UPDATE: Bovada poker for iPhone and Android is available again. - America's most popular online cardroom, Bovada, recently announced that it is to transfer its services and player pool over to Ignition Casino. For current users of Bovada, the good news is that you will be able to enjoy all of the same great features of the current poker client over at Ignition Casino. Aside from its different name, the software of Ignition Casino is more or less identical to Bovada's, with Zone poker and hundreds of daily tournaments all available via both desktop and mobile devices. The Ignition poker room is exclusively for US players.
While playing online poker at offshore sites is perfectly legal, there’s no denying the fact that funding your poker account has become increasingly difficult over the past few years, as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 forced many companies to stop processing online gambling related transactions. Consequently, many inexperienced poker enthusiasts have been asking me how to ensure that their money will arrive at the site of their choosing without any unnecessary delays. The goal of this short guide is to address this issue and tell you which methods work and which ones you should generally avoid.
Credit Cards - Deposit in the U.S. with Visa, American Express & MasterCard
Using a credit card to make a deposit has become the most widespread method in the United States ever since the companies like PayPal have decided to stop cooperating with the US-facing part of the gambling industry, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given how popular they are. Making a credit card payment to a poker room is very similar to transferring money to any other site – as you’d expect, you’ll be required to provide the room’s staff with your billing address, card number and expiration date, as well as the CVV code. Moreover, you’ll have to ensure that you’re using a card that has been cleared for international transactions, as the popular domestic-only cards will simply be refused. Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that not every credit card deposit will be successful – some transactions might still be refused even if you aren’t using a domestic card. Many players have reported that Visa cards tend to have the highest acceptance rate, but MasterCard and even American Express are also fairy likely to work. Fortunately, you won’t lose any money if your transaction fails to go through – in the end, using a credit card to fund your poker account is perfectly safe, but not 100% reliable.
Western Union and MoneyGram
Western Union and MoneyGram money orders have recently become fairly popular among US-based poker enthusiasts due to the fact that credit card payments aren’t perfectly reliable. Unlike credit card deposits, money orders pretty much guarantee that your money will arrive on schedule and will be available for withdrawal without any holds. Unfortunately, depositing via Western Union and MoneyGram requires considerably more effort, as the entire process can get rather complicated. Usually, you’ll have to request the poker room to provide you with the necessary transaction details, head to your local supermarket, enter them on a form and submit it along with the cash. Once you do that, you’ll receive a Money Transfer Control Number, which you’ll have to send back to the poker site. Once the transaction has been confirmed, most rooms will credit the money to your poker account within one hour. Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that making a deposit using this method tends to involve paying a transaction fee. Some offshore poker sites might opt to cover those additional costs by giving you a small bonus. However, if you decide to play on a site that refuses to cover your fees, you should keep in mind that making a huge number of small deposits via MoneyGram or Western Union might get fairly expensive.
Prepaid Cards - Mixed Results for U.S. Poker Players
If your credit cards keep getting refused and you don’t want to fund your account using a money order, you can always try depositing to your poker account via a prepaid debit card or even a simple gift card. Much like in the case of standard cards, not all prepaid cards are going to work – in fact, you might be forced to buy several cards in order to find the ones that get your money through and stick to buying them. The easiest way is to start with a small prepaid card to see whether it will be accepted or not. In the end, you should be prepared to go through some hassle before actually finding the right pick. Furthermore, you should always check the fees before actually purchasing your gift card or funding your prepaid, as they tend to be incredibly varied.
Following the success of their HTML5 iPhone app, Carbon Poker has announced that Sit and Go games will be on offer via their increasingly successful app. The news comes on the back of what’s been a pretty successful launch for the US facing mobile poker room and will likely be warmly greeted for their ever increasing fan base.
The range of games that are on offer are actually surprisingly good. You can choose between heads up, 6 seater and 9 seater sit and go tables whilst in the app. We have also found that the games seem to fill up pretty quickly, although we were testing this at peak times. We’ve also tried through the day when games are generally a little quieter and although loading time did take a little longer, it wasn’t massively noticeable in all honesty.
The simple design of the poker app on the smartphone platform seems to again work in Carbon’s favour. It’s not the prettiest thing ever, but still functions and flows really well. In fact, it’s actually on of the better ones going.
Since its launch, Carbon Poker Mobile has also included regular, knockout, turbo and hyper-turbo games for their users. These all seem to work really well, although the hyper-turbo games seemed to be over even faster than usual and we weren’t sure if this was to do with people’s connections and hands taking a little longer than they would if they were to be played out on the desktop version.
Overall though, a really solid addition for smartphone users and it’s good to see that Carbon have continued to listen to what their players wanted from a poker app and include this feature. There are still a few bugs to be ironed out, but this is the same with any new feature in the industry to be honest. A solid effort and tidy new feature to the ever increasing Carbon Poker app! And remember, Carbon are currently the only iOS, Android and Windows Phone compatible poker site that welcomes real-money players from the United States of America.
New Jersey is the first state to ‘fully’ legalize online gambling. The state has been working hard on getting the outlawed pastime to become legal within their borders and recently managed to pass legislation allowing them to open their doors to all forms of gambling, not just poker.
Whilst Delaware and Nevada were both granted licenses to legalize gambling in 2013, both states were found to merely test the waters in what was known as a ‘soft trial’.
It's Richard Branson’s Virgin Group that managed to seal the illusive contract in the state of New Jersey which sees them team up with the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City. As a result of this movement the state is set to bring in over $1billion of gambling revenue of which will be taxed at 17%, each year.
Players will be strictly limited to playing within the state boundaries and this will be verified by GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking of their cell phones. Obviously this works fine for players playing over a mobile device but working with players using online versions of casinos will likely need to be addressed, due to the inaccurate readings many I.P. addresses give off.
Early figures suggest that the state could be seeing a colossus windfall of around $45 million, with these figure set to rise, according to H2 Gambling Capital.
What we do know, is that this will likely be the gateway for many more states to legalize gambling and also open the door for other companies to get involved and return to the industry. The likes of Party Poker and PokerStars have already been drawing up bids and finding suitable casinos to team up with. States such as Nevada and Delaware have licenses granted, but the success of New Jersey’s application will likely yield a large number of new applicants.
An interesting stat from the CEO of the American Gaming Association, Geoff Freeman stated that over 10% of the world’s gambling revenue ($3billion) came from US gamblers. This, bearing in mind, is from a country where gambling is illegal. His point was about the fact that prohibition wasn’t working and that legalising gambling would deliver over 22,000 jobs across the US; not to mention to huge numbers of revenue each state would receive.
888 become first online poker room to be granted a New Jersey gambling license
December 2013 will be a monumental date in the calendar of mobile poker as a long fight against the illegalisation of online gambling in the US finally started to yield results.