I gets asked about playing online poker a lot. Can you play right now in the US for real money? The answer is surprisingly, yes. There are certain sites that are accepting US players for real money games.
What this means is that they are accepting US DEPOSITS. What if you want to cash out your winnings? Will you ever get your money out of them? The answer to that question is, who knows?
I cannot stress enough, that I recommend to all players that come to me for coaching and advice that you NOT risk a dime on internet poker if you live in the US. If you live in Canada or another country, by all means, head over to PokerStars and play all the poker you want. I can tell you with near certainty that you will be able to actually cash out your winnings. However this is not the case if you live in the US. If the US government could shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet etc, then what is to stop them from doing it again with smaller sites that are still accepting US players. Further more, you have no way of knowing how these sites are being run. They may not have the cash to pay players. They might tell you they are ‘processing’ your payment for months. They might write you a check on a closed account like Full Tilt did to me. You never know. (I did late get reimbursed, but the point is, there was nothing I could have done if I hadn’t)
Remember when you thought you could trust this guy with your money as you deposited in Full Tilt? Play with the pros they told you…….well, where is he now? Where is the millions of dollars owed to Full Tilt Poker players? Its going to be paid by PokerStars, that’s where, while guys like Lederer and Ferguson got rich ripping off their own company that was being run like a giant ponzi scheme.
Here’s the bottom line; if you do not know with absolute certainty that you can get your money out of a site in the form of a check, bank wire transfer, or whatever, then you might as well go play Zynga. Until the US has regulation and licensing in place for internet poker, I strongly urge US players to stay away from real money games. As we found out with Full Tilt, they were unable to pay their players off when it came down to it. What makes you think any other site is any better? The problem is, we do not know if the sites are being run properly or not and until we do, you need to keep your cash away from them. I know that sucks, a lot of us liked to play Texas Hold’em online, but the reality is if you can’t get your money out, you are just wasting your time anyway.
Online poker needs regulation and I think that day is fast approaching in the US. Until it is here, don’t be a fool and deposit money into sites that are accepting US players. The time has not yet come.