If you’re thinking of getting into bitcoin poker games, now is a great time.
Cryptocurrency has taken off in recent years as a mainstream alternative to fiat currency in the poker world, with an increasing number of established poker sites accepting it as well as an array of dedicated bitcoin poker sites cropping up.
I’ve prepared a list with some of the best bitcoin poker sites to share with you today. But first, let’s make sure we all understand exactly what bitcoin is, and the benefits for using it to play online poker.
For those who don’t know, Bitcoin is a decentralised virtual currency known as a cryptocurrency. When people hear “decentralised” and “currency” in the same sentence, they naturally get concerned. How can a currency be secure if there’s no-one guaranteeing it? The answer is blockchain technology.
A blockchain is a continually updating list of records. These records are lumped together in a series of blocks that are connected via encryption. Blockchains can be used to record anything, but they’re most commonly used to record transactions, which is what the Bitcoin blockchain does. Although anyone can view the blockchain, no-one can alter it: only the blockchain itself can do that. This is what makes Bitcoin secure.
If you’re still unconvinced, there’s plenty of information you can read online about how Bitcoin works.
Benefits of using bitcoin
There are a number of benefits of switching to bitcoin for online poker:
- Withdrawal speeds are significantly faster. Most poker rooms take between 3 days and 5 days to process withdrawals of fiat currency. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can be withdrawn from your poker account to your bitcoin wallet in under 24 hours (and sometimes instantly).
- You can play anonymously. This varies from site to site, but generally excludes poker rooms that also accept fiat currency.
- You can potentially pay less rake or get more rakeback by switching to a bitcoin poker room. This will depend on what site you currently use and what site you switch to, so you may want to do the research if rake is important to you.
If these perks are enough to convince you to make the switch, then keep on reading for our comprehensive guide to bitcoin poker.
We’ll start with the basics.
Downloading a wallet
The first thing you need to do to get started with bitcoin is download a bitcoin wallet. A bitcoin wallet is like a bank account for storing your bitcoin, minus the bank. There’s a variety of different wallets you can choose from, each with their own benefits.
Once you’ve downloaded a wallet, the next thing you’ll want to do is fill it with some bitcoin. Just like there are a variety of different wallets to choose from, there are a variety of different bitcoin exchanges where you can buy and sell bitcoin.
Once you’ve bought bitcoin on one of these exchanges, you can send it to your wallet. If you want to find out more, check out this in-depth guide to buying bitcoin.
A quick word of warning: Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange, doesn’t like processing transactions to or from gambling sites, so any deposits or withdrawals from your poker site account should be done via your wallet rather than directly through Coinbase. Don’t let that put you off Coinbase, though: it’s still a great place to buy and sell bitcoin. If you want to find out more about Coinbase, cryptocurrency news site CoinCentral has done a comprehensive review of the Coinbase exchange which will hopefully answer all your questions.
Best bitcoin poker sites
Now that you’ve got some bitcoin on hand, it’s time to pick a poker site to deposit with.
Given that you’re just starting out with bitcoin, it would be best to stick with established sites so you don’t run the risk of getting scammed. Here’s a list of some of the best well-known bitcoin poker sites today:
- Ignition. A popular US-friendly poker room that now accepts bitcoin. One of its best assets is its fast-fold Zone Poker format. If you’re from the US and miss playing Zoom on PokerStars, Ignition is the site for you.
- Nitrogen. A dedicated bitcoin sportsbook and casino with a strong reputation that allows you to play poker anonymously. It’s also browser-based, so you can play from any computer or mobile device without needing to download software.
- FortuneJack. Another browser-based dedicated bitcoin casino, FortuneJack offers solid promotions and has a clean in-game interface.
- America’s Cardroom. A reputed US-friendly poker room that has a large playerbase and now accepts bitcoin. If you want games running around the clock, this is the site for you.
Of course, these are just a handful of poker sites you can play at that accept bitcoin. There are plenty of others out there to choose from.
The most important thing – and this is a good rule of thumb in general when using bitcoin – is to do the research before you deposit bitcoin anywhere. Beyond that, just focus on playing good bitcoin poker!