Deposit and Cash-Out Options

Grant Hinkle

A wise person once said that poker is a game of money played with cards. When it comes to online poker, that means that you need to have a handle on your banking options wherever you choose to play.

Short of winning a freeroll (like some of the great ones we offer here at PokerListings), the only way you're going to have money to play poker with online is to make a deposit from an outside source. And even if you do manage to win one of our fantastic freerolls, chances are that at some point you're going to want to withdraw at least a portion of your winnings once you turn into online poker's next big success story.

It's worth noting that there are big differences in your deposit options depending on where you live. That's mostly due to the UIGEA, a law passed by the United States government in late 2006 that made transferring money to online poker sites much more difficult for anyone playing within the country's borders.

Because of this law's impact, many of the deposit options available to players in other countries just don't apply to Americans. The law might change in the near future, but for the time being Americans can't always do everything as quickly and efficiently as their fellow poker players around the world.

When you decide you're ready to make your first deposit online, you'll have a number of options available to you. Credit, debit and ATM cards with VISA and MasterCard logos are accepted by most online poker rooms, but the bank that issues your card might not allow transfers to anything it designates as a gambling operation. Your bank might also consider any deposit to an online poker room as a cash advance and charge you the appropriate fee. Also, be aware that you cannot cash out to a credit card.

Another option is to use an e-wallet such as Click2Pay, Moneybookers or NETeller. (Due to the UIGEA, some of these services do not accept members from the United States.) E-wallets allow you to make deposits to your favorite online poker room directly from your bank account, making them the quickest way to get in the game.

You can also cash out directly from a poker room to your e-wallet, so moving money between rooms that accept the same e-wallet services can be very handy.

Checks are a useful way of getting money back and forth between your bank account and your favorite online poker rooms. Electronic checks, which use your bank's routing number and your account number to draft your account just as if you'd written a paper check, are available as a deposit option by some poker rooms. And receiving a paper check from the poker room is a universal option, though the amount of time it can take to receive such a check varies widely.

Finally, some online poker rooms also offer the option of making drafts or deposits directly to or from your bank account. Obviously the availability of this option varies from room to room and bank to bank; if you're interested in performing a transaction this way it's best to contact the customer support staff of your online poker room of choice.

All online poker room Web sites have a page that lists all the various deposit and withdrawal options available, so check with your favorite room to see which method best fits your needs.

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