Bitcoin poker is an attractive option for players who are tired of dealing with long waits for withdrawals, risky payment processing, and fees and currency exchange rates that eat into profits. Bitcoin offers a new and futuristic way for bitcoin poker sites to run. For those unfamiliar with Bitcoin, it is the most popular peer-to-peer decentralized cryptocurrency existing today. Bitcoin is open source and operates without a governing body such as a central authority or financial institution. Without all of the technical jargon, what Bitcoin boils down to is cash on the internet.
Bitcoin Poker Sites
There are relatively few sites that operate solely with bitcoin. The most popular poker Bitcoin site is Betcoin.ag. Even as the highest trafficked bitcoin poker site, the games still have very little volume. Generally even at peak times there may be only one or two tables at each stake running. While other sites do offer Bitcoin only gambling, they are in general not worth playing as they simply do not have enough of a player pool to make it worth your while.
Risks involved with Bitcoin Gambling
Poker is a game that is highly affected by variance. Even by playing perfectly, which no human or computer can yet do, you are not guaranteed to win in the short term. Using Bitcoin as your currency increases the risk dramatically. Take a look at the value of Bitcoin in this chart to understand the fluctuations you can expect over the short and long term with Bitcoin. Those who are adamantly in favour of Bitcoin would counter this chart by bringing up the volatility in the currency market in general. While it is true that the Euro and GBP for example have experienced rapid changes in value, the newness of Bitcoin gives it an added risk. There is no way of knowing what Bitcoin will look like in ten years. A new digital currency could even replace it. While this may sound old fashioned, there is something to be said of the value of a 100 dollar bill that you can hold in your hand compared to an online currency that you can never touch.
Along with the volatility of Bitcoin, there are other downsides for those who wish to play either in the currency or deposit using it. The biggest is the lack of global acceptance of Bitcoin in the online poker world. Because online poker is legal in Ireland, sites have a great incentive to ensure that their players are who they claim to be and that they have the documentation to back it up. The anonymity of Bitcoin is a unnapealing to these sites. Sites which allow Bitcoin deposits are generally those who have an incentive to allow players to deposit on their sites when their government has put legal roadblocks in place to make depositing difficult.
Advantages of Bitcoin Poker
One advantage of Bitcoin and the sites that allow players to either play with the cryptocurrency or to deposit and withdraw with it is the crossover between those who like to gamble and those who like to speculate on currency markets. As you can see from the volatility of Bitcoin, Bitcoin offers a high risk high reward investment. The type of person willing to take such a risk is one who you want to be sitting down to your right at the poker table. Sites accepting Bitcoin are generally softer.
Anonymity is key with Bitcoin. For those who wish to preserve their privacy, Bitcoin offers a convenient and safe way to deposit to poker sites without having to submit personal details or to link a bank account with their deposit. When playing on an online poker site, poker players are trusting the site with their personal details and sensitive information about their own gambling habits. For those who believe there is a risk of the poker site sharing, selling, or not protecting their personal information properly, Bitcoin is a safer bet for ensuring privacy.
The largest advantage for Irish players who wish to play on sites that allow US players because of the weak players pools is the ability to deposit and withdraw safely and quickly.
Sites with Poker Bitcoin deposit and withdrawals
While it is true there are risks involved with Bitcoin volatility, there are still many advantages to using Bitcoin as your currency of choice. Bitcoin fees tend to be lower than currency exchange fees.
Speed is of the essence. Compared to the wait times in certain online poker sites when attempting a withdrawal that can take weeks or even months because of unreliable third party middlemen payment processors Bitcoin is much faster. The stress of wondering whether that thousand dollar check is coming after weeks of waiting is something no poker player should ever have to endure. Bitcoin alleviates the major concern of a payment processor going under – an event which in the past has taken down online poker sites such as Pokerspot.
Modern and forward thinking poker sites now offer Bitcoin withdrawals and deposits.
Here is a list of some popular poker sites allowing play from Ireland and whether or not they allow Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.
|Poker Site||Allows BTC Deposit||Allows Bitcoin Withdrawal|
|Black Chip Poker||Yes||Yes|
|Paddy Power Poker||No||No|
As you can see from the table, it is the poker sites which are most marketed towards the US audience which have Bitcoin options. This is because of regulations against online poker in the US that make all of the advantages of Bitcoin so appealing. For those who are playing poker from Ireland and the rest of the world, there are simply easier, less volatile, and user friendly ways of depositing to your favourite sites.
Bitcoin gambling offers another level of risk for Irish poker players. Compared to US poker player, Ireland’s online poker laws allow playing on secure, trustworthy sites. These sites generally do not need to accept Bitcoin as they have other less volatile payment methods available.