US Online Poker Room Launches; Free Play, Cash Prizes

There is a swelling energy that can be felt all around the world as the anticipation of legal, real money US online poker mounts. In an effort to be fully prepared for the impending day when online poker sites can launch a full-throttle, real money poker site geared towards American players, one overseas operator has jumped ahead by opening a free-play poker room with real cash prizes up for grabs.

Winamax, a leading French online poker operator, has delved head first into the US market by opening its doors to Americans in a wholly legal, yet rewardingly attractive fashion. Players are able to play for free, never being asked to make a deposit of any kind. They are competing for what the US online poker room calls ‘Wams’. These are not real cash prizes per say, but they can be used like real cash to enter tournaments that do carry real cash prize.

The Winamax website clarifies its position on real money online poker games in simple, lucid terms. “Because real money poker is currently not authorized in the United States, we have put together a play money offer designed to encourage real poker play and offer an experience as close to the real thing as possible.” The site goes on to state, “Unlike some, we have chosen to offer real-money games only in regulated markets, where so doing is both safe and legal.”

Because it cannot offer traditional real money poker games in the US market, Winamax provides non-cash prizes that work like real money to enter traditional, real money online poker tournaments. When a US based player uses ‘Wams’ enters such an event, he or she has the ability to win real cash prizes. Unlike ‘Wams’, this money can be withdrawn by an American player. According to the website, “Monetary prizes will be paid out, at your option, via check, wire transfer or deposit into your PayPal account.”

Winamax provides its US online poker site in a wide array of formats. Players can access the poker tables via the website, a Facebook app, an Adobe Air app that boasts PC, Mac and Linux compatibility, an iOS app for iPad and iPhone, as well as an Android app for smartphones. These are the exact same formats available to French players on, the nation’s largest online poker room.

The poker site is rather proud of its multi-cross software interface, avowing that any player “can start a game on your iPhone while on the move and then easily transfer to another device or to your PC without losing any data or wasting time logging-out and logging-in again. To put it simply, start a poker tournament on your Android smart phone, grind through the bubble on your PC, and play the final table from your bed on your iPad.”

The online poker operator proclaimed its intention to enter the US market in a legal fashion earlier this year. As an obvious leader and innovator of the online poker industry, Canel Frichet, CEO of Winamax, gave a statement to eGaming Review shortly after the announcement, “we feel we would know how to navigate any American model, either interstate or federal.” Thus far, the US online poker site has backed up Frichet’s bold claims to the fullest extent.