Summary: Playing poker online is a great way to meet new people, enjoy your free time and even make money playing one of your favorite games.
Unfortunately, online gambling and poker has been banned in numerous countries around the world, making it impossible to access gaming networks that offer real money poker games.
You may also be behind a corporate, government or education network that has restricted access to these types of sites to ensure the security of their network.
Whatever the case is, if you’re trying to play poker online and have had your access restricted, you will want to connect through a Virtual Private Network service.
Virtual Private Network, or VPN, services allow you to route your internet connection through a server that’s based in a country that does not have laws pertaining to playing real money poker online.
You’ll also be able to bypass firewalls and restrictions that your network administrator has put in place so you can play poker online without getting yourself in trouble.
To keep yourself safe and secure and bypass restrictions to play poker online with ExpressVPN, click here now.
Table of Contents
- Best VPN for Online Poker
- Why You Should Trust Us
- Testing Methodology
- How We Tested Each VPN Service
- VPN Services You Should Avoid
- VPNs Disqualified Due to Missing Features
- VPNs Eliminated Due to Poor Reviews
- Top Three VPNs for Online Poker
- Wrapping It Up
Why You Should Trust Us
The SecureThoughts writing and research team take pride in staying at the forefront of the internet technology and security industry, and helping people overcome technical issues.
We have devoted significant resources to researching different VPN services that are available, to help our readers find the best method for playing poker online and staying safe while doing it.
When you’re trying to bypass network restrictions and access online gaming and gambling sites, not all VPN services are created equal.
We’re going to put our years of experience toward helping you find the best VPN service for accessing online poker networks and staying safe while you do it.
How We Tested Each VPN Service
To help you find the best VPN service for staying safe and accessing your favorite online poker networks, we’ve tested 173 different VPN services using a three-step elimination process.
To skip the methodology and go straight to our recommendations, click here now.
To begin the elimination process, we’ve immediately removed any service that participates in invasive surveillance programs ordered by the local government.
Next, we looked through the features of each remaining service to ensure they offer the tools we believe are required for helping you access your favorite poker websites and networks.
We’ve also used reviews from third-party websites to help eliminate any service that has consistently received negative reviews from past and current customers.
Finally, the services that remained on our list after our previous eliminations were put against each other using extended testing procedures and criteria to find the best VPN for online poker.
Those criteria are:
Price – While many VPN services are competitively priced, pricing itself doesn’t determine the quality of the VPN services on our list.
Setup Process – We tested the software provided by each VPN service to ensure that it is easy to install and configure, and doesn’t cause problems establishing a connection to their network.
Ease of Use – We also verified that staying connected to the VPN service’s network is easy to do and doesn’t require significant help from their customer support team.
Speed – The services on our list were put through numerous speed tests to ensure they provide fast upload and download speeds, and do not become unreliable over time.
Customer Service – We submitted multiple requests to their customer support team to determine how helpful they are, and how quickly they respond to the requests.
Below are the results we’ve found during our elimination and review process.
VPN Services You Should Avoid
The first method that we used to eliminate some of the 173 different VPN services on our list was to remove any service that participates in the “14 Eyes” program.
The 14 Eyes program, for those unfamiliar, is an agreement between different governments that forces internet service providers to track your online activity.
Then, the government can force those service providers to hand over the logs of your activity, which can be used to prosecute you for violating local laws.
While performing our initial elimination, we found that 123 of the 173 services on our list participate in 14 Eyes, and have removed them from being eligible for our recommendation.
VPNs Disqualified Due to Missing Features
Our preliminary elimination process continued by removing any service that fails to offer the features we believe are necessary for online poker players.
We’ll break down each of the features we’ve looked for with each service, why they’re important for poker players and which services have been eliminated for failing to provide them.
Criteria #1: OpenVPN Support
VPN services, like other internet service providers, use one of many different protocols to manage your connection to their network.
OpenVPN is considered one of the easiest to use and most secure protocols, which is why we’ve eliminated any service that does not support the OpenVPN protocol.
AnonVPN and Betternet are two services that have been eliminated from our review due to a lack of OpenVPN support.
Criteria #2: Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer
Some online poker services allow you to video chat with other players. Video chatting can consume large amounts of bandwidth, which could have your VPN subscription limited.
VPN services that limit your connection speeds or your account access for excessive data use have been removed from being eligible for receiving our recommendation.
Celo and Cloak are two services that have been eliminated because of a lack of OpenVPN support.
Criteria #3: No Data Logging Policies
Many internet service providers will track your online activity to help diagnose problems that you’re having when you contact their customer support team.
These activity logs can be used to prosecute you, though, and if online poker and gambling is illegal where you are, put you at risk. Services that track your activity have been eliminated.
Seed4Me and Hola!VPN are two services that track your activity and have been eliminated due to these practices.
Criteria #4: Support for Multiple Operating Systems
Every VPN service currently available will supply you with the software needed to establish and maintain a connection to their network.
VPN services that supply software that isn’t compatible with most major operating systems create problems for many people, which is why they’ve been eliminated from our review.
IntelliVPN and SunVPN are two services that supply software that isn’t compatible with most mainstream operating systems and have been eliminated from our review.
Criteria #5: Support Multiple Concurrent Connections
When you realize the power of connecting to a VPN service and securing your internet connection, you’re going to want to connect every device you own to the VPN service.
Services that do not allow you to connect with multiple devices at the same time, or limit your connection speeds when you do, have been eliminated from being eligible for our recommendation.
HotVPN and IBVPN are two services that limit your connection speeds for connecting with multiple devices and have been eliminated from our review.
Criteria #6: Free Trials, Refunds and Money-Back Guarantee
There may be situations you find yourself in where the experience you’re having with a VPN service we’ve recommended doesn’t match the experience we had while testing their service.
Situations like those are why we’ve eliminated any VPN service that doesn’t offer a free-trial period or refund policy, to ensure you can move on to a new service if you have a bad experience.
VPNBaron and VPN Shield are two services that have been eliminated because they do not have valid refund policies or offer free trials.
Criteria #7: No Peer2Peer Blocking
To help lessen the load on their servers, many online poker networks will utilize Peer2Peer technology to allow you to connect with players all over the world.
Any VPN service that blocks access to Peer2Peer technology has been removed from our list to ensure you’re able to access your favorite online poker networks and services.
HotVPN and IBVPN are two examples of services we’ve eliminated because they block access to Peer2Peer technology.
Criteria #8: No Mandatory SMTP Blocking
Whenever you connect to a VPN service and want to send an email, your email will be transferred across the VPN service’s network.
Some VPN services block your access to email because of spammers, which is why those services have been eliminated to prevent you from having to disconnect, send your email and reconnect.
Tunnelbear and TorVPN are two services that we’ve eliminated because they block access to sending email while you’re on their network.
VPNs Eliminated Due to Poor Reviews
Many third-party websites bring together past and current customers so they can leave reviews on the services they’re using, and we’ve used them to aid our elimination process.
Any VPN service that has consistently received poor reviews from past customers on third-party websites have been eliminated from being eligible for receiving our recommendation.
Top Three VPNs for Online Poker
After a lengthy elimination process, we’ve managed to dwindle our list of 173 VPN services down to a total of three. Each remaining service is vying for our #1 recommendation.
Each of the remaining three services will be reviewed based on five criteria:
- Setup Process
- Ease of Use
- Customer Service
The three services that remained on our list have been put through extensive testing, helping us figure out that one service is best for online poker players.
#1 ExpressVPN – (9.5 / 10) – The Best VPN Service for Online Poker
After an extended review process, we’ve concluded that the best VPN service for playing poker online and staying safe and secure while you’re connected to the internet is ExpressVPN.
The pricing that they offer their subscription packages at keeps them competitive. They charge $8.32 when you pay for 12 months up front, or $12.95 when you pay for a monthly package.
The ExpressVPN software makes it easy to connect to their network, and we didn’t have any problems installing and configuring it. We were connected within a few minutes of subscribing.
It’s easy to tell that ExpressVPN devotes a significant amount of resources to providing the strongest and safest network, with the best connection reliability and speeds we’ve seen.
When we performed speed tests, ExpressVPN topped the charts in tests performed through servers based in the United States and the United Kingdom.
If there are times you find yourself having issues with the ExpressVPN service, you can get helpful responses from their customer support team within 60 minutes in most cases.
ExpressVPN impressed us in most areas, but one area we do wish they could improve upon is in the customer service department. In one instance, we waited up to three hours for a response.
We also noticed that ExpressVPN performed slower than our #2 ranked service in tests that were performed in Australia. This may be due to the time of day we performed the tests, though.
Summary: When you’re trying to stay safe online and access your favorite poker sites that have been blocked, ExpressVPN is one of the best services you can subscribe to.
The size and strength of their network makes it easy to establish and maintain a connection, their customer support team is helpful and responsive and their pricing is competitive.
To play poker online when your access has been restricted, get ExpressVPN by clicking here now.
#2 IPVanish – (7.5 / 10) – Suitable if ExpressVPN isn’t Available for You
Even though we’ve put each service on our list through extended testing, there may be times that our experience doesn’t match the experience you have.
In terms of pricing, IPVanish is one of the most aggressively priced services, charging $7.50 per month for monthly subscriptions and $4.87 for 12-month subscription packages.
The software they provide when you subscribe to their service is simple and intuitive to use, and allows you to connect to their servers within a few minutes of paying for your subscription.
The customer support team at IPVanish is helpful and responded to the requests that we submitted to them within three hours in most cases.
The IPVanish network is also strong enough to handle multiple active connections without becoming slow and unreliable, or causing frustrating experiences.
In general, IPVanish performed acceptably in the tests that we performed, though there were areas that could potentially be addressed.
In speed tests, IPVanish did rank #2 when tests were run through servers in the US and the UK, but ranked third in tests run through servers in Australia.
There was also one instance where the customer support team at IPVanish took more than 24 hours to respond to a request that we sent them.
Summary: ExpressVPN easily outperformed IPVanish in nearly every area of our testing, but we understand that ExpressVPN may not be available for every person reading this.
If you find yourself having issues with ExpressVPN, or find that they’re unavailable where you’re located, IPVanish can help you access your favorite online poker websites and services.
If you would like to know more about IPVanish, you can visit their site by clicking here.
#3 HideMyAss – (5.5 / 10) – Not Recommended
As a word of warning to our readers, HideMyAss ranking third in our review process does not mean we are giving them a recommendation as a viable VPN service for playing poker online.
Though they made it through the elimination process, extended testing of their service revealed multiple problems that make it difficult to recommend them.
The HideMyAss software that is provided with your subscription did not present many issues, and we used it to connect to their network within a few minutes of subscribing.
It’s compatible with most major operating systems, so you can protect every device you own without worrying about purchasing a second service or getting frustrated with ill-performing software.
The software that’s provided with your subscription is the only area we did not experience problems while testing the HideMyAss VPN service.
Our problems started before we subscribed. HideMyAss is one of the most expensive VPN services in the industry, charging $16.99 per month, or $9.29 per month for 12-month subscriptions.
We also believe they could improve the strength of their network. During testing, we experienced significant issues, ranging from dropped connections to slow and unreliable connection speeds.
After emailing their customer support team for assistance, we waited more than 24 hours to receive a response in nearly every instance, which we consider to be unacceptable.
Summary: When you’re trying to access restricted online poker websites, there are far better services available than what HideMyAss delivers to their subscribers.
During extended testing, we’ve found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service for helping you bypass these restrictions. If they’re unavailable, IPVanish is still better than HideMyAss.
If you want to learn more about HideMyAss, you can do your own research by clicking here.
Wrapping It Up
When you live in a country where online poker is banned, or find that access to these websites is blocked on your network, you need a quality VPN service to help bypass the restrictions.
Virtual Private Network services let you route your connection through a server in a country where online poker is allowed, so you can safely play poker without being restricted.
After performing extended testing on numerous different VPN services, we’ve found that ExpressVPN is the best service for playing poker online.
To learn more about ExpressVPN and play poker online, click here now.