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Americas Cardroom vs. Carbon Poker: Which is Best?

If you're trying to find the best online poker sites for U.S. players, then you may be interested in Americas Cardroom and Carbon Poker. You might be asking yourself, is Americas Cardroom better than Carbon? Or is Carbon superior to ACR? We're ready to go over this topic with a detailed Americas Cardroom vs. Carbon Poker comparison so that you can make a well-informed decision as to where to play online poker for real money in the U.S.A. Among the areas we'll cover are cash games, tourneys, bonuses, rakeback, and cashier processors.

Carbon Poker vs America's Cardroom

About the Two Poker Rooms

Carbon Poker LogoCarbon Poker is the flagship site of the Merge Gaming Network. Rising from obscurity as a second- or third-tier operator in the late 2000s, it actually became the largest place for real-money online poker in the U.S. after Black Friday in April 2011. However, a change in management in 2012 brought to the fore a new ownership group that considers card games an afterthought. This room embarked on a series of decisions that most players disliked, including banning solid winners from accessing the games. Far from its lofty heights as THE destination for American online poker, the Merge Network is now the #5 poker network serving the United States according to traffic figures from Game Intel.

ACR Poker LogoAmericas Cardroom is an old name in the online poker landscape, having existed since 2001. It not only exited the U.S. market but also ceased operations altogether after the passage of the UIGEA in 2006. This hiatus was destined to be temporary, though, as the brand returned in 2011, acquiring in the process the resources and player base of the now-defunct Doyle's Room. Since that time, ACR and the rest of the Winning Poker Network as a whole have grown to the point where they're now the second-largest online poker site serving Americans. Through all its incarnations and moves, this organization has always dealt fairly with players and has not been marred by the scandals that have tarnished some of its competitors.

Ring Games

Carbon's cash games are categorized into tabs for Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Limit Omaha Hi/Lo. Americas Cardroom has all of these game variants and more, including Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven Card Stud (both hi-only and split-pot). So we can see immediately that ACR is where you should go if you wish to enjoy other formats in addition to the standard Texas Hold'em poker that you'll find at basically every site.

When we look at the stakes offered, the Winning Network jumps even further ahead. It spreads games from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50 for big-bet games and from $0.02/$0.04 or $0.04/$0.08 up to at least $30/$60 in each of the fixed-limit formats. Contrast this to the tables at Carbon of which the highest in NL and PL are $2/$5 with the maximum in limit games being $15/$30. The smallest blind levels are absent from Carbon too because the lowest stakes present are $0.05/$0.10.

It's not the case that ACR poker is just spreading its players too thin among disparate types of games. The latest figures indicate that it attracts more than five times as many ring game players as Carbon does. There's a sufficient player volume that even the $25/$50 NLHE and PLO games sometimes run. The numbers don't lie: Americas Cardroom is the preferred poker room of the two if you're a cash game player.

Multi-table Tournament Selection

Carbon has a Sunday Big Ticket event that guarantees $40,000 and costs $150 + $12 to enter, and it also has nightly $100 + $9 tourneys that pay out a minimum of $10,000 apiece. The rest of the schedule contains events priced from less $1.10 to $30 + $3 every single day. There are even a couple of HORSE and Stud-8 tournaments, a rarity in the U.S. online poker market. For a site of its size, Carbon certainly punches above its weight when it comes to MTTs.

Nevertheless, Carbon is as outclassed as a welterweight stepping into the ring against a heavyweight when it goes toe-to-toe against its larger opponent. The Winning Poker Network hosts the largest NLHE Sunday Major open to Americans: the $200 + $15 Sunday Special with a $150,000 guarantee. It also has the largest PLO weekly tourney too: the $200 + $15 Sunday Special PLO ($35K guaranteed). Recurring Million Dollar Sundays, with seven-figure prize pools, and Online Super Series that pay out multiple millions of dollars give tournament fans plenty of reasons to call ACR home. This category is a clear win for Americas Cardroom; it's not for nothing that we named it the best U.S. site for online poker tournaments.


Carbon Poker is a no-show in the rakeback department. It doesn't offer any RB of any shape, form, or description. There isn't even a rewards program to give grinders any long-term incentive to keep playing.

Standard-issue WPN rakeback clocks in at 27%. This is pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of raw RB percentage, but it's a whole lot better than 0%. There's a points reward program too, called Elite Benefits, but individuals can only choose to have one of either Elite Benefits or ACR rakeback active on their accounts. The flat rakeback deal is best for low-volume and microstakes players while Elite Benefits becomes better and better the higher stakes and the greater volume you play. Americas Cardroom prevails by default in the area of rakeback.

Promos and Bonuses

Both of the poker companies we're talking about today provide 100% up to $1,000 bonuses to first depositors, and both bonuses last 60 days before expiring. Lest you think they're equal, we have to inform you that there are actually pretty significant differences in how these bonuses work. For starters, Carbon Poker's bonus returns value to players at a rate equal to just 5% of the rake and fees they pay whereas the percentage at its rival is a much healthier 20%. Additionally, you can request the payment of a portion of the ACR bonus whenever you've earned a single dollar of it, but at Carbon, your bonus will only be credited to your balance every time you release a $20 segment. On top of the bonus, Americas Cardroom also gives new depositors entry into a freeroll and $50 in credits to use on Jackpot Poker sit-n-gos, pulling further ahead of Carbon Gaming.

Things get worse for Carbon when we consider the rest of the promotional rewards. The Winning Poker Network runs leaderboards called The Beast and Sit & Crush for cash game and SNG regulars. They pay out tournament tickets and cash prizes to hundreds of players every week. The Merge Gaming Network doesn't have anything like this. Furthermore, there are plenty of seasonal promos throughout the year at ACR, including reload bonuses and no-deposit bonuses. Carbon does have reloads too, but they have traditionally been no more valuable than the initial deposit bonus. In recent months, Carbon has started to feature redeposit bonuses that clear four times faster than its welcome bonus, but this upgrade to its promotions isn't enough to swing the balance back in its favor. Americas Cardroom beats Carbon handily in the value, variety, and frequency of bonuses and other promos.

Rewards Compariosn of Carbon and Americas Cardroom

Cashier Functions

The ease of getting money onto and off of internet poker sites is one of the foremost concerns of many people especially those in the United States. Both of the competing poker rooms we're dealing with today allow you to fund your account via credit cards and Bitcoin, and they both permit cashouts via check and Bitcoin. They both also support e-wallets for non-U.S. customers. ACR adds a few additional methods that are lacking at Carbon, such as money transfer services for both deposits and withdrawals and debit card cashouts. Carbon, on the other hand, provides bank wire payouts to users who have verified their banking information.

Overall, this seems pretty close to a tie between the two organizations except for one key fact. Carbon charges you for every cashout beyond the first in a calendar year – even those that involve Bitcoin! ACR provides one free withdrawal per month, but more importantly, Bitcoin payouts are always free. We strongly suggest that you use Bitcoin for both funding your account and receiving your winnings. If you've yet to sample the convenience and utility of this digital currency, then take a look at our guide to using Bitcoin for online gambling.

The possibility of avoiding fees gives Americas Cardroom a leg up when it comes to cashier functions. Max Bitcoin withdrawals are also higher at the Winning Poker Network – $10,000 as opposed to just $5,000 at the Merge Gaming Network. WPN tends also to have speedier transaction processing. Check out our report on U.S. online poker real-money payout processing for further info on this subject.


In the matchup of Carbon Poker vs. Americas Cardroom, it's not even close. ACR is easily victorious, prevailing in every single area that we examined for a final score of 5 - 0. If you're eager to begin playing at this online poker site, then read our full Americas Cardroom review. For other excellent U.S. poker sites, check out our comprehensive list of them.

Summary of Carbon vs ACR Comparison


More Site vs Site Comparisons

Are you curious about how other internet poker sites fare against each other? Consult the below resources for the answers: