Let’s face it, gambling is just a little more fun when it doesn’t feel like you might lose your own money. Although we have not found a way that completely eliminates this feeling, the thought of gambling with non-fiat money has appealed to some. Intrigued? We assure you this is no bluff. This process is easy to start, especially with this handy guide to Bitcoin poker. Along with specific advice about the game, we have also put together some recommendations for Bitcoin gambling sites and other places to play crypto poker.
Pros of Bitcoin Poker
Like any good decision, a good pros and cons comparison is a must. To start things off with a positive note, let’s begin with what we love about Bitcoin poker. First, we have to admit the convenience in which players can set up and start playing is a lot simpler than we would expect.
Additionally, due to the ease of use and the leveraging of blockchain technology bitcoin enjoys the same benefits of anything else crypto-related. That means that we can add a couple of other benefits including fast transactions and anonymity for players. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. Remember crypto operates without a bank intervening, so when you conduct transactions using bitcoin your details will not be made public. The only time you will actually be providing your details is when you purchase bitcoin to use on these platforms.
Along with the efficient way in which the process occurs, comes lower fees. Although we are not experts in the poker industry, there are notably some long wait times for payouts which can be costly and many fees associated with gambling. Since there is no bank standing in the way of you and your money, transactions will be quicker than ever before. That said certain sites have a withdrawal minimum. So know the rules ahead of time. The time after submitting your withdrawal application to receiving your crypto can be as low as 5 minutes or up to a day or two.
Like other pros, Bitcoin has paved the way for big bonuses. Bonuses that may even be better than traditional online poker.
Finally, consider that some countries have made online gambling illegal. If you happen to be a rule follower (and law-abiding citizen) you might consult your local laws to find out these regulations only apply to gambling in your country’s currency. If this is the case, gambling with bitcoin might just be okay. So before you start playing crypto poker, consult the laws in your area. Just to be sure.
Cons of Bitcoin Poker
Like any gamble, there are some associated risks. One of these risks is exchange rates. Keep in mind this risk does not have to be a big deal since you are likely only switching from BTC to USD and then switching back to get your cash out. This means you likely won’t face the effects of exchanging at a lower BTC rate then is unfavorable to you. While this might be the case, we still felt that this should be good for you.
Since crypto poker is newer that means there are chances to win all kinds of free stuff, right? We hate to be the ones to break it to you but unfortunately, there is little in the way of free stuff. Unfortunately, with Bitcoin poker being a more widely accepted concept and the increased cost of a single coin it is unlikely you will be offered free Bitcoin (or anything of that nature) anytime soon.
Like anything else, there is always a bit of a learning curve before you start making some money. Don’t expect to be a whiz at Bitcoin poker from the get-go. With the different way platforms are set up, there is likely some different and unique strategizing that will be involved. Don’t be too hard on yourself from the get-go, like all good things the art of Bitcoin poker comes with time.
This might fall under either depending on who you talk to. The question of security always comes into play when it comes to bitcoin. Some say you are more subject to hacking, while others argue it’s the same as gambling with real money. What we know for sure is that if you do not have a secure blockchain wallet set up with the right verifications in place then yes hacking should be of concern.
A Balancing Act
Okay, we admit it, that’s a lot of information to take in at once. For your future reference, this summary chart might be a great tool to look back at.
Avoid illegal activity
|Losses due to exchange rates|
Subject to hacking
How does Bitcoin Poker work?
To answer this question, we will first consider whether or not you already have bitcoin at hand and which poker platform you decide to use. Given these considerations, the coins you deposit or have available in your crypto wallet will either be converted into the currency of your country or remain denoted on Bitcoin. If you decide to use the Nitrogen or SwCPoker platforms, your funds will be kept in bitcoin or more likely in fractions of bitcoin, while the rest will convert to US Dollars. It is important to note which platforms denote which currencies. This way you will know exactly what you are bidding. After all, a bid of 1 Bitcoin is a significantly different bid than 1 USD.
As soon as you convert your money into dollars from Bitcoin, you no longer need to worry about the volatility of crypto. The exchanged amount will remain the same once it is converted. This is a big deal as the prices of Bitcoin tend to be very volatile and fluctuate throughout the day (but you already knew that).
Top Bitcoin Poker Sites
So where does one even go to play online poker? We put together a couple of sites that might just be a great place to start.
1. Ignition Poker
Ignition Poker is slightly newer to the gambling game and is also owned by Bovada Poker and has many similar features that were popular on the old platform. You can continue to play poker on most mobile devices. The payout speed isn’t the fastest we’ve seen at 1-2 days but is far from the slowest. Other reviews have also argued that with the sheer value of players, tournaments fill up quickly. This is both a good sign and slightly frustrating if you don’t make the cut. The win rate is also believed to be high at a whopping 96%.
2. SB Poker (Sportsbetting)
The next platform we would like to include is sportsbetting.ag. We know you aren’t here for that. However, despite its name, there are tons of opportunities to still have your classic poker experience for Texas hold’em, Omaha and Omaha hi-lo. You might even score a bonus or two! This site comes with a super nice bonus of $2500.
Worried about how long they’ve been operating? Don’t! Sportsbetting has over 22 years of experience.
For those who are fans of more than Texas Hold ‘Em, you might really like the options available on Betonline. These might include games like Omaha, 5 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud and 2 – 7 Draw. The brand itself has high awareness and has been around for a good chunk of time. Like the other platforms under investigation, Betonline offers a bonus using their promo code CRYPTO100.
There are also many freerolls (check out our terminology section at the bottom of this article) available hourly. These games are great because you have the potential to win real money without putting any of your own capital at stake. For those who are newer to the Bitcoin poker game, you might use these freerolls as a way to test the waters as it were.
Before you assume Betonline has checked all your boxes, keep in mind these two things. First, high stakes games are not available. Secondly, there is lower traffic than other sites which might be a reason for our first point. That said if you enjoy casual poker playing you might still keep Betonline in your consideration set. Mobile playing is also still in the works and is currently not available.
4. SwC Poker
Next on our list is SwC Poker. Originally standing for Seals with Clubs, this site is for bitcoin transactions only. The site claims that their team is dedicated to making a safe, fair and affordable BTC poker platform. Some of the notable benefits to using this website when compared to competitors are instant payouts, a wide selection of standard and hard-to-find poker games, small rake percentage, easy to the user interface, player anonymity, and availability on all devices.
That said there is less traffic than some of the other sites. For those who consider themselves avid gamblers, you might want to stay clear of a Bitcoin-only platform for the very reason that there will be fewer games and with fewer games and fewer players, you will also see less money. Most platforms that offer Bitcoin betting as a part of their offerings will also have higher traffic.
5. Betcoin Poker
Since its inception in 2014, Betcoin has continued to make a name in online gambling and has only gained popularity after announcing its acceptance of deposits in cryptocurrency. The site offers over 18 varieties of online poker and has the same benefits of any Blockchain leveraged platform including the ability to make quick deposits and withdrawals.
You can use Betcoin on several mobile devices by downloading their app (yes iPhone and Android users, this applies to both!). Something we really like about this site is the crypto they accept does not stop at Bitcoin, rather they also allow you to participate using several other cryptocurrencies as well.
The main area for concern is the lack of the Provably Fair algorithm to ensure ultimate accountability in poker games.
Taking your Pick
What does the starting process actually look like? Well, you might want to start with selecting the platform you would like to play on. While we have just outlined some of the options that are available to you, you also have a bit of a choice to make. You can decide between a Bitcoin casino or a Bitcoin poker site. If you decide on a strictly, Bitcoin poker site (which we would assume you would) we suggest you consider a couple of key features such as your deposit bonuses, rake back percentage, player reviews, number of tournaments available, the size of the community, the security of the platform, and anonymity of players. Sorry for the long list, but we assure you reviewing these factors are for your own good.
Ensure that your pick is both a certified and licensed site. There is nothing worse than winning big only to realize that it was a scam the whole time. It is rare that you will find a case where a big player is scamming the industry. Since this space is so competitive now, consumers would quickly leave the platform in the event of a scam.
Finally, we recommend looking for platforms that use the “Provably Fair” algorithm. This was instituted by FortuneJack to ensure online poker sites are properly regulated and regularly assessed by the appropriate parties.
Selecting a Tournament Type
Bitcoin poker tournaments will be very similar to your average poker tournaments. This means that like most online there is a single table or a multi-table knockout nature. In a single table tournament players, all start with the same amount of chips and a set buy-in. The last player with chips would then take the winnings. In a multi-round tournament, the winners of each table advance to a final round. In this final round, the winner gets all the money. It is interesting to note while there might be a cap on the number of players that can play in an in-person tournament, an online tournament can have significantly more.
Let’s Get it Started
Since we’ve covered the poker part, we will also need to consider the Bitcoin part. Depending on the platform you may need to exchange your fiat money for Bitcoins. These Bitcoins will be transferred at the price you indicate at the time of the request. So don’t worry if Bitcoin takes a hit while you are waiting for your order to be fulfilled. That said, certain platforms only operate in Bitcoin so it will be up to you to have these readily available.
At some point you’ll also have to select which of the games you are playing, these could range anywhere from Texas Hold’em to Omaha to 5 card-draw. For those who aren’t poker experts, you might recognize the name Texas Hold ‘em. This is what they typically play on TV with the huge (and we mean huge) cash prizes. The Bitcoin poker games will be somewhat similar to these traditional poker games with the added bonus that you might actually make a little more money with Bitcoin gambles.
Tricks of the Trade
While there are no sure-fire ways to “win at gambling”, there are some tried and true tricks that might be helpful in mastering the art of Bitcoin poker.
First, carefully review the rules and regulations on the platform that you select. Why do we say this? First, remember with exchanges what you are placing your bets in. This will help you to place smart bets. Especially since a bet in Bitcoin will not be the same as a bet in your currency.
Knowing the platform is also important since you need to know which cards you want. Different platforms place different values on a hand. So knowing where you stand is just kind of important to your strategy.
Although you might be easily enticed by the promise of a big bonus (I mean let’s face it who isn’t?), don’t forget the terms of conditions. While the advertising suggests you are getting a steal, it is a known fact that sometimes the underlying conditions can in no way be met by the player. If this is the case, your bonus is doomed from the get-go.
Setting up your Bitcoin Poker Account
Here is where things get a little more technical. That’s why we put together a how-to guide to get your Bitcoin Poker account up and running. You can begin this process by navigating to your profile page and selecting on your dashboard an option that prompts you to deposit your funds. From there you will also need to do a few things.
1. Get a Bitcoin Wallet
First things first. You will need a Bitcoin wallet. This might be either a virtual online account or a downloadable wallet for your computer. A downloadable or physical wallet is often a safer way to go, as it is believed to be more secure than a virtual online wallet. That said, once you have decided you will be presented with a series of numbers and letters. This address is something you will need any time you start the online gambling process.
2. Add Money
Now we get to the less fun part. To exchange money so you can buy Bitcoin, you’ll likely have to do an exchange on a platform like Coinbase. That is, unless you happen to live near a Bitcoin ATM or are an avid miner.
So we’re back to the exchange. These cryptocurrency exchanges charge you a fee to exchange your fiat money for crypto. Depending on where you are purchasing from, you might want more or less anonymity. If this is the case, it is recommended that you select an exchange that will need to occur on a platform that cannot be charged back. Coinbase is typically the most popular since they only require you to provide your bank account details. (Note* When you cash out your Bitcoin, or choose to buy larger amounts, you will likely be required to provide additional credentials.)
Coinbase is just one of many platforms that you could use to make this exchange. Regardless of what you chose, ensure you are not giving up more information or banking details than you feel comfortable with.
3. Collecting your Money
The last step is to send some money to a poker site, after which you will be able to start playing. To break it down you will have to find the cashier on the site you are on. Once you have successfully located the cashier, you will be instructed to generate an ID. This is called a receivers ID and will be a bunch of random letters (and possible numbers). To be honest, at first glance this ID might mean very little to you. However, these values are a little more important than you think.
You can then use this ID to go back into the poker site you were using and convert your winnings back into Bitcoin for you to cash out.
Is Bitcoin Poker Rigged?
To answer that, we would have to also consider regular online poker platforms. Most of these platforms are businesses that rely heavily on their reputation and the wisdom of the masses as it were. If multiple people felt as though they were being scammed, you would likely hear about it. Additionally, platforms typically abide to certain policies and regulations depending on the jurisdiction they operate in. It makes sense that these platforms would abide by these rules as they (like regular poker platforms) do not benefit from players losing. Rather, the higher the pot the more money they will take back as a rake percentage.
We also just wanted to add this little reminder. Bitcoin is not only volatile but its value is dependent on being something that people want. That being said, if people suddenly decide their crypto and more specifically Bitcoin has no value, you might be in trouble. For this reason, consider the additional risk that is associated with Bitcoin in the poker world.
For these reasons, we highly doubt that any funny business would be going on. But this also isn’t a guarantee. Like all things, (you guessed it) ensure you are reading customer reviews so you know exactly what to expect. Now that is something we would bet on.
Poker players, we know you might know most of these terms but there are some newbies out there. Feel free to skip this if you know your stuff, or take a quick review to make sure you know what you think you know.
Before you enter a Bitcoin tournament you might have heard of the term, buy-in. This is essentially just a fancy word for the cost of sitting down and playing a game of poker.
Tournament with no cost to participate. It is typically used by online poker websites as a trial offer for new players.
You might remember that at the beginning of this guide, we mentioned something about “knowing your rake percentage”. This refers to the amount in each game of poker that is taken or “raked back” to the gambling site. The amount is often written as a percentage which in the bitcoin poker world is often between 2 and 50 percent.
In It to Win It
We have by no means provided you with a comprehensive rule book for all things poker. However, with the help of this guide, we hope to help you get your foot in the door in knowing if this is an activity that you would like to participate in and what you can do to ensure the greatest chance for success. Now that is something we would bet on.