Checks have always been a popular option for payouts. Having the checks bounce is the biggest concern by far. Most of the time, the sites will credit back your account if the check bounces. There are occasional instances where a site will not credit back your account. Some payment processors (such as Pay-Pro) will not refund a bounced check. Sites will also not reimburse bounced check fees, although some sites (like FullTilt) have done it as a courtesy in the past.
Regular mail - Some poker rooms including Absolute Poker offer players the ability to receive cashout checks by regular mail. This service is usually either free or done for a small fee (usually $8-$15). Other times, the poker room may offer the first check per month for free and then charge on each additional check that month. The checks can sometimes take a while to arrive - up to 2-3 weeks. If you are in a situation where you are worried about a poker room being in financial trouble, or need the money quickly, then requesting a check by regular mail might not be a good option.
Check by courier - Many poker rooms offer players the option to receive checks by courier where the checks are delivered quicker than if they were sent by regular mail. This is occasionally done for free, but will most likely cost between $25-$50. If they are processed as overnight delivery, it might take a few days to get the check because it might take a day or two to process your withdrawal request. If it is not overnight delivery then the check might take up to a week to arrive.
When requesting your withdrawals by check (especially by regular mail), you run the risk of having your transaction affected by problems with the payment processors that the poker rooms use. The reason why this is a concern is because third-party processors that the poekr rooms use are targeted by US regulators. So, the poker rooms like Absolute and Fulltilt change their payment processors often, which can cause disruptions. In 2010 FullTilt Poker had a brief period where their checks bounced. In 2009, Bodog also bounced a few checks also.
In is important to note that checks from poker rooms will sometimes will be "sent for collections" if the check is issued in a format that doesn't match the American Banking Association format. If the check has an 9-digit ABA routing number followed by the bank account number imprinted along the bottom [MICR encoding] then it won't be sent for collections. Most poker sites issue checks from banks that are outside the US, but many of them use Canadian banks. Many times Canadian checks will have the MICR encoding and will be processed the same as a US check. However, sometimes a bank teller will mistakenly interpret a valid Canadian check as a check that needs to be sent to collection when it doesn't. If this is the case, it might be good to use the atm instead. Banks charge considerable fees for sending a check to collections - usually about $40 but some poker players report fees as high as $100-$200. The process also take about a month at least. It is recommended that you verfiy that the check is issued from a US bank account and are in US dollars before diong a withdrawal if you are not willing to pay the fee and wait a month to collect the money.
HPG ADMIN on March 1, 2013