Gambling on Poker with Bitcoin
It took online poker room sites a surprisingly long time to embrace Bitcoin as a potential payment processor but cryptocurrency has finally arrived and it’s arguably the single-best way to make anonymous deposits and withdrawals.
Bitcoin poker usage simply has too many benefits for the average online poker player to ignore including low transfer fees and much faster processing rates compared to traditional methods like credit cards and wire transfers. Read on to get the 411 on why you should be considering Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and learn how to become the best Bitcoin poker player.
What is Bitcoin?
We’re not going to go into extreme detail (there’s plenty of information out there) but Bitcoin is a form of digital cash that people use to make transactions online or as an investment vehicle.
What makes Bitcoin, and similar cryptocurrencies, special is that it runs on a secure peer-to-peer network, which makes intermediaries unnecessary. Because Bitcoin doesn’t rely on a bank or any single organization it’s considered a decentralized currency unlike the US dollar or the UK pound.
Bitcoin wasn’t worth anything initially but it famously skyrocketed to $19,783 per bitcoin in December of 2017. The value of Bitcoin has remained volatile since then but it’s becoming more and more accepted thanks to the considerable exposure it’s gaining around the world.
Bitcoin has been growing more and more popular as a tool for online commerce and — in particular — real-money Bitcoin poker.
Why Bitcoin for Online Poker?
Since the very beginning, online poker has had a transaction problem.
Since poker is fundamentally based on making real-money wagers it’s imperative that players are able to get money online.
Banks are in an awkward position when it comes to processing payments for online poker. Most of them want to OK the transaction (they generally net a fee of some sort) but laws regarding online gambling vary by jurisdiction.
That’s why banks have been known to decline credit card transactions or wire transfers that involve offshore gambling companies.
Bitcoin is one of the only methods of financial transaction that doesn’t involve banks. Once you’ve acquired Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you can spend it how you choose. There are no banks or intermediaries involved at all.
It just so happens that Bitcoin is especially good for online poker because you don’t have to worry about the dreaded volatility of crypto because online poker sites convert to USD for wagering purposes. That means you’ll benefit from the consistent value of the US dollar the entire time that your cash is parked on an online poker site.
Finally, Bitcoin is completely anonymous so you don’t have to worry about any financial paper trail.
The Best Option for USA Poker
Online poker has always existed in an awkward space in the US market.
The laws regarding online poker rooms in the USA change frequently but the one consistent is that it’s not illegal for citizens to play online poker from the comfort of their own homes.
There’s also a huge appetite for online poker in the USA as it’s one of the most popular games in the world.
A number of unregulated, but reliable, poker sites have flourished in the USA but the challenge has always been getting money onto those sites. For years credit cards were the de facto choice to deposit for poker players but banks have been declining more and more online gambling transaction in recent years.
Bitcoin provides more freedom for US-based players and the ability to wager the amount of money they want – it never gets declined by top-rated online Bitcoin poker sites.
Cryptocurrency deposits are on the rise in the USA and estimated to surpass credit cards over the next five years.
Fast, Worry-Free Deposits & Withdrawals
One of the single best features of Bitcoin is its lightning-fast speed compared to traditional deposit methods.
It used to be that you’d have to wait a day or two to get your credit card deposit to go through and even then you might experience the dreaded decline from the bank. Never mind the potential weeks it takes for wire transfers or checks to go through.
Bitcoin and other cryptos have the inherent advantage that they are already online. When you make a deposit using Bitcoin you just enter the address of the poker site where you want to deposit, click send, and wait 10-20 minutes for the Blockchain to verify the transaction. That’s it. Have access to your Bitcoin poker winnings in less than an hour.
Withdrawals are also considerably faster than traditional payment processors. Usually online poker sites still have a waiting period because they like to inspect withdrawals and make sure they are legitimate but once the site gives approval the money will be back in your Bitcoin wallet in a matter of minutes generally.
Bitcoin also offers some of the lowest transaction fees in the business, which means you won’t be bleeding cash to fees and extra charges. Pocket more of your Bitcoin poker winnings. Don’t fret about getting overcharged for your Bitcoin poker withdrawals.
Exclusive Bonuses for Bitcoin Users
Interestingly most online poker sites offer an exclusive bonus for players who make deposits using Bitcoin.
The operators have a lot invested in Bitcoin support because they generally pay smaller fees on crypto transactions and credit cards are becoming harder and harder for them to process. In a few, years it’s even conceivable that online poker sites will have moved away from credit cards and wire transfers and operated exclusively on Bitcoin. Bitcoin poker is here to stay.
That’s why operators have decided to give a number of perks to players who opt to make a deposit using cryptocurrency. The most obvious is a sign-up bonus where they will match a certain amount that player deposits.
For instance, if you deposit $100 on a site with a 100% Bitcoin poker deposit match then you’ll potentially earn another $100. The big downside is that the bonus has to be unlocked by playing a certain number of real-money hands or tournaments but free money is free money.
A number of online poker sites also offers a reload bonus for their Bitcoin poker players, which is quite rare.
Generally, you can only get a sign-up bonus once but a reload bonus lets you snag another potential deposit match if you lost or withdrew your first one. It’s a great reason to sign back into your online poker account and make another deposit.
How Do I Get Bitcoin?
Acquiring Bitcoin is perhaps the single most difficult part of using it for online poker.
In some countries, it’s exceptionally easy to purchase Bitcoin but there are a number of hoops to jump through in certain jurisdictions.
The first step to acquiring Bitcoin is familiarizing yourself with the concept. Instead of bank accounts, Bitcoin users have their own personal wallets where they keep their cryptocurrency safe.
There are many different kinds of these wallets including offline, online, mobile and more but they all do the same thing. They keep your money safe and give you the ability to send and receive crypto. There are numerous Bitcoin wallets so it’s worth doing a little research and figuring out which one would work best for you.
There are also a number of different ways to acquire Bitcoin. The most common are Bitcoin exchanges, person to person transfer or even real-life ATMs. To make things more complicated the options that work vary by country.
Fortunately, most online poker sites will provide you with some guidance in that department and even direct you towards an exchange that will work in your respective country. If not the internet has a vast repository of information about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Is Bitcoin available to use on mobile devices?
Bitcoin is available to use on your mobile device paired with a Bitcoin wallet when playing on a mobile-friendly site or on a casino-specific app.
What About Litecoin or Ethereum?
You’ll find that most online poker sites actually accept a wide variety of cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin or Ethereum.
It depends on the poker site but certain ones accept over 60 different kinds of crypto such as Dash, BTC Cash, Ripple, Dogecoin, Monero, and more.
If you have a particular cryptocurrency that you like to use then you should do a little research and find out what online poker site supports it. The number of accepted coins is growing rapidly, however, so there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one site.
On the other hand, Bitcoin remains king and pretty much every online poker site will take Bitcoin poker withdrawals and deposits.
Are There Any Downsides to Bitcoin for Online Poker?
There are a few but right now the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Perhaps the biggest downside of Bitcoin is that it’s simply a nontraditional method of finance. For people who have used cash their whole life, it can seem extremely complicated but it’s actually not as bad as you might think when you’re using it for online poker.
The reality is that Bitcoin bypasses banks because every single user is, in a way, their own bank. That means you’ll have a little more responsibility in keeping your money safe. If you use a mobile wallet and you lose your mobile device you might be in for a bad time. In a strange way, Bitcoin is very much like hard currency such as gold or silver in that respect. Fortunately, there are plenty of fail-safes you can utilize and there are careful users who never have issues.
The other downside is that Bitcoin is incredibly volatile as a currency. It regularly goes up and down 10-20%, which is a contrast to reliable currencies such as USD, which tend to only fluctuate by less than 1%.
Fortunately, online Bitcoin poker players don’t have to worry too much about crazy crypto fluctuations because as soon as their money on an online poker site it is converted to USD. It only turns back into Bitcoin when you make a withdrawal.
Once you make a withdrawal, however, it’s up to you to quickly convert it to USD in the real world if you don’t want to deal with the Bitcoin rollercoaster.