Everything You Need to Know About Playing Poker With Bitcoin
With the explosion of bitcoins being used for online transactions for just about everything, it was only a matter of time before they made a splash in the poker world. Whether you are already a bitcoin expert, or are eager to learn about them, these poker platforms provide a perfect opportunity to learn, enjoy and benefit.
What are Bitcoins?
First of all, it's important you know what bitcoins are. Bitcoin is a type of crypto currency, which is a highly secure and anonymous online-based currency. There are many other types of cryto currency that have tried to mimic the success of bitcoin, but none are even in the same ballpark.
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The amazing aspect of bitcoin is that they were only created in 2009, and yet have grown to an incredible market size. The leading features of bitcoin transactions are that there are no fees and don't even require your name. Now while you would still have to give your name and details if you buy a physical good with bitcoin, for any online transfer you could give any fake name with no problems.
Why Play Poker With Bitcoins?
It's probably not obvious why this is relevant yet. What does all this have to do with poker? Let's find out...
Since bitcoin transactions are not processed by banks or any other middlemen, there are no fees on transactions. With rising regulation and licensing fees, poker rooms are being forced to raise rake even higher to maintain profit margins. A rake hike can turn you from a solid winning player to a breakeven or losing player in today's competitive games.
While bitcoin poker rooms still need to have some rake in order to cover operating costs, it is much lower than traditional rooms, sometimes by more than 50 percent! Take a look at how much rake you pay in a month and tell me you wouldn't want to get half that back. Look at the change in your win rate when you take that extra rake out.
While it is nowhere near as difficult as it used to be to get money on and off poker sites, it can still be a hassle. With bitcoin you have fast, convenient transfers, and it's typically very easy to get money on and off a site. Again, you typically face another small fee that discourages frequent transfers. With bitcoin - no fees. You also don't have to worry about this changing in the future as this is a property of the currency. Wire transfers and other traditional options can implement new fees whenever they want.
Where to Get Bitcoins
In order to buy something with bitcoin or play on a poker site, you will first have to get bitcoins of your own. There are two main ways to get them, it's up to you to decide which one you'd rather.
The first method of getting bitcoins is to "mine" them with your computer. Essentially you are trading processing power to complete complex math problems for new bitcoins that have not been used yet. Since the currency has grown so much over the years, there aren't any easy bitcoins left to mine, which makes this a poor option for most.
The better option? Simply buy them with your regular currency. Start by signing up for a bitcoin wallet. Here you will get your own 33 character long bitcoin address - don't lose this! There are many reputable bitcoin wallets, do a quick search and pick one you like.
With your address, you can now participate in market transactions. Using credit, debit, paypal or other common cash exchange methods, you can buy bitcoins online. Again, there are many bitcoin marketplaces, read recent reviews to make sure you find a legitimate one to purchase from. Once you buy bitcoins, they will be associated with your bitcoin address until you use them.
Bitcoin Poker Options
There are bitcoin poker rooms for both the EU and U.S., although the U.S. is a bit more limited (PokerTips recommends US players to refrain from playing online poker unless they live in a state with legalized online poker). The most popular rooms are Seals with Clubs and Betcoin Poker.
Seals with Clubs is a site made by poker players in 2011. It was mainly created in response to events of Black Friday, to prevent a similar event in the future that impacted the lives of millions of poker players around the world. Seals with Coins is best known for their cash game choices.
Betcoin Poker on the other hand is much newer, but offers a wide range of tournament games because of their partnership with the Winning Poker Network (WPN). You have to remember that bitcoin sites are not the same size as Pokerstars and Full Tilt, so liquidity is at times limited. Having a solid partnership like Betcoin has with WPN helps to fix this issue.
A Brand New Bitcoin Room - Nitrogen
Finally, keep an eye out for a new bitcoin poker room from Nitrogen Sports. Nitrogen is already very well known in the bitcoin industry for being one of the largest bitcoin sportsbooks. They have just launched a new poker room that is being integrated into the existing sportsbook.
While a limited player pool may seem like a negative, it may actually be a great opportunity to play mainly against players with little experience with poker. This could be the perfect chance to get experienced with bitcoins and make some money while you're at it.