Playing Poker with Bitcoins?

Playing Poker with Bitcoins?

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The crypto currency Bitcoin is known by everybody. How does this system function? And how can you play online poker with its help? What are the opportunities and risks of playing poker with Bitcoins? These issues and even more will be outlined in the following article.


What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin or shortly BTC is the name of a virtual currency. In contrast with, for example, the Euros or US dollars, Bitcoins exist not in the form of coins or notes, but just in a virtual form. Still, Bitcoins are a real means of payment. Exactly in the same way as with other currencies and goods, the price of Bitcoins is determined by market supply and demand. Here it is important to know that the whole supply of Bitcoins is limited to 21 million units. Unlike currencies, where the money supply can be controlled by the central bank, there is a limited number of possible Bitcoins. They are calculated – here we are talking about the so-called “Bitcoin Mining”. The more Bitcoins have already been calculated, the more computational effort is needed, however, to produce more Bitcoins. The total number of Bitcoins is also limited to 21 million. If the popularity of Bitcoins increases in the next few years, it will stipulate a price increase, just because the offer is limited. In addition, lost Bitcoins cannot be made up for – the total number of Bitcoins, if once all 21 million are calculated, will therefore decrease over time.

*** For the impatient: The best Bitcoin poker room: Betonline Poker ***

For an average consumer it is not actually necessary to be provided with a powerful computer in the basement and thus to calculate Bitcoins. You can easily acquire Bitcoins at the Bitcoin exchanges. There are many market places for that: Bitstamp and Kraken, which are two examples where an average consumer can exchange Euros, US dollars and other currencies in Bitcoins paying a small exchange fee. As BTC is a young currency, however, everyone before making purchases should check upon the trustworthiness of the provider. Thus, the collapse of the hitherto largest Bitcoin marketplace Mt. Gox has led to many negative headlines with this crypto currency.

If you acquire Bitcoins, you may also need a place to save them. In order to save, you can take advantage of online wallets with the help of online services via the Internet (for example, Coinbase or Hive). You may access wallets from your PC or mobile application (for instance, Electrum or the privacy faced Wasabi Wallet). Online services have an obvious advantage, as you can access your funds anywhere; however, the risk of thefts is more substantial. In any case, desktop systems are not entirely safe if your own computer is hacked, which often happens, or if your wallet or an access to it is lost. So, in the result, you have to obligatorily place safety copies of your wallet data in desktop systems (in order to provide protection against crash of the hard disk, thefts or accidental delete). Moreover, you have to create a secure password for the following data (the password must be also kept in secret), so that such wallets cannot be broken with the conventional methods. Ultimately, however, no currency can be safe. Your own wallet may be stolen, indeed, so, you have to take necessary precautions.


Advantages to Play Poker with Bitcoin

There are a lot of good reasons for poker players to play poker with Bitcoins. The main advantages of this are the following:

Security: Bitcoins are considered to be forgery resistant due to time and resource consuming encryption technology. Besides, an e-wallet for Bitcoins can be classified as safe as Moneybookers or Paypal, depending on your ways of looking at things.

Anonymity: A privileged advantage is anonymity. In contrast with a bank account, where detailed information about an owner’s identity must be specified, Bitcoin accounts are absolutely anonymous. Also, transfers are made anonymously. At Bitcoin poker sites it is usually sufficient to specify an email address to be able to play right away. Even with the usual payouts an identity check is not required. For those players who play in a country where online poker or casino games fall into a gray area there is an additional protection with Bitcoins.

Costs: There are no or very low transaction fees. In BTC poker rooms deposits and withdrawals are usually free of charge. Only while buying Bitcoins with euros there appears an extra charge. However, the procedure usually costs much lower than as if you bought USD with EUR; and the usage of Paysafecard or Paypal cannot be compared with BTC in terms of low costs.

Speed: Funds transfers happen very quickly. Similar to eWallets as Skrill or PayPal, purchases can be made within seconds. Payments usually take place very rapidly, within hours.

No HUD software: It can be a disadvantage, yet who knows. However, for a casual gamer it is a great privilege when opponents cannot get advantage with the help of Holdem Manager or other tools.

Weak players: The level of playing at the tables is much lower than at the established poker sites. The right grinders remain at PokerStars, because there are just most of players online, and they can accordingly operate the best multi-tabling there.


Disadvantages to Play Poker with Bitcoin

However, there are also some disadvantages to take into account:

Safety matches: Bitcoin poker rooms are younger than established sites like Stars or FTP. Due to the high security of Bitcoins you cannot conclude that it is poker sites themselves. A player should, therefore, have only a limited number of Bitcoins in the local player’s account and quickly cash out winnings to the BTC own wallet.

Fraud possibilities in online poker: Cheating possibilities presented in this article naturally exist at Bitcoin sites, but with a different level of emphasis. As the applied BTC poker software is still young, it should contain fewer bots. On the other hand, due to limited external control, it can be anticipated that there could be “super-user accounts” in the system. A problematic point is, however, our evaluation of multi-accounting, so to say, owning of more than one player account by one person. Many BTC poker sites allow this even on the assumption that you do not simultaneously log in with multiple accounts. This seems to be naïve, as there is a lure for many players to concurrently play on two computers, having a big advantage over the other players in such a way. There are simple protection mechanisms (such as that only one player per IP address can be online); besides, you are at an advantage in terms of player points/rakeback percentage when you can transfer the same amount of money only with one account, instead of two of them.  Nevertheless, this is a serious problem which cannot be easily solved. We do not know whether Bitcoin poker sites can track multi-accounting with certain logic, as if, for instance, the same two players would always sit at the same tables. The advantage of anonymity is however a major drawback in the fight against unfair play behavior such as multi-accounting, because before the first payment is made, a player’s identity is not even checked.

Rate fluctuations: If you want to look at the exchange rate chart of Bitcoins, see, how much the rate may fluctuate. In contrast with such currencies as USD to EUR, where the fluctuations within one year are generally below 10%, the rate can vary for Bitcoins by 10% up or down, it happens even per day. However, the higher the acceptance of BTC is, the lower the currency will fluctuate, apart from possible significant events such as Mt. Gox time or regulatory interventions. If you want to minimize the fluctuations, you have to keep your total amount of Bitcoins at a low level (not only on your gaming account).

Number of players: Traditional poker sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt, Party Poker and 888 do not accept Bitcoins. Under such circumstances does a player have to resort to other sites such as, for example, Betonline Poker. This is a fast growing poker room, but the number of players at Betonline Poker is fewer than at the renowned sites. Nonetheless, to our knowledge, this is the largest Bitcoin poker room. A small player pool is not a disadvantage for usual players who prefer playing cash games at poker tables with small bets; those who prefer taking part in tournaments with big prize money, especially Multi Table Tournaments, have to adjust to a market leader outside BTC currency area.

Conclusion: Upon weighing the advantages and disadvantages of poker playing with Bitcoins, we do see a worthy reason to make an attempt.


Recommendation: Where to play poker with Bitcoin

Here we would like to primarily recommend a Bitcoin poker room: Betonline. They are now in business for over 10 years, and that’s a very good track record compared to other rooms. While they are focussed also on sportsbetting and casino games, they also offer online poker with Bitcoin. An advantage of playing at Betonline is a possibility to play on high limits or simultaneously at multiple tables. The software of Betonline Poker is available as a PC application (PC, Mac, Linux) or you can play directly in your browser. In addition to cash games with various limits and table sizes, there are also Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Sit’n Go’s and MTTs tournaments. A number of various promotions always keep players entertained, especially the daily and weekly freerolls. And new players can get a first deposit bonus of up to $1000. Just sign up, it’s easy to then transfer your BTC to Betonline and play with your Bitcoins (and also withdraw them later) within minutes.

*** Create your account in the best Bitcoin poker room: Betonline ***


The alternative: Bitcoin casinos

Those players who mostly want to rely on the luck factor and are not eager to deal with the risks of multi-accounting can try their luck at one of many Bitcoin casinos. They offer a usual range of casino games: roulette, slots (slot machines), blackjack to play with a live dealer.

We are highly impressed by the following two Bitcoin casinos:

Betcoin Casino: It offers its players a state-of-the-art look with brilliant graphics. Alternative Litecoins are also accepted here. There is a well-known range of casino games: roulette, slots, blackjack, video poker, craps, live dealer games, slot machines with progressive jackpots. In addition, Betcoin Casino offers sports betting (or a sportsbook) and poker playing to its bettors. In addition to a 100% bonus (up to 1 BTC) for new players, there are also reload bonuses on subsequent deposits.

mBit Casino: There are also live dealer tables as well as dice and lottery games popular among BTC owners. Registration process takes less than a minute: you just need to specify a username, an e-mail address and a password. New players are rewarded with a bonus up to one Bitcoin.