More and more people are turning away from traditional casinos and their high fees, poor odds, and slow playout times. Instead, they’re turning towards Bitcoin casinos to play games such as Bitcoin poker, slots, blackjack, Bitcoin roulette, and more.
Bitcoin (BTC) has become so mainstream that it is now accepted by a number of huge retailers, including Apple, Amazon, and Expedia. As it continues to gain traction, it is likely that the number of top Bitcoin poker sites will continue to grow, too.
Any serious poker player that doesn’t understand how Bitcoin poker works risks getting left behind. So, here’s what you need to know about playing poker with Bitcoin.
What is Bitcoin, and how do I get it?
Bitcoin is a digital network that runs on a protocol and records transactions on what is known as the ‘blockchain,’ a distributed ledger. It is acquired through a process called ‘mining,’ whereby very powerful computers solve complex mathematical problems.
Miners receive Bitcoin as a reward for completing ‘blocks’ of transactions, which are then added to the blockchain.
Mining is a very expensive and time-consuming process, so most people who own Bitcoin buy it directly in exchange for fiat currencies (such as EUR, USD, or GBP) from exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken. You can also use these exchanges to buy ‘altcoins,’ which is basically anything that is an alternative currency to Bitcoin.
So, what are the benefits of using Bitcoin to play poker?
The biggest benefit of using a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin instead of fiat is that transactions take place much more quickly. Because Bitcoin uses a peer-to-peer system to transfer funds, you do not need to wait for a third party to approve your transactions.
Whether you want to try your luck playing Bitcoin slots or test your skills at the poker tables, your funds will be ready in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
Instead of waiting for days to receive your winnings (even longer if it’s a weekend or a holiday), you can expect your funds to hit your account in minutes or hours.
In addition, because Bitcoin has lower operational costs, you’ll often find that you get to keep a larger proportion of your winnings than you do in fiat casinos. The prizes and bonuses are often higher, too, as more and more crypto casinos try to incentivize users to sign up.
Another big benefit is that you won’t have to enter as much personal information as you would if you were using a traditional casino. Over the years, poker casinos have increasingly been the targets of cyberattacks.
Unlike the money stored in your bank account that can be viewed by third parties, cryptocurrencies are completely private.
There is no way to tell how much Bitcoin someone owns unless you have access to their wallet. This makes it harder for people or organizations to steal or seize your cryptocurrency.
Because the price of Bitcoin fluctuates so wildly, there is also a chance that the value of your winnings will rise in value if you leave them in your wallet.
Of course, on the flip-side, there’s always a chance they’ll go down — so only play with what you can afford to lose.
How do I start playing poker at a Bitcoin casino?
Before you can send or receive Bitcoin, you’ll need to set up a Bitcoin wallet — kind of like a bank account or an online payment method, but for Bitcoin.
There are a few different types of Bitcoin wallets — hardware wallets, mobile wallets, and desktop wallets. The type you choose will depend on a few different factors.
When you set up a wallet, you’ll want to make sure that you implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added level of security. This means nobody will be able to access your wallet without your permission.
You’ll want to make sure you keep your wallet safe. There have been many stories of people losing all of their Bitcoin after their hardware wallet has been destroyed or stolen. To avoid this, make sure you keep your recovery seed safe!
Once you’ve set up your wallet and bought and deposited some Bitcoin, you’re ready to start using it to play poker online.
Because of the huge rise in popularity in Bitcoin gambling over the past year, many new Bitcoin poker websites have popped up recently. Deciding which ones to trust can be tricky, especially if you’re new to poker. Going online and reading reviews of sites from real people is always a good place to start.
Can anyone play poker with Bitcoin?
In most countries, gambling with Bitcoin is completely legal. But in some countries, either cryptocurrencies or online gambling (or both!) are either illegal or unregulated, which is essentially a grey area.
Betting illegally is not advised, so you’ll want to check the laws in your specific country before you sign up. This is the best course of action to make sure you’re not opening yourself up to any trouble.
If you find out that Bitcoin and online poker are legal in your country, great! We hope you have fun. Remember, winning is not guaranteed, so you should only play with what you can comfortably afford to lose.