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5 Best VPNs for Online Poker – Unblock 888 Poker, Pokerstare & More in 2017

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

September 29, 2017

Online poker is a booming business. However, if you want to sign up for Pokerstars or 888 Poker, you may run into problems. Not every country in the world allows online gambling, and that includes poker.

5 Best VPNs for Online Poker

  1. VPNArea
  2. IPVanish
  3. AirVPN
  4. BolehVPN
  5. VPNac

Online gaming companies don’t like being sued, so they respect national bans. They block access to people trying to connect to their websites from countries that ban online poker. Not every poker player in the world is as lucky as those who live in the US or UK.

Some poker sites also restrict you to playing against people in your own country. You might want to play against some of the best poker players in other countries. In that case, you’ll need to appear to be in another country.

There is a way around these restrictions – using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can use a VPN to get around blocks on website access and on regional restrictions.

A VPN can make you appear to be in another country. Each VPN company runs servers in several countries. You select one of those locations before you turn the VPN on. The server that you select will represent you. As such, all of the sites that you visit will think that you’re in the location of the VPN server, not where you actually are.

There is a more complicated issue that VPNs can help you with too. This is a security breach that is becoming more common these days. It’s called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack. This trick can block you out of a game at a crucial moment, allowing another player to win all the money.

Are you new to the world of VPNs? Find out all you need to know in one handy place with our beginners guide to VPNs.

You can read more about DDoS attacks later on in this report. However, first take a look at our recommended VPNs for online poker.

Best VPNs for Online Poker: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
VPNArea Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Spare capacity
  • Servers optimized for gaming
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • IP switcher
CONS:
  • Live chat for support not available 24/7

VPNArea makes sure that it always has spare capacity. It maintains one of the lowest customer-to-server ratios in the industry. That gives you extra protection against DDoS attacks. You need to prevent other players in your game finding out your IP address. Even though the representation that you get from VPNArea should be enough to obscure your true address, the company goes one step further - VPNArea gives you the option of an IP switcher. This will periodically change the address that others see. If a dastardly opponent reads your address and then goes and orders a DDoS attack, by the time that attack launches, you will have a completely different address.

This VPN company operates servers in 68 countries. There are servers that are optimized for downloading, streaming, and online gaming. This selection should give you enough options to work around national bans and regional restrictions and get you into the games you want to join.

Get the best VPN for online poker

Visit VPNArea »Seven-day money-back guarantee

2. Best VPN for Online Poker: IPVanish

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Kill switch
  • Automatic start up
  • Auto-reconnect
CONS:
  • Customer support is slow

IPVanish gives you the high speeds necessary for online gaming. This company owns all of its infrastructure and purpose built its network to serve VPN traffic. This gives you a great advantage against DDoS attackers because the company is well equipped to cope with sudden bursts of connection activity.

Our IPVanish review found you can choose from servers in 60 countries, which will help you get into overseas tournaments, even if online poker is banned in your country. When you begin using this VPN service, make sure to look into the settings of the app. You need to turn on the kill switch. This will ensure that no app on your computer will connect to the internet if the VPN is not active. This protection will help you keep your real IP address private.

3. Best VPN for Online Poker: AirVPN

AirVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Strong encryption
  • Procedures to ensure anonymity
  • High technical capabilities
  • Kill switch
  • Gets around regional restrictions
CONS:
  • Difficult to use

AirVPN has strong technical capabilities. It is very adept at getting around regional restrictions. The only problem you may encounter with this service is that its network is not very big, with servers in just 19 countries.

The owners and operators of AirVPN are technical geniuses. They've been around long enough to have seen the rise of DDoS attacks. The special procedures of this VPN will absorb any attacks and keep you in the poker game.

4. Best VPN for Online Poker: BolehVPN

BolehVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • One-day free trial
  • Based in Asia
  • Works well in China
  • Stealth servers
  • Kill switch
CONS:
  • Servers in only 13 countries

BolehVPN is a good choice for Asian poker players because it is based in Malaysia. This VPN service is very good at getting through the Great Firewall of China, so if you're in the People's Republic and find you can't connect to international poker sites, this VPN will solve your problems.

The only problem that you might encounter with this VPN is that it has servers in just 13 countries - the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. If you want to join a poker game in another country, you may find yourself locked out. Take up the opportunity of this VPN's one-day free trial to run it through its paces before you sign up.

5. Best VPN for Online Poker: VPNac

VPNac Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 21 countries
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • Kill switch
  • Accepts Bitcoin
CONS:
  • Not so fast

VPN.ac is based in Romania. This is a fantastic country for VPN services because there are no data retention laws. The High Court there has also made a point of championing online privacy. The great education system in Romania is another reason why the country provides consistently world-beating VPN services. Don't worry about needing to speak Romanian if you need to contact customer support - the staff speak excellent English. VPN.ac is one of the best VPN services in Romania. It will get you through any regional restrictions that poker sites may throw into your path.

The company has servers in 21 countries. It has very strong encryption to prevent governments breaking in and working out that you're playing online poker.

Best VPNs to Use for Online Poker: Considerations

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

Your computer’s network card connects you to the internet. It only has so much capacity. This simple fact creates a weakness that others can exploit at crucial moments during a poker game.

Every computer in the world that is connected to the internet has a unique address. This is called the IP address. Your network card acquires an address from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) whenever you connect to the internet. Hopefully, you have a firewall installed on your computer. That will prevent incoming connections from unknown sources. However, this defense doesn’t protect you against DDoS attacks.

In a DDoS attack, your network card gets overwhelmed with connection requests. There is no danger that the card will ever agree to any of those requests. However, replying to all of those requests with a “No” takes a little time. If your computer receives thousands of requests all at once, they will block the network card. That means it can’t maintain your connection to the poker website.

Private individuals around the world own the computers that try to connect to your network card. They have no idea that they’re attacking you. A controller program has infected their computers. It makes them available to a hacker who can issue attack instructions to all of those infected computers at once.

This team of infected computers is called a botnet. Each hacker can control hundreds of thousands of computers in a botnet. All of the work that went into assembling this army of zombie attack computers can now be repaid because hackers offer DDoS attack services for hire.

An opponent in a game can pay for an attack against you. A short attack lasting a few minutes can be hired for just $5. This ease of use resulted in the online gaming industry attracting the majority of DDoS attacks in the world in 2017. Internet giant Akamai reported that in Q2 2017, 82% of all DDoS attacks were aimed at online gaming sites and their customers.

VPNs for DDoS Protection

Your small network card doesn’t have the capacity to deal with a bombardment of hundreds of thousands of connection requests in the space of five minutes. However, VPNs have. When you connect to a poker site through a VPN, the VPN hides your own IP address. Thus a rival poker player can’t discover your address. Even the poker site doesn’t have that information available.

One trick that opponents may use to get your IP address is to ask you to join a chat system outside of the poker site, or even connect with Skype. Many chat systems have a security vulnerability that makes your IP address visible to those you connect with. If you install a VPN app and keep it turned on, opponents won’t be able to discover your IP address, only the address of the VPN server. You need to use a system-wide VPN, rather than a browser-based service, so that all of the apps on your computer will be covered by VPN anonymity.

The sneaky opponent who wants to lock you out of a game may think that he has obtained your address. However, he actually has the address of the VPN server. When that opponent enters the IP address he discovered into a DDoS-for-hire service, he will just be directing the attack at the VPN server and not at you.

Quality VPN services don’t worry about DDoS attacks. They have spare capacity built into their business plans. They use “load balancers” to share out the burden by propelling an attack across all of their servers. The VPN simply absorbs the fake connection requests that the botnet throws at it. It doesn’t lock out genuine requests; it passes these through to your computer. If you play online poker through a VPN, you will stay in the game and stand a better chance of winning. Weasel opponents who order DDoS attacks on other players just waste their money if they are up against VPN customers.

Best Online Poker VPNs: Conclusion

Online services such as Pokerstars and 888 Poker work hard to create a community atmosphere. However, they don’t try to fight national bans. You can get in on the action and circumvent blocks and restrictions if you install a VPN.

It’s a shame that not everyone in the gang of poker fans that you join is as community spirited as you. However, you can trounce cheats who try to win through an unfair advantage by blocking off the damage that a DDoS attack can wreak.

You can use a VPN to take online poker back to the good, honest days before DDoS-for-hire existed. Win honestly and reap the rewards of being able to play online poker unhindered thanks to a VPN.

Best VPNs for Online Poker: Side-by-Side Summary

IMAGE CREDITS: Pheonixns/Shutterstock.com

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