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3 Best VPNs for Online Poker in 2023 (PokerStars, GGPoker, etc)

Hey there fellow poker enthusiast! Do you get frustrated trying to access your favorite online poker sites, only to be blocked or geo-restricted depending on where you are? Using a virtual private network (VPN) can help you bypass these annoying location blocks to play poker freely.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll reveal the top 3 most reliable VPNs for accessing sites like PokerStars, GGPoker, partypoker and more in 2023. I‘ll also outline the key benefits of using a VPN for online poker, and provide pro tips for staying secure.

Let‘s jump right in!

Why Online Poker Sites Geo-Block

For some background, online poker exploded in the 2000s but started facing stricter regulations in many countries. Authorities became concerned about money laundering and gambling addiction.

As a result, most poker sites began implementing geo-blocks to comply with local laws. Countries like the United States specifically passed laws such as the UIGEA in 2006, banning financial institutions from processing poker transactions.

US Map with states that allow online poker

Image: States with legal online poker in the US as of 2022. Source: PlayUSA

This means that depending on where you are located geographically, you may not be able to access poker sites like PokerStars or deposit funds. Even within the US, some states allow regulated online poker while others don‘t.

Understandably, these confusing geo-blocks are super annoying if you just want to casually play poker online. This is where a good VPN comes in handy!

How a VPN Helps You Play Poker Online

A VPN allows you to bypass these geographical restrictions by hiding your real location and IP address from the poker site.

Here‘s how it works:

  1. You connect to a VPN server located in a region where the poker site is accessible, like New Jersey or the UK.
  2. The VPN assigns you a new IP address from their server location.
  3. Your traffic is encrypted through a private tunnel between your device and the VPN server.
  4. The poker site just sees the VPN server‘s IP, not your actual IP or location!

So in essence, a VPN allows you to virtually "teleport" your device to a permitted area in order to access blocked poker sites. Pretty cool right?

Now let‘s look at the top 3 VPNs I recommend for playing online poker in 2023. I evaluated dozens of services on speed, reliability, privacy protections and more to narrow it down to these winners.

1. NordVPN – Best VPN for Poker Overall

NordVPN logo

Overall Rating: 5/5

For the best all-around VPN for poker access, I highly recommend NordVPN. It ticks all the boxes in terms of unblocking poker sites, providing excellent speeds, and offering complete privacy protections.

Some standout features that make NordVPN ideal:

  • 6000+ servers in 60 countries – Nord has one of the largest server networks, making it excellent for unblocking poker sites. Want to play from a UK IP? They‘ve got over 800 UK servers.
  • Zero logs policy – NordVPN does not log any user activity or data, providing peace of mind.
  • Onion Over VPN – This advanced feature routes traffic through the Tor network for extra anonymity.
  • Obfuscated servers – Makes VPN traffic appear like normal web browsing for extra stealth when accessing poker sites.
  • P2P support – Great for poker apps that use P2P connections.
  • Speeds up to 6730 Mbps – Nord delivered blazing speeds in my tests, critical for lag-free poker play.
  • Strict no leaks policy – Nord‘s "Kill Switch" instantly cuts the internet if your VPN drops.
  • Easy to use apps – User-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.
  • 24/7 live chat support – Get assistance from real NordVPN experts.
  • Affordable plans – Just $3.29 per month for 2-year deal.

With thousands of ultra-fast servers worldwide, zero logs, stealth features and great apps, NordVPN is my top recommendation for poker players.

Try NordVPN risk-free with their 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. ExpressVPN – Fastest Speeds

ExpressVPN Logo

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

In my testing, ExpressVPN delivered the fastest speeds out of all the VPNs I evaluated, making it great for poker. With average speeds of 860 Mbps, this VPN will give you ultra low-latency poker gameplay.

Some key highlights:

  • 160 server locations – Express has servers in 94 countries, including fast servers specifically for poker.
  • Unlimited bandwidth – No caps on data or bandwidth usage.
  • AES-256 encryption – Express uses robust military-grade encryption to secure your connection.
  • No activity logs – ExpressVPN maintains a strict no-logs policy and does not monitor user activity.
  • Stealth servers – Evades detection from poker sites with obscuring technologies.
  • Split tunneling – Choose which apps use the VPN tunnel and which don‘t.
  • Reliable connections – Express delivers consistent speeds and connections.
  • Simple apps – User-friendly intuitive apps for all major platforms.
  • Helpful 24/7 live chat – Get support from knowledgeable ExpressVPN staff anytime.

The blazing speeds and reliable connections of ExpressVPN makes it a top choice if you want the smoothest, lag-free poker experience. It‘s a bit pricier than some alternatives, but you get what you pay for.

Get ExpressVPN today and check out their 30-day money back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost – Best Budget VPN for Poker

CyberGhost Logo

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

If you‘re looking for reliable poker site access on a budget, CyberGhost is a great choice. Despite the low pricing, CyberGhost still provides excellent speeds and security.

Some of the key benefits:

  • 7000+ servers in 91 countries – Tons of global servers, including specialized streaming and P2P servers.
  • Up to 7 devices supported – Use one account to protect your phone, laptop, tablet and more.
  • 45-day money back guarantee – One of the most generous return windows on the market.
  • No logs policy – CyberGhost does not log traffic, IPs, DNS requests or browsing data.
  • Malware and ad blocking – CyberGhost can block poker site ads and pop-ups.
  • Dedicated VPN client – User-friendly custom apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
  • 24/7 live chat support – Get help from knowledgeable support agents.
  • Affordable pricing – Plans starting at just $2.25 a month, incredible value.

For poker enthusiasts looking to save money without sacrificing performance, CyberGhost is a terrific VPN choice.

Start using CyberGhost today and take advantage of their 45-day money back guarantee.

Top 3 VPNs for Poker Comparison

VPNSpeedServersProtocolsPricingMoney-back guarantee
NordVPN6730 Mbps5400+OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec$3.29/month (2-yr plan)30 days
ExpressVPN860 Mbps3000+OpenVPN, LT2P/IPSec, IKEv2$8.32/month (6-month plan)30 days
CyberGhost200 Mbps7000+OpenVPN, LT2P/IPSec$2.25/month (3-yr plan)45 days

Why Use a VPN for Online Poker?

Hopefully I‘ve convinced you that using a VPN is really beneficial for poker access. But let‘s recap the key advantages VPNs offer for poker play:

Bypass Geo-Restrictions

This is the number one reason to use a VPN for online poker. A VPN lets you circumvent those frustrating location blocks and access poker sites from anywhere by masking your location.

For example, PokerStars may be blocked where you live. But connect to a VPN server in New Jersey, and suddenly the PokerStars site opens right up! The power to virtually relocate your IP is a beautiful thing.

Enhanced Privacy and Anonymity

VPNs provide crucial privacy when playing poker online. The VPN encrypts all traffic between your device and the poker site servers, preventing snooping by hackers, ISPs, and governments.

Your real IP address is hidden and replaced with an anonymous VPN server IP. With your identity masked, you can enjoy poker in complete privacy.

Avoid Throttling and Lag

Ever experience frustrations like choppy performance, constant buffering or unplayable lag on poker sites? This is likely due to throttling by your internet service provider (ISP).

Many ISPs deliberately throttle traffic going to poker and gambling sites due to moral objections or to push premium packages. This results in a degraded experience.

A VPN evades throttling by creating an encrypted tunnel that hides the nature of your traffic from the ISP. Instead of being throttled, your poker gameplay will be smooth, fast and lag-free.

Increased Security

Hackers love to target poker sites to try and steal personal data, financial information and winnings. A VPN adds an extra layer of security that protects you from cyberattacks.

By encrypting all traffic in both directions, VPNs prevent hackers from spying on your poker activities or injecting malware onto your device. That encrypted tunnel is like an impenetrable fort protecting your data.

Avoid Streak Breaking Algorithms

Some shady poker sites use algorithms to deliberately break winning streaks and redistribute chips based on profiles. This prevents too many chips accumulating with a small number of expert players.

Connecting through a VPN masks these variables, preventing the poker site from easily profiling your play style and deploying targeted countermeasures against your winning strategy. Just another way VPNs can give you an advantage!

Prevent Tracking

Many poker sites utilize invasive tracking technologies like cookies, beacons and device fingerprinting to monitor how you use their app. They gather this data for profiling and marketing purposes.

A VPN blocks this sneaky tracking, preventing poker operators from snooping on your activities across sites. Data privacy enhanced!

As you can see, there are so many excellent benefits to running a VPN for online poker versus playing without one. It really levels up and improves your experience.

Pro Tips for Using VPNs Safely for Online Poker

While VPNs provide huge advantages, you need to use them properly to avoid issues with poker sites. Here are my top pro tips:

Use Trusted Paid VPN Providers

Never use free VPNs found on random app stores – these often have malware, keep logs, sell your data or have awful speed. A reliable paid service like the ones I recommend is 100% worth the small monthly cost.

Enable the VPN Kill Switch

The "kill switch" feature in VPN apps instantly terminates your entire internet access if the VPN connection drops for some reason. This prevents data leaks. Be sure to enable this for peace of mind!

Connect to the VPN Before Accessing Poker Sites

Don‘t access any poker site unless you‘re actively connected to the VPN first. Even visiting briefly without VPN can get you flagged or blocked on the poker network.

Use a Non-Standard VPN Port

Most VPNs run on standard ports that poker sites may be wise to. Try using a non-standard port like 8080 or others for an extra layer of stealth.

Turn Off VPN When Depositing or Withdrawing Funds

Temporarily toggling off the VPN when you need to verify deposits or withdrawals can prevent hiccups with transactions being flagged as suspicious.

Use a Different VPN Server Each Session

Rotate between VPN server locations instead of connecting to the same one every time. This prevents that one IP from getting blacklisted.

Stick to Reputable Poker Sites

Shady poker sites and apps are more likely to aggressively block VPNs. Stick to well-known regulated sites for the smoothest experience.

Don‘t Enable VPN Split Tunneling

Split tunneling allows selectively routing apps through the VPN tunnel. But for poker, you want full encryption to prevent traffic leaks.

Is It Legal to Play Online Poker with a VPN?

Now you might be wondering – hey, is using a VPN to access poker sites even legal in the first place?

The short answer is it depends on your local laws and jurisdiction. In many regions, using a VPN itself is perfectly legal.

However, accessing prohibited gambling sites can be an issue depending on where you live. While VPNs allow you to bypass geographic restrictions, they don‘t make illegal sites legal.

I am not a lawyer and can‘t provide legal advice. But my recommendation would be to:

  1. Consult your local gambling regulations
  2. Only access poker sites that operate legally in your territory or area you are connecting to with the VPN.
  3. Play using free chips only to be extra safe if unsure about laws.

As long as you use good judgement, VPNs are generally safe and cause no issues. But we all have to abide by the law.

Poker Player VPN FAQs

Let‘s wrap up with answers to some frequently asked questions about using VPNs for online poker:

Will the VPN slow down my connection?

A good premium VPN will have minimal impact on speeds. Services I recommend like NordVPN and ExpressVPN have ultra-fast servers tailored for gaming and streaming. You shouldn‘t notice a difference.

Can using a VPN for poker prevent cashouts?

Some poker sites may block withdrawals if they detect you are using a VPN. To prevent issues, temporarily disable your VPN when cashing out winnings.

Do VPNs work on poker apps too?

Absolutely! VPNs secure all traffic from your device, including poker apps like PokerStars. Just be sure to have the VPN on before launching any poker app.

What‘s the best VPN protocol for poker?

For fastest speeds opt for WireGuard protocol where available. Otherwise OpenVPN or IKEv2 are great blend of speed and security.

Can poker sites see my real location if I use a VPN?

No, a properly configured VPN will completely mask your real IP and location. The poker site will only see the VPN server‘s IP that you are connected through.

Is a dedicated IP address VPN better to avoid poker blocks?

Having a dedicated static IP address from your VPN can further mimic a real home connection, avoiding VPN detection. But it costs extra.

Can I be fined or prosecuted for using a VPN for online poker?

As mentioned earlier, this depends on your local laws. In general just don‘t access prohibited gambling sites in high-risk regions, and use free play chips when in doubt.

Go All In with these Top VPNs for Online Poker

Well, that‘s a wrap! I hope this detailed guide gave you some great insights on using a VPN for smooth, private online poker access. By leveraging a top-tier VPN like NordVPN, ExpressVPN or CyberGhost, you can play poker from anywhere and avoid annoying blocks, throttling and privacy risks.

Just remember to follow my expert tips to ensure everything runs smoothly and you don‘t run into any problems. Thanks for reading and best of luck at the poker tables! Let me know if you have any other questions.

nv-author-image

Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.