Let me ask you a question—
What do you do when you have a good week at the tables? When you run deep – or even win – a huge tournament?
I don’t know about you, but I’m anxious to cash out. And, I want to cash out the fastest way possible.
I’d bet I’m not the only one.
Take a pro poker player, for example. It’s no different than running a business – you need to pay yourself so you can, in turn, pay your bills. The faster you move money from point A (the poker site) to point B (your bank account), the faster you can do that.
If you got paid too slow you’d be sweating bullets. You might even worry about how you’ll pay your bills on time.
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However, it’s important to point out that signing up to the fastest poker site is only the first step of many that ensures you get your payment in a timely manner. If you miss a step, make the wrong decision, or don’t take full advantage of what a poker site may offer, you might not get your payment very fast anyway.
You don’t want to be that guy, either. So, let’s look at what you can do and what your options are to ensure you get your cash outs as fast as possible.
I think it’s important to first understand how the withdrawal process works. That way you can see what elements are within your control …and what elements are outside your control.
Here’s what that process looks like:
That’s the general idea, anyway. This entire process can as little as a few minutes to as long as a few months.
But what’s critical you take away from this is how little of the process is in your control, or even in the casino’s control. There are many touch points – or points of failure – from the poker site to you.
And it’s important to understand this so that you can make the best decisions possible for the few things that are in your control.
Like, choosing what cash out method to use.
One of the only things you have control over is what banking option you use.
Most poker sites offer the same options – credit cards, checks, e-wallets, etc. Some offer unique options, though, such as bitcoin.
That said, the processing times and delay in getting your money to you will be different from room to room, even if the same method is used. That’s something to keep in mind when reviewing and choosing a site to join.
But assuming all things are equal, you’ll want to choose the fastest banking methods available. Here’s a list starting with the fastest banking options. We’ve included a few pros/cons for each one, too.
This is a virtual currency that has risen in popularity over the last few years – especially in the online gambling industry. Payments can clear in as fast as a few minutes.
Fast, if not almost instant. No fees or limits. There are no laws prohibiting Americans from using it (to gamble online). And since no banks are involved, there’s nothing (yet) stopping you from using it. Bitcoin is 100% anonymous, too.
Bitcoin is an investment, so its value fluctuates. Not all poker sites offer anonymity, fee free or limitless transactions. Bitcoin’s also not accepted everywhere (yet).
These are cards sent to you by the poker site. When you request a cash out, the poker room will load funds onto the card. You can then make purchases with the card, or get cash from an ATM.
Near instant cash out following payment processing. Only fees come from the ATM (usually). This is a private way to cash out.
The cards can only hold so much money, and you can only cash out so much from the ATM per day. This might mean making multiple trips to collect all your funds, only to have to do it again the next time you cash out.
These are virtual, online wallets you can use to store money, send money or make purchases. The most popular examples include PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. Payments can be made instantly, but may also take 3-4 days.
Payments can be instant once processed. Usually the only fees you’ll pay are 1-3 percent from the e-wallet. Most poker sites accept these from players outside America.
Not an option for Americans (outside of legal poker states).
This includes MoneyGram and Western Union. The poker room will pay one of these services your money, sometimes with a nominal fee, and they’ll transfer the funds to a branch near you. Then you go to that branch to pick up your money.
This process takes 1-3 days. Your bank’s not involved. Many times the fees are waived if you deposit and/or play enough. Available to Americans.
Fees are expensive if you have to pay them. They might ask you where the money is coming from, especially if it’s from an odd location, is a large amount or if you go in often to pick up money. This can lead to them turning you away.
This is an electronic transfer of funds from the poker site’s bank to yours. This process takes 1-10 days for your money to clear.
I’ve noticed the more you use this option the faster it gets. You can transfer larger sums of money this way.
Your transferring money from a poker site directly to your bank. If they find out where the money’s coming from, they can decline the transaction or, worse, close your account.
You’ll pay as much as $35-$50 in fees from your bank, and sometimes that’s on top of what the site will charge you.
Funds are transferred to your credit/debit card account. This takes 2-5 days.
You can move larger amounts of money. Few rooms charge fees for this option.
This isn’t available to Americans.
Just like it sounds – the poker site will cut and send you a check you’ll have to take to your bank. This can take up to 2 weeks.
You can receive larger amounts by check. You can cash the check at your bank or through a check cashing service.
Most sites charge a fee for issuing checks. You might have to cash the check at your bank. Sometimes checks bounce, which is both embarrassing and can raise questions/problems.
Often this is the only option available to US poker players.
Again, these are all assuming best case scenarios. But the truth is they’ll vary from room to room because of the different processing times and payment processors.
One other thing to think about – take the pros/cons with a grain of salt. There’s going to be a tradeoff of some kind no matter which option you use. It could be fees, risks (like with your bank), limits, and so on. All you can do is decide what matters most (speed, fees, etc.) and what you’re willing to compromise on (fees, limits, convenience, etc.).
We just looked at the fastest banking methods. Choosing the fastest option available to you is one way to ensure your withdrawal gets to you ASAP.
But there are 5 other things you can do to speed up your payments. Let’s go through each one now.
Although we just told you which banking options are the fastest, that’s not always going to be the case. You might find that e-wallets are the fastest, or checks are, and so on.
The best thing you can do is test each option a couple times. See which one is consistently the fastest option.
You might even compare speed to variables like fees, convenience and risk. That way you can find the best overall combination for your situation.
I’ve not seen this anywhere, but I imagine that if you asked support or management if you could have your payment expedited, they could accommodate you. Worst case scenario is they tell you no.
Just keep in mind it’ll probably cost you (in additional fees).
Many VIP programs come with perks that include expedited cash outs. This means they’ll push your withdrawal request to the front of the line, which will shorten the processing delay that otherwise would take a few days.
Meaning, if you use bitcoin to fund your poker account, then use bitcoin to cash out. If you want to use bank wires to cash out, then use them to fund your account.
I’ve noticed that when you use a payment method multiple times, it often processes and clears faster than the times before it – for both deposits and withdrawals.
And, in some cases, poker sites will only transfer funds using the same options used to fund the player’s account (when possible). So, that means sticking to faster options like bitcoin or money transfers as opposed to bank wires and checks, if possible.
My last suggestion is simple – use bitcoin.
Right now there’s not a faster or easier way to fund your account or cash it out than using a virtual currency. Especially for Americans.
There are risks, of course. But, really, if you plan to play and lose (and you should, even if you’re a pro), then losing your bitcoin shouldn’t matter much, even if it’s dropped off or increased in value.
Now that I’ve told you what methods to use for faster payments, and how to speed your payments up, I want to play devil’s advocate.
Because while banking speed is important, there are things you DON’T want to do or sacrifice just to get your payments a day or two faster.
Are you willing to pay higher fees to get your payment faster? Do you want to pay $35 or $50 for a bank wire or could you wait a couple days and get a check for free? Keep in mind that some sites (like 5Dimes) will charge a fee, too, which is on top of the bank’s fee. This means you’ll pay twice as much. You have to ask yourself, is this a good tradeoff for a faster payment?
Poker rooms are different from casinos and sportsbooks in that if they’re not very popular or have the best software, they suffer. Players won’t play there, which means games won’t run. Then you have nowhere to play. What’s the point of a fast payout then?
Another thing to think about is your bank. There have been many players who have reported having problems with their bank after trying to cash their check or after receiving a wire from an unknown, foreign source. This has also happened to players trying to use Western Union or MoneyGram. Do you want to deal with that? Are you prepared to do business elsewhere, if needed?
You also want to think about withdrawal limits. Can you request as much as you want, or does the poker room have weekly/monthly limits? This goes hand in hand with my point above – if you have to get your cash out in payments because the limits are too small, you’ll have to deal with your bank (or other source) more often – which can cause problems. This is also something to think about if you have to deal with prepaid card/ATM limits.
Some payment methods take more work to use. While getting a wire is pretty much hands off, having to cash a check, pick up a money transfer or grab cash from the ATM is not. The ATM can be a real pain if you have a 3-figure a day limit and 4-figure limit on the card, but a 4, 5 or even 6-figure cash out.
You could argue these are all minor issues. And I’d agree.
But I want to point these out so this isn’t all about finding the fastest payment options at all costs. That there are tradeoffs, risks and/or costs to finding the fastest banking option or fastest paying poker site. You have to know what they are so you can decide what pros/cons you’re willing to deal with.
It’s possible to get your money fast, but it depends on a lot of variables. Some are within your control, others not so much. At the end of the day, all YOU can do is:
From there it’s out of your hands. It’s up to the poker room, payment processor and whoever you bank through. You will need some patience. And you’ll have to realize that, sometimes, stuff happens.
With that in mind, here are a few final things I want to share about fast banking methods and poker sites.