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You want to play some poker, and have some money you’d like to deposit at your chosen online poker site. There are a number of good ways to do this, some better than others. You have a decision to make, which deposit method should you choose?
A big part of this decision comes down to which options are available to you. Right now you are limited to those that you currently have access to. It can take some time to open up new accounts and open new possibilities to you here though.
So there’s two decisions you need to be making, which deposit method you will be using now, from among your available choices, and which one or ones you may want to set up access to in the future.
Where you live matters as well, which comes down to whether you live in the United States or in other countries. There are less deposit options available to Americans, and even less good ones, so getting good advice matters even more than usual.
Options for people in other countries will differ somewhat although generally you can use all of the major ones that we will be covering for you. Ultimately, each poker site will offer you whatever options that are available to you based upon where you live, but you first need to be familiar with them, the information that we’re about to provide you here.
We have broken this down into two sections, one for U.S. players and one for International players, where you will receive a summary of all of the best options that are available to you.
U.S. Online Poker Deposit Options
With state regulated online poker sites, which are currently limited to the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, it’s very easy to deposit at them if you live there. You can use several methods that due to the crackdown on financial transactions with offshore poker sites can’t be used effectively or not at all with offshore sites.
Due to this crackdown though, it’s trickier to successfully deposit from the U.S. to offshore poker sites, so that’s what we’ll be covering for you in this section. Many U.S. based online poker players have been frustrated with this process, due to a lack of knowledge. After you finish reading this section, you will no longer be among that group.
Just because you can use a certain deposit method does not mean that you should. The success rate might be too low, it might be more inconvenient than other methods, it might take longer for the transactions to process than other methods, or the fees involved might be higher.
With some options though, while they may have a low success rate, one can still attempt them if they wish. If this only involves a few minutes of your time and you really would prefer to use the method if you could, this can be worth at least a little effort.
Let’s have a look at the options available to you, so you can decide which ones you may want to use right now as well as which ones you may wish to add to your online poker deposit arsenal:
Visa and MasterCard Credit Cards
Even before the UIGEA was passed in 2006, it had become increasingly difficult to use credit cards to deposit at online poker sites. This was at best a grey area. Banks tend to be on the conservative side anyway, but once the UIGEA came into effect, this became even more of a concern.
MasterCard already had to defend itself in a civil action resulting from a suit by a disgruntled online gambler, all the way back in 2002, which resulted in the landmark decision striking down the claims that the Wire Act applied to online poker and online casino gambling. In spite of this decision though, and in spite of the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice no longer claims that the Wire Act applies to online poker, credit card companies just don’t want to get involved with poker room deposits.
Aside from their not wanting to risk running afoul of the law, there’s also the issue of the higher percentage of chargebacks that occur with gambling deposits made by credit cards. Credit card transactions can be much more easily disputed than debit transactions. Many gamblers sought relief from chargebacks after losing them at online sites. Neither the sites nor the credit card issuers are particularly fond of this.
Banks really don’t want to get involved in these battles anyway, as it’s not seen as being worth the trouble. So after the UIGEA was passed, that pretty much put an end to using U.S. credit cards to make online poker deposits.
Some online poker sites will give you the idea that they have at least a decent success rate with U.S. credit card deposits, and some may be able to do this sometimes by looking to disguise things, but overall this is not all that successful. Payment processors such as Visa and MasterCard aren’t easily fooled.
These credit card success rates usually include their success with Visa branded gift cards, which aren’t credit cards at all. We’ll speak of those in a moment.
Still though, there’s no harm in trying to deposit with a credit card if it is allowed, as there’s no real downside to just trying. Just don’t expect it to be likely to work.
Pros: Using a credit card is simply a fabulous way to deposit funds at an online poker room. This is all about ease, and it doesn’t get any easier than this, provided that you can do it.
Cons: Getting these credit card payments to go through is another matter. Credit card cash deposits incur cash advance fees and accrue interest from the moment of deposit. Online poker sites may also charge additional fees as this costs them extra money on their end.
Overall: Credit cards used to be the most popular form of deposit at online poker sites for Americans back when the success rate was much higher. These days have long passed though, especially under UIGEA sanctions. Usually, the success rate can be anywhere from 50% to as high as 80% at certain sites.
Debit and Gift Cards
While many bank cards now come branded with a Visa or MasterCard logo, U.S. banks steer well clear of offshore online poker sites for the same reason that they don’t permit their credit cards to be used as means of deposit.
U.S. bank issued debit cards have never been a viable option for depositing at online poker sites, and this is certainly true now. In some countries though they can be used for poker deposits, but the U.S. isn’t one of them.
Prepaid debit cards, sometimes called gift cards, are another matter though. Many people refer to these as prepaid credit cards, although they are not credit cards at all, as there’s no credit involved. The user loads them with a deposit from another source, either on a one-time basis or with the ability to reload them as needed.
The difference with these Visa and MasterCard branded debit cards is that they aren’t bank issued debit cards, issued by American banks, who really do not want to get involved in funding online gambling of any sort, including online poker.
These cards come with various branding, and can be purchased through a wide variety of means. The ones that work for online poker are Visa branded prepaid cards, although the Visa branded ones dominate the market and are the ones that are more widely available anyway.
The financial institutions that operate these cards, which are usually different than the brand of the card, often the merchant, may or may not operate under U.S. law, and may or may not care if you use this for poker deposits.
So this can be a hit or miss thing, some work and some don’t, many do though and the worst thing that can happen is that you may not be able to use a certain kind and will have to spend the money on something else, which is very easy to do. This will cost you a few bucks in fees to try one but that’s it.
Visa doesn’t care in this particular situation because of the nature of the transactions. They are final and not subject to chargebacks like credit card deposits are.
Once you have found one that you can use successfully, you are all set, with this payment means anyway, although there are other good options as well.
Pros: Fairly easy to buy, very easy to use, and only modest transaction costs.
Cons: Some work for poker deposits and some don’t, and they do involve paying loading fees as well as maintenance fees if it’s reloadable and you choose to maintain the account.
Overall: Prepaid debit cards were the lifeblood of American poker deposits for several years, but there is a better option now, as we will reveal to you next.
Bitcoin is like the savior of American online gambling, including poker. While Bitcoin has really increased in popularity overall, and is mostly used for non-gambling purposes, it is absolutely perfect for poker room deposits from the United States.
Bitcoin changed all that, as these payments do not involve traditional currency. Bitcoin is a pure digital currency, also called a cryptocurrency, and all uses of it are tracked but done so in a way that is completely anonymous.
Let’s say you make a Bitcoin deposit. The deposit itself is in full view, and it can be viewed by anyone, but the identity of the parties involved is completely hidden, encrypted. Your bank knows that you bought some bitcoin, but that’s it. They don’t know what happened to it. There is no way to trace what happened to it.
The poker site you deposited at received it, but there’s no way to tell that this transaction was accepted by a poker room, as the parties involved in these transactions aren’t disclosed. So it’s perfect for both you and them, taking these deposits, and withdrawals as well, completely off the grid.
Bitcoin simply sticks its tongue out at any and all efforts to monitor both deposits and withdrawals to offshore gambling sites, from the U.S. or from anywhere else. It puts an end to the discussion of whether or not the authorities can interfere with these deposits and withdrawals, once and for all.
Bitcoin is not only fast, it’s cheap as well, very fast and very cheap in fact. As you might imagine, it is quickly becoming more and more popular among U.S. online poker players, and soon this might be the only deposit you will be able to use.
That’s a good thing though, as Bitcoin is so vastly superior to other means of deposit and withdrawal at U.S. friendly online poker rooms. Most sites gladly accept it now, and will sometimes even give you extra bonuses for using it.
Pros: Completely anonymous transactions, a huge benefit to U.S. depositors. Fast and inexpensive.
Cons: You do need to set up a Bitcoin wallet, but that’s pretty easy. The value of Bitcoin can fluctuate a bit during the transaction process.
Overall: If you are from the USA, and play online poker, Bitcoin is by far the best method to deposit and withdraw.
Peer to Peer Money Transfer
Peer to peer money transfers such as Western Union or Moneygram have been around for a while now, and up until Bitcoin became accepted at U.S. friendly offshore poker rooms, it was felt by many to be the best all-around option, for both deposits and withdrawals.
How this works is that you send or receive a money transfer with someone at the poker room, but instead of dealing with the poker room directly, you deal with one of their employees.
So the transaction shows that you sent or received money from a certain person, so that at least doesn’t involve disclosing the true identity of the other party, the poker room, on the transaction. The money transferring service doesn’t know what it’s for, where it’s going or where it’s coming from, and you do not have to disclose these details.
While this is more expensive than prepaid cards to use, and less convenient as well, you can’t use prepaid cards to withdraw. With peer to peer transfers you can, and this avoids having to wait for a check in the mail like you do with prepaid card deposits. These checks can take a long time to come in the mail, and even couriered checks can take a while.
Pros: Can be used effectively for both deposits and withdrawals. Poker rooms sometimes will reimburse you for part or all of the fees.
Cons: Not the most convenient means of money transfer. Fees tend to be on the expensive side, and a significant portion of smaller deposits and withdrawals.
Overall: Not a bad option overall if not for Bitcoin now being accepted, which is simply better in just about every way.
International Poker Room Deposit Options
Deposit options do vary by country a fair bit, especially when it comes to deposit options that are country or region specific. It’s pretty easy to tell which ones you can deposit with though.
All you really have to do is go to their deposit page and the software will almost always provide to you the available options that you may select from. Some options are available from just about every country though, and we will present these to you, so you may be better informed.
Which deposit options you choose does make a difference though in the means that will be available for you to withdraw, as online poker rooms generally want you to make a successful deposit with a given method before they will allow you to make a withdrawal with it.
So it does pay to check out which withdrawal options are available to you, although we will discuss that element as we go through the most popular ones for you. It does not hurt to ask this though and sometimes you do have to ask as this is not always transparent on their site.
Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club International Credit Cards
Credit cards are the best way to deposit at online poker sites, provided that you can use them, and you can in most countries. If you live in a country that has tried to clamp down on poker room play though, you may have to consider another option. It’s easy to tell though as this will be presented to you as an option, and if it is and your card doesn’t work, you can just try another means.
The beauty of credit cards is that they are very quick and very easy, and your money will be in your account instantly. Should you worry if an online poker room is on the up and up or not, and that’s not a concern anyway, you can reverse any transactions that you don’t get the credit for.
So all you do is look for an option for the credit card that you desire to use to deposit with, whether that be a Visa, a MasterCard, or Diners Club International, or another card if you see it as an option on the site.
Some people think that they will earn rewards by using their credit card to make poker deposits, but that often isn’t the case, and the transaction will be treated like a cash advance in most cases. This usually means no rewards, and no grace period as well. You’ll pay interest from the time of the deposit and may also incur a cash advance fee.
You can’t really withdraw to credit cards either. Online poker rooms can issue you a “refund” of up to your deposit amount, but no more. This is only possible if you use a Visa, as other cards do not allow this at all. Conditions can differ among online poker rooms so it’s best to check them out in detail if you’re looking to withdraw to a credit card. It is also wise to explore other withdrawal options.
Pros: Instant deposits, extremely convenient, can use credit to make your deposits.
Cons: You will probably have to pay interest, the credit card company may charge you a fee, and the poker room might add a fee on as well. Since you are borrowing, you should make sure you can pay it back easily enough, without accruing a lot of interest. Limited or no opportunities to withdraw.
Overall: Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are the easiest and fastest way to deposit, but they aren’t so great on the withdrawal end. People may at least want to have an option that you can do both easily available to them, and actually deposit with it at least once.
Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards
Unlike the U.S., people in many other countries can use various means to move money in and out of their bank accounts to online poker sites. One of the popular ways to do this is by using your bank debit card, branded with Visa or MasterCard logos, or with their co-brands, Maestro and Visa Electron.
These offer you the benefits of credit cards while also allowing you to withdraw to your bank account as well.
Since these cards work essentially the same way as credit cards to, other than your having the money taken out of your account immediately rather than borrowing it, as you do with a credit card.
At some sites, they may accept certain debit cards that are not Visa and MasterCard branded cards, although this is being phased out as Visa and MasterCard gain a bigger share of this market.
Pros: Fast deposits, like a credit card, and easy withdrawals as well. Money comes out of and into your bank account directly, no need for a third party account.
Cons: You actually have to have the money in hand, unlike with a credit card.
Overall: Debit cards are simply a great way to both deposit and withdraw money from online poker sites, provided that you have one that they accept.
You don’t have to be from the U.S. to use Bitcoin for online poker room deposits and withdrawals. Even in countries where you can use pretty much anything to deposit with, many people choose to use Bitcoin, mostly due to the anonymity of the transactions.
Bitcoin is almost as fast as credit and debit card transactions, as due to the nature of bitcoin transactions, it can take a little while for transactions to be confirmed, 20 minutes to a half hour typically. As long as you’re not in a big hurry, this is fine.
Bitcoin withdrawals can be faster than other means though. With Bitcoin withdrawals, the time involved is just the poker room’s processing time, not theirs plus the processing time of your bank or internet wallet.
As opposed to the U.S. friendly poker rooms, who have welcomed Bitcoin with open arms, sites that do not take U.S. players have been slow to warm to this method, probably due to a lack of demand. As Bitcoin gains in popularity, we may see more online poker sites accept it.
Pros: Completely anonymous, which provides the ultimate in security, your account details are given to no one. Fast deposits and the fastest withdrawals possible.
Cons: Many non U.S. friendly sites don’t take it yet. There is a slight risk of price movement during the transaction process.
Overall: Bitcoin is a fantastic method for U.S. players, and still a viable option for players in other countries, although there are several other great options for these players.
Internet Wallets such as Skrill and Neteller
Internet wallets such as Skrill and Neteller have always been a popular way to deposit at online poker rooms, and remain so today. They work as third-party intermediaries, where money gets deposited into your internet wallet account from your bank account.
This requires one to open up an account with a popular internet wallet processor, and then transfer money into it. Once you are ready to make a deposit at your chosen online poker room, you transfer it from your internet wallet account to the poker room, instantly.
You can also use internet wallets such as Neteller and Skrill to make withdrawals as well. Withdrawals to internet wallets generally take a couple of days for the money to get into your internet wallet account. It can be spent directly from this account or transferred to your bank account if desired, which takes a few more days.
While Neteller and Skrill are the two most popular and most widely accepted internet wallets at online poker sites these days, depending on the poker room and the country you live in, there may be other options available to you. Be sure to check the deposit page of the poker site that you’re looking to deposit at for all the details.
Pros: Fairly anonymous with your card or bank details not being shared. Instant deposits with fairly quick withdrawals, to the internet wallet at least.
Cons: You will have to set up a separate account for the internet wallet. Moving money to and from internet wallets take extra time.
Overall: Some people really like not sharing their account details online, and therefore it can be worth the little added inconvenience that internet wallets present over more direct means such as credit, debit, and direct bank transactions.
Paysafecard and Entropay Cards
Paysafecard and Entropay are two popular prepaid cards that can be used to deposit at most poker sites from most countries. These cards are completely digital products, similar to internet wallets, although they have the benefit of being able to be used for much more than just poker room deposits.
This is particularly the case with the Entropay card, which bears a Visa logo and is available to be used for online purchases wherever Visa is accepted, which is virtually everywhere. The paysafecard is particularly popular in Europe and can be used at over 50,000 online merchants located throughout the world.
The paysafe card is strictly for deposits, where the Entropay card can be used as a withdrawal method as well, with certain limitations.
Neither of these cards are as useful as credit or debit cards, but some people do not feel comfortable sharing their credit and debit cards online, so they choose these prepaid cards instead.
Credit cards do come with fraud protection though, and it’s quite easy to get out of a fraudulent credit card transaction. Reversing debit purchases takes longer, as they can’t just be instantly reversed, but generally banks protect you against fraud as well with your bank accounts.
Pros: Entropay and paysafe cards offer protection against unauthorized use of the money you have on these card products. They offer instant deposits once the cards are funded.
Cons: You have to go to the trouble and expense of buying these cards. No withdrawal option for paysafecard.
Overall: If you really want a secure method of payment and want more convenience and wide accessibility over internet wallets, using Entropay or paysafe card may be for you.
Direct Bank Transfers
Online poker sites provide a means to transfer money right from your bank account to the poker site, and also transfer it back to your bank account when it’s time to withdraw.
These methods use electronic funds transfers, or EFTs, to process the deposits and withdrawals. This is similar to getting paid through direct deposit or having a payment come out of your account automatically, or writing a check.
Direct bank transfers actually work just like checks do, other than these are electronic checks. They do take some time to process, a couple of days generally. They are only available in some countries.
Wire transfers, on the other hand, are available from any country, provided that your bank is willing. This isn’t an option from the United States for instance, or any country whose banks do not want to do business with online poker sites, but most do.
Wire transfers are more expensive and more trouble than EFTs, although they are a great way to move large amounts of money in and out of online poker sites, and in these cases, the extra fee is only a small part of the transaction.
Pros: You don’t need to use a bank card for either EFTs or wire transfers. EFTs are usually free. Wire transfers can be used to transfer larger amounts with ease.
Cons: These transactions take a few days and aren’t trackable. Wire transfers are more expensive than other means.
Overall: Direct bank transfers aren’t the best option in many cases, but in some, for instance if you don’t have a better option available right now or need to move a lot of money, they can make sense.
Whether you live in the United States or elsewhere, as you can see there are several good options available for you to deposit at the online poker site of your choice.
While there are a limited number of good online poker sites that accept U.S. players, there are still some really good ones out there. The good ones have bent over backward for years to accommodate Americans, to make it easier for them to deposit and withdrawal at their sites, even though in the past this has been challenging at times.
Now that Bitcoin is on the scene, and as widely accepted at U.S. friendly online poker sites, this is a real game changer and takes the UIGEA and any other legislation completely out of the equation. If a poker site will let you play there, you can deposit and withdraw at it, with ultimate ease, by using Bitcoin.
The other deposit methods from the U.S. have really been effectively rendered irrelevant now. It may just be a matter of time before Bitcoin is the only method these poker sites accept.
From other countries, for the most part you can pick from among a number of good options, and there isn’t really a need for a digital currency such as Bitcoin. This now becomes just a matter of what you have, what you are willing to get if you don’t have it, and what your personal preferences are.
The next step is to decide where you are going to be depositing at, so feel free to check out all of our recommendations of the best poker sites to deposit and play.