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Online Poker Identity Verification: Why and How It's Done

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Driver's licenses, utility bills, bank account statements: These are all examples of routine paperwork that most of us handle on a regular basis. Besides fulfilling their original roles, these documents also serve a purpose in the world of online poker. You might have to submit them to your site in order to verify your identity before receiving a payout of your winnings. Identity verification is a commonplace practice at internet gaming destinations, and although it can be slightly annoying, it serves several useful purposes.

Online Poker Identity Verification

How Does Identity Verification Work?

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At most online poker sites, anyone attempting to request a withdrawal for the first time must complete an identity verification process. This might be known by another name at your particular site, like “account certification” or “account validation,” but it's more or less the same across the industry regardless of what it's called.

Generally, you have to submit a photo ID, like a driver's license, along with proof of residence at your street address, like a cable bill, in order to verify your identity. You usually have a choice of scanning the documents or taking photographs of them. All text must be clearly legible, so make sure the resolution of your image is sufficient and that any photos you take are not blurry. Expired IDs are invalid, and utility bills must usually be no older than a specified amount of time (90 days or six months are common).

Once you have your images all ready, it's time to send them to the site. You can typically do this by attaching them to an email and sending it to the security department. Some poker providers instead offer a secure upload facility on their websites. If you have any doubts as to the right way to complete your verification, you can contact support, and they will inform you of what you need to do.

ACR Verification InstructionsWe Didn't Know Where to Send the Docs to Verify Our ACR Poker Account, So We Asked Live Chat
They Gave Us an Accurate Answer in Just a Few Minutes

It usually takes a day or two for your identity to be verified by the poker room. After this, you will be able to cash out your money rapidly. You customarily only need to complete identity verification a single time at any given site. Once it's done, you won't have to go through this process again for subsequent withdrawal requests unless you move, some of your other personal information has changed, or (rarely) if an examination of your gameplay raises doubts among security staff as to your legitimacy.

Alternate Document Acceptance

Though sending in a driver's license and phone or cable bill is typically how customers meet the requirements of ID verification, there are alternate personal documents that are acceptable. The specific list of credentials that are considered OK varies from site to site, but the following are usually valid:

  • Passport
  • Non-driver ID
  • Electric bill
  • Credit card bill
  • Bank statement

Remember, you must prove both your identity and your physical street address. While it's sometimes possible for one document to qualify for both of these purposes, you most likely will need separate photo ID and proof of address documentation.

Additional Document Requests

Depending on your personal situation, your internet poker site may want you to send in additional items.

Due to the menace that credit card chargebacks and other fraud pose to the online gaming industry, it's normal for people who have deposited with a card to have to provide copies of the front and back of the card and sometimes also a filled-out credit card authorization form. Similarly, those requesting a bank wire or ACH transfer might have to hand over a copy of a bank statement to demonstrate that they are the actual owner of the destination bank account.

Despite account verification being most often demanded prior to an individual's first cashout, the terms and conditions at virtually every online betting company give the firm the right to request proof of identity whenever they want. Therefore, it's possible, though unlikely, that you will be asked to provide the desired documentation when you try to open an account, before your initial deposit is processed, or at some other time.

This could happen if something about your account triggers a security flag. Offshore poker sites have been known to occasionally perform random checks too. Whatever the reasons may be, we urge you to fully comply with any instructions given to you regarding ID verification. If you fail to heed the requests of security personnel, your playing privileges could be revoked.

Why Is Identity Verification Needed?


ID verification of customers is needed for internet gaming operations to comply with various Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws . While some may believe that being located offshore allows these companies to abandon these cumbersome tasks, the truth is that almost every reputable poker room is regulated even if not in the United States. As such, they must comply with the rules of the jurisdictions they're housed in, which include international banking and financial regulations.

Bovada ToS Dealing With VerificationThe Terms of Service at Bovada Explicitly Mention AML as a Reason for ID Verification

Protections for the Site

By diligently fulfilling their AML and KYC obligations, operators gain certain benefits beyond regulatory compliance. They safeguard themselves from legal liability in the improbable event that their services are used by criminals and/or terrorists to launder money. They are also able to combat, though not completely defeat, attempts by players to double-dip on one-time promotions and bonuses by establishing multiple accounts. Underage gambling is another problem that can be reduced by taking the appropriate verification steps.

Protections for the Player

Though it's not immediately obvious, sites observing the relevant KYC and AML provisions also help guard their customers against malfeasance. Requiring proof of identity and address prevents anyone from submitting payouts to be delivered to a third party, which can thwart hackers looking to redirect your account balance to themselves. Furthermore, certain forms of cheating, like botting teams and multi-accounting, are made more difficult by the need for each account to provide and prove a distinct and separate identity in order to cash out.

Why Does Verification Come When Trying to Withdraw?

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As we have mentioned previously, online poker organizations sometimes wish to inspect your identifying documentation at apparently random times. Also, there are some licensing authorities, like the UKGC, that force licensed operators to verify the identity of users even before they're allowed to deposit or play. Nevertheless, it's most common around the world for gaming providers to ask for your verification details immediately before paying out your first withdrawal.

This has raised the ire of certain users who question the motivations behind these actions. The below comment, left on our Intertops Poker review, exemplifies this kind of thinking:

Negative Comment on Intertops Verification Policies

People who subscribe to this viewpoint question why depositing is made as easy as possible while cashing out is subject to verification delays. The implication is that the sites are looking for any excuse to hassle winners and dissuade them from claiming their legitimate profits.

It's true that having to provide your personal documentation is an inconvenience that many individuals would rather not bother with. This is why online poker, casino, and sportsbook companies seek to avoid ID checks unless and until necessary.

If the sites had to verify the ID of everyone who signed up, then many potential customers would be dissuaded from ever opening an account. By restricting the procedure to only those who win enough to cash out, they can reduce the scope of these unwanted proceedings to a minority of customers. And these very users are those whose irritation at ID verification is presumably allayed by the prospect of receiving a big cash payout at the end of it.

We must also be cognizant of the time and labor it takes to examine and approve customers' identity files. It's understandable that management would want to keep these expenses to a minimum, which they can do by curbing the number of verification requests undertaken.

Related to this point: If a site asks you to send in specific paperwork, you ought to submit only what they request and resist the urge to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them. User “tracker2208” on the Twoplustwo forums explains what might happen if you overwhelm site personnel with tons of extraneous email attachments:

Comment About ID Verification

Trusting a Site With Your Personal Info


There are those who lament the need to supply their personal documentation if they want to cash out from an online poker site. “In today's world of identity theft and corporate wrongdoing,” the thinking goes, “I cannot trust just any site to keep my identification documents safe.”

We have a fair bit of sympathy for those who feel this way, but in actual fact, you should have no more fear of your poker room failing to protect your personal info than you would of any other eCommerce merchant. It's commonplace for banks, stock trading platforms, and government sites to require ID verification of their users. Online gaming websites are no different.

Actually, if you do suspect an organization of not taking proper precautions with your sensitive info, then we're left wondering how you can even decide to play there for real money in the first place. After all, if a particular site might be failing to treat your sensitive documents with sufficient care, then how can you be certain that your account balance is secure and the gameplay honest? If you really harbor such doubts about an internet poker room, then ID verification is probably the least of what you have to worry about.

Reliable Online Poker Sites for Americans

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We have evaluated all the internet poker sites available to Americans and have identified those that act with integrity and honor. Whichever of these online poker destinations you select, you can rest assured that they discharge their identity verification responsibilities with honesty and promptness. You can read an overview of the best U.S.-facing online poker sites for additional info on these rooms.

Identity Verification FAQ

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Although the basics of identity verification are simple to understand, there are wrinkles to it that might not be immediately apparent. That's why we have gathered together some of the most frequently encountered questions about this topic and have answered them below.

There are a number of reasons why the files you send for identity verification might be unacceptable.

Each site maintains lists of types of ID and proofs of address that it considers valid. Mostly, documents that are issued by a government or a major corporation are OK, like a driver's license or a cable bill. However, if you're attempting to send documents issued by a smaller entity, like a student ID or a medical bill, then they might not be deemed sufficient.

If you have any doubts as to what kinds of proof of ID and address are permitted, we advise you to get in touch with support. In case you do not possess a document that meets their standards, they will probably work with you to find a solution involving a combination of other paperwork.

Another reason for failed identity verification is that the images you've sent might simply be illegible. Try to send in documents that are free of discolorations and dirt. If using a scanner, ensure that your scanning resolution is at least 300 DPI, but you might want to use 600 DPI if you're having trouble with image quality. If you're using your phone's camera to take photos of your documents, then make sure you hold the camera steady while grabbing your snapshots, check that lighting conditions are good, and position the camera's field of view such that it captures ALL parts of the document.

Less often, we have encountered gaming providers that place a limit on the size of the files you email them or upload to their servers. In this case, your high-resolution images may exceed this cap. You can attempt to reduce the resolution to something like 1024 x 768. If your original image is a .BMP, then re-saving it as a .PNG or .JPG should achieve a significant reduction in the disk space it occupies.

The biggest thing you can do to expedite the verification of your ID and account is to get it done before you request a withdrawal. At almost every internet poker room, you can verify your identity early if you wish. Then when you make a cashout, you won't have to wait for your documents to be approved because this will have already taken place beforehand. This can shave a day or two off the time you have to wait to get your first payout.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. It's true that payment and banking considerations are part of the reason for demanding verification, but they are only part of the reason. Other factors that come into play are the need for the site to comply with local Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws, a desire to eliminate multi-accounting, collusion, and other fraud, and a wish to ensure that all users are of legal age for gambling.

Therefore, the decision of what verification measures are needed hinges only partly on the payment method used, and transacting only in Bitcoin doesn't waive these requirements at all.

Yes, although they are definitely a minority of operators, there are certainly those that eschew the whole idea of identity verification of customers. They often refer to themselves proudly as “no dox” poker rooms.

Not only do they all allow you to deposit and withdraw via crypto-currency, but digital coins are also the only valid methods of transacting with these sites. It is perhaps this total abandonment of the legacy banking sector that enables them to maintain this policy without fear of legal repercussions.

You can learn more by perusing this page on anonymous poker sites where you can play without any need to trust anyone with your personally identifying information.

While you cannot avoid the verification process entirely at most interactive poker brands, there are strategies you can deploy to make it much less of a hassle.

Always renew your photo ID before it expires. This will prevent you from having to scramble to update it when you make your first withdrawal from an online gaming parlor. Doing this is just good sense in general regardless of internet poker ID verification.

By depositing and withdrawing in bitcoins, you avoid the need to supply your credit card and banking details. You still will have to submit the other ID documents requested, but steering clear of the old-school banking sector will keep the number of items you must send to a minimum.

No, although this is a slightly unusual request, we have heard of online poker rooms insisting on such photos from time to time. This typically happens when there's something about the account details or history that appears suspicious.

By examining just a copy of your photo ID, site employees can verify some basic info about you, like your name and date of birth. But they clearly cannot confirm from this cursory review that the person who registered for an account is actually the individual depicted on your ID document.

When you send a photograph of you holding your own ID, site staff can see for themselves that your face matches that shown on your identification. This helps them fight against identity fraud and other forms of unauthorized access.

Our recommendation is to accommodate any of these requests that you receive. These measures are put in place for your protection, and they are no more than a minor inconvenience.

This is probably a mistaken request on the part of your cardroom. It's very likely that you won't have to send in any images of your card.

If you have not deposited with a credit card but your site nevertheless asks you to send copies of it, then this is most often just a small error on their part. Customer support agents typically follow a standard script, which is optimized for the majority of their customers who tend to make credit card deposits. Simply get in touch with support and explain your situation, and they will likely waive this requirement in your case.