US Online Poker Rooms: Understanding The Best Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

All you need to know about managing your money online.
US Online Poker Rooms: Understanding The Best Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

When it comes to choosing an online poker room, there are certain things that virtually all players consider: What is the software like? What variety of games are on offer? What is the rake like? What bonuses are on offer?

Fewer players ask the question, “how does the site manage my money?” —but perhaps they should. In the early years of online poker, getting people to trust in online transactions was a major issue; these days we all take it for granted.

We expect sites to provide quick, secure, and reliable methods for getting our money in—and out—of our poker accounts. And we all assume that our funds are safe when they are being held by the operators.

Unfortunately, in the short history of online poker, that has not always been the case. So, here are a few things you should consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash.

How safe is your money?

Any site worth its salt, should be keeping your money in segregated accounts. Put simply, that means that any money held in players’ balances should be kept completely separate from any money the operator needs for day-to-day running costs.

This is exactly what Full-Tilt, Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker spectacularly failed to do—and when players left those sites in droves in the wake of Black Friday it quickly became apparent that the funds they thought were safely in their accounts, were nowhere to be seen. The operators had been dipping into customers’ money—and they got caught with hands in the cookie jar.

The events and aftermath of Black Friday were a terrible time for online poker. The recovery has been slow and painful but some good is finally coming out of it. The regulation of online poker means there is far greater scrutiny of operators. It protects players in several ways.

Firstly, operators must keep players’ funds in segregated accounts. Stipulations will vary from state to state but some regulators may insist on higher levels of protection, like insurance against the company going bust. Some operators have self-imposed stricter controls over funds, to give their players extra peace of mind. Regulators also give players recourse for action if things do go wrong. They will have official protocols for complaints to be processed if money goes missing or transactions are not processed in a reasonable period of time.

On the whole, controls are much tighter these days and there is more scrutiny and oversight regarding how poker sites guard your funds. That said, there are many off-shore, unregulated sites—particularly in the US marketplace that may not have the same safeguards and policies in place.

That doesn’t mean those sites aren’t safe, per se—some of them are well-established and have good track records when it comes to looking after their players’ money. But it does mean you should do some research. It means you cannot rely on the local regulations to enforce sensible precautions and measures like you can in regulated US states.

It should be easy to find out on a site’s own pages how it looks after your money and what protections are in place. Operators should also have policies to protect your personal data. Again, these should be easy to find on the site in question.

If security information isn’t readily available at any given poker room, alarm bells should start ringing. It only takes a few minutes to do your due diligence and check up on an operator before you entrust them with your money. There really is no excuse not to.

How easy is it to deposit/withdraw your money?

Once you have established that a site is safe, your next concern is convenience. The most trustworthy site in the world is no good to you if it doesn’t cater for your preferred banking method. And in this day and age, those methods should be fast and simple.

All good operators offer a range of deposit methods that should have funds in your account in minutes, if not quicker. As you might expect, it can be slightly trickier to get money out again but nevertheless, you should be able to find a withdrawal procedure to suit your needs and it shouldn’t take more than a few days to reach your bank account.

Again, all reputable sites should have details of accepted banking methods readily available on their web pages. It is up to you to check them out before departing with your money. Players should also be aware that while many online transaction services are provided for free, charges may sometimes be applied, either by your bank or your poker room operator. Here is a list of the most common banking methods that you are likely to come across:

Online Bank Transfer (ACH/e-check)

The Automated Clearing House Network (ACH) is the national clearing house for electronic transactions. They employ extremely high levels of security and are one of the most trusted methods for managing your money online. In 2018 ACH processed $51.2 trillion worth of payments.

Online Payment Providers (Digital Wallets)

These are third-party services that offer quick and secure transactions between you and your chosen operator. The most commonly found are Skrill, Neteller and PayPal —and the majority of online poker rooms will support at least one of these.

A digital wallet (also called an e-wallet), is simply a piece of software that stores banking information and passwords—thereby offering a simple and convenient method for making financial transactions online. To use a digital wallet for online poker, firstly check which providers your chosen poker room supports.

Then you just need to create an account with the e-wallet provider, and link a payment method to it—e.g. bank account or credit/debit card.Thereafter, just select that method in the poker client when making a transaction. It’s that easy.

There are several advantages to using digital wallets for your online poker poker transactions:

  • Speed: e-wallets are an incredibly quick way of making transactions. Deposits and withdrawals will typically take a matter of minutes—or even seconds—to complete.
  • Security: e-wallets are a very safe way of transferring money, you don’t have disclose any financial details to the poker room and third-party regulators protectyou against online fraud. The transactions themselves are made using the most up-to-date security methods.
  • Convenience: As the provider has your details stored, you will not have to fill out forms with long strings of numbers. Once you are logged into the site, you simply click Pay and it is done. You can use one provider to pay at many differentpoker rooms. Having all of your transactions in one place makes them easy to keep track of. The only real disadvantage of digital wallets is that different cardrooms support different providers, and that might be especially true of offshore poker rooms.

Having said that, most of the major regulated operators will accept PayPal or Skrill —or both. So you shouldn’t have to spend time setting up multiple accounts.

PayPal and Skrill are the most commonly found payment providers by far. Whilst they perform essentially the same service, they do differ in some significant ways.

  • PayPal supports 20 currencies; Skrill supports 40.
  • PayPal makes charges for receiving money; Skrill makes charges for sending money.
  • PayPal is available in all almost all major languages; Skrill is available in seven.
  • For verification purposes, PayPal asks you to make a nominal deposit; Skrill asks you to make a small withdrawal.

Prepayment Cards

Prepayment cards, such as Play+, have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer extra security, require no credit checks and are an easy way to keep your poker bankroll separate from the rest of your money. Many sites now accept them as payment methods.

Credit or Debit Card

Most players will be familiar with using Credit or Debit cards for online payments, and virtually all poker rooms will support these methods.

Pay in Cash with Retail Partner

This is a useful resource for people who do not wish to use credit or debit cards online, enabling them to deposit funds into their accounts using cash, at 7-Eleven or other participating local store. Two common providers are PayNearMe and Vanilla Direct.

PayWithMyBank

PayWithMyBank also provides customers with an alternative to debit and credit cards. Players log in to their bank account directly from the poker client, allowing them to deposit funds without the poker operator seeing or storing their banking details.

Other Options

There are a few other transaction methods that are less frequently used. Some poker rooms allow electronic transfer using the bill pay function of your online banking site. And a few online operators allow you to deposit using the cashier cage of a brick-and-mortar casino partner.

Deposit and withdrawal options: A state-by-state guide

Pennsylvania

The Keystone State is the largest so far to have regulated online gaming, with a population close to 13 million. With the prospect of interstate poker becoming ever closer, Pennsylvania could be a vital state for operators looking to maximizetheir liquidity.

PokerStars PA

PokerStars PA went live with online poker in Pennsylvania back in November 2019. The Keystone State is the largest so far to have regulated online gaming, with a population close to 13 million.

PokerStars usually offers a wide choice of deposit and withdrawal methods, and Pennsylvania is no exception. It is also an industry leader when it comes to protecting player funds, with self-imposed rules that often exceed official regulation.

Until very recently, PokerStars was the only licensed online poker room within its borders. However, two new poker rooms went live in PA at the end of April 2021.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Instant Bank Transfer Yes No
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
PayPal Yes Yes
Skrill Yes Yes
PayNearMe Yes No
VanillaDirect Yes No

Borgata Poker PA

Borgata Poker PA launched in Pennsylvania on April 27, running on the partypoker network. Pennsylvania is now the second state that Borgata has a poker room, coming more than seven years after its first in New Jersey.

Borgata is an operator with years of experience and as such, offers a good range of banking options. However, it should be noted that there are considerably fewer options for withdrawals, compared to those for deposits.

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa/Mastercard Yes No
Play+ Yes No
Paypal Yes No
PayNearMe Yes No
Discover Yes No
PayWithMyBank Yes Yes
Electronic Transfer Yes No
Check by mail No Yes

BetMGM PA

BetMGM Poker PA now offers Pennsylvania players a third option in Keystone state. It went live on the same day as Borgata PA, and also runs on partypoker software. As with its sister site—Borgata—there is more choice for getting money on the site than off. However, both rooms are in their infancy so this may improve in future

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa/Mastercard Yes No
PayNearMe Yes No
Discover Yes No
PayWithMyBank Yes Yes
Electronic Transfer Yes No
Mlife Mastercard Yes No

Michigan

PokerStars MI

Michigan is the most recent state to regulate online gaming, and online poker in Michigan went live in late January 2021. It is the second-largest state so-far to regulate online poker, it instantly attracted numbers to rival PA, and will be another key market when shared liquidity becomes available

As the second-largest regulated market, it is seen as a key state for operators to get a foothold in. PokerStars MI was the first operator to go live there in January 2021 and recently held its inaugural MICOOP which was seen as a roaring success.

As one of the most recent rooms to go live, PokerStars MI doesn’t offer quite the range of its PA site. But it does provide the most popular transaction methods, including both PayPal and Skrill.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
PayPal Yes Yes
Skrill Yes Yes

BetMGM

BetMGM MI Poker is one of the largest brands in the US. Its poker room utilities partypoker software and it was the second poker room to launch in Michigan.

Currently, BetMGM and PokerStars are the only two regulated poker operators in the Wolverine State but it is still early days for the market, so expect others to go live there in the future.

BetMGM MI already offers plenty of banking methods although as above, not as much choice for withdrawals.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
Discover Yes No
PayPal Yes No
Play+ Yes No
Electronic Transfer Yes No
PayWithMyBank Yes Yes

New Jersey

PokerStars NJ

Regulated online poker in New Jersey has been around in for a comparatively long time and as such, some healthy competition has built up between operators. It doesn’t have the largest player pool but as an early adopter in the brave new world of regulated gaming, it has been instrumental in the development of post-Black-Friday online poker in the US.

It was the first state where PokerStars NJ went live post Black Friday, launching its poker room there back in March 2016. It offers as good a choice of transaction methods as anyone—both for deposits and withdrawals.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
Play+ Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
Skrill Yes Yes
PayNearMe Yes No
VanillaDirect Yes No
Resorts Casino Cage Yes Yes

WSOP NJ

WSOP/888 has the largest network in NJ, with latest figures indicating a 40% market share in the state. With recently revamped software and a return of WSOP NJ live events later this year, it will be hoping to consolidate that position. WSOP and 888 are two of the most experienced and trusted brands in poker and the NJ poker room has a decent choice of deposit and withdrawal methods available.

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
Discover Yes No
Play+ Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
PayNearMe Yes No
Ceasers Casino Cage Yes Yes

Borgata NJ

Borgata New Jersey's online poker presence goes all the way back to November 2013, making it one of the longest-running poker rooms in the US.

It is part of the partypoker network in the state and enjoyed huge growth in 2020, running WSOP and PokerStars close for market share. Borgata PokerNJ has one of the widest choices of banking options out there, withdeposit and withdrawal options to cover anybody’s preferences.

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa/Mastercard Yes No
Play+ Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
PayNearMe Yes No
Borgata Casino Cage Yes Yes
Skrill Yes Yes
American Express Yes No
Discover Yes No
PayWithMyBank Yes Yes
Electronic Transfer Yes No
Check by mail No Yes

Nevada

If you want to play online poker in Nevada, WSOP Nevada is effectively your only choice. A de facto monopoly in the state sees it account for all poker traffic.

WSOP Nevada combines liquidity with its poker rooms in New Jersey and Delaware, in what is still the only multi-state player pool in the US. As you would expect with such a renowned name, WSOP has a great sample of banking options.

WSOP

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No
Discover Yes No
Play+ Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
PayNearMe Yes No
Casino Cage Yes Yes

Delaware

There are three Racinos licensed for online poker in Delaware. They are Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington—all of which are powered by 888’s software. Delaware was the first state to legalize and regulate online poker. Unfortunately, due to its small player base, it has not been financially viable for many operatorsto have online poker rooms based there. As such, Delaware will benefit hugely once it can share players with the likes of Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The following options are available for deposit and withdrawal.

Payment Method Deposit Withdrawal
Bank Transfer (ACH) Yes Yes
Visa Yes No
MasterCard Yes No