The overall characteristics of the bitcoin system make it a perfect choice for online gamblers who prefer to keep a low profile, so it should come as no surprise that many sites have started accepting this new type of currency over the past few years. As you’d expect, those sites range from established poker rooms and casinos that simply introduced bitcoin transactions as yet another form of making a payment to bitcoin-only businesses that put a lot of emphasis on the anonymity of their customers. Unfortunately, the traffic on bitcoin-only sites isn’t really all that impressive, especially when compared with fiat-only online gambling giants like PokerStars or William Hill. However, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that even the most conservative online casinos and poker networks are likely to start supporting bitcoin transactions as their popularity increases.
For now, playing on most bitcoin-only sites has many drawbacks that are generally associated with low-traffic networks: poker players might have some problems with finding opponents, especially at the higher stakes, while casino enthusiasts might be disappointed with the size of progressive jackpots. On the bright side, there are some noteworthy exceptions to this rule, which means that you shouldn’t have many problems with finding a reasonably sized site that accepts bitcoin transactions as long as you’re willing to make a few concessions when it comes to maintaining complete anonymity.
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Bitcoin Poker Sites
One of the biggest advantages of bitcoin-friendly poker sites is the fact that they aren’t really afraid of breaking new grounds, which means that many of them offer well-designed mobile apps and rather creative promotions. Finding a good site that accepts players from all over the world shouldn’t be much of an issue, but keep in mind that some of them prefer to focus on the European market just like their fiat-only counterparts. As you’d expect, the level of anonymity customers are allowed to maintain varies from site to site, but generally speaking you’ll be required to provide the poker room with your personal information in order to verify your account.
1. Americas Cardroom
Americas Cardroom is a US-facing poker room that started accepting bitcoin deposits in January 2014 after an overhaul of its cashier section. The deposits are converted to $US for play at the tables. The site is a member of the Winning Poker Network, which means that the traffic is relatively high. Consequently, finding an opponent shouldn’t be much of an issue regardless of the stakes you prefer to play on, particularly when it comes to Texas Hold’em. However, please note that Americas Cardroom doesn’t support bitcoin withdrawals yet, which means that you’ll have to use one of the traditional banking methods when making a cash-out.
WinPoker was the first major site to accept bitcoin and supports both bitcoin deposits and withdrawals since March 2013. As a part of the iPoker Network, WinPoker gives you access to one of the largest player pools in the world – regardless of the poker variant and stakes you prefer, the tables are pretty much guaranteed to be filled with players all around the clock. All customers are required to provide a proof of identity and a proof of address before they’re allowed to take advantage of the standard deposit and withdrawal limits. Unlike Americas Cardroom, WinPoker does not accept US-based players.
3. Seals With Clubs
Seals With Clubs is one of the most popular bitcoin sites to date, which shouldn’t be all that surprising since bitcoin transactions are the only supported banking method. Furthermore, Seals With Clubs is one of the few sites that allow their customers to remain 100% anonymous. Consequently, you won’t be required to provide the staff with any kind of personal information in order to create an account, make a deposit or request a withdrawal. Seals With Clubs started out with a tiny player pool, but once the room proved to be reliable and safe, the number of customers increased significantly. Seals With Clubs saw its cash game traffic double in 2013 and is expected to do even better in the months to come.
SwitchPoker is a mobile poker site that caters predominantly to Android and iPhone users. The available poker variants include Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Furthermore, the site gives you access to a wide selection of single- and multi-table tournaments. Bitcoin is supported both for funding your account and for making a withdrawal. Unlike most mobile sites, SwitchPoker allows mobile players to enjoy the game on up to four table at once, so it’s somewhat disappointing that the number of people online tends to be rather low. SwitchPoker doesn’t allow US-based players to partake in real money games, but allows them to join the action at the play money tables.
Bitcoin Casino Sites
While bitcoin-friendly gambling sites tend to attract less traffic than their fiat-only counterparts, there’s no denying the fact that this problem doesn’t affect online casino sites as much as bitcoin poker networks. Even if you decide to play on a relatively small bitcoin-only site, you’ll still be able to enjoy all the latest slots and classic table games, just like in the case of the largest casinos – after all, you won’t be playing against other players most of the time. The only real drawback of playing on a low-traffic casino site is the impact of a small player pool on the size of the progressives – you shouldn’t expect to win millions, but keep in mind that hitting the jackpot is still more than likely to result in a life-changing payout.
BetCoin is one of the largest bitcoin-only casinos and as such gives you access to a wide range of games, which include Hi-Lo Switch, Baccarat, Blackjack, Video and Casino Poker games, three popular variants of Roulette, as well as 14 unique slots. As you’d expect from a bitcoin-only site, BetCoin doesn’t require you to provide any personal information and accepts customers from all over the world, including the United States. Unlike in the case of traditional casinos, BetCoin boasts instant payouts, which means that you’ll be able to collect your winnings as soon as you’re done playing, all the while enjoying total anonymity.
2. WinPoker Casino
While WinPoker’s offering is predominantly about online poker, the site also gives you access to a wide selection of casino games, including Blackjack, Roulette and Craps, as well as a massive selection of themed video slots, which range from old-school three reel machines to modern five reel games. The rules for casino enthusiasts are the same as for poker players – all customers have to provide a proof of their identity and address before gaining full access to the site’s banking options. Once the account has been successfully verified, players are allowed to make a bitcoin deposit or cash out. However, please note that the first withdrawal is required to be done using the same method as the first payment. As mentioned above, WinPoker does not accept US-based players.
Named after the mysterious creators of bitcoin, SatoshiBet deals exclusively in popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoins, litecoins and dogecoins. The available games are limited to Roulette, Blackjack, Lucky7, Casino War, Video Poker and Baccarat, but the casino doesn’t require you to commit to a download and allows you to play anonymously as soon as you make a deposit. All things considered, SatoshiBet is rather unlikely to satisfy the needs of an experienced casino aficionado, but if you’re looking for a safe place to bet a few dogecoins without revealing your identity, you probably won’t find a better site at the moment.
V. Fairness and Security
While most traditional gambling sites are very serious when it comes to providing their customers with a secure gaming environment, there’s no denying the fact that many bitcoin-only casinos and poker rooms might seem to be a little fishy when it comes to their software or banking. Generally speaking, the sites that offer total anonymity lack the certification that is usually expected from a serious online gambling business, which means that you probably won’t be able to get your money back in case of any trouble.
However, there’s a crucial difference between such bitcoin-only sites and scam casinos that should sound your alarm bells – they allow you to cash out as soon as you’re done playing. No trustworthy bitcoin-only site will require you to maintain an on-site balance. In fact, most players prefer not to keep their funds on such sites – they sit down at the virtual table, spin the reels or roll the dice and take off with their winnings as soon as they’re done. There’s very little room for fraud here, so the failure to follow the industry standards when it comes to handling customer money isn’t immediately disqualifying. Nevertheless, you should be very careful when it comes to picking the right place to play – if you’re not a veteran online gambler, you should probably look for a customer review or two before trusting any site with your hard-earned money.
Quite obviously, traditional sites that require you to provide your personal information and offer bitcoin deposits or withdrawals in addition to traditional banking methods should be expected to abide by higher standards. If you’re looking for a casino or poker room of this kind, you should avoid sites that lack any official certification or that fail to provide any verifiable contact information. Regardless of the type of site you pick, only a valid certificate from a respected governing body guarantees that the outcomes generated by the site’s Random Numbers Generator are truly random. Consequently, playing on anonymous, bitcoin-only sites that lack this kind of certification will always be more dangerous than playing in a regulated casino that operates with all the necessary licenses.
All things considered, higher anonymity always brings about more risks when it comes to online gambling – so if you want to stick with a service that doesn’t require you to verify your account, you probably shouldn’t wager more than you can afford to lose without being upset. If you’re a serious gambler or a high roller, you should definitely stick with the sites that have the right paperwork.
VI. Funding Your Bitcoin Gambling Account
Making a deposit to a bitcoin gambling site is arguably much easier than funding your on-site account on a traditional site using other banking methods. Once you sign up for an account, the site in question is going to provide you with a deposit address, which will usually be available in the cashier or settings menu.
Like all bitcoin transactions, gambling payments usually take about 10 minutes after everything has been confirmed, which means that you’ll be able to play much faster than in the case of a site that requires you to validate your personal information. In the case of traditional sites that simply introduced bitcoin as yet another payment method, the entire process is significantly longer, as your account will usually have to be verified before you’ll gain access to the full cashier functionality. However, please note that subsequent payments are going to be as quick and easy as in the case of anonymous sites, which gives bitcoin a slight edge over most traditional methods, such as wire transfers or credit card deposits. Consequently, using bitcoin to fund your account on a major network site like Americas Cardroom ends up being particularly attractive for US-based players, as e-wallet services like PayPal are unavailable to them due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
In terms of security, using bitcoin to fund your gambling account is no different from any other bitcoin transaction – each transfer is protected with a private key, which provides a mathematical proof that the bitcoins have come from your wallet. This key also prevents your transaction from being altered by other users of the bitcoin network after it has been issued. All things considered, bitcoin deposits are faster and safer than credit card payments or even e-wallet money transfers as long as you are sure that the recipient is going to keep his end of the bargain.
VII. Cashing Out From a Bitcoin Gambling Account
Requesting a withdrawal from an anonymous gambling site is pretty much as easy as making a payment. Once you log in, you specify the address of your wallet in the cashier menu and wait for the transfer. However, please note that completing the cash out might take longer than making a deposit due to security concerns.
For example, payouts at Seals With Clubs can take as long as twelve hours, as the site’s staff has to run security checks on player and transaction histories to ensure that your account hasn’t been compromised. In most cases, you’re going to receive your money within an hour from placing your withdrawal request though, which is still significantly faster than the e-wallet cash outs available at traditional sites that don’t support bitcoin transactions.
As you’d expect, things get a little bit more complicated when it comes to bitcoin-friendly major network sites. In this case, you’ll have to verify your account and provide the casino or poker room with all the necessary personal information before making your request. Furthermore, payouts usually take longer to complete, which means that you’re quite unlikely to receive your money faster than if you were using an e-wallet service. Furthermore, many websites require you to make your first cash out employing the same method that was used for your first payment. Consequently, if you opted to fund your account using a wire transfer or credit card payment, you won’t be allowed to withdraw via bitcoin. Even worse, subsequent requests via methods other than the primary deposit method are usually considered on a case-by-case basis.
All things considered, if you want to use bitcoin for banking, you should definitely consider making a bitcoin first deposit to avoid unnecessary complications.
Bitcoin Bonuses and Promotions
Traditional online poker rooms and casinos offer a wide range of bonuses and promotions to attract new players, but unfortunately the anonymous bitcoin gambling sites simply fail to abide by the same standards when it comes to handing out free goodies. Furthermore, welcome bonuses on such sites wouldn’t be very practical, as there’s nothing to prevent players from creating multiple accounts and abusing such system. Consequently, the bonuses offered by anonymous gambling sites are usually targeted at returning customers and include all kinds of freerolls or even rake-free tables. Bitcoin-friendly major network poker rooms and casinos on the other hand treat bitcoin-paying customers just like all the other players, which means that you’ll be able to take advantage of all the available bonus offers even if you decide to make a bitcoin deposit. Below, you will find of the most popular deals:
Deposit bonuses are welcome bonuses that allow you to grab additional, free money when you register at the site. The specific amount you can get is determined by the size of your payment, which means that you’ll usually have to make a rather large deposit in order to get the full value of the promotion. For example, a $500 bonus with a 200% match on your payment means that you’d have to deposit $500 in order to receive $1,000 of promotional money. However, please note that if your deposit exceeded $500, the bonus would not cover the additional funds. This means that a transfer of $600 would still net you $1,000, while a transfer of $300 would mean that only $600 would be credited to your account.
Most major network gambling sites operate an extensive loyalty program – and bitcoin-friendly casinos and poker rooms are no different in this regard. In most cases, returning customers that deposit a lot of money can expect VIP treatment in the form of reload bonuses, rakeback programs or exclusive tournaments. Furthermore, the sites that have strict deposit and withdrawal limits tend to make exceptions for veteran players. Quite obviously, the exact nature of those bonuses differs from site to site. For example, a casino site is likely offer bonus reloads, while most poker sites tend to focus rakeback offers or VIP freerolls.