Another week, another new Bitcoin poker site.
Between Bryan Micon’s original SealsWithClubs, the new Michael Mizrachi-backed GetLuckyPoker and the old-school heavy Breakout Poker it’s getting pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle.
So why should you care about Bitnplay?
Well it remains to be seen if Bitnplay will find success (it hasn’t launched yet) but it offers a few unique features that you won’t find on the other sites.
We’ll take a closer look at three of the major features in this article.
1) Bitnplay Doesn’t Hold Any of Your Funds on Site
This is an important one. In order to avoid any Black Friday-type Full Tilt Poker scandals Bitnplay doesn’t actually hold any of your money.
You buy into games directly from your Bitcoin wallet and when you cash out the money goes back into your wallet.
Withdrawing is simply a matter of selling coins in your Bitcoin wallet for whatever currency you want. In theory this should be one of the fastest and safest methods to withdraw money from an online poker site.
Of course if the entire Bitcoin market crashes (which is unlikely but possible) you will be out of luck. So it's probably a good idea to not keep your entire bankroll in Bitcoin. Of course if you see it as a good investment that's a reason to hold on to it.
2. Bitnplay Utilizes Bitcoin’s Block Chain for Security
Unlike some of the completely anonymous Bitcoin sites Bitnplay only offers partial anonymity.
Part of the reason for this is that the site utilizes Bitcoin’s Block Chain to keep track of every single transaction to and from the site.
Essentially you don’t even have to trust Bitnpay with your funds because the site never really holds them.
It’s all up to the Bitcoin Block Chain. It’s decentralizing online poker accounts the same way that Bitcoin decentralized banking.
3. The Site is Selling 100% Rakeback to Tokens to Early Investors
Ever wish you could have been one of the original investors of PokerStars or Party Poker?
Well Bitnplay is actually letting players in on the action by selling 200 lifetime 100% rakeback tokens for people who invest two bitcoins (roughly $400 USD at the time this article was published although the price is rapidly fluctuating).
That means you’ll be able to play on the site and play absolutely no rake, which is obviously huge.
If the site actually becomes a hit these tokens would be worth a ton of cash. If you had something similar on PokerStars right now you could sell it for hundreds of thousands or more.
This site is doing it for two reasons: 1. Give the early games some extra volume with what will essentially be prop players. 2. Raise some capital for marketing ($80,000 in total).
Who is Behind Bitnplay?
At this point there are no big name pros and it’s not clear exactly where the site is located.
It was founded by American-Cypriot Andreas Anastasiades and Greek Ilias Makropoulos-Lalaounis who both have some experience in gaming and Bitcoin.
Primarily the company is programmers with a few industry analysts brought into assist the company.
The site lacks the name recognition of GetLuckyPoker or Breakout Gaming.
Will it Work?
That’s the big question.
At the time this article was published there were only three rakeback tokens sold and there are some big challenges ahead for the site. The biggest challenge as with every new poker site is just getting enough player volume.
The next biggest issue is the immediate problem of 200 players that generate no revenue.
That’s a pretty big hurdle for a small site, which will likely only have a few hundred players for at least the first few months.
Meanwhile the founders claim they’ve done the math and can easily sustain 200 non-paying customers.
The other issue is we have no idea how good the software is. For the time being it’s apparently in-browser only.
The site will also launch with only tournaments and Sit & Go’s with cash games set to be added in the future.
On the bright side the reward involved with a successful Bitcoin poker site is huge. Because Bitcoin isn’t regulated the same as other currencies you can actually play Bitcoin Poker anywhere in the world.
Bitcoin offers perhaps the best chance at returning to the massive global poker market of the mid 2000s (Unless federal governments start to clamp down on Bitcoin of course).
You also have to wonder how the first few hundred players who don’t have tokens would feel playing on a site where almost everyone else is paying no rake.
An interesting aside: Bitcoin has plummeted over the last month from over $300 to under $200. It remains to be seen what will happen if Bitcoin dips lower as the 100% rakeback tokens would get even cheaper.