I love playing online poker. I really do. The number of hands dealt online are far quicker than in a live game, plus I beleive you can focus a lot more than if you were for example playing in a home game or at a casino.
Most sites these days will also give you a load of stats on each of your opponents at the table as well as a wealth of stats on your own play. But best of all there are tournaments ready and waiting for you to sit down and play at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Oh yeah – playing poker online is great.
But In order to get started playing online poker, you must first be in posession of two things:
A lot of poker rooms will gladly take your money from you no problem. Just enter in your details for your MasterCard, Amex, Switch, Solo, Visa or whatever, and away you go. No problem. Some poker rooms and online casinos now accept Paypal too!
But what happens when it’s time to cash out?
First of all, don’t be put off by the myth of the cash out curse. And secondly, BIG problems if you are with the wrong poker room.
All respected online poker rooms will have terms and conditions of play including what you can and can’t do on their site. You should always read through these carefully before you agree to them. These terms and conditions are legally binding and if you intend to win a lot of money by playing online poker you should really spend some of your time reading them.
Depositing money is made really easy. The online poker rooms love you to give them your money, but you may need to jump through a few hoops if you decide to cash any of it back out.
Look for a phrase that says something simmilar to : “You may need to provide further documentation or identification for us to process your cashout request”. This might mean you have to send them a copy of:
I have actually been asked before to scan and email a copy of my passport and also the front and back of my credit card. DO NOT DO THIS. Sending information via email is not secure. If someone intercepts your email think of the sensitive personal information they have about you! You should NEVER scan and email your passport or credit card. EVER.
Every reputable online poker room will have a freephone phone number for you to call in the country that you are in. If no phone number is available, then there most likely will be a 24/7 customer support chat window you can activate. Use it to explain you want to talk to someone in person and one of the poker rooms’ representatives should be able to call you back within 24 hours.
If the poker room’s phone number does not work or is out of service then avoid them like the plague.
Many online poker sites will have amazing, fantastic deposit bonuses. You should take advantage of this where you can but read the bonus policy rules before getting too exctited.
I seem to remember Fulltilt at one point was offering a monster-sized $600 deposit bonus in their advertising. This equated to you depositing $600 and then FullTilt would give you an extra $600 on top. Mental! However on closer inspection you had to wager 40 times your deposit amount to be able to claim your bonus. That’s $24,000 of serious punting which isn’t exactly pocket change for a lot of us.
Lucky Ace Poker was another poker room that I played on who offered a 25% instant deposit bonus. At the time the bonus was credited straight away, but I was not able to cash it out. I could only use it to play on the site. I could however cash out the money I won. So I guess this offer was a bit fairer.
It’s true to say that bonuses differ from site to site so make sure you agree to the rules surrounding each bonus or special promotion so that you know what you are letting yourself in for and what to, or what not to, expect.
It still amazes me that even today in this world of personal identity theft and online credit card fraud that some online poker rooms will actually ask you to send them photocopies of your credit card and passport in order for your cash out to be processed!
Please, whatever you do, do not send this information to them. Email is NOT a secure way to transmit data. When you send an email, potentially anybody can read it.
Get in touch with customer support and ask them EXACTLY what information of yours they require. Often, they will allow you to block out some of the sensitive data such as the middle 8 digits of a credit card. You can do this by editing in Photoshop, or placing some blu-tack over the middle digits and taking a photo.
It is just the way things are and you should expect a delay of between 3 days and 8 days for your money to be credited to your account. Oh yeah – they take it off you quick enough but when it comes to giving it back…
If you do have issues with your chosen online poker room, then try not to direct your anger at their helpdesk. Go punch a pillow, or have a cigarette and calm down a bit first. Trust me – if you piss off the people on the other end of the phone then they will be far less willing to help you out. Think of it as trap-checking your opponent – you need to play it softly to get the outcome you want.
If phoning customer services, make a note of the name of the person you speak to and the time when you spoke to them. Often in large call centers, there will be people that work there with the same name. In order to avoid confusion, each call center member is often assigned a false first name to use over the phone. State the facts and provide as much information as possible to help them help you. Don’t shout at them or abuse them otherwise you will get nowhere. If you have an issue they can not resolve, then ask for their superior to call you back.
If you are sending an email, you must be aware that for most poker rooms this can take up to 72 hours to get a sensible reply. Emails are great for logging conversations and sending attachments such as screenshots, but are a lot slower at getting results in the long run. You may want to print out a hard copy of emails for your records. This is useful for referencing past conversations and keeping track of the times, dates and people you spoke with.
If you are not happy with the outcome, then do not be afraid to let them know. If there is something you are not sure about then ask. If you are not comfortable doing something then don’t do it. It’s a bit of common sense really but don’t be mucked about when it comes to cashing out your money. It is yours after all.
At the end of the day YOU agreed to the terms and conditions on THEIR site when YOU set up YOUR account. If it says in their terms that you have to dress up like a fairy and dance the Fandango before you get your money back then so be it. This is why it is so important to read the terms and conditions before you agree to them getting hold of your money.
And beleive me, it is a lot easier to put your money into an online poker room than it is to get it back out.
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