Since the UIGEA was enacted in October, 2006, many US players are seeking a new, legal way to play poker for more than just fun. Several online poker rooms have opened their doors, offering real cash and/or prizes for tournament player and leaderboards, without the players ever depositing a penny.
Among these sites are NLOP, Ujogo, Prizewagon, and NoPayPoker.
Each of these online poker rooms turns a profit by relying on sponsorship advertising. That profit is increased if players click the advertising banners and make use of the sponsor by signing up for something or making a purchase, but either way, the free online poker room still earns a profit. The more profit the online poker room earns, the more they are able to award their players in cash and/or prizes.
Notably, NLOP.com National League of Poker, opened it's virtual doors in June of 2006, before the UIGEA was passed. In October of 2006, the online poker room was already servicing 30,000 members. Their numbers have risen significantly to about 152,000 post-UIGEA.
The free online poker room boasts a monthly profit averaging $125,000 from sponsorships and guarantees a minimum of $25,000 paid out each month in cash and prizes to their tournament winners and top players. The NLOP reportedly mailed out 3,000+ checks ranging from $5 to $500 to their members in October, 2007.
For all of you poker enthusiasts in the US searching for an exciting way to play for legal rewards - and I know there are many - Any of the free online poker rooms above are highly recommended. The quality of play is spectacular, it's perfectly legal and there's absolutely no risk as you'll never be asked to deposit a single penny.