Best VPNs for online poker in 2023
If you know a thing or two about gambling, you might be aware that online poker (together with a myriad of other real money games) is banned in a lot of countries around the world. The laws surrounding online poker can even vary in different regions of the same country – take the US, for example.
Luckily, a VPN for online poker can make things much, much easier. With a VPN, you can simply pick a country where online gambling is legal, and you’ll be playing at PokerStars, 888Poker, and GGPoker in no time.
There’s more to it – a VPN will unblock poker sites when traveling and let you access your account from almost anywhere. It will also protect your data and identity, making it safer to play with real money. In this article, you’ll find the 5 best VPNs for online poker that will help you unblock various poker sites.
Top 5 best VPNs for online poker:
- NordVPN – the best VPN for online poker
- Surfshark – poker VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections
- IPVanish – VPN with extra features for playing poker
- ExpressVPN – online poker VPN with excellent connection speeds
- CyberGhost – VPN for poker with the largest server fleet
How to play poker online with a VPN in 2023
- Download a quality VPN – we recommend using NordVPN.
- Download the VPN app and log into your account.
- Connect to a server that allows you to play poker (like Canada).
- Login to your online poker site account.
- Enjoy your games with a VPN!
Best VPNs for playing online poker – our detailed list
We reviewed 32 providers to find the best VPNs for playing online poker. We researched their features, security, server network, and tested their ability to unblock poker sites as well as average speeds. Keep reading to find our list of the best gambling VPNs:
1. NordVPN – the best VPN for online poker
|Servers/countries:||5,800+ servers in 60 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥 Get NordVPN with 68% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥|
NordVPN is the best VPN for online poker because it offers plenty of locations that are suitable for unblocking PokerStars and other poker websites. For example, you can connect to Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, and other countries.
Security. NordVPN is extremely secure, which is important when playing real money games unavailable in your country. For example, the VPN uses advanced AES-256 encryption, offers a bunch of secure tunneling protocols, and even allows you to connect to obfuscated servers or Onion over VPN servers.
Speeds. The tool is also really fast. You’ll get pretty high speeds thanks to NordLynx, a proprietary protocol created by NordVPN themselves. During our tests, it retained around 90% of initial connection speeds.
Price. NordVPN's prices start at $3.19/month and you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. The best part is that you can also pay anonymously using cryptocurrency.
Read more in our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – play poker on multiple devices
|Based in:||The Netherlands|
|Servers/countries:||3,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE🔥|
Offering 3,200 servers in 100 countries, Surfshark gives you plenty of choices when it comes to unblocking online poker platforms. For example, you can pick Canada, France, or the UK.
Security. With Surfshark, you’re getting yourself a package of security features, including a reliable kill switch, an ad blocking feature called CleanWeb, and a full-fledged antivirus. For an extra price, you can get yourself a dedicated IP address.
Speeds. You’ll also be able to enjoy your Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, and other poker games completely glitch-free. All of this is thanks to WireGuard, one of the speediest tunneling protocols available today. During our testing, Surfshark retained 86% of initial connection speeds on average.
Price. Surfshark's prices start from $2.30/month and you can pay for it with cryptocurrency to remain anonymous. Finally, you can make use of Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee if, for some reason, you’re not satisfied with the product.
3. IPVanish – online poker VPN with a huge number of features
|Based in:||United States|
|Servers/countries:||2,200+ servers in 52 countries|
|Current deal:||Get 75% OFF IPVanish!|
IPVanish will help you play online poker from anywhere in the world. It not only offers servers in multiple Canadian cities, but also quite a few different European locations where online gambling is legal.
Security. You also get a lot of features that will enhance your online security. For example, there’s an integrated SOCKS5 proxy, auto-connection options, and split tunneling. Traffic obfuscation is also available, allowing you to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from third parties.
Speeds. As for tunneling protocols, you’re getting the speedy WireGuard. It’s a great combination of speed and security. Our tests showed that IPVanish retained an average of 80% initial connection speeds.
Price. There’s also an option to pay a bit extra and get 500 GB of encrypted storage, which can be extremely useful if you have lots of files on your device. You can get the IPVanish premium plan for $2.99/month. The only downside is that you can’t pay using cryptocurrencies.
Read more in our IPVanish review.
4. ExpressVPN – online poker VPN for fast connection speeds
|Based in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||3,000+ servers in 94 countries|
|Current deal:||Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF the 1-year plan!|
ExpressVPN can be your go-to VPN for online poker due to its lightning-fast speeds and a good selection of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. And servers in Canada, Mexico, France, and more, you will quickly and effectively access your preferred poker sites.
Security. ExpressVPN is also great for enhancing online security, as it uses market-leading encryption and has a fully functional kill switch feature. Its Threat Manager will protect you from malicious poker websites, while obfuscated servers will help conceal your VPN usage if you live in highly-censored areas.
Privacy. We found that ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any of your online activities, meaning you can play poker from anywhere in peace.
Speeds. ExpressVPN uses a proprietary Lightway protocol which is a modern variation of WireGuard. With it, we managed to retain 77% of initial connection speeds on average.
Price. On the downside, ExpressVPN is on the pricier side compared to other market-leading VPNs. Its starting price is $6.67/month, so if you need a cheaper VPN, opt for Surfshark. But if you want to try out ExpressVPN, the 30-day money-back guarantee also gives you a risk-free month. Plus, you can pay with cryptocurrency.
5. CyberGhost – many servers for unblocking poker websites
|Servers/countries:||9,600+ servers in 91 countries|
|Current deal:||Get CyberGhost VPN, now 84% OFF + 3 months FREE|
With over 9,600 servers in 91 countries, CyberGhost is a strong candidate for unblocking poker sites. You will easily find servers in Canada, the UK, or any other place outside Europe to enjoy poker online.
Security. Security is also very important to this VPN provider. Therefore, it uses AES-256 encryption, offers the kill switch feature to protect your IP at all times, and even includes an ad blocker that blocks adware, malware, and more. Not to mention specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, or even gaming.
Privacy. CyberGhost doesn’t collect any of the data related to your traffic. Plus, the service has been audited by an independent auditing firm called Deloitte, so you know it’s trustworthy.
Speeds. Like most high-quality VPNs, this service uses the WireGuard protocol. During our tests, it retained an average of 86% initial connection speeds.
Price. But the price is another thing that makes this VPN stand out, as its starting price is as little as $2.11 per month and it allows cryptocurrency payments. Plus, you can benefit from a free trial: 1 day for desktop users, 3 days for Android, and 7 days for iOS users.
You can read more in our CyberGhost review.
6. PrivateVPN – play poker 100% anonymously
|Servers/countries:||200 servers in 63 countries|
|Current deal:||Get PrivateVPN, now 85% OFF!|
PrivateVPN is a well-known tool among VPN enthusiasts. That’s because it’s capable of virtually anything, from unblocking online poker and streaming services to working with all major torrenting clients. You’ll be able to play online poker while connected to servers in Canada, France, Portugal, and Italy.
Security. PrivateVPN is extremely secure. It uses AES-256 encryption, offers a good kill switch, and has no DNS leaks. In addition, the VPN has a feature called Stealth VPN that obscures your traffic.
Speeds. PrivateVPN doesn’t use the WireGuard protocol, which explains its average speeds. After our tests, the results showed an average of 30% speed retention rate.
Price. In terms of price, PrivateVPN premium plans start at $2.00/month and you can try the service with a 7-day free trial. You can also pay with cryptocurrencies for extra privacy.
Find out more in our PrivateVPN review.
7. PureVPN – frequent security audits
|Based in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||6,500+ servers in 78+ countries|
|Current deal:||🔥 Get PureVPN, now 83% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥|
PureVPN has a wonderful server selection – you can choose from 6,500 servers in 78 countries. If you’re located in the US, you’ll like the fact that you can connect to New Jersey – one of the states that allow online gambling, including poker.
Security. Like most top VPNs, PureVPN uses the advanced AES encryption and a reliable kill switch. It also comes with split tunneling, traffic obfuscation for concealing your VPN usage, and a password manager that encrypts your login credentials and eliminates the need to remember complex passwords.
Privacy. PureVPN is the first VPN ever to have an Always-On Audit for its no-logs policy. This means that it can be audited anytime without notice. Not every VPN would be confident enough for this.
Speeds. This tool comes with the WireGuard protocol, meaning you get high speed retention rates. During our tests, it averaged at 67% compared to baseline speeds.
Price. PureVPN's prices start at $2.08/month. And in case you change your mind, feel free to use its 31-day money-back guarantee.
Read more in our PureVPN review.
How we selected and tested these VPNs
Unfortunately, you can’t just use any VPN to unblock online poker sites. There are a lot of aspects to take into consideration:
|Security features:||Kill switch, traffic obfuscation|
|Privacy:||No-logs policy, independent audit|
|Speed:||Fast tunneling protocols (WireGuard)|
|Unblocks:||Poker sites, Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and more|
Poker site unblocking. We tested the VPNs with some poker sites to see if they can actually access the sites. We only included options that unblocked at least some of the poker websites. However, make sure VPN usage isn’t against a particular gambling site’s Terms of Service.
- The right locations. Online poker sites block players from a wide range of countries. Thus, you need to know precisely which locations to connect to. We looked for countries like Canada, Germany, and Italy.
- Dedicated IP option. If the poker site keeps detecting your VPN, you might need to purchase a dedicated IP address so that you would be the only person using it.
- Security. All the best VPNs for online poker offer military-grade AES-256 encryption that will make your connection 100% secure.
- Speed. A VPN that’s suitable for online games must offer really good speeds. We performed speed tests on tens of VPNs and selected the tools that won’t make your poker game lagging.
- Price. VPNs shouldn’t be overpriced, so we looked for services that offer excellent value for your money.
- Money-back guarantee. When choosing a VPN for a particular purpose, it’s essential to have the possibility to get all your money back. All of the tools on this list offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best online poker VPN comparison
|Unblocks poker sites||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Logging||No logs, independently audited twice by PwC||No logs, independently audited by Deloitte||No logs, independently audited by Leviathan||No logs, independently audited by Cure53||No logs, independently audited by Deloitte||No logs, always-on audit by KPMG||No logs, not audited|
|Dedicated IP option (separately)||✅||✅||❌||❌||✅||✅||✅|
|Servers||5,800+ servers in 60 countries||3,200+ servers in 100 countries||2,200+ servers in 52 countries||3,000+ servers in 94 countries||9,600+ servers in 91 countries||6,500+ servers in 78 countries||200+ servers in 63 countries|
|Cheapest monthly price||$3.19/month||$2.30/month||$2.99/month||$6.67/month||$2.11/month||$2.08/month||$2.00/month|
|Review||NordVPN review||Surfshark VPN review||IPVanish review||ExpressVPN review||CyberGhost review||PureVPN review||PrivateVPN review|
Can online poker sites detect VPNs?
Yes, it’s possible for poker sites to detect VPN usage. Just like Netflix and other online platforms, poker pages might see a surge of identical IP addresses, which happens when lots of people use the same VPN server to play at the same time.
It’s also possible for a website to recognize an IP address that is known to belong to a certain VPN provider. Sometimes, a page might ban all the IP addresses associated with a single VPN. This often happens with free VPNs that are used by a lot of people.
Luckily, you can lessen your chances of being caught using a VPN.
Safety tips for playing online poker
Here are a few safety tips that will increase your chance of not getting your account banned at PokerStars or any other online poker venue:
- Turn on the VPN first. It is essential that you connect to a VPN location before opening PokerStars or any other online poker app or website. In this way, the site won’t detect an IP change.
- Use a dedicated IP. If possible, you can purchase a dedicated IP option from a VPN provider. In this way, you’ll be the only one using it, and the online gambling venue won’t ban you.
- Withdraw often. It’s better to not keep lots of funds in your account in case it gets frozen. Withdraw your money as often as possible so that you’d receive it before the site notices any suspicious activity.
- Enable the kill switch. It’s dangerous to accidentally expose your real location while playing poker online. That’s why I advise you to use a VPN with a good kill switch that would shut down your internet connection in case the VPN malfunctions.
- Use anonymous payment methods. When it comes to faking your real location, it’s a good idea to use payment methods that don’t reveal any personal information. Consider such methods as PayPal or even cryptocurrencies.
Why is online poker blocked in certain countries?
Whether you can (legally) play online poker in your country depends on its laws. And unfortunately, even though online gambling can bring a lot of money in taxes, some countries have completely (or partially) banned real money games due to a variety of reasons.
These can vary from religious beliefs (like in the UAE) to the inability to ensure fair gambling regulations.
So, you won’t be able to play at PokerStars or other online poker sites if you have an IP address of countries like Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, and most of the US states.
Luckily, a VPN will solve this problem in seconds by giving you a foreign IP address. However, I strongly suggest that you thoroughly check out your country’s stance on gambling – an evening of fun is not worth a prison sentence.
Is poker banned in the US?
No, poker is not banned in the US. At least, not completely. You see, even though the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) put a tight leash on online poker, sports betting, and other forms of online gambling back in 2006, some states still retained the right to offer real money games at licensed casinos.
So, these are the US states where online poker is legal:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
A few other states (like Tennessee, Ohio, and Colorado) are currently considering allowing online gambling, but there are no definite decisions as of yet. In other words, the residents living outside the states where online gambling is completely legal should use a VPN in order to access a safe and regulated online poker room or online casino.
How to play online poker in the US?
Playing poker in the US is legal as long as you’re in the right state. However, to play securely, you need to follow these steps:
- Choose a secure VPN. We recommend NordVPN, now 68% OFF
- Download the app and follow the installation instructions
- Connect to a server in a country where online poker is legal
- Check whether the online poker site you want to access is legal in your country or state. Make sure VPN usage isn’t against their Terms of Service
- Register an account and get playing
Is it safe to play poker online with a VPN?
Yes, it’s safe to use a VPN to play at PokerStars, 888poker, GGPoker, and other online poker websites. Yet, you should still be aware of the possible outcomes.
Sometimes, it so happens that a user’s account gets banned (together with all its precious funds) if a VPN activity is detected. Thus, I recommend using VPNs that have no known IP leaks, like NordVPN or Surfshark.
In addition, an online casino might ask you for proof of identity, which, unfortunately, includes your real location. For this reason, I’d begin with small withdrawals to see whether the site actually requires any documentation. Also, it’s better to withdraw fairly often, not leaving huge amounts of money in your account.
Finally, take your country’s stance on gambling and VPNs into consideration, as some regions are stricter than others regarding these things.
Safest online poker sites
When looking for a truly safe and reliable online poker site, you can never be too careful. We picked out some of the safest sites to use. These include GGPoker, 888Poker, and PokerStars. Even though some of these sites are not accessible in the US, you can simply bypass the geo-blocks with a VPN.
Originally launched in Asia, GGPoker platform has expanded to the European region and is a popular online poker room site with cash games and various tournaments.
Unfortunately, GGPoker is currently not available for the US players. You can freely access and play GGPoker in European countries like Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, UK, and more. Outside Europe, it’s accessible in New Zealand, South America, South Africa, and other locations.
888Poker is one of the biggest online poker networks in the poker business. It has an excellent array of popular forms of poker, such as Texas Holdem, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, and more.
After the recent law changes, 888Poker no longer accepts players from the United States. However, it’s still available in other regions, such as South America (Argentina, Guatemala, Uruguay, Venezuela, and more), Europe (Moldova, Norway, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and more), New Zealand, and other locations.
PokerStars is one of the most popular online gambling platforms that offers online poker, casino games, and sports betting. It’s blocked in a lot of regions, but being one of the most popular online poker sites for US players, it operates in some states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. It’s also available in most European countries too.
You can take a look at our guide with the best VPNs for PokerStars to find more detailed information.
Can I use a free VPN for online poker?
I don’t advise you to use a free VPN to unblock online poker. That’s because a free VPN can be quite dangerous – it might steal your personal information or bombard you with malware.
On the other hand, freemium VPNs are completely safe. Unfortunately, they usually offer only a few countries, which might not unblock PokerStars and other platforms. For example, ProtonVPN has a wonderful free version, but you can connect only to the Netherlands, the US, and Japan. And none of these countries allow PokerStars.
Some freemium VPNs, like Windscribe, offer servers in countries where online poker is legal. However, Windcsribe limits you with 10GB/month, which might not be enough for your gambling needs.
The best alternative is opting for a premium VPN and making use of its money-back guarantee or free trial.
- NordVPN – play online poker for free with the 7-day trial on Android (can be set up on other devices after signup) and 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark – gamble without limits with a 7-day trial on macOS, Android, and iOS and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It is definitely possible to play online poker even if the site is blocked in your country. All you need is a good VPN with a kill switch and servers in at least one country where online poker is legal.
In my experience, the best VPN for online poker is NordVPN. That’s because it allows you to connect to multiple countries that allow PokerStars and other poker websites. Not only that – the VPN is also extremely fast and secure, so you won’t need to worry about connection drops and safety.
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Can I use a VPN to play online poker?
What is the best VPN for online poker?
NordVPN is the best VPN for online poker because it offers plenty of locations that are suitable for unblocking online poker websites. Aside from online poker, NordVPN has lots of other uses like unblocking a myriad of streaming platforms, has the split tunnelling feature, and even blocks online ads.
How can I play online poker in Australia with a VPN?
Australian casinos are prohibited from hosting online poker. But it isn’t banned to play online poker overseas. But since many platforms are geo-restricted, you’ll need a VPN, such as NordVPN, to access the games. Simply connect to a server where online poker is legal and enjoy the games.
Is it legal to use a VPN to play online poker?
Yes and no. It’s generally legal to use for privacy and security reasons. However, using a VPN to change your location or to play in a country or state, where online poker is restricted, is illegal. Usually, using a VPN is also against poker website's Terms of Service. If the poker site finds out that you are using a VPN to unblock the site from a restricted location, it can ban your account and refuse to pay out any winnings.
How to use a VPN to play online poker?
To play online poker using a VPN, all you have to do is connect to a server in a country where the poker site of your choice is available. By changing your IP address, the VPN will trick the poker site that you’re physically in the location where the server is based. This way, you’ll be able to access the account in no time.
Is online poker legal in California?
No, online poker is illegal in California according to the California Constitution. That being said, some forms of gambling are allowed, including tribal casinos, card rooms, and bingo.