Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular payment method at various online poker rooms. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Probably the most important one is that Bitcoin can be used by everyone around the globe. So even players from the USA, where offshore online poker has been under attack for more than a decade, can still easily fund their accounts.
In addition, paying with Bitcoin is appealing because deposits are processed instantly and withdrawals are processed in 1-3 days. Once again, this is even more important for the American player base, which has had to resort to creative (and often lengthy) banking alternatives over the years.
With traditional payment methods, even when they’re processed successfully, US players have to wait weeks and sometimes even months to receive their withdrawals. With Bitcoin, they receive them as fast as players from the rest of the world.
But there is another hidden factor that may attract poker aficionados to Bitcoin even if they have no particular need for it: the added element of gambling that comes with the volatility of cryptocurrency.
Adding a New Dimension to the Game
Most poker players are not strangers to other forms of gambling. This is not to say that poker players are pathological gamblers, of course, as poker has almost universally been declared a skill game rather than one of chance such as Blackjack or roulette. Simply put, if you spend a lot of time in and around casinos (online or offline), you’re likely to test your luck in games other than poker.
It’s this very spirit that makes Bitcoin more attractive to poker players. Unlike traditional currencies, which fluctuate ever so slightly over time (barring some huge socioeconomic events), Bitcoin has been known to bounce around quite a bit.
Many Bitcoin enthusiasts who bought during the early days, when it was almost worthless, became millionaires when it reached its all-time price peak in late 2013 just shy of $1,000. Within 18 months Bitcoin had dropped over 75% in value.
Although it has become much more stable than during its infancy, Bitcoin is still the only form of currency that can significantly increase your net worth almost overnight. Of course, the opposite can happen as well.
Poker players are, for the most part, used to variance. It isn't uncommon to get your money in the middle as an 80%+ favorite and lose. It happens. It's a part of the game. As long as you've made what you believe is a right play, there is nothing to worry about. Variance also works both ways, so things even out in the long run.
Is Bitcoin a Good Play?
Although Bitcoin value fluctuates quite a bit, it would be fair to say that it's a good bet in the long run. All indicators seem to show that cryptocurrency will have its place in the future as it is adopted by more and more businesses.
As such, it isn’t surprising that poker players are willing to take this gamble. It adds another layer of excitement and actually seems to be the right move, so long as they don’t overreact to the near-daily volatility. From a serious player's point of view, using Bitcoin is a no-brainer.
USA Poker Sites & Bitcoin
As mentioned earlier, every major online poker site catering to US players accepts Bitcoin payments. They’re a very convenient method as they bypass all banking restrictions and let people deposit and withdraw as they like. This is something players from the States haven’t enjoyed since the pre-UIGEA days.
This rise in popularity created by US-facing online poker sites gave Bitcoin even bigger wings. Poker players around the globe have started to approach cryptocurrency differently, seeing it as a legitimate investment and another overarching meta-game on top of poker.
On popular poker forums, many go so far as to say that every poker room should offer Bitcoin as a banking method and should offer spread games in Bitcoin rather than fiat currency. For some, the added appeal and increased volatility are just too much to resist.
Others wonder if Bitcoin would have ever become so popular among poker players had it not been for anti-gaming legislation in the States. Although it may not appear so on the surface, online players aren’t generally a computer-savvy bunch. On the other hand, the idea of Bitcoin fits perfectly with many players' life philosophy, so cryptocurrency found a lot of success in poker playing circles.
There is little doubt Bitcoin will continue going strong with online poker players. Everything around it, from the added gambling element to the libertarian philosophy it embodies, combines perfectly with the world of poker.