YouStake Seeks Crowdfunding License to Become GoFundMe of Poker World

YouStake is a great resource for poker players looking to either buy or sell action. The site has established itself as one of industry’s premiere backing marketplaces, but still, concerns linger as to the site’s legitimacy. Many wonder if it’s really safe. Is it possible they’ll be ripped off?


YouStake has facilitated more than $8 million in poker sponsorship transactions. Now the popular site is showing users it’s solid by registering with the SEC and FINRA. (Image:

YouStake is showing they’re safe and have nothing to hide by submitting applications to register as a crowdfunding portal with both the Financial Industry Registry Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Becoming the GoFundMe of Poker

Up until now, YouStake has facilitated more than $8 million in poker sponsorship transactions among 6,500 registered users, which has included Poker Hall of Famer Todd Brunson, World Poker Tour Player of the Year Anthony Zinno, and former World Series of Poker champs Jamie Gold and Greg Raymer. However, poker tournament sponsorships are temporarily on pause.

That’s because YouStake is moving towards licensed and regulated entertainment offerings via equity crowdfunding verticals. Their goal is to become more like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, where users engage in reward or donation crowdfunding, meaning those who buy or sell action could be offered a perk depending upon their level of engagement.

For example, let’s say Allen Kessler, who often uses the portal to sell action, wanted enter a $25,000 buy-in tournament. Instead of offering straight equity for a share, he might entice investors by offering perks such as private training sessions, merchandise, etc.

What is FINRA?

While it’s not part of the government, FINRA has been authorized by Congress to protect American investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. The independent not-for-profit organization ensures market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry.

For instance, YouStake is committed to keeping player funds safe, separate and secure, and by registering with FINRA, they will be held accountable. That means, unlike player funds with Full Tilt Poker pre-Black Friday, someone outside the company will be keeping an eye on things.

According to their website, FINRA has 3,600 employees at 16 offices across the United States. On average, they process $50 billion in transactions every day and supervise 641,761 brokers. FINRA essentially offers consumer protection and peace of mind, which is something online poker players desperately need.

The Future of YouStake

Frank DeGeorge, CEO of YouStake, believes becoming a licensed crowdfunding portal will revolutionize sponsorship not only within the poker industry, but also for all future skilled games and sports verticals.

YouStake plans to expand into other skilled games and traditional/non-traditional competitions like eSports, golf, tennis, rodeo, and MMA. With a FINRA license, YouStake will be the first company to offer regulated sponsorship across such verticals.

Written by
Chad Holloway
Splitting his time between his native Wisconsin and Las Vegas, Chad Holloway gave up a potential law career to follow his passion and play and write about poker. His background includes a long stint as a senior writer for a major poker news site. Long well-known throughout the poker community for his incisive and in-depth commentary and reporting, we are proud to have Chad on board as part of our CardsChat writing team, where he will be covering everything from the World Series of Poker to interviews, features, and more.

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