Is Cryptocurrency The Answer To U.S. Anti-Poker Laws?

5 years ago
BitCoins As The Answer To U.S. Anti-Poker Laws
22 Mar

Running out of options? Looking for a place to play online real-money poker? Living in the US? Search no more then because we have the solution for you: BitCoin Poker!


Take a deep breath and relax…

We at PokerTube know you have probably found tens and tens of such sites telling you about the awesome new option and how cryptocurrency and BitCoin is the future of online poker. But is it really? Can you really play BitCoin Poker within the US? You've certainly heard some awful stories about poker sites operating in the grey area and getting away with it, sites like Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet and Lock Poker. So now you’re confused and understandably so. Is gambling with cryptocurrency a viable option in the US, you may wonder? Are these online gaming rooms really safe?

We can’t give you a straight answer right off the bat, but we can at least provide you with the pros and cons of playing BitCoin Poker. Don’t worry, we’re not biased at all, and we’ll definitely try to be as honest as possible. Just bear in mind this: at the end of the day, you’ll have to be your own judge.

Playing Poker Anonymously On The Internet

Let’s start with the pros though you may already know them. At least some of them if you’ve searched the web for anything related to cryptocurrency, BitCoins, and poker.

And since we’re talking about BitCoin, the most obvious pro is, of course, anonymity. Indeed, you can play online poker anonymously since that’s why the digital currency was created in the first place. And yes, it is unlikely you’ll ever be discovered, so you really don’t have to worry about that part. Besides, this is an emerging market with no real big effects on the real world. Nobody is giving a damn just yet. We do not know what may happen in the future, but for now, your secret stays safe.

Now, every cryptocurrency poker sites brags about instant deposits and very fast withdrawals and yes, this may be a pro if used properly. Transactions with BitCoin and other such cryptocurrencies are very easy to make, all you need is a BTC wallet and the address of that particular wallet. However, you have to read between the lines when you find words like instant and very fast because, frankly, it really depends on the cryptocurrency poker site. If you don’t want to run into problems, be sure to look for user reviews and specialized forums with real user feedback. If everything checks out, then and only then you can think of depositing and playing BitCoin poker.

And to finish this section off and relate it to the next one, here’s another pro most sites are promoting: BitCoin is the future of online poker. We are not sure about this one though. Like the actual BTC market - a very volatile one - these predictions are subject to change. What is probable today may not be viable at all tomorrow. And also consider that all these opinions may come from the inside and thus be biased. So take all these predictions with a grain of salt before anything ‘cause guess what: we can’t possibly know the future.

Grey Market Red Flags

That means we should stick to the present and also show you the other side of the Bit(coin). We talked about pros and we talked about being able to play anonymously. That means we can’t be discovered. Yet this doesn’t mean you didn’t commit a felony (in some US states at least). You are clearly trying to evade the law and this is never the right thing to do at least in the eyes of good ol’ Uncle Sam. The arm of the law is long and merciless even in more permissive states like Nevada.

Last year, for example, a drone store employer in Las Vegas was charged with operating an unlicensed gambling system. Bryan Micon who founded a fairly well known BitCoin Poker Site called Seals with Clubshad to plead guilty to avoid jail time. He was fined $25,000 and also surrendered his system comprised of six servers. Lesson for that day? Don’t get too overexposed!

If you are still interested, you must take into consideration risks of another nature: these sites operate in what we call grey areasand aren’t licensed or verified by any competent authority. So they basically don’t answer to anybody. While there aren’t obvious signs of fraud yet, at least in the BitCoin poker business, who can guarantee us that such frauds won’t happen in the future? This is very shaky ground, so don’t be that surprised when one such poker site falls. Look at the obvious examples like Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet; is there a God Mode aka superuser implemented within the software of those sites? Unfortunately, we can’t be sure. How about a situation similar to Lock Poker where the site seized the players’ funds (millions of dollars by the way) and never repaid them? It can definitely happen...unfortunately.

Conclusion: Play At Your Own Peril

You can draw your own conclusion from all those pros and cons but if you decide to give it a shot, be very careful. Perform thorough research and look for forum topics where players share their experience with the community about crucial aspects like withdrawal problems and software issues. Also, do not keep your whole bankroll on the site, make small deposits to cover variance and keep the minimum amount in order to play your current stakes. Withdraw from time to time and don’t forget about the constant swings BTC and other cryptocurrency have compared to real-life currency.

The BitCoin Poker market may be a tiny niche, but if it continues to grow, it will certainly attract some unwanted attention. And if the market remains unregulated, it may end up bad for the players and for online poker itself.

Are you ready to risk it?

What do you think? Is BitCoin and Cryptocurrency an option for the unfortunate US poker player? Can it become a real option in the long run? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Florian is a freelance journalist and avid poker player with a strong passion to create unique and appealing stories.He is an experienced researcher on various topics, from business and the financial markets to psychology and the gambling industry.He blogs at more


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