Located in the USA and wanting to play online poker with an offshore site? Some players use VPNs (Virtual Private Network Servers) to disguise their IPs and access poker sites. If you decide to use a VPN, do so with caution: most poker sites are checking network details prior to accepting new player signups.

Virtual Private Networks, most commonly used with OpenVPN software, are one way poker players can disguise their United States location and continue to play poker online. A good VPN also allows players to bank using offshore e-wallets or credit cards. Unfortunately, many poker sites have been cracking down on VPN usage to avoid prosecution from USA law enforcement and/or fraudulent players trying to appear anonymous.

How does a VPN work?

VPNs are essentially relaying your internet activity through a server in some other country. Suppose you’re located in New York City. If you try to access Yahoo! from your computer, the request goes directly into the DNS infrastructure of the internet providing you with a direct connection to Yahoo. Yahoo also knows that you’re located in New York City based on your IP. That’s why you might see advertisements for local services opposed to taxis, restaurants, or hotels in California.

When you send your request through a VPN, the VPN essentially becomes your IP and location. So, the New Yorker using a United Kingdom VPN to access Yahoo! would first connect to the UK, then browse the internet as normal. When you land on Yahoo’s homepage, they see you as a visitor from the UK, NOT New York City where you REALLY are.

Learn more about how VPNs work here.

Why do people use VPNs? Are they doing something illegal?

Not necessarily. VPNs might allow someone located in a country that heavily censors the internet, ie. China, to browse sites they wouldn’t normally be able to visit. Someone with a Shanghai IP would have limited access to some USA media. If that person connects to USA media through a VPN located in the United States, they can use the web like any normal American.

People also use VPNs for privacy reasons. The need for “Privacy” doesn’t always mean someone is up to no good. Instead, these people want to use the web anonymously. Employing a VPN adds a layer of protection against prying eyes. If a webmaster wants to know who’s accessing his/her website, they’ll look at IP addresses of users first. Someone without a VPN will be traced directly to their physical location, or internet service provider who can identify them. Turning on a VPN means the sleuthing webmaster would trace a visitor back to a server first. Then, he/she would have to have some authority to question the VPN server owners about who uses their service. Most people operating VPNs will not turnover records and account information unless an egregious offense is occurring, or they are otherwise compelled by a court order to do so.

Of course, if your favorite poker site welcomes everyone EXCEPT USA players, an Ireland VPN moves your IP location overseas, even if you’re in downtown Detroit. Then, you only have to fund your account to enjoy online poker action just like you did before Black Friday.

What are some VPNs that welcome poker players?

Caution: This list came from a casual internet search. You’ll need to evaluate each service on your own to see if it CURRENTLY accepts poker players, the cost, and quality of service. You should also consult a knowledgeable attorney before opening an online poker account using a VPN. You might be subject to prosecution, foreign or domestic.

If you’re tech savvy, you can always setup your own VPN, which is probably the safest in terms of privacy concerns. You can tweak your server’s setup to use a different port (the usual is 1194), connection method, and encryption protocol. Ask any friend who’s in IT and they can help you out. VPS (Virtual Private Servers) are available around the world for affordable prices, and you can have a VPN up in a couple hours of configuration.

Good Luck from Jaxcasinos!