Ever since its invention, Bitcoin has been attracting people from all walks of life. While a number of professions have taken an interest in the cryptocurrency, there’s one that stands out from the crowd – poker players. It first became popular amongst gamblers in 2013, when a number of players invested in the currency. Since then, its value has increased by almost 40x. But what prompted poker pros to invest in Bitcoin? And why do they continue to love it today? In this article, we discuss these questions in more detail and explore why poker players are obsessed with Bitcoin.
Before we begin, let’s explore what Bitcoin actually is. Bitcoin can be described as a digital currency that’s used to make peer-to-peer transactions. Unlike regular currency, Bitcoin requires no middleman to regulate it. This is because its transactions are recorded on the ‘blockchain’, a public ledger.
Bitcoin is often referred to as a cryptocurrency. This is because it boasts encryption technology used to verify transactions and regulate the generation of currency units. As there is no third party involved, the currency operates separately from banks and financial institutions. Additionally, it is not controlled by a central government. When Bitcoin is purchased, users can store and send it in a digital wallet. This wallet is kept secure through password protection and private key.
When the value of Bitcoin increased, people started to break it down into smaller units. This way, it’s easier to use for smaller services and transitions. Below, we explore the different units.
Bitcoin (BTC) = 1
deciBitcoin (dBTC) = 0.1
centiBitcoin (cBTC) = 0.01
milliBitcoin (mBTC) = 0.001
microBitcoin (uBTC) = 0.000001
Finney = 0.0000001
Satoshi = 0.00000001
The most popular unit amongst poker players is the milliBitcoin. Most poker rooms use this unit as the value of chips because it relates closely to the US dollar. At the time of writing, 1 milliBitcoin is worth $3.39. As many players don’t want to risk this much per bet, gambling sites also list wagers as decimals of a milliBitcoin, for instance, 0.5mBTC.
Many gamblers are drawn to Bitcoin as it is decentralised. As it’s a type of cryptocurrency, it cannot be influenced by the government or economy. Because of this, Bitcoin is often labelled as the most independent finance in the world. As the currency has no geographical affiliation, it can be purchased and used to gamble anywhere in the world. This is a selling point for gamblers who like to use betting sites outside of their home country. Additionally, the decentralised currency makes online transfers easy. As it’s not influenced by the government, there is no limit to the size of the transfer.
Another reason that poker players love Bitcoin is its tax leniency. As the majority of tax laws were written before Bitcoin was invented, it’s almost un-taxable. However, if your country requires you to pay tax on any income, this includes Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is also popular amongst poker players for its quick transactions. When using regular currency, online payments can take a while to process. If you’re gambling online, this means you can’t enjoy the instant play you could at a physical casino. However, the transaction speed of Bitcoin is almost instant. Whether you’re withdrawing your winnings or depositing more money, you can enjoy the same instant play as you could in a land-based establishment.
Another draw to using Bitcoin is the security. While some cryptocurrencies make fraudulent activity easier, Bitcoin makes it almost impossible. Boasting state-of-the-art proof of work systems, Bitcoin makes hardware attacks costly and longwinded. Even if the worst does happen, the currency has security measures to resolve the issue. As the blockchains are public, almost any transaction can be traced with the right equipment.
The benefits above explain why Bitcoin is great for online gambling, but why is it loved by poker players in particular? The main reason is that many players have made a ton of money just from holding Bitcoin during price increases. While the value has gone up and down over the years, there were two major increases in November 2013 and December 2017. All the poker players that were holding Bitcoin during these periods saw a large return on their investment. Below, we explore a few more reasons as to why Bitcoin is loved by poker players.
Comfortable with Risk – As mentioned above, the value of Bitcoin has gone up and down over the years. For those that chose to take the risk, their investment paid off. Due to the nature of the game, poker players are often comfortable with risk. As they’re used to dealing with this variance, they feel confident enough to invest in Bitcoin.
Anonymous Gambling – As Bitcoin is a digital currency, it’s fairly anonymous. This means that all those secret poker players can rely on Bitcoin to keep their activity anonymous.
Low Fees – While online casinos accept a number of cryptocurrencies, the withdrawal fees can often be high. Thankfully, the withdrawal fees for Bitcoin are lower than average.
There are a number of reasons why poker players are drawn to Bitcoin. If you’re looking for a decentralised currency with fast transaction times, it’s clear that Bitcoin is the way to go. As governments can’t control the currency, it can still be used to play poker in grey markets.
Considering how many poker players have done well with Bitcoin, we can expect to see plenty more follow in their footsteps. If you invest when the value drops, you’re almost guaranteed to make a profit if you hold onto it. If the past is any indication, we can expect Bitcoin to keep increasing in price for years to come.