What Is Bitcoin Poker, and Should You Start Playing?
Are you curious about Bitcoin poker? Learn what it is and find out if it’s a good alternative to typical online casinos for you.
There are many ways to pay to play poker and your other favorite games at an online casino. While cryptocurrency is really hitting the mainstream now, crypto-based gambling sites have actually been around for a few years. These sites offer players the chance to gamble without worrying about slow or blocked transactions between their bank and their favorite online casinos. And Bitcoin poker was one of the earliest adopters.
But before we get into what Bitcoin poker is and whether you should start playing it, we need to explore some important terms and processes to fully understand how Bitcoin is used to play one of your favorite online casino games.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, which is digital currency that exists only on the internet through a system known as a blockchain. A blockchain is a secure online ledger that documents transactions of cryptocurrency between users. This system uses complex encryption technology to safeguard the data on the blockchain and keep all transactions anonymous.
You can purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using a digital wallet, and you can then pay for goods, services, and poker hands by transferring Bitcoin from your digital wallet to the wallet of another individual or organization.
So, What Is Bitcoin Poker?
Bitcoin poker is online poker where you bet using Bitcoin instead of traditional currency, like U.S. dollars. The game is more or less the same as traditional online poker, but you deposit, bet with, and withdraw Bitcoin.
A Bitcoin poker site is one that operates on a blockchain, managing and documenting all transactions between players and between players and the site’s operators. It also documents every hand dealt, every call, every raise, and every other move in the game.
How Does Bitcoin Poker Work?
There are two ways you can play online poker using Bitcoin.
The first is to register with an online Bitcoin poker site and connect your digital wallet to your account. Then, you deposit Bitcoin from your wallet and play. After you’re done playing and want to cash out your winnings, you can request a transfer of your Bitcoin to your wallet. What’s great about this option is that the cash out timeframe is a lot faster than cashing out at a traditional casino. That’s because traditional online casinos need to work with your bank to confirm withdrawals based on your state’s online gambling laws.
The other way is to pursue a workaround that involves converting your Bitcoin into fiat currency using a crypto-to-fiat BitPay MasterCard and connecting that card to your registered account at a traditional online casino.
Pros and Cons of Bitcoin Poker
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to try your luck at Bitcoin poker, consider these positives and negatives to decide if it’s right for you:
PRO: Bitcoin poker offers transparency in play. When you play on a site that’s run on blockchain, every move is tracked. There is a full record of every player’s hand and decision, so it’s hard to dispute.
PRO: Bitcoin poker keeps bets anonymous. There are many valid reasons to not want to share your online gambling habits. One of the benefits of Bitcoin and crypto is that all transactions, while transparent, are anonymous.
CON: Bitcoin and crypto can be tricky to understand and intimidating to get started in. The concept of blockchain and cryptocurrency isn’t easy to understand unless you’ve been in the space a while. Setting up a digital wallet to make transactions isn’t simple either. This can make the process very intimidating and inconvenient. Plus, that’s likely to mean that players on these sites are probably seasoned or at least well-informed crypto users, which may be to your disadvantage.
CON: Transactions are not protected the same way as at a traditional online casino. That’s because there are no banks involved in sending currency between wallets. And every transaction on the blockchain is final, meaning you can’t request a refund or dispute a charge.
CON: Bitcoin is already a bit of a gamble. Acquiring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is a lot like getting into the stock market. That’s because cryptocurrency can change drastically in value over a single month, week, or day. You may purchase Bitcoin at a certain price at the beginning of the week, watch it soar in value, and then see it crash down. Such is the case with crypto because it isn’t regulated. So playing Bitcoin poker could be a double gamble.
CON: Bitcoin poker sites are not as robust as traditional online casinos. That means these sites don’t have refined ways to identify bots at the table or people playing as a team. While the dealing itself isn’t rigged, the way players use the system could be. But you don’t have to worry about these things at a legitimate online casino because they’re run by well-known companies certified by international gambling governing agencies and use third-party software packed with security features to keep play as honest as possible.
Is Bitcoin Poker Safe and Legal?
In all online gambling, it’s important to verify the site’s operation and certifications to make sure that it’s legitimate. But Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency are not currently regulated by any governing bodies, a fact that many find to be a general perk of using crypto. In relation, there are no official governing bodies of online gambling that regulate or oversee Bitcoin poker or other forms of crypto-based online gambling.
However, there are no laws explicitly prohibiting Bitcoin poker or crypto-based online gambling in most of the U.S. states. That said, there are some states that prohibit online gambling in many forms, and your state’s laws should be considered when choosing to play Bitcoin poker.
It might be safe to say: Play at your own risk.
It’s important to note that it has taken a while for the wider gambling culture to really come around to online poker and gambling in general. And many people may still be finding their footing with online casinos. So if cryptocurrency isn’t your thing, that’s okay. You can also stick to what you know and play online poker at your favorite online New Jersey casino in the meantime.
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