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Best of Ryan McLane
I'm an instant gratification type of guy. Waiting for days as my deposit jumps through hoops to get to my poker account drives me insane.
So when I heard about players depositing using gift cards to fund their poker accounts in the wake of the recent U.S. crackdown on online gambling financial processors, I was hesitant -- but excited by the possibility.
I first learned about the idea while playing on Full Tilt. One tournament opponent was lamenting about his inability to deposit. Another helpful opponent told him to drive to Target, purchase a Visa gift card, and stop whining.
I was skeptical, but I ran it by my editor Vin and he told me to visit "Grubby" a Chicago-based blogger. "Grubby" details his experiences at www.giftcards.com , a site that allows him to purchase virtual gift cards and use them at his favorite online casinos.
And it works. I was able to fund my account in two hours.
Giftcards.com was originally designed as a way to send plastic or virtual gift cards – which can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted -- to friends or loved ones. Now, these gift cards are one of only ways left for Americans to transfer money electronically to online casinos and poker rooms.
By purchasing a virtual gift card, you can fund accounts at sites accepting Visa and MasterCard. The transaction is completed the same way; however, you use the virtual card information to avoid the banking restrictions placed on regular credit cards.
With NETeller out of the U.S. market, Click2Pay no longer accepting new U.S. customers an ePassporte taking up to three weeks to process deposits, online poker players need a new way to get transfer money. And until a better option appears, using virtual gift cards may be the best choice.
There is a fee associated with most of these transactions. It costs $2 to do business with www.giftcards.com and $.30 every time you perform a transaction. Not bad considering ePassporte charges $5 for every $100 load.
Here is a history of my www.giftcards.com deposit.
3.) 10:15 a.m. - Logged onto the above mentioned site. Scoured the Web site to make sure it was a safe for conducting financial transactions.
4.) 10:16 a.m. – Decided what the hell, it's worth a shot.
5.) 10:17 a.m. – Purchased a virtual gift card.
6.) 10:25 a.m. – Received the "gift" I sent to myself in my personal email box.
7.) 10:30 a.m. – Called www.giftcards.com to verify my identity. Yes it's me - now give me my money baby.
8.) 12:30 a.m. – A confirmation appears in my email box with a link to verify my new card. I logged onto the site and was immediately transferred to a picture of my new virtual visa card --- complete with card number, expiration date, and three-digit security code.
9.) 12:35 a.m. – Logged onto Full Tilt Poker and went to the cashier. My card worked without delay. I deposited the full amount, minus the $.30 service charge.
10.) 12:36 a.m – Two hours…hooray! I shook my virtual fist at Bill Frist.