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Cryptocurrency Gaming: The Future of Poker?

160 Views Comments 5 days ago

Following a rapid upswing experienced by many digital currencies, the ever-increasing market caps have generated widespread interest.

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Cryptocurrency is hotter than ever. Following a rapid upswing experienced by many digital currencies, the ever-increasing market caps have generated widespread interest. Take a look at the rising value of Bitcoin alone over the last few years:


In just two years, the value of Bitcoin has increased by over 1000% - and projections indicate that this increase isn’t going to stop anytime soon with a market cap of over $56 billion USD. With over 1000 different cryptocurrencies available and more being developed every day, the market truly is booming.

But with all of this cryptocurrency floating around, what can you actually use it for?


Online Gaming

For fans of sports betting, daily fantasy sports, casino gaming, online poker and dice, you’re all covered. Given the popularity of these markets combined with the huge growth of cryptocurrency, it was only a matter of time before developers catered to the masses. There are a number of factors unique to digital currencies that make them the optimal choice for sports betting, gaming and poker sites.

These result in a ton of benefits for the users.


Lower Rake

Because digital currencies have much smaller transfer rates and conversion fees than their fiat counterparts, crypto cardrooms usually have lower rake charges than regular-currency online casinos. Look at the rake percentages of Betcoin – an online poker room that accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) – compared against some of its competitors’ rates:


As this chart shows, HU tables at Betcoin are raked at a much lower percentage than at PokerStars, while their percentage for other tables is 0.5% lower across the board.

Less rake paid means that players get to keep more of their winnings for themselves – something that we all like to hear.


Avoid Conversion Fees

If you are using a crypto cardroom that uses digital currency at the tables (such as millibitcoins A.K.A. mBTC), you can avoid any conversion fees by depositing directly with that cryptocurrency. At the majority of poker sites, USD is used at the tables despite players hailing from all parts of the globe which results in many users incurring a cost of converting their currency when depositing at the site.


Fast Transactions

Because of block chain technology and the peer-to-peer nature of cryptocurrency, transaction speeds are much faster when compared with fiat currencies. Withdrawals from a normal poker site can take a number of days depending upon the business hours of the banks involved, whereas withdrawals from crypto poker sites normally won’t take any longer than an hour.


Weaker Players

As crypto cardrooms are still in their infancy, they haven’t attracted a ton of experienced players due to their generally lower traffic compared with regular online poker rooms. For this reason, many of the users that do play on the sites are curious crypto owners, or newcomers to poker that have migrated from the casino/sportsbook offered by the site.

If you’re an experienced player and willing to wait around for action from time to time, these crypto cardrooms have given birth to some extremely soft games.


Taxing Cryptocurrencies

Many countries will tax poker players on their winnings as it is viewed as a game of skill and not luck. However, tax laws on cryptocurrency are usually a little different and mean that you won’t incur such high taxes on your poker winnings. The IRS, for example, taxes Bitcoin held as a capital asset as a property, which results in a lower tax rate. Always make sure to check the tax rulings for your own country as they do vary.



The Downsides

There are of course some downsides to crypto cardrooms – the main one being the issue of traffic. As investment in cryptocurrencies has grown rapidly in the last year, a lot of owners of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are keeping their currencies in their e-wallets with plans to watch their value rise. As many owners are hanging on to their coins for this reason, gaming sites have not received as much traffic as they potentially could. This means that you may find yourself waiting around for a game to start some of the time.

There is also a volatility concern which is valid. As the market value of cryptocurrencies has proven to be extremely volatile, this can dramatically impact the actual value of your bankroll overnight. If the crypto markets take a hit and their value drops rapidly, your bankroll can shrink without you even playing with it at the tables. This of course goes both ways – if you buy $3,000 USD of Bitcoin, deposit it at a crypto cardroom and the value of BTC goes up by 50% in a week, you’ve gained yourself a tidy $1,500 without having to even grind at the tables.

Either way, having your bankroll liable to increased variance can understandably scare some players off.


With household names like Johnny Chan, David Benyamine, Todd Brunson and Jennifer Harman behind the movement, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

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Author

George Mathias

A lifelong degenerate that has always had a backwards sleeping pattern, Poker conveniently found George in 2012 during his first year at university. He was fortunate enough to live with an already-accomplished mid-stakes grinder and decided to befriend him for free coac ... Read More

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