Preparing for Regulated Online Poker as a Player

John Mehaffey September 30, 2013 1525 Reads

Regulated online poker is live in Nevada.  Players across the country are watching to see what Nevada online poker will bring to the rest of the US.  It seems that 500 peak cash game players may be the most that Nevada can consistently bring to the table, according to data on Pokerscout.com.  This number fluctuates from day to day.  

Nevada online poker players have encountered several challenges.  The first issue players have encountered is the verification process.  New signups are verified through a database that confirms a player’s age and other information provided at signup.  Players that cannot get their identity verified may have to submit identification before being allowed to play.  Nevada online poker rooms may also require a document check when a withdrawal is requested, which includes a photocopy of an ID, bank statement or credit card, depending on the deposit method.  This is required by Nevada law.

A geolocation process is required every time a player logs into the poker software.  Cell phone triangulation is used to determine the location of the player.  Players should be prepared to provide a cell phone number serviced by a company that is currently supported by their chosen site.  Small regional carriers may not qualify.  Sprint and Virgin Mobile are major carriers that are not currently supported by WSOP.  A Tracfone will not work at all.  A burner phone on a qualifying carrier can be purchased at discount stores for about $15. 

Players must submit a Social Security Number.  This is required under Nevada law and is likely to be the standard in regulated online gambling.  All tax laws that apply to brick and mortar poker rooms will also apply to regulated online poker.  This includes the issuing of a W-2G for tournament wins that net $5,000 or more. 

Age Restriction

Players 18 years of age and older are accustomed to playing online poker at offshore sites.  The three states that have legalized online poker have all legislated a minimum age of 21.  It is safe to assume most or all states will follow this example in the future.

Banking Options

One interesting difference between regulated and offshore payment options is credit cards.  Offshore sites almost exclusively accept Visa.  Mastercard is the credit card of choice for Ultimate Poker and WSOP as the card has a high rate of acceptance.  Visa transactions were declined at Ultimate Poker that it was dropped an option. 

Ultimate Poker chose to offer cashier cage deposits and withdrawals.  This has become extremely popular with players.  The second most popular method at Ultimate Poker appears to be electronic checks.  These deposits come directly out of a player’s bank account.  WSOP does not offer cash deposits and electronic checks appear to be the most popular method there. 

One difference that players visiting Nevada will notice between the two existing sites is that Ultimate Poker will allow a player to make a deposit before coming to Nevada.  WSOP requires a player to be in Nevada at the time of deposit.  This means a WSOP player needs to bring a credit card or check on the trip to make a deposit.  Even if a credit card is the preferred deposit method it is a good idea to bring a check in case the card is declined.  The check may then be used to deposit electronically.

Traffic

According to Pokerscout, the combined average number of players seated at cash games at any given time between Ultimate Poker and WSOP is about 200.  Winning Poker, the fourth largest US facing offshore network, is 50% bigger than the Nevada market.  Players will need to realize that game selection will not be comparable to offshore sites at this time.  This will change as states begin to share player pools. 

The peaks and valleys of traffic are defined in Nevada.  Unlike offshore sites that draw players from all over the world, Nevada poker sites draw from just one time zone.  There is little traffic at Nevada poker sites during overnight and morning hours.    

 

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