Playing Poker with Bitcoin: A Beginner’s Guide
Have you heard the news? There’s a new online payment method in town, ready to challenge the dominance of the usual suspects and carve its own niche in the virtual world. Companies like PayPal and Skrill are trembling with the hype surrounding this new payment method, and never before has a virtual currency caused such a stir throughout the world. And the name of this virtual currency? Bitcoin.
You might not quite understand how Bitcoin works, or know the mobile poker sites it can be used at, but this is understandable, as the vast majority of people are still unaware it is a viable payment option. After all, it was only a year ago it was highlighted for its volatility, and more importantly its lack of security. Now, however, things have changed. That’s why we at Droid Poker feel we owe it to you to produce a comprehensive guide on Bitcoin, so you can decide whether to jump aboard the Bitcoin train early, or wait until it is more widely accepted…
What is Bitcoin?
Before we go into the implications Bitcoin has on the mobile poker world, we should first be clear on what Bitcoin is, exactly. So, here’s the definition of Bitcoin, taken from Google:
“a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.”
While this definition might suffice for some, let’s break it down a little more, in order to really understand what Bitcoin is. Firstly, what is a “digital currency”? A digital currency is one that is traded entirely online. There is no physical form of a Bitcoin, unlike sterling or dollars, which come in both coins and notes, so the amount you have is entirely dictated by the amount you have stored in your e-wallet. So, lesson number 1: Bitcoins can only be used when purchasing things on the internet – you can’t go into your local Tesco and hand over a Bitcoin to pay for a loaf of bread!
Secondly, what does the definition mean when it says “without the need for a central bank”? Well, think about how money is made in the UK. It is issued by the Bank of England and the amount created is controlled strictly. The general public has no stake in its creation, and the first we see of it is when we go to a cash point. This is not the case with Bitcoin, as there is no equivalent to the Bank of England in this currency – the users of Bitcoin create the coins themselves and then use them to make purchases, therefore releasing them into the marketplace.
What, I can make a Bitcoin? This is a question you are probably asking right now, as you scurry to your computer to start the process, convinced you’ll be a millionaire by next Friday. Sorry to disappoint you, but this isn’t going to happen. The process of getting Bitcoins from scratch is called mining, and in order to mine a Bitcoin, computers have to solve extremely complex algorithms. Back when Bitcoin first started, it was just about possible for a high-spec computer to mine a Bitcoin on occasion. Now it is impossible, as the algorithms have become more difficult, so as to limit the number of coins on the market. They now require huge amounts of processing power, putting Bitcoin mining out of reach of everyday folk – even those with incredibly powerful computers.
How Much is a Bitcoin Worth?
So, moving on, the next important question to ask is “how much is a Bitcoin worth”? The answer to this is the same as you’d get for any currency, albeit on a more volatile scale. Bitcoin’s value fluctuates with the market and therefore they are worth more – or less – every single day. For example, at the time of writing, one Bitcoin is worth around £300, however this figure has previously been in the thousands, and far lower too. As with traditional currency though, the Bitcoin is decimalised, so you don’t have to spend a whole Bitcoin on every single transaction – unless you fancy playing for some seriously high stakes!
We would urge some caution when playing with Bitcoins due to this volatility, as sometimes sites won’t update their exchange rates quickly, therefore meaning that you could get much less for your Bitcoin than you deserve. On the flip side though, if the exchange rate goes down, you could also find yourself quids in!
Is Bitcoin Safe?
Nowadays, after some initial teething problems, Bitcoin is an exceedingly safe way to make transactions online. It is wise, however, to only deal with reputable companies when using Bitcoin – such as the mobile poker sites listed below – as there is no buyer protection currently associated with the payment form, unlike traditional payments like credit and debit cards. There is also no way of initiating a “chargeback” once a transaction has been made.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about Bitcoins is that you absolutely must keep your digital wallet safe. This is because, should you lose your digital wallet, you will not be able to recover your Bitcoins. Therefore, we strongly urge Bitcoin users to make at least one backup of their Bitcoin digital wallet, just in case the primary wallet is lost. Also, make sure your digital wallet is encrypted, just in case it is stolen. For more information on digital wallets, please click here.
How Can I Get Bitcoins?
As mining is now completely out of the question, unfortunately you are going to have to spend your hard-earned real cash in order to purchase Bitcoins. They can be bought from many different online stores, with some of the bigger ones being:
Once you have bought Bitcoins, you can either hand on to them in the hope that they rise significantly in value again, or you can spend them on a variety of different things online, with some major chains now accepting them as currency. Of course, the best use for them is to lay down a juicy deposit at a mobile poker site though, but then again, we might be biased!
Which Mobile Poker Sites Accept Bitcoin?
- Switch Poker. A good poker site, which is growing quickly and is also featured in our Top UK Mobile Poker Sites – therefore meaning it is our top choice for poker players depositing with Bitcoin.
- Seals with Clubs (Android only). This is probably the biggest mobile poker site accepting Bitcoin payments, despite the fact it has a really strange name…
- Win Poker. Another great mobile poker site accepting Bitcoin, offering a comprehensive selection of tournaments and games for both Apple and Android users.
- Bitcoin Video Casino (Android only). Looks terrible and only offers basic video poker. We’d recommend avoiding this site.
- K8poker. A mobile poker site that only accepts Bitcoin. We can’t see it lasting that long, thanks to their restrictive depositing options, so best to avoid in case they fold with your money.
- Bitstars. Another Bitcoin only casino, however it also offers slots and casino games as well, making it a more viable business prospect than Kate Poker.
- Betcoin Casino. This site offers video poker games, as well as a host of other slots and casino games too. Definitely a great place for video poker fans.
- Betchain. Yet another casino offering Bitcoin deposits only. They offer seven different types of video poker, including Jacks or Better.
- Bitzino. Another site that looks terrible, although there are two different types of video poker here – standard video poker and 3 card poker.
- Infiniti Poker. A really new site accepting Bitcoin payments. It looks really good and we’ll keep a close eye on it to see how it develops in the future.
We will, of course, update this list as more mobile poker sites begin to accept this form of payment. After all, we aim to bring you the most up-to-date news, reviews and opinions about the mobile poker world!
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