Online poker and VPN. These two terms always seem to follow each other and for good reason. Online poker is not yet legalized in all states in the United States. There are other countries too that have placed restrictions on online poker. So one must wonder, can poker sites detect your VPN?
Poker sites can detect your VPN. There are a number of ways by which poker sites can detect their VPN, the most popular being detecting if your IP address belongs to a VPN provider.
If you intend to use VPN to play online poker, then you need a reliable and reputable VPN provider. It wouldn’t do for you to just use any VPN as all VPNs are not equal. After downloading and installing the VPN app on your device, you’ll have to go to the settings and make some minor tweaks to the configurations.
We’ll be talking extensively about VPNs in this article. If you are not familiar with VPNs or online poker, you are definitely going to learn a thing or two here.
Can You Play Online Poker Through A VPN?
Yes, you can play online poker through a VPN. VPNs are especially useful in areas where online poker is restricted.
The main reason why most poker players play online with VPNs is to maneuver around laws in their state or country. There are many states in the United States that have legislations placing limiting access to online gambling sites of which online poker is among.
What a VPN does is that it allows you to connect to servers in a location where online gambling is legal. Your poker website or app will then think you are in an area where gambling is legal thereby granting you access to the website. In a nutshell, using VPNs is basically misleading or more subtly, tricking your poker sites or app into thinking you are in a location where online gambling is legal.
We have a whole article on how to use a VPN to play online poker.
Other Uses Of VPNs
There are a number of reasons why people use VPNs besides bypassing legislation in their locations. Some people use VPNs for more privacy online as VPNs keep your data and browsing history private. This is particularly beneficial for online poker players as their bank/credit card details could be prevented from being accessed by an unsecured server.
Then there are those who use VPNs for anonymity online. Note that nobody is truly anonymous online as you will always leave ‘digital footprints’ online. But VPNs allow you to achieve some level of anonymity online.
Does VPN Make You Untraceable?
While your online activities will be a lot more secure and protected when using a VPN compared to when you are not, the truth is that you are not untraceable.
You should know by now that there are many websites that collect your data by tracking your browsing history, streaming preferences, and so on. And they do this by using your ‘online footprints’. Now, using VPNs will make these footprints difficult to discover by any websites you don’t give permission to.
A lot of VPN nowadays encrypt data and make sure that only you and the websites you are visiting will be able to see data in its unencrypted form.
There are also VPNs that protect your devices against malware, viruses, and hacks.
Remember we also say VPNs let you achieve some level of anonymity online. When you think about all we’ve mentioned about VPN, it’s easy to think they are untraceable and will make you invisible online. Well, this is not so.
Everyone Leaves A Footprint
That’s the fact. You are always going to leave traces behind when you go online. However, VPNs will help you reduce these footprints significantly. Imagine your online footprint without a VPN being the size of a grown man’s footprints. When you use a VPN, these footprints quickly reduce and can then be seen as mere crumbs on a beach! See the difference?
So you see, you are not untraceable. It’s just become harder to track you. You could still be tracked though if someone or organization has and dedicates time, resources, and desire to track you. But when, why would anyone go to such lengths to track you?
For those that aren’t familiar with VPNs, they mask your internet protocol (popularly referred to as IP). So your actual IP and consequently, your actual location won’t be readily available to sites you use. And the reason why VPNs mask your IP address is that it is the easiest and most basic way to find or track you.
Can Poker Sites Detect Your VPN?
We answered this question in the introduction of this article and the answer is yes. Poker sites can indeed detect your VPN through some of the following ways below;
- The poker website might find out that the IP address they are reading actually belongs to a VPN provider.
- Seeing several connections from the same VPN server IP address is usually a dead giveaway.
- Poker sites detecting several IP addresses connecting to one account.
It’s even possible for some poker sites to have a tracking system that detects IP addresses of people using the website. If they detect your IP address changing frequently, they might figure out you are using a VPN.
Some poker sites may blacklist IP addresses they have found to belong to VPN addresses. So if a player happens to connect using those blacklisted IP addresses, they immediately know the player is using a VPN.
Also, you and other players may have connected to the same server before visiting the website. This will most likely raise a red flag. And that alone can make poker sites know that a VPN is being used.
There are several poker websites that monitor and record the IP addresses from which you are accessing your account. The reason for this is to secure your account against fraud or that. For every different VPN server you use, it means you are connecting to your account from different IP addresses. And should your IP change too frequently, the poker site may detect you are using a VPN.
How To Circumvent These Detection Algorithms
You can now see that there are a number of ways poker sites might find out you are using a VPN. Some poker sites do not offer their services in areas where online poker is prohibited. And by using a VPN, you are going against their policy.
Pokerstars, a very popular poker website, has the following policy on VPNs;
“customers who attempt real money gaming activity from inside a prohibited jurisdiction with the aid of VPNs or other technical workarounds will lose their privileges and/or funds in their account”.
It’s therefore in your best interest not to get caught by poker sites that have these sanctions. As a result, we’ll be talking about some of the ways you can avoid being caught using a VPN by poker sites.
Use a VPN with a Dedicated IP
One of the best ways to circumvent the detection algorithm of poker sites is to use a dedicated IP. By using a dedicated IP, you can be certain that you are the only person using the particular IP address to connect to the website all the time.
Remember that poker sites detect players who use VPNs largely by their changing IP addresses. A dedicated IP address solves that particular problem for you. It’s also important to have a residential type IP address.
This type of IP address masks the unusual traffic that most poker sites detect when you use a regular VPN server. Also, residential type IPs also make it appear as if you are based in the state or country you are connecting to. There are a number of reputable VPNs that offer good dedicated IP addresses.
Deposit only the amount you need
Let’s face, there’s a risk of your account being blocked if you are using a poker site like Pokerstars that’s strictly against VPN.
In your best interest, deposit only the amount you need into your account. No more. You’ll also do well to credit your account using international payment methods like PayPal as your actual details such as locations won’t be revealed.
There are poker sites that accept cryptocurrency. You can also use that to deposit funds if it’s no trouble for you.
Cash-out as often as you can
The reason for doing this is still due to the same risk that your account could be blocked if you are caught using VPN. So it’s better to withdraw your winnings as often as you can. Some sites prevent you from withdrawing if you are detected to be using VPN.
Use a VPN that disables IPv6
When you connect with a VPN, you are also connecting to a type of IP address referred to as IPv6. IPv6 is similar to the regular IPv4 you are trying to hide from poker sites. IPv6 can give away your true location and it’s important for you to use VPN services that disable IPv6.
Use a VPN with a kill switch
Ha, a kill switch. Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, right? Talking about VPNs, make sure you use only VPNs that have a kill switch when playing online poker. So what is a kill switch? It’s a feature that protects your IP from leaking to websites you visit and it does this by allowing your internet connection to travel through the VPN.
You are protected from unforeseen disconnects when using a kill switch.
5 Best VPNs For Online Poker
All VPNs are not made equal and it’s important for you to get a good one so your IP address won’t get leaked. A good VPN also reduces your chances of being detected by poker sites. There are a number of factors that we considered when coming up with this list.
Factors we are interested in when determining if VPN should make it on our list:
- Only interested in VPNs that have fast servers in key locations across the globe
- We took the level of encryption as well as privacy features into consideration
- Customer care service
- The value for money
- The ability of the VPNs to unblock a variety of major poker sites
The best VPNs are the ones you pay for. There are a number of free VPN services out there but their functionality is below that of their paid counterparts. And these free VPNs can be detected more easily by PokerStars and other poker sites.
This is our top pick and has been proven to unlock major poker sites like PokerStars, FullTilt, 888poker, GGPoker, PartyPoker, and other popular poker sites. It’s available across all platforms – Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, and macOS.
ExpressVPN has servers in about 94 countries meaning you can easily connect to locations that allow online gambling. The encryption is top-notch and the software is very easy to use.
Another thing you’ll like about ExpressVPN is its superfast servers. We must also mention there is a 30-day money-back guarantee which allows you to test the service risk-free.
What most people like about CyberGhost is that it’s easy to use and also offers you dedicated IP addresses at a small price. You can use it to connect to PokerStars, 888Poker, GGPoker, and PartyPoker. Installation is fast and hassle-free. Also, it has an incredible number of servers in over 90 countries.
Private Internet Access
By not keeping users logs, PIA is a no-logs VPN service. It also provides static IPs for people in the USA which is great as you only access your online poker account with only one IP address.
PIA unblocks all the poker sites we’ve mentioned above and more. It’s available on all platforms meaning you can use the app on any device you want. PIA offers 12,480+ servers in 74 countries around the world. That’s a lot of countries and a lot of servers.
The servers also provide incredible speeds and we recently found out that many Reddit users favor this VPN. So they have to be doing right.
Another wonderful VPN provider. Surfshark has many servers in over 63 countries and they offer a lot of static IPs for connecting to poker sites across the world. As a result, you can expect to connect to PokerStars, GGPoker, 888poker, and so on when you are using this VPN.
Surfshark is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. Thanks to the kill switch, you can use this VPN for playing poker, downloading torrents, and for sensitive applications.
The last VPN on our list. An effective VPN, VyprVPN has been shown to unblock poker sites like Sky Poker, 888Poker, PokerStars, and so on. It also offers protection against dreaded DDoS attacks.
It’s available on all platforms and has different servers in over 70 countries. The user-friendly interface, strong encryption, and lightning-fast speeds make this VPN a joy to use. There is also the kill switch feature which protects against accidental lP leaks.
Why Is Online Poker Illegal In The USA?
Online poker is not illegal all over the US. There are states that have already legalized online poker. Check out our article on states where online poker is legal in the USA.
This means that the legality of online poker depends on your jurisdiction in the United States.
We must emphasize the fact that there is no federal law that specifically bans or forbids online poker. You can do your own research and see for yourself.
It is state laws that forbid online poker. And not all states have legislation that forbids online poker. We must mention that Washington is the only state in the US that specifically forbids online poker. In fact, online poker is considered a felony in Washington no thanks to a law passed in 2006. And that’s why poker sites like PokerStars and Tilt Poker do not offer their services to residents of Washington.
If you reside in the state of Washington, you should know that playing online poker is a serious crime. Our advice to Washington residents? Stay away from online poker.
Only four states in the US – Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – have legalized and even regulated online poker.