their equipment fairly tight, simply for security reasons. So, you’ll likely need to use your own computer or device.
How a VPN Opens Up Access to Geographically-Restricted Content
While perusing the blog of your favorite online casino, you discover a new, million-dollar poker tournament is on the way. However, players in your region aren’t eligible! UGH!
This happens quite a bit. You’ll also see it happen for other online experiences, such as other types of gaming and even streaming content that’s only available in certain regions.
Many virtual poker rooms will restrict tournaments to specific regions, meaning you may not always have the opportunity to rake in the pots on your favorite virtual table.
Plus, many countries restrict betting of actual money to certain areas. (Only 4 states in the U.S. currently allow their citizens to use real money in virtual casinos.)
Arguably, the best way to participate in geographically-restricted poker tournaments, or to access online casinos where cash money can be bet in tournaments, is to use a VPN. A VPN can open access to these gambling opportunities thanks to its ability to “spoof” your location.
A VPN offers “location-spoofing” capabilities to its users. This means that it can make it appear as if they are located in a region different from your physical location. Yes, your computer may be inside your home in Illinois, but to the rest of the world, it looks like it’s connecting from London, England.
When considering a VPN provider for any online activity, always check to see what kind of global server coverage each provider offers. The more server locations, the more options for opening up access to blocked content.
Take a look at ExpressVPN’s global server map if you’d like to get an idea of what top-notch global server coverage looks like.
How a VPN Unblocks You From an Online Poker Table You Were Banned From
Allow me to say that I am certain that none of my readers would cheat at a virtual card table or bully other card players. However, you can easily get banned from virtual gaming tables and other websites and services for a large number of reasons.
These can include:
- Being rude to other players
- Having a compromised account
- Spambot-like behavior
- Account sharing
- VPN usage (this varies from server to server; be sure to check with the server admin for more information)
Administrators can block a player from a gambling table by banning his username or IP address. The system remembers both bits of information in order to block a player using either.
Although a VPN certainly can’t change your username, it can give you a new IP address by giving you a virtual IP address, as shown in the image below. This IP address hasn’t been used at the gambling tables in the past, so you will once again have access to the tables.
However, keep in mind that since you’re using a different account, you will be starting from scratch, without access to your previous winnings.
Tips for Using a VPN to Play Online Poker
Most online poker players compete on machines running the Windows or macOS operating systems. Many of the online poker sites also offer iOS and Android apps. All of the VPNs I tested for this article run on those platforms.
In addition to availability for the computers and mobile devices you use, I also recommend considering whether a VPN works with the router you use. If it does, the VPN can also be used to protect your other connected devices, such as your gaming consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs.
Another thing: If you’d like to improve your ping numbers, as well as your internet connection speeds, I’m pleased to inform you that there is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to do so.
When possible, connect your computer or other connected device to your local router by using an Ethernet cable.
This won’t be possible with most mobile devices. However, you can take advantage of this trick with your computer, gaming consoles and other connected devices, such as set-top streaming boxes. All of these devices can take full advantage of this improved method of connecting to the internet.
I do most of my online work (and play) in my home office, which is sadly located on the other side of my house from where AT&T installed my router (behind the television, in the front room).
While that is an excellent location for my Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Smart TV, it isn’t such a great spot when it comes to my computers and gaming consoles, which are located in the office.
So, I took it upon myself to use a 50ft and 100 ft. Ethernet cable, as well as an Ethernet hub, to run a wired internet connection to my office, as shown in the photos above.
There are some readers who may consider this a bit of overkill. However, the minimal amount of effort and money it took to accomplish this was well worth the improved ping and connection speeds I received in return.
When connected by Wi-Fi, my average Speedtest.net measurements measured in at 238 Mbps connection speed and an average ping time of 4 ms.
My Ethernet connection showed greatly improved readings, with my connection speeds coming in at 580 Mbps and my ping numbers dropping to 2 ms. The Ethernet method of connecting basically doubled the performance of my online connection!
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your internet connection, use Ethernet cable(s) to connect to your router instead of Wi-Fi. You’ll be pleased with the results.
VPN Scoring Methods
When the Pixel Privacy team began developing the scoring system used in this “Best VPNs to Play Online Poker 2019” article, we did it with an eye toward improving on the methods used in previous years’ “Best for” articles.
With that in mind, we researched and carefully considered the most crucial factors that should be considered when looking for a VPN that offers the best possible online poker playing experience.
In the following areas, I’ll be sharing information about what we considered to be important when developing our scoring system. I’ll also explain why each factor is important, and how we tested and scored each category to determine each VPN’s ranking.
The Top Factor: How We Score Privacy Rankings
Privacy is arguably the most important consideration when researching the best VPN for use when you ante up at an online poker table. Without comprehensive privacy protections, you run the risk of having your true location and identity exposed, leading to the possibility of losing all of your winnings.
To score privacy, we first look at where the VPN provider is located. Is the country one that respects the privacy of its citizens? Or does it require ISPs and VPNs to track and save logs related to their customers’ online activities?
Furthermore, we investigate whether a provider keeps any logs. Ideally, a VPN will keep no logs of any kind. It is nobody’s business what you do online. We strongly believe that.
Finally, we investigate forms of payment. Does the provider accept privacy-friendly forms of payment, such as the Bitcoin cryptocurrency? Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrencies are considered anonymous, making it the perfect way to pay for privacy-sensitive services such as a VPN.
How We Score Global Server Coverage
I consider global server coverage as the second-most important factor when considering VPNs for use while playing online poker.
The more server locations a VPN provider has, the more access you’ll have to international poker servers, other types of gaming servers, and various types of online content not normally available in your region.
We rank a VPN provider’s server coverage according to the total number of countries where a provider has their servers located – the more server locations, the better the score.
How We Test and Score Connection Speeds
A connection speed of 3 Mbps or faster should be more than enough for playing poker online. For most online casinos, all of the required graphics files and other support files are stored on your computer’s hard drive or other device’s storage media.
The only data being sent back and forth is that needed to update yours and your opponent’s bids and other hand-related data. Some players claim a dial-up connection has been sufficient in a pinch.
However, you will appreciate a fast internet connection when downloading the initial files needed to play poker, as well as updates and such. Also, a fast connection comes in handy when engaging in other online pastimes, such as other forms of gaming, streaming music or video, and file torrenting.
When testing connection speeds, I use the Speedtest app.
I first test my unprotected connection speed, as provided by my ISP. Then, one by one, I load each VPN app and repeat the speed test. I do this 3 times a day, morning, noon and night for 3 days in a row.
I then use the average of the speed test results to rank each provider according to the speeds delivered when compared to the baseline speeds measured during ISP-only testing.
How We Score Kill Switch Capabilities
A VPN kill switch protects your online activities from the prying eyes of others by completely killing your internet connection in the event you are disconnected from your VPN provider’s servers.
Without a kill switch in place, your current online antics would be laid bare to observation if your VPN connection was lost. (No encryption equals ease in monitoring you.)
The scoring in the kill switch category comes down to a “yes” or “no” score.
Why ExpressVPN Is the Best Overall VPN for Online Poker
ExpressVPN proved to be the best VPN overall for use when protecting your visits to the online poker tables.
The provider does a top-notch job of protecting your online poker activities. Based in the British Virgin Islands, where the government actually respects their citizens’ right to privacy, ExpressVPN follows a self-imposed no-logs policy.
In addition to never tracking your online activities while connected to their servers, the provider also happily accepts Bitcoin as payment for their considerable services, adding another layer of privacy by accepting the privacy-enhancing payment method.
ExpressVPN prevents your online activities from being exposed with their automatic kill switch, which disconnects you from the internet if your connection to the provider’s VPN servers is ever lost. (Not much worry about that though, as the provider advertises 99.9% server uptime. I have to say that I never had any issues with disconnects while using the VPN.)
The provider’s kill switch-protected apps are easy to install and use on every compatible platform. During the entire time I have used ExpressVPN, I haven’t experienced a crash with the app on any of the platforms I’ve used it on. (Plus, the provider has excellent router support, which will protect all of your connected devices.)
While connection speeds aren’t vitally important when it comes to playing poker online, fast speeds do come in handy for many other online activities, so I’ll note that the service provides the fastest connection speeds in this roundup, with an average download speed of 95 Mbps.
ExpressVPN will never be mistaken for a low-price leader, but the provider offers plenty of value for every dollar.
$12.95 per month for the provider’s monthly option and $6.67 per month for their annual plan is not out of line at all. (Plus, if you click our link to visit the ExpressVPN website, you get 3 months free! That’s a 49% savings over the monthly option.)
Accessing international poker tables won’t be a concern, as ExpressVPN has the globe covered with their comprehensive global server coverage, with over 2,000 servers stationed in 94 countries. Believe me when I say that your favorite online casino would have to be located in a REALLY remote location for this provider not to have you covered.
You can’t play poker forever (or can you?), and when you’re in the mood for a video binge, ExpressVPN does a tip-top job of unblocking Netflix content from around the globe. (See the “Best Gaming VPN If You Also Stream” section for more information about ExpressVPN’s Netflix-unblocking capabilities.)
Customer support is another category where ExpressVPN shines, offering email support, 24/7 live support chat, a searchable support database, and a support ticket tracking system.
ExpressVPN grabbed the top overall spot in this roundup due to its impressive privacy protections, speedy and kill switch-protected connections, wide global server coverage and much more.
For more information or to purchase an ExpressVPN subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.
Why CyberGhost Is the Best Online Poker VPN If You’re on a Budget
If you’re a gambler on a tight budget, or if you’re simply looking for a way to save a few bucks for that extra ante for the pot, I highly recommend taking a close look at CyberGhost.
Please Note: While there are free VPNs available, I strongly recommend you not make use of them. Freebies are nice when you’re at the table in Vegas, but a freebie VPN is no perk.
Free VPN services often underperform, and most of them sell a user’s usage information to advertisers. Remember, if an internet service is “free,” then you’re the product they’re selling.
CyberGhost offers its above-average services for the low price of $2.75 per month if you go for their 3-year subscription deal. $4.99 per month is what you’ll pay if you go for the annual plan and $11.99 per month if you opt for the monthly option. This is an excellent bargain when compared to ExpressVPN’s $6.67 per month charge for their annual deal.
Just because CyberGhost charges a beer-bottle price, that doesn’t mean the provider’s services are less than champagne level. The provider offers an average connection speed of 65.2 Mbps. While connection speed is not of the utmost importance when playing online poker, it’s important for your other online activities.
CyberGhost’s apps are easy to install and use. The apps are easy on system resources and offer reliable connections, never once dropping my connections. However, if I had experienced a disconnect, the app’s kill switch protection would have kept my activities from observation.
The provider’s privacy protections don’t stop with a kill switch. They also follow a strict no-logs policy, keeping no records of anything you do while connected to their VPN servers. A willingness to accept Bitcoin also provides protection for your payment information.
I did find the app’s interface to be a bit, well, bulky. It took more clicks, in my opinion, to complete the tasks than it should have. That said, it wasn’t a deal killer, and the interface is simple enough for newbies to use.
This provider offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, which are the main device platforms for which poker apps are available. It also offers support for routers flashed with the DD-WRT and Tomato firmwares.
CyberGhost offers above-average global server coverage, meaning you shouldn’t have any issues finding a server near your favorite virtual casino.
If you’d rather save your money for your next big poker tournament, be sure to give CyberGhost a close look. For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the CyberGhost website.
Why ExpressVPN Is the Best Online Poker VPN If You Also Torrent
If you take a break from the poker tables from time to time, there’s a good chance you might spend at least some of that downtime sharing files via your torrenting app of choice.
While P2P file sharing is one of the most popular online activities, there’s a lot of pressure being put on ISPs to prevent the activity. This is due to the movie, gaming and recording industries’ concerns about P2P users sharing copyrighted files.
Many ISPs are blocking file sharing via BitTorrent, even though the technology is legal when used by companies to share files among employees. (Some game publishers also use P2P file sharing to distribute game updates or new in-game content.)
Even when an ISP doesn’t block torrenting out of hand, thanks to the death of Net Neutrality, they can throttle certain activities if they wish, making it a pain in the virtual butt to attempt to share files.
I have found ExpressVPN to be the best way to protect my torrenting activities. The provider offers fast, kill switch-protected connections, ensuring my files transfer quickly, with no need to worry about my online activities being exposed to the prying eyes of my ISP or other interested parties.
So, no matter if you’re simply updating your previously-installed apps, or simply want to gain access to a movie that isn’t available to you in your region, ExpressVPN is the VPN I recommend to protect those activities.
While some VPN providers allow torrenting, they limit the activity to a few designated servers. However, ExpressVPN doesn’t care which server you use, allowing it on all of its 2,000+ servers. The provider’s website even furnishes instructions on how to use uTorrent with their servers.
When ranking providers in the torrenting category, one factor we take a close look at is how well the provider protects their customers’ privacy.
Any provider worth considering should be located in a privacy-respecting country, keep no logs whatsoever related to their users’ online travels and offer privacy-protecting payment options, such as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payment schemes.
ExpressVPN offers some of the best privacy protections in the VPN industry. The company is located in the privacy-loving country of the British Virgin Islands and takes full advantage of that country’s lack of anti-privacy laws, keeping no logs recording their users’ online antics.
The service also offers protection for their customers’ payment information, as they happily accept Bitcoin as payment for their services.
The provider extends its privacy protections to your actual internet connection, as it offers kill switch protection, which terminates your internet connection if you lose connection to the ExpressVPN servers. That means your torrenting activities will not be exposed on the unlikely chance your ExpressVPN connection prematurely disconnects.
While we’re on the subject of ExpressVPN’s connections, I’ll point out that the provider offers the fastest connection speeds on this list, with an average download speed of 95 Mbps.
The provider’s app is available for the platforms most online poker apps cover, including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. All of the apps are easy to install and use, with simple and easy-to-follow interfaces. The apps don’t suck up too much in the way of resources, and they are reliable, as I never experienced a crash or premature disconnection.
In addition, the provider offers support for numerous routers, making it easy to protect all of the connected devices in your home or small office.
ExpressVPN claims a server uptime of 99.9%, meaning you need not worry about experiencing any file torrenting interruptions. Plus, the provider’s servers cover the globe (with 2,000+ servers in 94 countries), meaning they have all of your favorite poker haunts covered, too.
The level of service provided by ExpressVPN doesn’t come cheap ($12.95 per month for their monthly option or $6.67 per month for an annual subscription), but the tariff isn’t unreasonable when you consider what you get for the money.
If you enjoy the ability to download new movies, songs and gaming updates, without worrying about throttling or having your activities blocked, I highly recommend that you check out ExpressVPN. For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.
Why ExpressVPN Is the Best Online Poker VPN If You Also Stream
I’m guessing you enjoy streaming movies and television shows when you’re not gambling. I know, that’s a fairly safe bet, considering streaming content is one of the most popular activities on the internet today.
However, if you’re like me, you’ve discovered that streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, either limit some of their content to specific regions, or they’re simply not available in other regions!
For example, Hulu viewing is currently limited to the United States and Japan, while Netflix is available in most countries – but the availability of its content can vary greatly from country to country.
Luckily, a VPN provides an excellent way to break through streaming roadblocks thanks to its location-spoofing abilities, which can make it appear that you are located in a different geographical location, as illustrated below.
During my extensive testing (which involved watching hours upon hours of streaming video – ah, the sacrifices I make for my readers), ExpressVPN offered the most reliable way to unlock Netflix and Hulu content.
Netflix is engaged in an ongoing game of virtual hide and seek with VPN providers. The streaming service is bound by its contracts with content providers to monitor any attempts to view the content from outside the contractually-designated regions.
If Netflix detects a large number of connections coming from a single IP address, as they might when those viewers are using a VPN to access the service, they block that IP from accessing the service.
When the IP is blocked, it’s up to the VPN provider to set up a new IP address for their servers so users can regain access to Netflix – until Netflix spots and blocks that IP as well. Many VPN providers don’t have the resources to continue this back-and-forth game for an extended period of time. Luckily, ExpressVPN has enough resources to play the game.
During testing, I used ExpressVPN to open access to content in the United States, France, Canada, the United Kingdom and various other countries. The service provided reliable access to Netflix in all cases.
I will note that, occasionally, I was required to make a few extra attempts to burst through Netflix’s content barricades. However, all things considered, this can be expected.
Connection speed is one of the most important considerations when deciding on a streaming VPN, and ExpressVPN’s average kill switch-protected connection speeds of 95 Mbps do not disappoint. During testing, even 4K content began streaming in just a few seconds, with no artifacts or mid-stream buffering delays.
The provider’s apps are simple to install and easy to use on all platforms. While some experienced users may bemoan the lack of fine-tuning features, the average user will appreciate the apps’ easy-to-use interface. Extensive router support is also offered, making it easy to protect all of your devices via a single access point.
ExpressVPN claims 99.9% server uptime, and I have to agree that their servers are reliable, as I never experienced any inability to connect, nor any issues staying connected.
Well-placed server locations mean you’ll always have access to your content of choice, no matter where it’s located. ExpressVPN has over 2,000 servers stationed in 94 countries. This opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to Netflix content.
Privacy isn’t a worry, either, thanks to this provider’s comprehensive privacy protections, which include a strict no-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option.
ExpressVPN charges $12.95 per month if you go with their monthly payment plan, although the price drops to $6.67 per month if you opt to pay annually. This is the most expensive subscription cost in this roundup, but it is still well worth the money.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.
In this article, I have covered the best ways to keep your online activities protected. Whether you indulge in online poker, are on a tight budget, or are looking for the best way to protect your torrenting and streaming sessions, I have shared the best option for each.
Selecting the best VPN provider for your online poker playing pleasures is no longer a gamble, as you now have enough information at hand to make a knowledgeable buying decision.
As we’ve seen in this article, the best overall VPN for online poker is ExpressVPN.
The provider offers excellent privacy protections, and its kill switch-protected connection speeds also provide a great way to conduct your other favorite online pastimes.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.