Funding an online poker account with Ethereum (or “Ether”) is little different from funding an online poker account with any eWallet. You simply enter the amount you want to deposit, transfer the funds, and start playing. However, there are advantages to funding your account with Ethereum.
Although Bitcoin remains the king of cryptocurrencies, the development of blockchain technology has given birth to hundreds of “altcoin” cryptocurrencies. The most successful of these is Ethereum due to the currency being supported by large corporations (including Microsoft, Intel, Mastercard and JP Morgan) wishing to use the technology for smart contract applications.
The involvement of large corporations in the “Enterprise Ethereum Alliance” is good news for investors. Like most currencies – both fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies – the dollar price of Ethereum can rise and fall; however, as Ethereum is always in demand to build and publish distributed applications, the rises and falls in dollar prices have not been as dramatic as those of Bitcoin.
Which Poker Sites Accept Ethereum Deposits
It is not necessary to understand the technology behind Ethereum in order to use it to fund an online poker account. Ethereum can be bought and sold via any number of online cryptocurrency exchanges just as easily as exchanging dollars for Sterling or Euros. The cryptocurrency is then stored in an online wallet similar to PayPal or Neteller to be used whenever you wish.
What it is important to understand is that when you make a deposit using Ethereum at a USA friendly online poker site, you are exchanging your cryptocurrency for US dollars to fund your online activity. There is effectively no such thing as Ethereum online poker – your online account will be maintained in dollars and the buy-ins for the games you play will also be charged in US dollars.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethereum Online Poker
The advantages of using Ethereum to fund an online poker account are that the transactions are quicker and less expensive to process than Bitcoin. Typically a request to transfer funds from an Ethereum eWallet into an online poker account will take seconds to complete, whereas Bitcoin transactions can take up to an hour – and you might also be charged a miner´s fee with a Bitcoin deposit.
The downside of Ethereum online poker is that not online poker sites offer an Ethereum withdrawal option. If you enjoy a profitable session – or use your Ethereum deposit to clear an online poker bonus – you may find you are unable to withdraw your funds in Ethereum, and instead have to use an alternative withdrawal method such as check or wire transfer which attract withdrawal fees. All Ethereum poker sites listed on this page offer both deposits and withdrawals with Ethereum.
Ethereum Only Poker Sites
All poker sites on this page accept Ethereum and automatically convert it into US Dollars after you made your deposit. The advantages are clear:
- You play on tables with amounts you will be used to
- You don’t have cryptocurrency fluctuations
On the other hand, dedicated Ethereum poker sites make it so that all available games on the platform are based on the Ethereum blockchain. Biggest advantages of these sites are:
- All amounts feel like play money, you have no idea what the actual value is
- Ethereum price fluctuations have an immediate impact on your poker bankroll
- All ETH only poker sites currently have a small player base
As I outlined the huge advantages of sites that convert your ETH deposits into US Dollars I’m not going to go deeper into this subject. The most known site is Virtue Poker. There used to be another site, Pokereum, but that one is currently not reachable. I guess they already went out of business because of having almost no players.
What is Ethereum?
Invented in 2013 by one Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is an open-source cryptography-based platform to allow other blockchain-based applications to run on it.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a decentralized system that also offers anonymity, secure and irreversible transactions to users because everything runs on blockchain technology-backed ledger.
Ethereum is also mined using Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism—although 2019 is almost certain to introduce Proof of Stake and minting Ethereum.
How Does Ethereum Work?
Here is a video to recap what Ethereum is all about without plunging into technical jargon:
The first Ether was mined in April 2014.
What are the Differences Between Ethereum and Bitcoin
Out of his in-depth experience with Bitcoin, Vitalik realized not only that was Bitcoin slow (10 minutes per transaction), but Bitcoin also suffered scalability, flexibility, and maintenance issues.
With those ‘improvement’ targets, he wrote out the initial Ethereum whitepaper, which shows how Ethereum is unique from Bitcoin despite having huge similarities in terms of how both work. But there are some huge differences which i will point out further below.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is not just a peer-to-peer electronic payment system. It is an entire network of cryptography-backed computing platform where myriad activities can take place fueled by Ethereum’s own digital currency token: Ether.
Ethereum is practically an on-blockchain, cryptography-based global computer. Well, with Vitalik Buterin as its de-facto face unlike mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto—the character accredited with inventing Bitcoin a decade ago.
You can even use Ethereum to crowdfund a startup using other cryptocurrencies. Simply deposit the funds into your Ethereum digital wallet, convert the balance into Ether tokens and you are all set to transact.
What are Smart Contracts?
Another major difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum is the ability to create, execute, manage, and fulfill smart contracts.
Here is the lowdown (in plain English, of course):
How to Use Ether to Play Online Poker
Some online poker sites that accept Bitcoin also accept Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in market capitalization.
To use Ethereum, you need to get some Ethereum and just deposit it on any of the online poker rooms that accept Ethereum (ETH) deposits.
How to Get Ether
You can either buy Ether from a seller or trade it in at a supporting Ether exchange.
Or, you can mine it.
How to Mine Ethereum
As Ethereum mining is no longer profitable unless you have free electricity I would not suggest you to go down this route. Mining profit is getting lower each day. Also a switch to Proof of Stake (PoS) is imminent, so here’s how PoS works as well—compared to PoW. After the change to PoW Ethereum can no longer be mined.
How to Buy Ethereum
Buying Ethereum is the less technical route to getting enough Ethereum in your poker account for the specific bet you want to place. You can legitimately buy Ether tokens from:
- Independent Sellers
- Ethereum Exchanges
- Trade-in Sites that take a Cut
With independent sellers, you’d basically be buying Ethers directly from a person who owns a certain amount. You can agree on a price online via email or social media or you can decide to meet up and make the transaction face-to-face through the internet—since Ethers are not physical items you can hold.
The best Ethereum exchanges for 2019 not only assure users of the security of their exchange wallets, but they also provide the infrastructure to help meet up with other buyers, sellers, and brokers.
Prices are set by the law of demand and supply— as it happens in a stock exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange. Some Ethereum exchanges will charge a fee for providing the trading infrastructure, but most do not charge any fees on withdrawals.
Some of the best exchanges for trading Ether tokens comprise of the best Bitcoin exchanges that also support Ether trading. They include:
Now, with trade-in sites, you’d be dealing with Ether brokers. You can trade in your Bitcoin (or accepted altcoin) for a certain amount of Ether tokens. How many Ether coins you receive depend on the going trading rate, largely set by the broker.
You can then be required to pay a fee for the service, which can significantly add the costs up so you’ll probably use a broker only when you really have to.
But with Ethereum you can use a different cryptocurrency within the Ethereum ecosystem, although you’ll need to convert it to Ether tokens before you are able to use it. So you can eliminate the broker—unlike if you were dealing in a Bitcoin system.
Ethereum Poker Sites: Q&A
Is Ethereum anonymous?
It depends on how you buy and sell your cryptocurrencies. If you use a regulated exchange company such as Coinbase, your trades are recorded and could be disclosed to the IRS (this also applies to Bitcoin transactions). Using an unregulated exchange has it its risks and, regardless of how you buy and sell your cryptocurrencies, you will still be required to complete the poker site´s KYC verification procedures before being allowed to request a withdrawal of your funds.
If I can´t withdraw in Ethereum, do I have to have to withdraw in dollars?
Most online poker sites will insist you accept a check or wire transfer in US dollars. This is a nuisance for non-US players who maintain their bank accounts in Sterling or Euros (because of foreign exchange charges), or for any player that has a Bitcoin wallet and would rather keep their gambling funds in cryptocurrencies and separate from their day-to-day living expenses. Each online poker site has its own policy, and it is worth asking for an alternative to a dollar check or wire transfer.
Do you recommend one Ethereum eWallet over another?
Not really. Although I prefer desktop eWallets because of their higher security, they do limit you to conducting transactions from only your desktop. I am no fan of hardware eWallets personally, but understand their appeal, while software wallets are more convenient and can store multiple cryptocurrencies. What I do recommend is using an eWallet separate from that offered by your cryptocurrency exchange, as regulated exchanges do not support transfers to online gambling sites.
How much do Ethereum poker sites charge as transaction fees?
Each Ethereum poker room has a different conversion, fees structure and so on. You’d have to check with your online poker site to be 100% sure.
What is ‘Gas’ in Ethereum?
Basically, Gas is the fee you spend to facilitate an Ether transaction or mining. The spend helps ‘fuel’ the data processing work hence helps sustain the Ethereum ecosystem. The amount of gas required for a transaction can vary. It is mostly based on the computational power needed (time and bandwidth), the complexity of a block and the storage space demanded to facilitate the action.