Online poker was one of the games hit hardest by governments such as the United States pulling the plug on financial institutions funding offshore gambling accounts. Prior to these increases in regulations starting in 2006 and later, poker was a multi-billion-dollar industry and one of the most popular games for betting or otherwise. Bitcoin poker is proving that there may be a resurgence in the influence of this once mighty giant.
When the poker regulations came into light, players did one of three things. One, they chose to abide by the rules and simply give up the game they had known to love. Two, they opted to pull their funds from reliable sites who were facing government scrutiny and take the risk at less popular, but also less secure poker rooms. Finally, they could try and circumvent these rules at the more recognized sites by using alternative funding methods such as overseas gift cards or money transfers routed through different countries.
While all these methods were tiring, players who stuck with the game – or ones who want to get back into it after a hiatus – will be pleased to know that bitcoin poker is thriving. Using bitcoin to fund your account is completely anonymous and the currency is unregulated which means governments have little to no control over how their citizens use the bitcoin.
Top Bitcoin Poker Sites
How does Bitcoin Poker Work?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which is dealt with completely online. It is unregulated which means transactions are done anonymously and without the oversight from any local government or financial institutions. It is very much a peer-to-peer currency that can be sent to any other bitcoin address. A bitcoin address is a randomly generated computer key featuring numerous letters and numbers. Bitcoin casinos generate this unique address when you go to make a deposit – you then subsequently send your BTC to that address and the funds are there sometimes nearly immediately.
Ones the bitcoins have been added to your account, you can then enter bitcoin poker tournaments and other games just like you would have had you deposited euro or dollars. There is a ‘middle man’ in the transaction from traditional money to BTC. You’ll need an account at an online wallet which does the conversion for you. This is also how you’ll process withdrawals in the case of winning. Bitcoins are sent to the wallet, which then converts them to your regular currency which can then be subsequently sent to a bank account. It may sound like money laundering, but where you obtained the bitcoin from is a completely anonymous source – perhaps your employer is progressive and pays in BTC?
Why Is Bitcoin Poker Taking Off?
First and foremost, the reason that more and more players are opting for bitcoin poker is because it’s the only way they can play. Some accounts will still bar a person just because of the location of their IP address but a majority are taking a ‘look the other way’ approach. No personal information is needed to even create an account (only an email address) so there are no black and white ties to a country for most of these poker sites.
There are numerous other reasons to get back into bitcoin poker or to try it for the first time. For high rollers, the anonymity of bitcoin means you can make major winnings without any tax implications. In fact, and they might not admit it, but not being able to get their hands on any tax cut is a major reason why governments are taking a stance against their citizens using bitcoin for gambling.
Playing bitcoin poker has other financial advantages as well. Credit card companies, bank transfers, and wiring money all generally have some sort of processing fees associated with them. The online poker rooms need to try and recoup their overhead on this so they’ll tack on higher rake fees or bigger cuts of tournament pots. Since bitcoin transactions don’t have any fees, players can keep more of their winnings.
Is Bitcoin Poker Safe?
One of the benefits of bitcoin is that it’s unregulated and anonymous. As it goes, those are the two factors that may have some people feeling leery about the cryptocurrency. It can be hard to find the licensing information for many of these, essentially anonymous, bitcoin poker rooms. It’s always recommended to do your homework on which sites have a solid online reputation and which ones seemingly sprouted up overnight. Since bitcoin is unregulated, it’s completely possible that the value bottoms out one day. So far however, the exact opposite has been true. In January of 2014, one bitcoin was resting at what was seemingly a meteoric value of about $1,000. Experts are now predicting that next year the value of 1BTC could be as much as $100,000.
As for safety, the anonymity of bitcoin also protects personal information from being accessible to hackers and data thieves. Many bitcoin poker sites also protect the sum of members’ funds by featuring a hot wallet and cold wallet. By transferring BTC to an offline cold wallet, the surplus of bitcoin are also out of the reach of hackers. Poker sites will keep enough funds in the hot wallet to pay out players immediately – but the cold wallet is another nice safety feature.
Should You Join a Bitcoin Poker Site?
If you love poker and want to try your hand at some winnings bitcoin poker is likely your best option at this time. You’ll have to find a site that accepts you, an e-wallet to convert funds to bitcoin, and a reputable poker room but otherwise people have been enjoying playing like this for a couple years now. The way bitcoin is seemingly going ‘all in’ with popularity and a rise in value, the legitimacy of these poker sites is only going to grow in the future.