Could the blooming Bitcoin industry be the future for online poker players? Will the rooms be able to capitalize on Bitcoins success with its fast withdrawals and anonymous games? We believe Bitcoin should certainly not be underestimated.
The Birth of Bitcoin Poker
Bitcoin poker saw its first room back in early 2011, when Betco.in was founded and began offering Bitcoin friendly games to the relatively small community. Betco.in quickly received a decent amount of traffic and attracted players who hadn't played any poker before. Their user-friendly software and soft games was the main reason for this.
The user-friendly Betco.in software
The software was open source, which allowed everyone to start up his or her own Bitcoin poker room, should they be interested doing so. Nobody re-used their software however, as a competitor site opened up later that year, with simple and improved software.
This competing site was SealsWithClubs, which we know today as the largest Bitcoin poker site. SealsWithClubs was second in traffic when Bitcoin poker opened its doors to the community. SealsWithClubs took a different approach and decided to go with existing software provided by Poker Mavens, allowing them to offer players a slightly better poker experience.
As SealsWithClubs opened their poker room, Betco.in saw a decrease in the amount of players playing on their site. SealsWithClubs did a good job at using their networking skills to gain traction in a bigger part of the poker community and eventually made Betco.in a traffic ghost town.
On April 11th 2012 Betco.in was allegedly hacked, stealing 2,900 Bitcoins from player balances. The owner of Betco.in quickly reached out to the community, saying that he was doing what he could to save the site, as well as get back the Bitcoins that were stolen from the site.
Betco.in never returned the lost Bitcoins. Betco.in closed down due to the attacks and no players ever got refunded for their lost Bitcoins, despite knowing which wallet address the Bitcoins had been stolen to. The community began speculating if it was an inside job, but nobody ever found out what exactly happened to the first ever Bitcoin poker client.
SealsWithClubs was now the only Bitcoin poker site left and began to grow significantly. The more Bitcoin became public knowledge, the more players started to play on SealsWithClubs and they soon had cash games running on all stakes, day and night. With low rake and a shark free environment, SealsWithClubs was a great place for new players to play.
And so it continued well into 2013, before they started to get some competition.
Current State of Bitcoin Poker
Fast forward to 2014: More than 10 Bitcoin poker rooms have been launched for players wanting to play with the highly valued cryptocurrency. Out of those 10+ rooms, we believe that one of these will eventually become the leading Bitcoin poker sites, which helps grow the Bitcoin poker industry as a whole.
SealsWithClubs is without a doubt the biggest Bitcoin poker site in the industry and it has seen a large traffic increase after Bitcoin became mainstream. They capitalized on this by promoting the site successfully, as well as being very active on social media, Bitcoin message boards and having fast and reliable customer support.
Despite a very unstable Bitcoin in terms of value in 2013, SealsWithClubs still managed to attract more and more players. After the value increased significantly we began to see the first competitors attempting to explore the possibilities of a sustainable Bitcoin poker client.
Regular Poker Clients Accept Bitcoin
Regular poker sites such as Americas Cardroom and WinPoker integrated Bitcoins as a payment method, but instead of exchanging the deposits to chips they exchange it into $/£/€, allowing players to play with other players on the regular network.
The idea behind exchanging Bitcoins for chips was genius, making it not only easy to create stakes that players are used to, but it also makes it easier for players who were used to poker on social media platforms and mobile apps where you buy chips by using your credit card or PayPal.
The question is now, who is able to compete with SealsWithClubs, and could perhaps even knock them of the throne they’ve been on for almost three years now?
We have analyzed SealsWithClubs, and four main competitors that we believe have a chance to become a serious competitor, providing you easy access to the things you want, and should know about Bitcoin poker sites.
|Poker Site||SealsWithClubs||Satoshi Poker||Pocket Rockets Casino||Betcoin Poker||365 Bet Bit Poker|
|Games Offered:||Cash, Sng and Tours||Cash and Tours||Cash, Sng and Tours||Cash, Sng and Tours||Cash, Sng and Tours|
|Overall Traffic:||Up to 1,000 Players||Up to 300 Players||Up to 100 Players||Up to 100 Players||Up to 100 Players|
|Cash Game Stakes:||0.05/0.10 to 1200/2400||0.01/0.02 to 50/100||0.01/0.02 to 20/40||0.01/0.02 to 100/200||0.02/0.04 to 5/10|
|Deposit Time:||7 Minutes||30 Minutes||27 Minutes||2 Minutes||30 Seconds|
|Withdrawal Time:||47 Minutes||22 Minutes|
|Mother Company:||SealsWithClubs||Satoshi Poker||Pocket Rockets Casino||Betcoin Ltd||Coin Gaming Ltd|
|Software Rating (1-10):||4||7||6||9||9|
|Games Rating (1-10):||9||7||5||7||7|
|Rakeback:||Up to 50%||20% Flat||Up to 100%||Up to 30%|
|Bonus:||No Bonus||No Bonus||100% up to 5 BTC||100% up to 5 BTC||100% up to 1 BTC|
|1 Bitcoin to Chips Ratio:||1,000 Chips||10,000 Chips||1000||1,000 Chips||1,000 Chips|
|Rake Cap 6/9 Max:||5 Chips||0.035 BTC||3 Chips||5 Chips||5 Chips|
|Rake Cap Hu:||3 Chips||0.035 BTC||1 Chip||3 Chips||5 Chips|
As you can tell from the information provided there’s a big difference between the Bitcoin poker rooms. SealsWithClubs has some of the lowest rake available online, as well as one of the best VIP programs. Their knock is that they also have the most outdated poker software of all.
The newer sites offer a much better general poker experience, graphic and game-play wise, but lack traffic compared to SealsWithClubs. Traffic is the one thing that poker players look for, and therefor SealsWithClubs has an advantage.
We do believe that more players will come from regular poker sites and start playing Bitcoin poker. They will be searching for platforms similar to what they are used to, giving an edge to the newer and more modern sites.
One of the main issues today with Bitcoin poker is still the security, as the sites are still relatively small in size and vulnerable for attackers. Besides the hacking attack on Betco.in back in 2012, no hacker has been successful in stealing Bitcoins from poker platforms, but they have been able to close down a platform for several days in a row.
While it's not the end of the world for players not being able to play for a couple of days, it still brings a certain level of insecurity that the sites needs to get rid of. Security is the most important aspect if Bitcoin poker wants to succeed in the future.
What the sites have going for them on the other hand is that the games are completely anonymous, provide almost instant deposits and withdrawals, as well as games that are much less shark infested compared to regular sites and networks today.
The ability for people to play poker anonymous is a key to the Bitcoin poker's success, along with the fast cash outs. This is what makes it possible for players in countries like the US, where gambling is illegal in most states, to play without any issues what so ever.
The Future of Bitcoin Poker
The future for Bitcoin poker looks bright, as we see more and more mainstream media news coverage about Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. People are starting to understand the concept of cryptocurrencies and want to have their own virtual funds that are not controlled by any government or bank.
With the increased focus on cryptocurrencies we will see more people buying up coins, using them for gambling, services, goods or simply just as an investment. The Bitcoin poker industry will need to capitalize on the mainstreaming of Bitcoins in general and use it to attract new players to their platforms who otherwise wouldn't play poker.
It may be difficult for many of the 10+ sites that currently offer Bitcoin poker to survive, as most of them are not large companies with a decent amount of funds for marketing. We expect to see more Bitcoin poker networks being created in the future, to capitalize on several sites liquidity and create a better overall experience for the players.
With the creation of Bitcoin poker networks it will be easier to create a better security framework for players, ensuring that their funds are safe from malicious attacks. Combine that with a more stable Bitcoin value, one, which doesn’t have 400% value, swings in either direction, and you will see why the Bitcoin poker industry has a bright future.
SealsWithClubs is currently the biggest Bitcoin poker room in the industry, having around 250 players playing cash games according to Pokerscout. They have more traffic than WSOP Nevada and are just below WSOP New Jersey traffic-wise, making them a serious competitor for American traffic.