Bitcoin poker is the new way to play online poker anonymously with near instant deposits and cashouts.
The phenomenon that is Bitcoin really is taking the world by storm and this brand new and highly secure virtual currency is allowing both Poker and Casino players the world over to now be able to safely, securely and without the risk of attracting unwanted attention from any banking institution, play a range of online Poker and casino games for real money.
In this section of the website we take a look at the best Bitcoin Poker sites available online and the origins of Bitcoin poker.We have highlighted some of the very best poker sites that currently allow and accept players to deposit and withdraw using Bitcoin. Some of these rooms also offer a Bitcoin poker bonus to new players which is great for kickstarting your bitcoin poker bankroll. If you are already familiar with bitcoin poker, simply review our updated top ratings list below and start playing today. To learn more, continue reading.
Top Rated Bitcoin Poker sites 2016
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|2||Up to 50% Rakeback||Review||Play Now|
|3||100% up to $1000||Review||Play Now|
Introduction to Bitcoin Poker
Online poker has been around for more than 15 years as of 2015. The traditionally brick-and-mortar game originally came to life online on January 1st, 1998. Then, Planet Poker was the first and only online poker site online.
Planet Poker was just the beginning, however. In the years that followed, online poker became a multi-billion-dollar industry. The years 2003 to 2006 were known as the “Poker Boom” in the United States. During this time, the number of players playing the game doubled each year. The industry was growing in the US and worldwide at an unbelievable speed.
The endless increase in player numbers was halted in 2006. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which then-President Bush signed into law. The bill criminalized offshore operators and banks that knowingly processed online gambling transactions, but didn’t specifically target players for gambling online.
The UIGEA’s regulations didn’t come out for nearly two years after the bill was signed, but many gambling sites, including online poker rooms, left the US market immediately. Even after the UIGEA regulations were in force, sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker still operated with relative ease in the market – that is, until April 15th, 2011.
In a day that has become known as “Black Friday” in the poker community, the US Department of Justice seized the domains of PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Cereus (Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet). They indicted their owners and several payment processors and froze hundreds of millions in player and operating funds from these sites.
PokerStars and Full Tilt immediately left the US online poker markets, while Cereus hung on a little longer before closing their doors. PokerStars paid players their balances within two weeks, but Full Tilt Poker and Cereus proved to be insolvent.
Full Tilt players had to wait about three years (and go through a government remission program) before their funds were finally returned. Those with funds at Cereus still haven’t received a dime.
Online poker in the US is still viable, even using fiat currency, but this is a reminder of what can happen with the federal government’s eyes on the industry. All offshore sites are potentially at risk for the same.
The reason I highlight the above information is to draw a contrast between fiat-based poker using currencies like the British pound and the American dollar, compared to a crypto-currency like Bitcoin.
In this article, we’ll go over Bitcoin’s rise in online poker markets and the advantages that the currency offers compared to traditional alternatives.
Bitcoin’s Rise in Popularity
Bitcoin was originally invented in 2008 by “Satoshi Nakamoto.” It’s widely believed that Nakamoto is a pseudonym and that the person(s) behind the invention of Bitcoin has chosen to keep their identity secret.
Bitcoin wasn’t known outside of a small group in 2008, but the currency’s rise to prominence shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Bitcoin, or BTC, is the only currency in the world not controlled by a government or central bank. Bitcoins cannot be seized or “frozen” like their fiat counterparts.
BTC allows citizens ultimate control of their money. The value can’t be manipulated by a government-operated printing press, and those using bitcoins are basically their own bankers. The rise of this global crypto-currency is something that the world has never seen before.
In 2011, Bitcoin began to receive mainstream press. Since that time, the currency has been picked up by thousands of businesses around the world. Dell Computers and Overstock.com are billion-dollar companies that began accepting bitcoins. Enterprises of all types are taking the currency around the globe.
For those of you that have solely dealt with fiat currencies such as Dollar, Euro and Pound your entire lives (that is, just about everyone), using a virtual or mostly internet-based form of money most assuredly seems daunting.
It’s true that the technical ins and outs of the Bitcoin protocol are complicated and may not be easily understood by the average person, but buying, transferring, and selling bitcoins is straightforward and simple.
Buying bitcoins can be done in several ways, but the default method for most is purchasing BTC at an online exchange or brokerage. Brokerages have a supply of bitcoins that they sell at a fixed price on demand. Exchanges must match up buyers and sellers of bitcoins before a transaction can take place.
Both are excellent options, and in many cases, those interested can purchase bitcoins in a matter of minutes. While the vast majority of those buying their bitcoins do so online, they can be sold anywhere by anyone. That includes locally or between friends.
Bitcoins are transferred through Bitcoin addresses. Bitcoin addresses operate similarly to email. That is, of course, if email were a crypto-currency, then it would allow you send money to anyone in the world!
Anyway, bitcoins are transferred through these addresses. Bitcoin addresses are a series of letters and numbers that range from 27–34 characters. Each address is a destination that bitcoins can be sent from or received.
Once bitcoins are sent to an address, they can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours to be credited. Some sites will want the full amount confirmed on the block chain before they credit the coins. However, this is not usually the case for online gambling sites, like bitcoin poker rooms. Sending and receiving bitcoins is also free for both senders and receivers due to the inner workings of the Bitcoin protocol.
The Beginnings of Bitcoin Poker
Bitcoin gambling sites of all kinds began to appear in 2011. The first bitcoin poker site, Seals with Clubs (SWC), began taking players in August 2011. As of 2015, The site has shut down and has been transferred over to SWC Poker.
What are the advantages can players expect when they began to use bitcoins for online poker? There are many different reasons why bitcoins offer a better, more cost-effective experience for players.
Cost and Speed
Few players realize how significant the cost of payment processing is. In regulated markets like Europe, the fees for processing payments are picked up by the poker rooms themselves and are not handed down to players. This isn’t always the case, however.
For those in unregulated markets, the costs of depositing and withdrawing funds from a poker site can be steep. Some rooms offer one free withdrawal per month, but that isn’t always the case. Even then, if you’re a profitable player, you’re still going to be paying a lot in withdrawal fees each month.
Checks can cost $50 a pop. Bank wires cost around the same amount, with additional charges for receiving the wire. Cash transfers, the fastest form of payment, can cost up to $120 per transfer depending on the amount.
When compared to bitcoins, it’s laughable why anyone would choose the above. Instead of paying what sometimes amounts to 10% of your profits in fees, players can pay nothing.
As huge as paying no payment-processing fees is, another crucial reason for choosing bitcoins is the speed of withdrawal offered. Sites in regulated markets can still take up to a week to process payments, but most top poker rooms process them in a day or two.
This isn’t the case in unregulated markets, like most of the United States. Checks can take several weeks to reach players, and the same goes for bank wires. Cash transfers take 2–3 days but come with massive fees.
Bitcoin withdrawals take less than a day to process at most sites, and some are processed in just a few hours, or even instantly in some cases. Any fiat-based room simply can’t match these payment-processing speeds and costs. There is no fiat-based gambling site that can come even close to the speeds and cost effectiveness that bitcoins provide.
Privacy is important in the online world, something that we seem to be losing more and more of each and every year. What you decide to do online, as long as you’re not committing fraud or hurting anyone, deserves to be your business.
Bitcoin allows people to act nearly anonymously online. Yes, it’s still possible to trace the movements of someone’s bitcoins on the block chain, but for the most part, poker players on bitcoin-only poker rooms are playing anonymously.
Bitcoin poker sites won’t ask for your name, address, or other information that most online poker rooms ask for before you can cash out. Some will want an email address, but that’s about as far as it goes. Many will require nothing but a username and password.
This not only allows users to protect their activities from prying eyes online but also bypasses the “we’re reviewing your documents” phase that seemingly every fiat-based online gambling site has players go through before they can withdraw, saving a lot of time. There’s no faxing or scanning of documents. Once you request a withdrawal, it will be processed to the bitcoin address of your choosing.
Better Rake Structure and VIP Programs
Continuing with the above theme of, “lower fees equals more money for everyone,” bitcoin poker rooms have much better rake structure and rewards than traditional poker sites.
PokerStars is generally known as the site that has the lowest rake in online poker, but even PokerStars can’t match sites like Seals with Clubs in terms of rake. Since they don’t pay any payment-processing fees and also store money in bitcoins, instead of banks, their costs are minuscule.
Other than developing the software and paying for a fraud and customer service team, bitcoin-based online poker rooms have relatively few costs. For this reason, their rake per hand is the lowest in online poker, and they can afford to offer players other rewards or bonuses.
Immune from Seizure
This doesn’t affect those in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal and regulated, but is a fear for players in countries where that isn’t the case. As we discussed above, there are millions of players in the US that have already dealt with such a situation.
However, since Bitcoin isn’t a part of a central banking system or monitored by any government, this isn’t possible. No entity or person can freeze bitcoins at a particular address. That is simply not possible, and that was by design.
Today’s Bitcoin Poker Market
As of early 2015, the market for bitcoin poker is still much smaller than the traditional fiat-based sites, which still dominate the online poker industry. That’s not a shock, because Bitcoin is still so new in the minds of the public, and online poker played with fiat currency has been around for 15 years.
However, not only are more and more bitcoin-only poker rooms popping up online, but many sites, which predominantly deal in fiat-based currencies, are also beginning to accept bitcoins as a deposit and withdrawal method.
The acceptance of bitcoins for online poker has no signs of slowing down either. Player numbers aren’t quite there yet, but Seals with Clubs still averages around 350 or more real-money players just about every night. Games go up to about $2/$4 No Limit in both No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. They also offer daily tournaments, weekly guarantees, and freerolls. They even offer mobile play via smartphone. Bitcoin Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular poker variant, but there is some action at the Pot Limit Omaha tables as well.
Best of all, they’re just one of the many sites offering bitcoin poker. As the crypto-currency continues to gain popularity around the world, like it has every year since its inception, bitcoin poker numbers will continue to increase. That’s an exciting prospect for poker players worldwide.
Bitcoin Poker Sites
Lastly, we have written a brief description of the most popular bitcoin poker rooms currently available online. Click the links to read full reviews.
SWC Poker – Former top online bitcoin poker site Seals With Clubs shut down, but was relaunced as SWCPoker soon after on a brand new poker platform, making it the most advanced poker software for Bitcoin Players.
Betcoin Poker – Betcoin Poker is part of the Betcoin.ag group that provides casino, poker and sportsbetting for Bitcoin and Litecoin users. This very popular Bitcoin Poker site competes with SWC Poker for the title of worlds largest Bitcoin poker site. The site has good traffic, action and big guaranteed tournaments.
Win Poker – One online and mobile Bitcoin accepting Poker site that has impressed a lot of Poker players in recent months is the Win Poker site, if you look for and demand only the most well rounded of poker playing sessions then you will not go far wrong by opting to play here.
A complete collection of both Poker Tournaments and standard table games are on offer and with the full ability to deposit and play using Bitcoins should you want hassle free gaming sessions then look no further than the Win Poker site for they offer you everything you could ever need from an online and mobile Bitcoin Poker site.
Redstar Poker – You will enjoy playing Poker at the Red Star Poker site, and one of the main attractions of playing here is the fact that they do have a huge number of different Poker game variants including the Telesina Poker game mentioned above. Click on the link for an in-depth review of this must play Bitcoin Poker site!
Switch Poker – The beauty of choosing another of our featured Bitcoin Poker sites, this time the Switch Poker site is that it has been specifically designed to allow you to play Poker absolutely anywhere. There is a no download version of the Switch Poker site which is ideal for anyone wanting to play Poker instantly on any type of computer.
However should you be the owner of any type of mobile phone or mobile device and this includes iPhones, iPads, Android devices or iPods to name but a few then you can now simply fire up that device and log onto play at the stunningly excellent Switch Poker mobile site.
(Satoshi Poker – site sold to new owner, not currently active) – This new and exciting Bitcoin Poker site offers the lowest rake in the industry at only 2%. You can also earn 20% rakeback to lower the rake additionally. Note that this is a 100% pure, anonymous bitcoin poker room that only accepts BTC for deposits and withdrawal.
Seals with Clubs Poker – One of the most technically advanced Bitcoin Poker sites currently available anywhere is the impressive Seal with Clubs Poker site which is one of our highly rated and fully approved Poker sites that we have no problems showcasing to our website visitors. Update: Seals With Clubs closed on February 20, 2015.
You will not only be able to seamlessly deposit and play using the Bitcoin Virtual Currency but you are also able to access their sites on both your computers and laptops as well as on mobile devices and that ensures everyone can join in the fun and games offered at the leading Bitcoin Poker site.
This information should give you more than enough to start playing online poker with bitcoins, the most rewarding, anonymous and convenient way to play.