US Poker Deposit Methods For USA Players
Next to finding a safe poker site, the obstacle that US players face is finding a deposit method they can use to fund their account. Preferably a deposit method that is safe, convenient and fast. No one wants to wait hours or days for their money to be available.
The underlying challenge isn’t the deposit method, though, but instead the fact that you’re trying to gamble online in the United States. While online gambling isn’t (explicitly) illegal in most states, it is illegal for banks to process transactions to and from poker sites. So that makes it hard to even use common day-to-day banking methods such as credit cards and bank wires.
Our goal is to make the process as smooth as possible for you. To do that we’ve listed all the banking options Americans have at their disposal and links to pages that describe how to use them and the best sites for that particular option.
Credit Card Poker Poker Sites - This covers major brands such as Visa, MasterCard and Amex. The best credit card sites will have the most (brand) options, as well as accept gift and prepaid cards. They will also have high acceptance rates. The upside to using credit cards is the speed and convenience. The downside is dealing with the declines.
Visa Credit Cards
Visa credit card deposits are accepted at all US poker rooms. Once you’ve found the poker room you want to play on simply head to the cashier and select the credit card payment method. Once you’ve entered your information you made need to verify the transaction through Visa first. The “Verify by Visa” website will ask you to register and will allow you to enter a password. This is usually a onetime thing and is a security measure.
MasterCard Credit Cards
MasterCard is a well known universally accepted deposit method for US players. All US poker sites accept MasterCard deposits. Once in the poker room cashier select the credit card option, followed by choosing MasterCard in the drop down menu. Once done you can enter your card information and proceed with your deposit.
Western Union PokerSites has been around for a long time and has been proven as a secure way to send money. Poker players can use their online options to send money to their online accounts. To do this you will need a Visa, MasterCard or debit card. You can choose to send the money via Money in minutes, Economy or Quick Collect.
MoneyGram / Rapid Transfer
MoneyGram is an incredibly easy payment options for US players who don’t want to use an ewallet or don’t have a credit card to deposit to the poker rooms. You can quickly send money to and from the poker rooms in as little as a few hours by visiting a MoneyGram location or by accessing the MoneyGram website. Some US poker sites use the term Rapid Transfer when referring to MoneyGram deposits.
The last option available for US players is the ECheck/Instant Check option. This option will deposit money from your checking account. To do this you must choose the Check alternative at the online poker room. You then will "write" the check electronically and it will be sent to your account. The amount sent then will be debited from your checking account.
How Deposits & Virtual Poker Chips Work
The deposit process is like shopping online. You’ll choose your option, fill out the details and hit submit. For example, a credit card deposit might look like this:
Using a credit card your money should be available within minutes, if not seconds.
At this point your money is similar to being in a bank or in your wallet. The difference being that you can only use it to play poker.
From this point forward, using your funds will be similar to a brick and mortar casino. When you decide to buy into a cash game, you’re exchanging your dollars for chips. You play with chips until you decide you’re done and cash out (or leave, if you have no money left).
In the case of a tournament, you’re exchanging your money for a fixed stack of chips that have their own values. The chips you’re given is not indicative of how much money you spent to buy in, how much you stand to win or what’s in your player account.
Once you decide to cash out you’ll be given ‘money’ back, just like you would if you were to cash out at the cage in a Las Vegas casino.
Underlying Risks for Americans
From my experience the biggest risk that Americans face depositing and gambling online, is having their bank closed. Overall, banks in the states aren’t supposed to process transactions to poker sites that are not licensed nor regulated in the country. In addition to that, some banks just prefer not to work with gamblers.
It’s not a common problem, one that you have to lose sleep over. I’ve made several deposits from a Wells Fargo, a large, well-known bank, and had no problems. I’ve also received a couple of wires and cashed a couple of checks. I still have my account today.
However, it does happen. They don’t care about your history with them either. Case in point:
This person banks with HSBC in the United Kingdom, and has for the last 16 years. After making a large deposit and wiring money to investors, the guys at the top told the manager to close his account. He wasn’t given a chance to appeal the decision. All he was given was some time to move his funds as needed.
That was a UK bank. So what do you think a US bank would do?
This player found out. He made several transfers, each totaling nearly $10,000. The account was frozen, and after telling the bank manager he plays poker and needed the money for school, they unblocked it long enough for him to pull his money off. There’s no word whether or not his account was closed, but it was enough for his bank to take notice, which is just as bad.
You could argue that the player shouldn’t have said anything, and I’d agree. However, your bank may find out on their own anyway, or find something suspicious enough for them to block your account. So just know that it’s a risk you take. If it’s a large enough problem / fear for you, then you should consider opening up a ‘junk’ account that you can afford to lose if the worst were to happen.