Poker, unlike say sports betting, has always had a cash problem.
You need money to play poker but actually dealing with the transaction aspect — whether live or online — can be a huge hassle.
Online poker sites have always been beholden to banks and credit card companies as those financial institutions could quickly put the brakes on any transfer.
Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies have revolutionized the world of online poker payments thanks to its decentralized nature, low fees, lightning-fast speed, and anonymity. It’s arguably the single-best way to make a deposit (or withdrawal) these days on online poker sites.
The best part is that you don’t have to know everything about bitcoin to make a deposit using cryptocurrency.
There are a number of reasons why cryptocurrency makes sense for online poker, but it really comes down to the needs of the players themselves. Most online poker players are looking for some mixture of the following things when picking a payment processor:
It’s a tall order but bitcoin fulfills most, if not all of the items on that list for poker online.
When you understand how to use it, bitcoin is very reliable and safe. Unlike banks, this is mostly on the individual as bitcoin is decentralized.
Perhaps, the biggest feature of bitcoin is just how fast it is for online poker. Once you have bitcoin you can be playing poker with it in a matter of minutes instead of days. Deposits are just that quick.
Withdrawals are also fast but it usually takes a day or two to receive your poker payout because online sites need to confirm the payout amount to block money laundering. It’s still far better than waiting weeks to get a withdrawal check from other online poker options.
Bitcoin and playing bitcoin poker also have some of the lowest fees compared to credit cards and banks. You can actually pay slightly higher fees if you want to speed up your poker transaction.
Most people wouldn’t say that bitcoin is easier to use than a credit card but once you get used to the concept it’s actually surprisingly intuitive.
Finally, users can spend their bitcoin poker winnings any way they choose. That freedom is breath of fresh air who’s gotten their credit card or bank transfer blocked by a bank. It is a great currency for poker play.
Here’s the interesting thing about using bitcoin to player poker: You don’t actually use bitcoin at the poker table.
The vast majority of online poker sites immediately convert bitcoin to USD the moment it’s transferred into a player’s account. There are a few reasons that online sites do this but the main one is to give players a break from the volatility of cryptocurrency.
Imagine you bought $100 worth of bitcoin, deposited on an online poker site, immediately ran it up to $200 and went to withdraw your $100 of profit only to find that bitcoin had plunged 50%? It’s like you didn’t win anything at all.
Bitcoin is notoriously volatile and it’s a distinct possibility that it could lose a huge portion of its value while you are playing online. USD is a much more reliable way to fund players accounts. Especially ones who don’t want to ride the cryptocurrency rollercoaster.
The only time you have to worry about the swings of bitcoin is after you make a withdrawal. You can cash that withdrawal out to USD through an online exchange or Bitcoin ATM but the online poker site isn’t responsible for getting you hard currency. If you’re worried about bitcoin volatility you should have a plan to immediately convert your winnings to USD.
If you’re looking to deposit some money on an online poker site that accepts bitcoin you should take our time and read some reviews of popular sites.
Basically, you should consider everything that would normally affect your decision to play on a poker site. Usually, the most important factors for online poker players are some mixture of the following:
As far as bitcoin goes you simply want to make sure the site accepts cryptocurrency as an option for deposits and withdrawals for poker. You also might want to make a deposit using alt-coins such as Ethereum, Litecoin or Dash. Do your research because some sites accept over 60 different cryptocurrencies.
If you’re looking for a bitcoin poker site you also might want to research crypto sign-up or reload bonuses.
Online poker sites are always trying to motivate players to make deposits using bitcoin so they’ll often offer incentives like big sign-up bonuses. For instance, if you make a deposit of $50 using bitcoin some sites will offer you a 100% deposit match, meaning you’ll get another $50 to use on the site. That money takes some time to unlock but free money is always a good thing!
If everything you’ve read sounds like it’s right up your alley then you should consider acquiring bitcoin for the purpose of playing online poker.
The first step is to learn a little about bitcoin, digital wallets and the blockchain. If you’re just planning on using bitcoin for online poker then you don’t have to be an expert but you should at least check out the Wikipedia page.
From there you’ll want to actually acquire some bitcoin. Getting bitcoin is very different from region to region so you’ll have to do a little research in your jurisdiction. Buying bitcoin is very easy in progressive countries while more difficult in restrictive countries. If you’ve got access to the Internet then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get some bitcoin.
Generally, people acquire bitcoin in the following ways:
Before you even acquire bitcoin, you should set up your own digital wallet. Bitcoin wallets come in many different forms including online, desktop, mobile or even a physical flash drive for extra security.
Some people leave their bitcoin on exchanges but there have been some issues with exchanges in the past so you’re better off having a personal wallet. On the other hand, if you’re just getting bitcoin to immediately deposit on an online poker site you might be OK. If you’re leaving under $100 it’s probably fine but proceed at your own risk.
Bitcoin has many benefits beyond poker so it’s definitely worth picking up regardless of whether you end up using it for online poker.