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Bitcoin and Online Poker Sites
How to Use Bitcoin to Play Online Poker (Ultimate Guide for 2019)

Bitcoin Poker

You can make secure and fast Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals on many online poker sites. Here’s an in-depth guide to doing that and more (even if you are completely new to Bitcoin poker), including whether playing online poker is leetgal, using Bitcoin wallets, and the best Bitcoin poker sites now.

With a variety of different games available, poker provides an excellent platform to put your creativity, gambling skills and winning ways to use. Online poker makes it even easier to gain access to and play your favorite poker games from anywhere in the world.

You can now play your favorite poker challenge on the internet using your smartphone or tablet on the go. You can conveniently join and exit a table at any time you are most comfortable and free.

Also, you can look up your poker ranking, poker ratings, poker results, real-time poker standings, overall poker site statistics, and summaries online. Still, you can have access to information such as prizes, ROI, profits, exact finish, ITM, large-table sit-and-go tournaments, multiple-table poker tournaments (MTT), as well as select satellite tourneys at your fingertips from an internet connected device.

This guide is dedicated to helping you ramp up your wits on using depositing with Bitcoin in online poker, how to choose the best Bitcoin online poker sites and more.

We’ll cover:

  1. The legality of Playing Online Poker for Profit
  2. Choosing the Best Online Poker Sites for Bitcoin
  3. Bitcoin at A Glance: What is Bitcoin in Relation to Online Poker?
  4. Bitcoin Mining
  5. Bitcoin Wallets
  6. Types of Cryptocurrency Wallets to Choose from
  7. Bitcoin Poker—how to play real money poker using Bitcoin
  8. Online Poker with Bitcoin
  9. Bitcoin Online Poker FAQs

Shall we?

How about the legality of playing poker for profit?

Let’s start there.

If you know your poker, you’ve noticed a hiccup to many online poker sites.

Making fiat money deposits and withdrawals can be a pain where it hurts. It can take days or hours at the very least to have your cash deposits reflect on your online poker site account.

Usually, it is because your state or country has banned playing poker—online or off—for profits or because your online poker legislation complicates the processes.

But in the US, for example, no federal law explicitly forbids Americans from playing online poker. But the state of Washington explicitly forbids playing poker for money in 2006.

In states such as Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, online poker is perfectly legal and regulated. Pennsylvania will be joining that trio soon while New York is still on hold until 2019 to regulate online poker, casino games, and gambling in its own way.

Michigan has also been at it with the SB 889 Bill and more states could join in.

Here’s more:

  • In a popular ruling out of Brooklyn, Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled poker is chiefly a skilled game rather than a game of chance, which green-lights online poker compared to outright online gambling games
  • In December 2011, the Justice Department also made it clear that the Interstate Wire Act of 1969 only applies to sports betting and not to poker
  • The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) also does not define the meaning of illegal internet gambling. Although some of the biggest online poker companies folded operations in the US or stopped accepting real money players from the US as a result

If you choose to play from anywhere anyway, how do you make quick, anonymous and secure currency deposits or withdrawals to and from your online poker account without using the sluggish banking system?

That’s where cryptocurrency for online poker sites comes in, in particular, Bitcoin online poker sites.

These are sites that accept Bitcoin deposits or withdrawals.

Some allow users to use Bitcoin to buy chips while others first convert the Bitcoin into hard dollars before allowing users to use them in their online poker rooms. So, what’s Bitcoin and why should you be excited about the shifting sand in online poker site payment methods to accepting cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin Poker Sites

Here is our list of best online poker sites for Bitcoin users. Click on either option to find out more about it and whether it fits your needs.

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Bitcoin at A Glance—What is Bitcoin in Relation to Online Poker?

Innovated in 2008 by a mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was the first-ever shot at creating a true digital currency, a cryptocurrency—an asset class that has several characteristics similar to those of hard cash or fiat currencies such as dollars and euros, with cryptography-based verification.

What is a Bitcoin?

At its simplest, Bitcoin is either virtual currency or reference to the technology. You can make transactions by check, wiring, or cash. You can also use Bitcoin (or BTC), where you refer the purchaser to your signature, which is a long line of security code encrypted with 16 distinct symbols. The purchaser decodes the code with his smartphone to get your cryptocurrency. Put another way; cryptocurrency is an exchange of digital information that allows you to buy or sell goods and services.The transaction gains its security and trust by running on a peer-to-peer computer network that is similar to Skype, or BitTorrent, a file-sharing system.

Note that the original meaning of Bitcoin has changed somewhat due to forking; Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold. But let’s not complicate matters this early, shall we?

Check this video out to get a better, simpler grasp of Bitcoin and how it works, including Bitcoin mining:

And if you want the technical stuff…

Here is what you need to know about blockchain, the technology behind it and how blockchain ledgers are different from traditional ledger systems:

According to the original Bitcoin whitepaper (you can read a simplified copy here, too), Bitcoin’s major advantages include:

  • Its peer-to-peer electronic cash payment system used on the internet
  • A decentralized system that is based on code and needs no banks or central authorities in charge of it
  • Anonymity: Transactions and accounts made or used over the system are not linked to real-life identities, so you can transact with a pseudonym to protect your financial information from hackers and other malicious intents
  • Fast: While newer cryptocurrencies offer faster transaction and confirmation processing time/speed, Bitcoin’s 10-minute wait is much faster compared to waiting hours or days for funds to deposit or withdraw from your traditional online poker account
  • Secure: The blockchain technology at its core provides a full-on ledger system showing a record of irreversible electronic transactions to provide confidence in users and keep hackers off as well
  • Global: You can use any Bitcoin online poker site account on the planet no matter your physical residence thanks to the internet access

The first Bitcoin was mined in March 2009 by the character of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Here’s the thing, though:

While Bitcoin has had a tremendous rise over its 10-year history as highlighted in this stunning Bitcoin infographic, Bitcoin is not yet recognized as a digital currency according to the US Federal Reserve and fiscal laws—a case that is apparent in many other countries across the globe.

Efforts to see Bitcoin become a store of value (through Bitcoin ETFs) are yet to materialize the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) way.

That technicality can work to your advantage:

Not being recognized as real money means you can use Bitcoin on online poker sites without hitting inroads with the law if your state or country prohibits using ‘real money’ to buy chips, deposit cash or withdraw it from your online poker account. Be sure to find out what your jurisdiction defines this as.

Now that we’ve covered what Bitcoin is, how Bitcoin works, Bitcoin mining, blockchain, and the benefits of Bitcoin let’s look at Bitcoin wallets. It all adds up to the Bitcoin online poker discussion as you’ll see later on.

Bitcoin Wallets

Picture Bitcoin as physical dollar bills.

You need a wallet or purse to secure them in, right?

And so, do virtual coins or bills such as Bitcoin. You need to open a virtual wallet for that—before you can mine or purchase Bitcoin.

A cryptocurrency or, in this case, Bitcoin wallet, is a software program that stores a public and private key and interfaces various blockchain to help users:

  • Send and receive digital currencies (both Bitcoin and altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple)
  • Monitor their Bitcoin or/and altcoin balance
  • Keep a record of blockchain transactions online among other operations.

Note that Bitcoin wallets do not keep physical Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in them like you would fiat money in a pocket wallet or purse. After all, a Bitcoin is not a physical thing. Changes in your Bitcoin wallet balance, as well as a transaction record on the blockchain (irreversible ledger), signify a transaction.

The thing is…

…when you receive Bitcoin from another person, you are practically signing off ownership of the cryptocurrency to the other person’s Bitcoin wallet address. To complete that transaction, you need to unlock the Bitcoin ‘storage’, and authenticate the transfer. That’s where your Bitcoin wallet public and private keys come in.

Check out this video:

Types of Cryptocurrency Wallets (Such as Bitcoin Wallets)

Now, you can choose between using a centralized or decentralized Bitcoin wallet. On a centralized wallet, you’ll not have full control over your wallet—you won’t keep a private key—but a decentralized wallet lets you keep your private key.

However, centralized wallets offer a bunch of additional services that decentralized options do not. Those include instant buy/sell Bitcoin, free transactions, and Bitcoin credit cards.

Then there are different types of cryptocurrency wallets with the main types being mobile, desktop, paper, online and hardware. Each type has benefits and shortcomings you might want to consider before signing up.

For example, are you concerned about hackers compromising your Bitcoin wallet? You can choose a cold storage wallet rather than a hot storage wallet.

A cold storage wallet refers to a wallet that offers you offline Bitcoin “storage” as opposed to an online-based wallet (hot storage wallet). To complete a cold storage wallet setup, you’d need to create an offline Bitcoin address. That address will contain your public and private key pair that never goes online until you are ready to spend your Bitcoin balance.

The best example of a cold storage Bitcoin wallet is a paper Bitcoin wallet.

If you choose an online wallet, be sure to back it up in case anything goes haywire and you find yourself needing to recover your wallet’s details. Again, you do not ever want to reveal your cryptocurrency wallet private key to anybody. Ever.

These days, you can even choose a multi-sig Bitcoin wallet. Multi-sig wallets add another layer of security to your virtual pocket. Basically, they act as an escrow account does. Once you initiate a transaction, the wallet only allows one part of your Bitcoin address to sail through with the rest only going through when you receive the product you paid for.

Once you have a Bitcoin wallet, the next thing to do is get Bitcoins to add to it so you can transfer them to an online poker account that accepts Bitcoin to play your favorite poker game.

How to Get Bitcoin

You can mine bitcoin if you know how and have the mining hardware required. You can also sell goods or services in exchange for Bitcoin instead of fiat currencies such as euros or dollars.

A site such as LocalBitcoins specializes in connecting Bitcoin buyers and sellers that want to trade Bitcoin for cash. Such a site is a takes a cut from the transaction.

Also, there are Bitcoin ATMs where you can convert the cryptocurrency to fiat money for a small fee.

Or you can straight-out buy Bitcoin.

How to Buy Bitcoin

Well, here’s how:

How to Buy Bitcoin

How to Buy Bitcoin in 4 Steps

There are cryptocurrency exchanges you can use to purchase Bitcoin and altcoins (other cryptocurrencies). Exchanges connect cryptocurrency buyers and sellers on a trading platform with the tools to help them exchange cryptocurrencies profitably.

Bitcoin Exchanges

In direct trading platforms, there is direct person-to-person exchange of digital currency. Each seller sets their own exchange rate instead of the exchange setting a fixed market price.

Cryptocurrency brokers, on the other hand, are similar to forex traders in that anyone can visit their platform to buy Bitcoin or an altcoin at a price set by the broker.

Good examples of legit Bitcoin exchanges include Coinbase and Coinsquare. Both platforms are based in Canada and the US.

While the two are popular, some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges are based elsewhere in the globe. In fact, you can find a top-notch Bitcoin exchange based on your location or another preference such as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

You can learn more details on leading cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bitfinex, Bitstamp, and Coinbase to help you decide which one to choose to create your Bitcoin wallet, trade cryptocurrencies and more. You can even trade forex with Bitcoin straight out of your Bitcoin wallet in many of these exchange platforms. Once you have your Bitcoin wallet set up and you know where to get Bitcoin, you can go ahead and pick the best Bitcoin poker sites around to play online poker at your convenience.

Online Poker with Bitcoin

More than ever before, you can find several credible online poker sites that accept Bitcoin deposits. Over the recent past, more US-based online poker platforms have accepted cryptocurrency deposits and supported withdrawals as well.

That wasn’t the case just a short while ago and here’s why:

Bitcoin, the most successful and dominant cryptocurrency, is particularly volatile. A good example of that is the bullish run the world was treated to in 2017—well, and the resulting tumble.

Picture this:

Bitcoin Price January 2017

Bitcoin Price Range in January 2017

Bitcoin started off the year at $900+ and finished magnificently at just under $20,000 for a single Bitcoin, according to data from Coindesk. Historic, yes, but here are shots of the almost scary ups and downs that played out between those two price points.

January was a rollercoaster

 

BTC Price March 2017

Bitcoin Can Have Huge Price Fluctuations

And so were these two days in March 2017. That’s just 24 hours

 

Bitcoin Price Overview

Bitcoin Price Chart 2017-2018

That’s the complete picture courtesy of Coindesk

 

Compare that to the current Bitcoin price (October 24, 2018, at 7:40 AM US time):

Current Price of Bitcoin

Via Condesk

 

Bitcoin’s high volatility complicated matters for online poker sites and Bitcoin poker enthusiasts alike.

Psychology of a Market Cycle

Wall St. Cheat Sheet – Psychology of a Market Cycle

That looks just about right

 

The challenge was agreeing on a specific exchange rate given the volatility.

How has that changed since then?

Online poker sites now support deposits and withdrawals in a way that relieves players of the risk of loss. Likewise, if the value of Bitcoin increases during a player’s transaction, that ramp up in value is not considered as a gain for the poker player.

Here’s the thing:

There are Bitcoin-exclusive or native Bitcoin poker sites and then there are online poker sites that accept Bitcoin deposits. A small difference on the surface but a huge one in practice.

How to Use Bitcoin to Play Online Poker

Native Bitcoin poker sites allow users to make any transactions using the cryptocurrency including making a Bitcoin deposit or withdrawal or buying chips. No conversions necessary. With the second type of poker sites, you can deposit a Bitcoin amount into your online poker account but will only be able to use it after the platform converts the funds into fiat money such as an equivalent dollar amount for US players. The conversion is based on the current Bitcoin-US dollar exchange rate.

The conversion is still necessary if you choose to withdrawal remaining Bitcoin or winnings to your Bitcoin wallet.

How to Deposit Bitcoin on Online Poker Sites

A large number of US online poker sites accept Bitcoin deposits. Once you choose your favorite Bitcoin poker site, select Bitcoin as your preferred payment method. You’ll get your own Bitcoin address. To authorize a transaction, your private key and the poker site’s public key, as well as the amount of Bitcoin you intend to deposit will match up.

The resulting math code will require other users on the peer-to-peer network (blockchain) to authenticate it. A successful authentication means you can have the Bitcoin coins deposited in your account for use in an online poker account.

How to Withdraw Bitcoin on Online Poker Sites

You can use either of two options:

  • Through a Bitcoin exchange, or
  • Directly into your Bitcoin wallet

Choosing to withdraw via an exchange platform means you can trade the cryptocurrency balance for fiat money. Remember many exchanges like Coinbase are centralized, meaning you’ll have to trust the platform with handling your digital money because they do not issue private keys to traders.

But if you choose to maintain the balance in Bitcoin, you can swiftly send the funds to your Bitcoin e-wallet. From there you can decide whether to trade some in a Bitcoin exchange you trust or deposit back into your favorite online poker site’s account.

Speaking of Bitcoin poker sites, which are the best online poker sites that accept Bitcoin deposits?

Have more questions?

Bitcoin Poker Sites FAQs

Is it legal to deposit, withdraw and buy chips with Bitcoin?

In most places, current laws that ban depositing, withdrawing and/or playing online poker do so where fiat money is concerned. In most parts of the world, existing laws classify Bitcoin as a commodity, not currency. Unless new legislation specifies playing Bitcoin poker is illegal, it is perfectly legal right now.

How fast are Bitcoin withdrawals and deposits?

Most online poker sites take 3-5 days to process fiat money deposits and withdrawals. Bitcoin poker sites cut that time to up to 10 minutes for Bitcoin users.

Are Bitcoin poker sites anonymous?

The top Bitcoin poker sites, whether centralized or decentralized are quite secure for your financial privacy. Also, how secure your wallet is will depend on the site and precautionary action you take—whether it be a centralized or decentralized Bitcoin wallet. You will have to go through the verification process to prove your identity before you are allowed to withdraw from any of our feature Bitcoin poker sites.

Can I make withdrawals in Dollars/Euros or will I have to stick with Bitcoin?

Most Bitcoin-accepting poker sites do not want players turning their cashiers into exchange platforms. Most will allow you to withdraw by check if you have made a deposit by Bitcoin, but you might have to wait up for some time to have any fiat money option to go through.

Should I make direct withdrawals to my Coinbase account from my online poker account?

We do not recommend that. In fact, Coinbase recently started blocking transactions coming in from and going to online gambling sites, which is an intrinsic part of online poker. Instead, open up a separate Bitcoin wallet. Always send your online poker account funds to your own walle first before transferring it to Coinbase for exchange into fiat money or another cryptocurrency.

What is the cost of depositing Bitcoin on an online poker site?

Bitcoin deposits are free-of-charge and it is one of the most reliable ways to fund your account. Most of the times withdrawals are also for free, however, this varies from site to site.

Is making a Bitcoin deposit better than using a credit card on poker sites?

Bitcoin deposits are typically faster, more secure, and likely to go through than credit card deposits. Your credit card deposit might also have authorization issues a Bitcoin deposit will not present. However, card companies protect users against funds theft and fraud, a safety net that using Bitcoin does not offer. You have to take full responsibility for your Bitcoin information security and accounts by the horns.

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