How Bitcoin is Making a Few Average Poker Players Rich

Published On: 9 December 2013 / Modified: 17 May 2018
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accept bitcoin

Online poker has long been the bane of existence for tax-hungry, powerful politicians around the world.

Even in nations that are labeled as “free,” you better believe that performing the unthinkable act of playing Hold’em in the privacy of your home can make you a hardened criminal worthy of a SWAT team visit.

Though, as all players know, it’s not the game the lawmakers are after; it’s the money.

This is why Bitcoin are a thorn in the side of every politico from California to Caracas. The cryptocurrency is digitally signed for and exists over a massive decentralized network of computers.

It’s not Fed-controlled; it’s not accounted for by the EU. It was created out of thin air, in a sense, and belongs to the people – not the powers that be.

And when Bitcoin and poker join forces, it truly changes the game.

How Bitcoin is Revolutionizing Online Poker

bitcoin stock

Poker players, in a lot of ways, speak their own language. But they’ve never had their own currency. Until now, anyway. Bitcoin speaks its own language, too, and it’s indecipherable.

Using terms like giga-hashers, Bitcoin mining, cryptography, DPS, SHA 256, and other technical jargon that even some computer science majors at MIT can’t understand, Bitcoin have made it nearly impossible for currency to be traced, tracked or taxed.

Think of Bitcoin like a hack-around -- not like a basic currency which involves banking. It operates in the P2P atmosphere, like the latest Nicolas Cage straight-to-video release. But it doesn’t take a mind able to comprehend Bitcoin to understand how it's changing the game of poker.

Instead of having to deal with banks and creditors to make deposits you simply deal in Bitcoin – unregulated, unmarred 1s and 0s created through mining.

A Bitcoin poker site, like SealsWithClubs, works by paying in placeholders rather than actual money. There was a standing policy (subject to change) that 1,000 SWC chips was equal to 1 Bitcoin, and you could find someone hanging around the lobby or the forum to help you cash out.

Again: P2P, not banks and governments and regulations.

Bitcoin isn’t a poker-specific currency, of course, but it has changed the online game dramatically and other poker sites are popping up using SWC’s formula.

Bitcoin: An Explosion of Riches

Bitcoin graph

Since Bitcoin aren’t a recognized currency, and since most people who know about their value kind of have the “shoot, shovel and shut-up” mentality regarding their worth, not many people come forward with tales of riches.

However, there are many examples – some of which you can even see unfold in front of your face in real-time.

For instance, SWC used to host freerolls every hour back when a whole Bitcoin was only worth a couple of bucks. Players joining the site for $0, and joining tournaments for $0, could earn around 10-50 SWC chips for a final-table finish.

Free Bitcoin Becomes Winfall

Getting some chips for free many players would then venture to the sit-n-go tables where they would accumulate more chips. Once you reached 1,000 chips, you had a Bitcoin.

Since Bitcoin weren’t valued highly, many players just held on to their chips, stockpiled them, and then had coins transferred into their digi-wallets.

A few months ago, when Bitcoin started to skyrocket in price, some people woke up to great news. Those Bitcoin they paid nothing for and earned through average-level poker now gave them thousands upon thousands of dollars.

While some people only had one or two, others had stockpiled hundreds of Bitcoin, and many players on these poker sites are still stockpiling them, using poker to earn them rather than buying expensive algorithm-breaking Bitcoin mining hardware.

Hardware is still the way to create them. Mining is more popular than ever. But with poker sites using Bitcoin as currency now we’re seeing a lot of average people with poker skills becoming legitimately rich.

The preceding article is an editorial feature provided by


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