When most of us think about making a purchase today, the natural inclination is to reach in our wallet for the credit cards. MasterCard is among the most popular brands of credit cards in the world today. They are accepted almost everywhere and are a great convenience to have for those times when paying with real cash is simply not practical. You will also find this method of payment also works quite well when joining online poker sites.
It is easy to think when using your MasterCard that it isn't real money. And while it can certainly be argued that MasterCard is really more of a technology and information company than a financial service, it does facilitate the collection and payment of real cash. There is much to learn and consider when thinking about making deposits into online poker rooms and poker sites with your MasterCard. This is why we wrote this online guide, it will help you to learn:
To understand what really happens when you make a deposit at any of the best or top ranked online poker sites, it can be helpful to a little bit about the MasterCard payments system. For starters, understand that MasterCard does not issue any credit cards nor do they really move money back and forth. Instead, they operate by licensing their brands and logos to issuers (the bank which supplies your credit cards) and acquirers (the banks or financial companies that process the transactions). It helps to think of MasterCard more as a network or facilitator that connects the various disparate elements.
MasterCard is also not in the business of approving transactions. This is done by your own issuing bank. Essentially, it is the issuing bank who takes on the risk of your potential non-payment. This is also why the issuer makes a percentage fee for handling this processing. The actual fee amount will also vary based on the risk of the transaction. MasterCard debit cards, for example, have a very low risk; the issuing bank simply checks the amount of funds on hand in your account, no real money and the transaction will be declined.
The next step in this process is when the acquiring bank accepts the transaction and gives your merchant, one of those online poker rooms, the all-clear. Your payment or deposit is then able to be cleared through the system. While this might seem like it happens quickly and automatically, there is really a lot going on behind the scenes. It should also be noted that in most cases, the actual real cash is not deposited into the bank account of those poker rooms until 24 to 48 hours later.
With all of this in mind, go ahead and find one of the best poker online sites and check they accept your MasterCard. Then, go ahead and get started by downloading their poker software (this will give you the most features, although you might also choose to play on their browser or with your mobile device). You will then be prompted to register and make your initial deposit by providing your credit card information.
Once this is completed, your chosen poker site will spring into action and all of the behind the scenes activity begins. Of course, to you it will seem instant, since the processing banks will respond with (most likely) an approval code allowing for the acceptance of your real money deposit. Most of the best poker online rooms will then credit your account almost immediately and you may begin playing whatever games you like.
Ultimately, this is just like making any other purchase. Of course, some issuing banks might end up classifying this as a high risk transaction. This would be due to either the location of the receiving bank or institution, or due to the fact that it is classified as an online gaming transaction. Yes, despite the laws being more liberalized in many parts of the world recently, there still is some prejudice against people choosing of their own free will to play at online poker rooms and other similar websites. Your payment will go through smoothly, however, and you can get down to business almost immediately in your chosen MasterCard poker site.
You will also notice when making a search of these various poker sites that many will extend you bonuses. This is basically free cash that you will have added to your online poker account (although not all at once—see the special considerations below). Consider this an ethical bribe for choosing their particular poker rooms. Many internet poker sites set aside a huge amount of their advertising and promotions budget for the very purpose of extending attractive bonuses to their new customers.
If poker sites tell you there is a 50% bonus of up to $400, you need to understand exactly what this means. Whatever you deposit, this poker room is going to give you another 50% on top of that. This is real cash money, although it is released into your account over time. However, there is a maximum of $400 in this bonus offer. So, if you make a deposit of $800, you will max out the bonus (and receive the top $400 in free cash). Making a higher deposit won't matter, you can only earn a $400 bonus.
You might also be able to get bonuses on additional deposits. These are called re-load or re-up deposits. Just understand that the purpose of this cash is to get you to use the poker room and play. Therefore, not many poker sites will continue offering extra bonuses on additional deposits, although some might have other promotions from time to time. Many places like to encourage credit card deposits, so they might even add on an additional ten or twenty percent for those making deposits with their MasterCard.
If your issuing bank determines this transaction to be high risk, they might request additional verification or perhaps block the transaction entirely. If this happens, there is not much that can be done, other than comply with whatever action is requested. Understand that in most cases, such verification processes are being demanded by YOUR issuing bank, not on the end of the poker sites' processor (they already know all about these types of transactions).
You might be asked to sign an authorization request form. This way, it basically absolves the bank from any liability should the card holder later deny or reject the charge. Believe it or not, this sort of thing did happen quite frequently in the past, although it was primarily done to online casinos. You might also be asked to supply a copy of identification and proof of residency, like a driver's license, passport, and/or a recent utility bill in your name. These online poker sites will keep the documents on file and this should never be an issue again.
Understand that your MasterCard deposit will be released to you a little bit at a time. This is true even at the best, top rated real money online poker sites. It is basically self protection. In order to ensure that this bonus is going to generate income for the poker sites, they need you to play in games where they take a cut of each pot. So, there is a formula which earns you points for playing in each real money hand. After so many points, a set amount of bonus cash drops into your account. This is called clearing a bonus, and poker rooms might also set a time limit; if the bonus is not fully cleared within that time frame, the remainder will be forfeited.
There may also be some rules about how you take a payout after making MasterCard deposits at online poker rooms. This is just a little quirk of the credit card network. All this really means, practically speaking, is that you will need to receive your payout back onto the same MasterCard credit card which was used to make the initial deposit. Now, any amount above that initial deposit, could either go back on the card, or you would then be free to choose another payout option for the amount of your withdrawn profit.
MasterCard is certainly one of the most, if not the most popular deposit methods when it comes to online poker. Our team definitely takes this into account when reviewing online poker sites but one good payment option does not a top poker room make.
There are a lot of other factors that have to be outstanding for poker rooms to even make it on our website, not to mention on the list with the best of them. And so, our team ranks the sites based on their total score, which is added up across sections like banking, cash games, customer support, reputation, traffic, bonuses and tournaments.
These are all very important for a perfect online poker experience in 2016 and they come together at our leading international online poker sites. The top ranked rooms will not just accept MasterCard, but many other banking methods as well. They will not just offer a bonus, but a very good one and then follow it up with other promotions.
We don’t just rank based on traffic, we are looking for soft competition so that players can enjoy themselves at any of the listed poker rooms. At the end of the day, it is more than just a game and you deserve the best.