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 Pennsylvania allow online gambling sites 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 these gambling firms discover you’re in a forbidden region, they could keep all of your winnings and ban you from their tables.
Luckily for online poker players not lucky enough to live in a state or country where online wagering is allowed, there is a tool to allow them to sit at a virtual table in their favorite online casino. It’s called a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
In addition to enabling you to gamble, a VPN also protects your online security and online privacy by encrypting your internet connection, thereby hiding your online travels from Nosy Nellies like hackers, your ISP, and even the government.
In this article, I’ll provide a look at the top 5 VPNs for playing online poker. We’ll take a look at the criteria you should consider before subscribing to a VPN and how well each VPN provider performs in each service category.
Best VPNs for Playing Online Poker
The following top 5 VPN providers proved to work best to enhance your online poker experience:
- NordVPN: This #1 VPN provider offers excellent access to online poker tables. The provider’s comprehensive global server network provides access to geo-blocked tables around the globe, and it provides fast, no lags connection for most popular device platforms.
- Surfshark: This provider has quickly gained a reputation for providing top-notch online protection. This provider also places no limits on the number of devices you can concurrently connect to their servers on a single username. Plus, it does all of this while charging a bargain-basement price.
- ExpressVPN: This VPN delivers fast, reliable connections that do an above-average job of unblocking online poker tables worldwide. The provider also offers excellent online security and privacy protections for all of your online activities on all of the most popular device platforms.
- CyberGhost: This provider is an excellent option for online poker players with little to no experience with using a VPN, or for players who are looking for easy-to-use yet comprehensive VPN protection.
- IPVanish: If you’re wagering money online, you should be extra concerned about the privacy of your personal data. IPVanish offers an extra layer of privacy, as it owns and operates its entire global server network, ensuring that third-party contractors are kept away from your personal data.
I ranked the top 5 VPNs for online poker websites according to the following criteria:
- Connection speeds
- Connection reliability
- Global server network
- Online privacy and security protections
- Device and router support
Here’s my list of the top 5 VPNs for unblocking online poker sites.
NordVPN is the best bet for online poker players who are looking to keep their poker playing safe from prying eyes and safe from DDoS attacks.
This provider’s connection speeds have improved in recent months, and the provider even topped the speed tests in my last round of testing. NordVPN delivers plenty of no-data-cap bandwidth for all of your favorite online activities, whether it’s the gaming tables, other types of gaming, streaming video, or any other activity.
NordVPN’s connections won’t let you down in the middle of the action, with reliable, well-protected connections.
While the provider’s global server coverage doesn’t quite measure up to some of the other VPNs on this list, its entire network of 5,500+ servers that are based in 59 countries offers access to most online poker tables in the free world.
In addition to standard VPN service, the provider also offers NordPass (a password manager), NordLocker (cloud storage with file encryption), and NordVPN Teams (VPN service for businesses).
It’s a good bet that NordVPN offers an app for your favorite device thanks to app offerings for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Amazon Fire, macOS, Windows, and Linux platforms.
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is extensive router support. Up to 6 devices can connect at once using a single username.
“Always available” is the way to describe NordVPN’s customer support, which includes 24/7 support chat, a searchable support knowledgebase, and email support.
- Fast connections
- Budget-priced long-term subscription options
- Comprehensive online security and privacy
- Up to 6 concurrent connections per username
- Comprehensive app support
- Extensive global server network
- App interface could be better
BEST FOR VPN FOR CARD SHARKS:NordVPN is the best bet for online poker players who are looking to keep their poker hands undercover. The provider delivers reliable, fast, and well-protected connections from a comprehensive global server network, all for a reasonable price. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark may be a fairly recent addition to the VPN ranks, but it has quickly earned an excellent reputation among VPN users.
The provider’s no-data-caps connections deliver plenty of power, easily keeping up with the action at the tables, as well as other gaming, HD streaming, or file-sharing you might engage in.
While I’ve only used this provider when testing for various purposes, I’ve used it enough to say that it provides rock-solid connections in the poker world.
The Surfshark server network boasts 3,200+ servers in over 64 countries.
The provider’s connections provide advanced security and anonymity thanks to its use of banking-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IPv6/DNS leak protection. Also available are ad-blocking, tracker, malware, and phishing protection. Plus, its “Multi-Hop” server feature routes your internet connection through two VPN servers, providing double anonymity and encryption.
Your privacy is no issue when using this service, thanks to its no-server-logs-ever policy and its private Bitcoin subscription payment option.
Surfshark offers plenty of multi-platform app support, with offerings for the Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, and Amazon Fire platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions, as well as router support, are also available.
Surfshark is one of two VPN providers in this roundup to allow unlimited concurrent connections. So, you can connect every device you own without worrying about hitting an arbitrary connection limit.
A 24/7 support chat option, a contact form, and a searchable support database mean help is always available.
- Fast connections
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- “Multi-Hop” offers double encryption and anonymity
- Good native app support
- Fast-growing global server network
- The regular monthly subscription price is a bit pricey
BEST BUDGET VPN FOR ONLINE GAMBLERS:Surfshark is the best VPN option for users that would rather save their bankroll to ante at the card tables. The provider has a fast-growing global server network that delivers reliable connections. With the provider’s unlimited connections allowance, your whole poker club can connect at once on a single account. Budget-priced subscriptions offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN is a great, all-around VPN for protecting and enhancing your online poker sessions thanks to its well above average performance in every service category.
While online poker doesn’t require super-fast connections like many other online games, a fast connection comes in handy for any online activity, and poker is no exception. ExpressVPN’s connections can easily handle any of your favorite online activities, including gaming, streaming HD video, and sharing files. No data caps are to be found.
There are few things worse for an online poker player than having their connection drop in the middle of a hand. ExpressVPN has proven itself to be a totally reliable VPN provider.
ExpressVPN’s global server coverage is some of the best around, with over 3,000 servers stationed in more than 93 countries worldwide. Those servers do a top-notch job of unblocking online poker rooms and other blocked content around the globe.
All ExpressVPN-supplied connections are protected by military-grade encryption, as well as kill switch and IPv6/DNS leak protection. A split tunneling feature allows users to pick and choose which apps will use the provider’s encrypted protection.
Online poker apps are available on most popular device platforms, making multi-platform app support an important factor to consider. ExpressVPN offers apps for the Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire device platforms.
If you play at your favorite poker table via the Edge, Chrome, or Firefox browsers, you can protect all of your bets with the provider’s handy browser extensions. Extensive router features allow all of your connected devices to be protected through a single point of access.
Last but not least, ExpressVPN’s customer support is always there when the chips are down thanks to 24/7 support chat, a trouble ticket submission system, email support, and an easy-to-search support library.
- Excellent access to poker servers
- Fast, well-protected connections
- Comprehensive app support
- Top-notch privacy protection
- More expensive than many other VPNs
- Streaming servers are not labeled
SOLID VPN FOR ONLINE POKER:ExpressVPN is a great all-around VPN option for online poker players. The provider delivers fast, well-protected connections to most countries, ensuring you’ll have access to your favorite virtual card tables. While the provider is more expensive than many of its competitors, a 30-day money-back guarantee makes it a sure bet.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
You don’t have to be a technical whiz to use CyberGhost thanks to the provider’s easy-to-use apps that offer one-click connections.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds can easily handle a bit of online wagering, and also provide more than enough no-data-cap bandwidth for HD video streaming, other online gaming, and sharing large files.
I’ve never seen a CyberGhost connection drop in the middle of the action.
The provider’s global server coverage compares quite well with the other top 4 VPN providers thanks to its having over 7,100 servers stationed in 90+ countries.
When you connect to a CyberGhost server, it protects your connection with strong encryption, a kill switch, and IPv6/DNS leak prevention. You can also take advantage of optional ad and tracker blocking, as well as the ability to force websites to serve up secure versions of their pages if they’re available.
Your privacy is also protected well when using this provider, thanks to their no-server-logs-ever policy and ultra-private Bitcoin subscription payment option.
CyberGhost also offers a security suite for Windows, which includes antivirus protection, a privacy tool, and a security updater that scans your device for outdated versions of apps. CyberGhost’s ID Guard alerts you if and when your email address is revealed in a data breach.
CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps are available for the Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is excellent router compatibility. Up to 7 device connections at once are allowed on a single account.
Customer support is always here for you thanks to 24/7 chat, a trouble ticket system, and a searchable support library.
- Speedy connections
- Easy-to-use yet powerful apps
- No server logs and Bitcoin payment option
- Well-encrypted connections
- Apps offer little in the way of power-user options
BEST FOR NEWBIE VPN USERS:CyberGhost offers an excellent VPN service option for newbie VPN users or poker players who are looking for an easy-to-use, sure bet of a VPN. A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish is the best option for gamblers who are looking for a slight edge in the privacy department.
This provider’s connection speeds offer efficient access to your favorite online casino websites, and they deliver plenty of no-data-cap bandwidth for HD video streaming, sharing files, or any other of your favorite online activities.
This provider offers reliable connections in the poker world, and I’ve never had an issue staying connected.
That extra layer of complete privacy I mentioned at the outset is thanks to IPVanish’s extensive network of 1,900+ self-owned and -operated servers stationed in nearly 60 countries around the globe. By owning their first-tier server network, the provider keeps third-party contractors away from your personal info. The provider is working to expand its server network during 2021
No worries on the online security end of things thanks to the provider’s military-grade encrypted connection protection, kill switch, and IPv6/DNS leak protection. The provider’s proprietary obfuscation feature disguises your VPN activity as normal online activity.
While the provider doesn’t keep server logs of any type, it doesn’t offer a private cryptocurrency payment option. That means you’ll have to rely on PayPal or your credit card’s privacy protections.
IPVanish’s app selection includes offerings for most popular device platforms, including the Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Chromebook, macOS, Windows, and Linux platforms.
Sorry, no browser extensions are currently available. However, router compatibility is available. The provider offers an awesome unlimited simultaneous connection allowance on a single login.
Customer support is always there for you, with 24/7 support chat, a searchable support knowledgebase, and email support.
- Owns and operates all of its server farms
- Disguises VPN traffic as normal browser traffic
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- No browser extensions
- No cryptocurrency payment option
EXTRA LAYER OF PRIVACY:IPVanish delivers fast connections, optimal online security, and an extra layer of privacy by keeping third-party contractors away from your personal information. Its proprietary obfuscation feature hides your VPN activity, making it appear to be standard browser traffic. An unlimited concurrent connections allowance means everyone can hit the tables. Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read my full review of IPVanish.
How to Use a VPN to Enhance Your Online Poker Sessions
Online poker players who are looking for a way to enhance their online card club options can do so by following these simple steps:
- Subscribe to a Virtual Private Network.
- Download the provider’s app onto your connected device.
- Log into the VPN network.
- Select a VPN server located near your favorite online poker provider.
- Connect to the virtual poker room’s server.
- Put on your shades and lay your bets.
Why Use a VPN to Play Online Poker Games?
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 offers numerous benefits to online poker players.
A VPN can protect you from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from your 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.
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. 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.
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 send an overwhelming number of requests to a targeted IP address.
This results 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. If a player can’t continue to play, the time allotted for their play runs out, and the player loses by default.
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.
Over the years, I have discovered that a VPN’s encrypted protection is the most reliable way available to access nearly any kind of blocked content, especially content that’s being blocked at school or work. (Schools and employers frown on your gambling on their time.)
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 online casinos.)
A VPN can open access to these gambling opportunities thanks to its ability to “spoof” your true location by temporarily assigning your device a new IP address in another region of the world.
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 many reasons. These include hacking, being rude to other players, account sharing, and even using a VPN.
While a VPN can’t change your username (you’ll need a new one of those), it can give you a fresh IP address by giving you a virtual IP address. This IP address hasn’t been used at online gambling sites 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.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Online Poker?
I wouldn’t bet on it if I were you.
While I’m sure you can find a free VPN that will allow you to hit the tables, I’m willing to wager that your online gambling experience will be less than satisfactory.
First of all, you’ll probably be forced to cool your jets before you’re allowed to hit the tables. When you connect to a free VPN provider, you are often forced to wait in a queue with other free users before being allowed to connect to a server.
Once you’re given the green light to connect, you may then find there are a limited number of servers to connect to, and that’s only if you’re not automatically connected to a server of the VPN provider’s choosing.
Once you’re connected, you’ll likely find that your connection speeds are severely slowed. That’s because free VPNs will throttle their free users’ connection speeds to preserve bandwidth for their paying customers.
Free VPNs will also impose a daily or monthly data cap on their users, meaning you could be disconnected from your online poker room in the middle of a hand.
The “private” part of “Virtual Private Network” is also missing from the free VPN experience.
Even a free VPN isn’t a not-for-profit organization. They have salaries and electric bills to pay. To do so, they’ll often monitor their customers’ online travels, save that sensitive information in a log file, and then sell that valuable info to advertisers and other nosy parties.
Some freebie VPN services have been caught injecting unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browsing sessions. And those cookies keep tracking you, even when you’re no longer connected to the VPN’s server network.
Does any of this sound like a good bet to you?
What Else Can a VPN Do For Me?
A VPN not only improves your online poker experience, it also protects and enhances all of your online activities.
A VPN improves your online entertainment experience by temporarily assigning a new IP address to your connected device.
Since an IP address is used to detect a device’s geographic position, a new IP address can make it appear as if you’re connecting from another part of the world, fooling streaming services and other geo-controlled entertainment providers into allowing you to access their content libraries that are restricted to the location that your VPN is spoofing for you.
A VPN also encrypts your connection, meaning your ISP, the government or hackers cannot monitor your online activities.
That means your ISP can’t block or throttle your connection simply because you’re streaming from an “unapproved” streaming source, or are sharing files via BitTorrent. They also can’t log your online travels and either sell or give that information to interested parties like advertisers or the government.
Encryption also prevents hackers from monitoring you while you’re connected to an unprotected WiFi hotspot at a coffee shop or the airport.
Hackers love hotspots because they’re usually unprotected, and with a few easy-to-use tools, they can monitor your online shopping or banking, and steal your credit card or checking account information. A VPN’s encryption hides all of this from them.
Online poker players who are looking for a way to protect and enhance their time at the online gaming tables will appreciate what a VPN like NordVPN can offer. No need to give up your real location unless you want to.
NordVPN provides the best all-around comprehensive VPN protection of any provider on this list. The provider’s well-encrypted yet speedy connections provide top-notch online protection from hackers and DDoS attacks while enhancing all of your online activities.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, NordVPN.
Unblock Online Poker Sites FAQ
Can You Play Texas Holdem Online For Money?
There are numerous poker sites that offer Texas Holdem for money. You’ll likely need to use a VPN to ensure that you have access to the site, as many require you to live in their state or country before allowing you to lay down your money.
Will a VPN Work With My Poker App?
Yes, a reliable VPN service will work with most popular poker apps and poker websites, allowing you to sit down at virtual poker tables from nearly anywhere around the globe.
Will PokerStars Reopen to U.S. Players?
Playing poker on PokerStars for real money is only available in New Jersey and Philadelphia (unless you use a VPN). Unfortunately, regulated online poker in the U.S. is moving at a snail’s pace, so it’ll be a while before PokerStars is available to more U.S. players.
- Best VPNs for Playing Online Poker
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- How to Use a VPN to Enhance Your Online Poker Sessions
- Why Use a VPN to Play Online Poker Games?
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Online Poker?
- What Else Can a VPN Do For Me?
- Unblock Online Poker Sites FAQ
- Can You Play Texas Holdem Online For Money?
- Will a VPN Work With My Poker App?
- Will PokerStars Reopen to U.S. Players?