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Crypto and Cards: The Changing Face of Online Poker

It is well known that online poker has left an indelible stamp on the world of both technology and casinos since the millennium turn. The classic game, steeped in rich history, found its new digital avatar amidst the computer revolution which eventually led to a multi-billion-dollar online industry that’s thriving today. A new twist in the tale of online poker is the advent of cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin at the forefront, fundamentally altering the dynamics of play.

Bitcoin has often been seen as the renegade child of the financial world since its inception in 2009. An ingenious product of digital technology, right off the bat, it shrugged off traditional monetary systems in favour of an open, decentralized system. This groundbreaking innovation brought a breath of fresh air into the online poker scene.

Bitcoin: A Game Changer for Online Poker

Backtracking to the early online poker sites, it was clear that the experience was far from smooth. Depositing cash with credit cards was often fraught with refusals and withdrawals were delayed, thanks to financial institutions’ stringent regulations and geographical laws. The tables turned, quite literally, with Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, as an unregulated and borderless entity, reshaped the landscape of online poker. There are no strings attached to regional banking rules and no tedious documentation: features that appealed to athletes, the world over.

“Instant, anonymous, and free,” said a user at Betcoin. “Bitcoin is the future. Traditional banking is out.” Although one must remember that total anonymity is a myth, Bitcoin does afford a significant level of privacy to its users, which is an appealing feature for many poker players.

Bitcoingambling.org, a leading watchdog of the cryptocurrency gambling industry, summarizes this new trend: “With Bitcoin’s heightened privacy, almost instant deposit/withdrawal times and low (to zero) processing fees, poker players have found a suitable channel to circumnavigate the traditional problems plagging the online poker scene”.

Crypto Poker Sites on the Rise

Naturally, the popularity of Bitcoin has led to the rise of exclusive Bitcoin poker sites. SealswithClubs.eu laid claim to be the first crypto poker site, launching the Bitcoin-only mode of play in 2011. However, the limelight was short-lived; the site abruptly closed down in 2015, citing ‘operational security’ as a reason.

Bucking this trend, other Bitcoin poker sites emerged, dodging the challenges, and are growing in popularity. Betcoin, NitrogenSports, and Ignition Poker are all leading contenders in the Bitcoin poker market, cited as being user-friendly, safe, and swift in transactions.

Furthermore, crypto poker sites have been attractive to players due to the potential for Bitcoin winnings to rise in value. Buying into a poker game with $100 worth of Bitcoin could end up paying out much more if Bitcoin’s value increases. This additional incentive adds an unprecedented level of excitement and potential win-profits for players.

The Blend of Crypto and Cards

While there’s still resistance to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they seem already well embraced by the online poker fraternity. A relatively recent report from the Global Poker found notable Bitcoin transaction percentages. The report revealed that an astounding 20% of online poker transactions were carried out with Bitcoin in countries where online poker is legally accepted.

Furthermore, internationally renowned casinos like The Bellagio or The Venetian, widely famous for their poker tables, are embracing Bitcoin. Many of these prestigious establishments have installed Bitcoin ATMs, allowing players to withdraw or deposit Bitcoin directly.

However, with volatile Bitcoin prices, uncertain legal climes, and other factors, all is not hunky-dory. There is an ongoing debate on cryptocurrencies among lawmakers, finance gurus, and technologists. Be it centrally planned China cracking down on virtual currencies or the US SEC warning about the unstable nature of digital tokens- crypto’s future remains, in some ways, uncertain.

Notwithstanding current market and regulation uncertainties, the fusion of crypto and online poker has successfully reshaped and refreshed a matured industry ripe for evolution. As technology continues to evolve and penetrate even the most traditional sectors, it’s interesting to see how these developments will enhance the gaming and casino industry further.


1. Bitcoin.org – https://bitcoin.org/en/
2. Betcoin – https://www.betcoin.ag/
3. Bitcoingambling.org – https://www.bitcoingambling.org/
4. NitrogenSports – https://nitrogensports.eu/
5. Ignition Poker – https://www.ignitioncasino.eu/poker
6. The Bellagio – https://bellagio.mgmresorts.com/en/casino/poker-room.html
7. The Venetian – https://www.venetian.com/casino.html
8. US SEC – https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-clayton-2017-12-11

Written by
Mehak Rajput
Mehakl Rajput data-driven journalism delves into the statistical landscape of cryptocurrency adoption, offering his readers a comprehensive understanding of market fluctuations and their direct impact on the online gambling industry, enriched by his collaborations with economic research teams.

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