The UIGEA Survival Kit: US Payment Options
Fear not, here are four funding alternatives for the American poker player.
With credit card companies forbidden to conduct online gambling transactions, many players were left to depositing with other processors. Unfortunately, many of the online payment processors that players could use to make deposits have fallen by the wayside.
This hasn't kept players from getting money on their favorite poker sites. Let's take a look at some options that players have taken advantage of since the inception of the UIGEA.
#1. The PayPal Underground
PayPal is a common payment processor used by people across the globe to pay for anything from eBay auctions to airline travel. Poker sites do not actually accept PayPal payments, but this hasn't stopped players from trying to get money transferred to poker sites through other means.
Most online transfers through Paypal are initiated from threads in various online poker forums. Essentially, a person looking to buy poker money with Paypal money makes a post looking for a seller.
The seller then contacts the person and they then arrange terms of the sale. Since Paypal charges a fee to a person receiving money, the amount of the fee is typically negotiated as well. For example, if you are looking to buy $20 on Full Tilt, you will probably want to offer $22 Paypal.
There are several caveats with transferring funds in this manner. First, there are many people out there that are scammers and will run with your money once transferred. One way to help alleviate this is to deal with those that have a history in doing such transactions. Sadly, the number of scammers outnumbers the legit sellers.
Also, PayPal does not condone internet poker transfers. While it occurs, it is usually suggested that no mention of poker or online poker is made. There have been reports in the past of people having their accounts suspended.
SendMyChips.com offers a way for players to transfer money between certain poker sites for a fee. Sites that are available for exchange are Full Tilt, Cake Poker, UB.com and 888.
The way it works is that you go to a site and enter what site you have money at and the site you would like to transfer money to. You then enter the amount and the site tells you how much of a fee that they will take.
At some point you will send money to a SendMyChips on the site you are transferring money from. Then, SendMyChips will send the money to an account on the other site minus the fee.
#3. Staking - ChipMeUp.com
ChipMeUp.com is a website that is used by players looking to get staked into online events. A player puts up shares of their event on the site and people that buy shares then transfer the money directly to the player's poker account.
While this isn't exactly a normal way to transfer money, there are at times people on the site that are willing to do player to player transfers.
#4. Instant Checks
Believe it or not, players in the U.S. can still transfer money to online poker accounts via their bank account. This is done via e-checks.
A direct draft is conducted from the player's account to fund their poker account. While players can deposit into their account via their bank account, they will not be able to withdraw back to the account. Checks are the only withdrawal option at present.
If you use any process to fund your account other than bank transfer, do not expect any help from support if you have problems. The only help you may get is confirmation of transfers, but support will tell you that they do not condone player to player transfers. So be very careful with your money, even when playing at the top poker sites for US players.
As you can see, players in the US have become very savvy when figuring out ways to deposit money into their account. However, the ingenuity of players comes with a bit of a risk. As with any online transaction, guard your information and money very carefully and do your research. It will not guarantee you will not get scammed, but it will at least reduce the risk.
Poker Junkie has also compiled list of poker payment options. There you'll find exactly what rooms that accept certain payment methods - credit cards, eWallets, eChecks and so on.