Bitcoins and poker - a match made in heaven
2015 Jun 1

Poker and Bitcoin – a match made in heaven?

Could that ever be the case? As the use of online “cryptocurrencies” is gradually becoming more mainstream by the day, is it not about time that online gambling websites integrated them into card games such as poker? Those were the questions that were posed by experts from both the Bitcoin and poker world. Now that we are halfway through 2015, there are a number of existing well known poker sites that have indeed included Bitcoin as a currency to bet with, yet surprisingly, this is not common knowledge to even some of the most renowned and well informed gamblers.

Is using Bitcoin not considered a little… shady?

For years Bitcoin was, to say the least, frowned upon. Many people associated it with the currency of underground “dodgy” websites on the tor network, or considered the Bitcoin to be a means to avoid taxation. However, those common misconceptions are now gradually fading away as popular platforms such as WordPress accept Bitcoin as a payment option. Furthermore, the high street retailer CEX has revolutionised the cryptocurrency by allowing customers to use Bitcoin as a payment method in store.

So, how practical is allowing the Bitcoin to be used as a stake for online poker?

Well, you had better be prepared to ante up! One Bitcoin has a value of approximately £152 as of today – (the exact value fluctuates frequently). Now although you might consider that rather excessive, it could well be a very smart investment for the future. The “Bitcoin Boom” occurred when the value of the cryptocurrency soared drastically and encouraged many people to invest into buying the Bitcoin in the masses as the value continued to increase. Thankfully the currency has stabilised somewhat, and therefore people feel more confident in making a Bitcoin purchase. However, gamblers should note that the value is anticipated to increase in the future. So if a gambler should accumulate Bitcoin winnings, then it may be wise to keep the winnings until the market rises. This effectively means the gambler is receiving more value for their winnings in the long term and gives calculating poker players an incentive to play for the Bitcoin.

Are Well Established Poker Sites Already Utilising the Bitcoin?

In short, the answer is yes. That being said, not enough poker sites currently are. America is one step ahead having Bitcoin only poker websites such as Betcoin Poker and Bitcasino Poker too. These offer poker players the opportunity to bet exclusively using the Bitcoin, however there does not seem to be a UK based online casino that do not allow conventional “real world“ currencies. There are thankfully sites across Europe that now allow Bitcoin such as 888 Poker, Bwin Poker and Titan Poker too and European sites where you can buy Bitcoins from. This has completely changed the gambling industry. Yet there has been a profoundly positive response to the experimentation of Bitcoin in the gambling realms on the internet. For the near future, experts do not foresee the Bitcoin becoming a prime gambling option. Yet, its popularity is expected to continue to grow, so inevitably more mainstream gambling sites shall take notice soon enough. For the meantime, I would recommend that if you are an experienced poker player, this should not be an opportunity to be simply overlooked.

2015 May 5

We all know what poker is, but why is its marriage with Bitcoin such a great idea? Let’s give a brief background to what Bitcoin is and how it works first, and then you’ll see why its use with gambling sites is so neat.

Bitcoins? Aren’t they just play money?

Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have gone beyond their initial experimentation phase and, whilst not a mature market, have managed to survive some exceptionally hard economic times. Although their bitcoin prices, they have remained entirely secure and are a genuine way to transfer monetary value around safely and quickly.

Bitcoins themselves have no real intrinsic value; they are really just numbers. However, because there is a limited supply and they are trusted, this means that they can be traded against traditional currencies and thus hold a very real, convertible value.

OK, but why are they a good match for poker sites?

Bitcoins are particularly useful in the online gaming world because of the following qualities:

  • Bitcoins can be moved around very quickly. Payments can be validated with a reasonably high assurance within a few seconds, and are pretty much guaranteed within 10 minutes.
  • Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed and thus there are no chargebacks.
  • Bitcoins do not directly need any sort of tie in to any currency and thus any legal systems. This means that poker sites can have more flexibility as to where to locate their businesses.
  • Transactions fees to send and receive Bitcoins only costs a couple of cents which is much cheaper than any traditional transaction fees.

I’m sold! I don’t have Bitcoins yet so where can I get some?

Depending on the country you’re in and how you would like to pay, there are a few options you can use to get Bitcoins. Examples are:

  • Big exchanges like Bitstamp and Kraken (good if you are not in a rush and want to buy a lot).
  • Dealers like UK Bitcoins and QuickBitcoin (only in the UK).
  • Informal peer-to-peer marketplaces like LocalBitcoins (good if you are wanting to do an anonymous trade, need speed and are knowledgeable enough not to get scammed).

 

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