Is Bitcoin poker the next huge thing for online gambling?

Bitcoin poker is starting to grow and and we’re expecting big things from cryptocurrency sites in 2015

The first hand of real-money online poker was dealt on Planet Poker back in 1998. Since then the game has exploded across the world – helped by Chris Moneymaker’s famous win at the WSOP in 2003. PokerStars and 888poker have become huge players in the industry, attracting thousands of players worldwide, playing for huge sums in guaranteed tournaments every week.

But something new is on the horizon – Bitcoin poker. The decentralised cryptocurrency is still relatively young. Bitcoin was announced in 2008 and released into the wild in 2009, where it’s grown massively. In the first year an order was placed for two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins. That same amount of Bitcoins today would be worth $2.3m!

It didn’t take long for Bitcoin gambling sites to launch – online sites where you fund your account through Bitcoins rather than traditional payment methods. It might still be a niche in terms of the iGaming industry, but there are lots of Bitcoin gambling sites including casino games and sports betting.You can deposit and gamble exclusively with Bitcoins on all your favourite casino games – like slots, blackjack, roulette and craps – from anywhere in the world and enjoy the benefits that gambling with Bitcoins offers, such as anonymity and fast withdrawals.

And Bitcoin casinos have grown rapidly, turning what was a fledgling industry into a burgeoning space filled with hundreds of new operators – some specialising in a single game and others offering a more traditional casino experience.

The latest big movers are Bitcoin poker sites.

Play Bitcoin poker anywhere

SealsWithClubs is one of the largest Bitcoin-only poker rooms and it’s growing rapidly as it rakes in more players from different parts of the world – including the US. It was set up by a group of poker pros who lost the ability to play online in the US after Black Friday in 2011. You might have heard of one of its sponsored pros, Bryan Micon, who has final-tabled two WSOP events. He thinks that Bitcoin poker sites could be the next big thing. He said: “I think SwC has the chance in 2015 to ignite a second poker boom based around Bitcoin. I think we are on the verge of making a massive distributed win for Bitcoin poker players that may help the Bitcoin currency itself in a small but measurable way.”

If you’re not a fan of giving out personal details over the internet, then Bitcoin poker could be for you. You don’t need to give SealsWithClubs anything to open an account and start playing. Just create an account with a username and password, and deposit to the Bitcoin address on your account page. That’s it. You can opt to provide an email address if you want – without it you can’t reset your account password – but in essence you can choose to play completely anonymously from anywhere in the world. The advantages of playing poker like this are obvious.

Bitcoin poker

Big names behind Bitcoin

SealsWithClubs might be the largest but there are lots of other Bitcoin poker sites springing up, each offering a slightly different experience – Betcoin Poker also accepts Litecoin and Cruel Poker offers Open Face Chinese poker. Other Bitcoin poker sites are also set to debut this year, bringing something new to the table. Bitnplay will allow players to buy-in directly from their Bitcoin wallet once it debuts in February this year. Burnturn Poker, which builds on the defunct Satoshi Poker, is promising an enhanced visual experience.

Other big poker players are getting behind new cryptocurrency offerings. Poker legends Johnny Chan, Todd Brunson, David Benyamine and Jennifer Harmon caused a stir when they announced their support for Breakout Gaming last year. Michael Mizrachi has thrown his hat in the ring too – as the face behind US-friendly poker site GetLuckyPoker.

The power of Bitcoin poker

With more than 50 different Bitcoin poker sites listed, Bitcoin Gambling Guide Manager, Chris Evans says: “Late in 2014 we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of brands and number of queries related to these brands. Together with big poker operators now looking to penetrate the market, I believe the poker niche in the Bitcoin scene will lead the market in the coming years.”

If last year was the start for Bitcoin poker, 2015 should see the online game changing. Lots of new poker rooms will start to accept cryptocurrency bets and more players will start taking advantage of the unique experience. The future of the Bitcoin gambling industry looks rosy.

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