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US Facing Poker Site Roundup: Week of July 29th

This is the first in a weekly series that will recap what is happening at all of the US facing poker sites.  This first installment will only look at the major rooms with more being added each week.  I will look at withdrawal times, deposits, promotions and traffic to compare the sites, as these are the most important thing for most grinders and even recreational players.  I also added banned states at the end of each site explanation so that you can see what site will work best for your purpose and playing enjoyment.  If you would like to see any site or feature added, just comment on the article and I will add it for next week’s article.

Good luck at the tables!

Withdrawals: Western Union takes about a day to process and get money in your hand depending on what time you request the cash out.  Either way, that is some of the fastest times for any US facing site.  Checks are pretty good as well taking 7-10 days from requested to in hand.  Bovada has had very few problems with bounced checks, but it did happen around the beginning of June.  This was rectified pretty quickly and some compensation was given, despite times to receive both checks were shorter than receiving one form most places.

Deposits: Deposits can be done through credit card or Western Union or Money Gram.  All of those options seem to work pretty well on Bovada.  I would still warn against buying a prepaid card, because it may not work, but if you have one of your own cards, then there isn’t much to worry about from what people have been saying.  Western Union is quick and easy and most people report having the money in their account in less than 4 hours from when they sent the money.

Promotions:  There are a couple of promotions running at Bovada right now:

–          Play in one of more Anonymous Poker Series qualifier and earn 150 poker room points and get $50.  There are also lower tiers if you don’t play quite as much.

–          Play BlackJack and gain entries into the weekly $1k giveaway

–          It’s also important to note that they do not have any kind of rake back except for points given at a rate of 3 points per $1 in rake.

Traffic: Bovada has been on a pretty steady climb up to a 7 day average of 1.3k players.  This is actually good for 8th largest site in the entire world right now, and they continue to chip away at the sites in front of them.  They were behind Revolution in 13th place until just the past month.  Once the summer is over it will be interesting to see what happens, as traffic is normally lower in the summer months.

Banned States: New York and Maryland

Merge Poker Network (Carbon/Aced/Sportsbook/PlayersOnly)

Withdrawals: After some hiccups over the last couple of months, times are returning to the advertised 6-8 weeks waiting time for checks.  While this is still a pretty long time it has improved from the 12-15 weeks that was seen for a couple of months ranging from about April until just the past two weeks.  Bounced checks are something that has caused problems throughout the past couple of months and was responsible for the long wait times seen in the past few months. This problem seems to be fixed and stable now.  Also, considering the volume that Merge does with cash outs, it’s not unreasonable to expect a few bounced checks. If your cash out takes longer than 8 weeks some players have been reporting compensation, but you have to contact one of the two Carbon reps on 2+2.

Some people have reported quicker cash out times when using any of the other skins besides Carbon.  There are not near as many posts and less general information about this though, so confirming these and being able to plot data is pretty difficult.  It’s something to note though, and should weigh into your decision.  The best thing to do is talk with an affiliate, if you can, as they seem to be really successful at getting answers when it comes to the Merge Network.

Deposits: Western Union is still the most prevalent form of depositing on the Merge network. Some people have said they have had some luck by purchasing Western Union cards at gas stations and then completing the sign up process online. I am not sure how many places have these cards, but it has been brought up in the thread, so it’s worth noting.  This is of course if you do not want to do Western Union person, for whatever reason, and knowing that you can do it in person would be a good idea, because some other players have reported online transfers not working well.

Credit cards from some banks still work, and preloaded cards work at times.  It’s not suggested to use any of these if you are able to use Western Union, because buying a card may not work and then you are stuck with the card.  Also, some banks have been closing people’s account if they make too many deposits on an online site.  This is pretty rare though, but can be a concern for some.

Promotions: I’m going to talk about things on the horizon more, because it’s the end of the month so it will be hard to cash in on any of the promotions that were up during July.  Merge Network tends to run on a monthly schedule when it comes to promotions.

–          Happy Hour has been expanded to be Monday-Friday every week, but now you can only get 1.5x points, as opposed to the previous 2x points.  It runs from 10am-3pm server time.

–          New SNG Leaderboards: There is now going to be a HU SNG leaderboard starting in August.  This will reward the most successful HU SNG players.  They are also redesigning the normal SNG leaderboard as well, and more details will be announced close to August 1.  These details are not known yet though.

–          July 30th at 3pm EST, Carbon has said they are going to announce some really exciting promos.  The best place to get information will probably be the official thread on 2+2, as they actually don’t update their website near as quickly as they update the thread. CarbonRyan is the most active of the site reps on the forums and does a good job of answering questions.

Traffic: The 7 day average is 380 which seems down slightly from previous weeks.  This trend has been continuing for a while now, and games appear to be drying up.  Some of this is caused by PlayersOnly/SportsBook segregating players and some if it is by the lack of promotions that Carbon/Aced has been running (and Merge in general). Increased NL and PL rake also might have something to do with these numbers as well, so combined it’s kind of a perfect storm of unexcited players for Merge Network.  Tournaments are still running strong though, so if you play those, it’s still a very viable site.

Banned States: Parts of New York, Missouri, Utah, Maryland, Washington, Kentucky, Louisiana and D.C

Revolution Poker Network (Lock/Intertops/Juicy Stakes)

Withdrawal: It appears if it is taking at least 4 months to get anything from them, but in reality 6 months is also not out of the question.  Some players reported receiving checks in 3 months, but no one is sure why they had their Western Union transfers changed to checks and then received them.  So expecting that to happen seems pretty unlikely and holding in for 4-6 months seems about right.  The amount requested doesn’t seem to make a huge difference, at least from what has been reported by players.

Lock funds are currently selling for .25-.30 cents on the dollar.  This is because it has been found out that unless you clear the money you transferred than it is not able to be cashed out.  This should be taken into consideration when playing, because your funds will be restricted if you decide to take this kind of approach.  Also, the amount you need to clear isn’t always clear, and some people have reported cases of needing to clear over $10k in rake to release $600 transfers.  There isn’t a lot of solid information though with this network, and different sins seem to be run differently.

Deposits: It’s hard to find anything reliable of deposits, as it appears no one is actually putting money on the site.

Promos: No current information on Promos since it looks like May.

Traffic: The 7 day average is down to 560 which is nearly a 50% decrease in 6 months.  Intertops is still having a large effect on the traffic, because they only service ROW players and US players grandfathered in from around Black Friday, and there payouts are good.

Banned States: None (Intertops doesn’t allow new US signups.

Winning Poker Network (Black Chip Poker, America’s Card Room, True Poker)

Withdrawals: It appears to be taking about 3 days if you withdraw to the debit card that you can order from the website, and about 1-2 weeks for a check.  Either way, cash outs are fast on every skin, and no one is really complaining.  Now, the sample size that I am drawing from is smaller here, because there is overall less action on the network, and the majority of players seem to not complain a lot if everything is going well, but they also won’t compliment all that readily either.

Deposit: Western Union or Money Gram and credit cards seem to be the best way to get money on to the website.  If you get a credit card it seems to be best to make sure it is international, so no Vanilla MasterCard.  Another option is also to use P2P transfers.  If you use P2P you must rake 15% of the transfer amount before you can transfer or withdraw.  Funds are going for about .90 on the dollar.

Promotions: “The Beast” and “Bad Beat Jackpot” are the two major promotions that WPN runs.  You gain points for “The Beast” when you sit at a qualifying table ad more than 4 players are dealt into the hand.  That money then goes into an overall pool that gets paid out monthly in money and tournament tickets.  This month they are giving out tournament tickets to the Punta Cana Classic satellite.

Traffic: The 7 day average for the site is at 305, which has been showing a general upward movement.  The fact that they just released a new software interface as well should really help with this. Many people had been complaining about the quality of the software and its lack of features, especially compared to other sites that are US friendly.

Banned States: Washington, see specific skin for more details

 (Information from used for traffic numbers)

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Andrew Schupick