If You are in the United States
There’s a good news / bad news situation going on in the United States. The good news is that there are some poker rooms still open for business, some leveraging perceived loopholes in legislation to continue to operate. Some of these sites are backed by reputable people in the industry while others are simply open for business with no guarantees. So the bad news is that payment processing on these sites is, at best, a gamble. Right now networks such as Revolution, Merge and Winning Poker all operate and accept players from the United States. Research into getting funds on and off resulted in mixed testimonials, ranging between folks who have had some good luck getting money off, to those waiting weeks and even months without receiving any money back when trying to make a withdrawal. The best rule if you insist on playing real money poker in 2013 within the United States is to make sure it’s not illegal within your state (see: Washington) and you recognize the risk with the uncertain atmosphere of payment processing.
Europe / Rest of the World
For people outside of the United States and specifically in Canada and the United Kingdom, you’re in luck because the poker atmosphere is fantastic. Industry icon PokerStars is thriving and sees hundreds of thousands of poker players at any given moment in the day. With the addition of “Zoom Poker” and other games, plus constant promotions, the industry leader continues to be the best place to play. The same folks behind PokerStars are now running Full Tilt Poker, which has vaulted back to the second most popular place to play since relaunching a few months ago. Both sites offer great promotions, solid management, and safe deposits and withdrawals.
Beyond those two there three other groups to consider for real money poker. The first is PartyPoker, which still is ranked as the third most trafficked poker room according to multiple industry sources. They too have a “fast poker” game available similar to Zoom / Rush as you see on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker respectively. PartyPoker is known to be home of some seriously terrible fish, so if playing against the worst competition is the goal (and ideally making the most money), this might be the destination of choice. The other two alternatives are the iPoker Network and 888Poker. For iPoker, which is anchored by poker rooms such as Titan Poker and Paddy Power Poker, offers solid traffic, good games, great tournaments plus their own brand of speed poker game. 888 is a network that has been around as a brand for a while, and offers decent games and purportedly boasts some fishy games.
In terms of the state of real money poker games right now, if you are in the United States you can take a run at one of the networks and see how it goes. Recognize there’s significant risk here in that funds are hard to get off and you may not be able to get your money out. You might want to check in with other folks at popular forums to get some best practices if you go down that path. Alternatively, there’s some great games going on for the rest of the world, especially at sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Party Poker. Remember that you should gamble and play skills games like poker responsibly, for more information please visit Gamblers Anonymous.