If you are reading this from within the United States, you might not be terribly familiar with the Maestro card. Essentially, Maestro is the debit card version of a MasterCard credit card that is used internationally. Its exposure in the USA is rather low in 2018, but it has the same symbol and works pretty much in the same way for making deposits and taking payments at online poker sites.
You will find the top and best online poker sites offering real money play will gladly accept your Maestro card. It is even possible that poker rooms geared towards American players might also accept Maestro cards for your initial deposits; however, you are going to have better luck dealing with international poker sites.
For those of you who have Maestro credit cards and are thinking about joining some online poker rooms for real cash play, there is one caveat. Understand that this card works exactly like a debit card. In other words, it is connected directly to your bank account and when the money is transferred, it actually comes out of your account immediately.
By the time you are finished with this online poker guide, you will understand more about:
OUR TOP 5 PICKS FOR 2018
You should know ahead of time that Maestro, just like their parent company MasterCard, is not a financial company. This is a huge misconception held by many people. They do not actually even issue credit cards or do they move money around, provide financing, or do anything that you probably think they would handle. Your deposit to any of these online poker sites is not coming from Maestro.
Instead, this company is a technology company. Think of them as a network of interconnected businesses. These businesses, for the most part, are under a contractual agreement with Maestro. They could be the issuer, which is likely your own bank or financial institution. This is where you received your debit card (they have licensed the ability to offer these cards and use the Maestro logo and online network).
All of these Maestro online poker sites will also have their own processor, or bank (or other financial company) that will collect these real money payments and deposit them into their actual bank account, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
The process is actually pretty simple. You come to your chosen poker site and pull out your Maestro card. Then, this information is communicated to both your own card issuer and the poker websites' processing bank. Through their secure online network, the transaction information bounces back and forth a bit and then your bank confirms there is actually money in the account. They will then communicate an approval code, which is accepted at the processing bank. Congratulations, your deposit has now been approved. Your chosen online poker rooms will receive the actual real cash within one to two days.
The best way to get started with making a deposit at any of your chosen online poker sites is to just do it! Seriously, look below and pick one of our recommended sites and the sign up, download their software and take care of all the housekeeping tasks. Normally, the site itself will give some type of instructions to let you know it’s time to make your deposit.
Supply the Maestro card information and then wait for the transaction to be approved. Since this is slightly different than using a credit card, chances are there will not be an additional delay for the actual money to populate into your account. In other words, you can get started playing almost right away. Generally speaking, the best and top rated poker websites will allow you to get started right away; other poker sites might make you wait a little bit, depending on how long everything takes to show up in their system.
The thing to remember is that these transactions are usually less risky than credit card deposits. Obviously, with a debit card, your actual real cash balance is going to be verified by at least your issuing bank. That being said, there may still be a few little things to keep in mind—see our special considerations section below.
Despite the fact that a number of governments and other authorities have, at various times, cracked down on the idea of poker sites and poker rooms taking payments over the web, they still absolutely LOVE the idea of customers like us using our Maestro debit cards to make our deposits. The simple fact of the matter is that it cost them much less to collect these types of payments online. A lot less expensive than when someone sends a check or uses a wire service like Western Union.
This is why online poker rooms are willing to give us bonuses for making our initial deposits. That lowered cost of accepting payment actually makes it much easier for poker sites to justify using bonuses as part of their marketing. Giving large bonuses to new players tends to have the effect of attracting more new players. It becomes a self-feeding cycle. An even better part of all this from your perspective should be that these new player bonuses tend to attract a disproportionate number of brand new and/or unskilled online poker players.
If you have not run across a poker rooms' bonus offers yet, they can seem a little like they are written in another language. For example: a ‘100% deposit match, up to $1,000’ might be a bonus offer at one of the best real money online poker sites. Deposit match means you will receive cash equal to a certain percentage of your deposit. In this case, your entire (100 percent) deposit will be matched. However, see that the bonus is capped, or limited. You may earn a bonus of up to $1,000. Any additional money you deposit over and above $1,000 will not be counted toward any of the poker sites' bonus awards.
There are also some internet poker sites who might still offer bonuses on second or third deposits. However, this is not very common, except possibly in the case of brand new poker rooms, and probably only for a very limited period of time. If you do find these, which might be additional deposit bonuses or re-up bonuses, be sure to look over any terms and conditions. They might limit the time you have to clear the bonus, or other conditions. Still, it’s a great benefit when you can find some sites that provide deposit bonuses after your initial payment.
One of the biggest considerations to bear in mind when dealing with bonuses offered by online poker rooms is exactly how they clear. You are probably not going to find any of these websites, not even the best and top rated, who will just immediately send the entire Maestro bonus into your account. After all, you could simply walk away and cash out, and they will have wasted a lot of real money.
Instead, you will be required to play a number of hands in real cash games. Tournament games will not usually count for this since these websites are not making money on each hand. In general, if there is a rake, you will get credit and earn player points. As these points add up, you will start seeing some of that bonus money drop into your real cash playing account. Little by little (typically in $5 to $15 increments), this is how your big bonus clears. It is also an ingenious way for the poker rooms to ensure you remain loyal to them, at least for a while.
When using your Maestro card, online poker rooms may require you to take payouts back onto this same card. It makes the processing and bookkeeping much easier on all of ends of this transaction. These poker sites will require you (in many cases) to put back the same amount as your initial deposit, or more. However, when you are withdrawing profit it can certainly be done with a different payment method.
Another really nice thing about your Maestro card is that you can use it with ATM machines. Take your withdrawal today and then after you finish playing, go out and grab that cash off your card and literally hold your profit in your hands. Very fast and very convenient.
This is a great question and there are many factors that go into rating each of the listed online poker sites. First off, when it comes to security, fairness and reliability, all online poker sites which don’t meet our high standards are eliminated from the race right at the start.
Secondly, having a good banking system plays a big role since players should have no issues when it comes to depositing funds or withdrawing their winnings. Popular options, such as Maestro, can give international poker rooms a nice advantage since players from different countries can easily use them for transactions.
Basically all of the top online poker sites accept Maestro nowadays as it is one of the most popular payment methods for transactions on the internet. In 2016, each customer can very easily get the card out of the wallet and make a purchase online.
Of course, it is always best to have multiple banking methods to choose from and this is another factor carefully analyzed by our team when rating online poker sites. Having the freedom to play poker online should not be limited by fees on deposits, long withdrawal times or limited payment methods, so our best options don’t have such problems.