Depositing and Withdrawing from Online Poker Sites with Bitcoin
Ask many people about Bitcoin and they’ll suck their teeth and say something along the lines of ‘ohhh, that’s volatile’. They’d be wrong of course, the big stories in the mainstream press always jump on the big swings – it makes for good headlines. Though strangely fail to notice that Bitcoin deposits have become mainstream, and are now no more difficult than using PayPal (for example).
Those swings? Well most of the time we are within 2% on a daily basis, and even the big jumps are rarely more than 5%... go ahead, check the history for yourself at quality news service www.coindesk.com
I do focus on BTC here, though the process is the same for other coins. Bovada now accept BCH (Bitcoin cash) and ACR have opened their doors to many more cryptocurrencies.
This page gives you a complete guide to using Bitcoin for your poker deposits. This works at all of the leading US poker sites these days, and many of the big international ones. Here is what you will find on this page
- How to set up your first Bitcoin wallet, step-by-step
- How to use this wallet to deposit and withdraw money from online poker sites
- A list of poker sites which welcome Bitcoin – which are US friendly (including my picks for the best games, bonuses and fastest withdrawals).
What you’ll be asking yourself by the end of this page is ‘why did I not switch over to Bitcoin before??!’
Bitcoin Poker Sites – Your Key Advantages
Before I get into the details, there are some big advantages to switching over to Bitcoin.
- All of your Bitcoin transactions are out of view for the financial authorities. Nobody will block them, question them or even know that they are happening.
- Bitcoin transactions are fast. For smaller ones they are instant, for bigger amounts you might have to wait an hour or so (while the entries on the blockchain ledger replicate a couple of times). There is no waiting for the post, and no bank-wires stuck in limbo while the banks profit from either.
- Low-cost, or rather very low-cost. There are no fees once you have your wallet up and running. Where you will pay a small fee is when you exchange your bank wire for Bitcoin at an exchange. This is tiny – to put it in perspective, receiving a PayPal transfer will often cost you 10x as much!
- All the main US poker sites now welcome this… and if you ever feel like betting on sports, you can use it for this purpose too.
Bitcoin Poker Sites – Disadvantages
Just to keep things fair, here are my thoughts on the disadvantages.
Exchange rate risks. The price in dollars of your Bitcoin will fluctuate (though nothing like the mainstream press would have you believe). This really only affects users who keep money in their Bitcoin wallet for any period of time. If you are like many poker players, who will exchange cash for BTC, then instantly transfer that BTC to a poker site (who convert into dollars and hold it in that currency), then you will not hold Bitcoins too long. It should then not matter what the price is when you cash out… since you’ll be exchanging back right away.
Learning curve. I might have written here that you have to learn some mysterious new technology – though this is simply not the case anymore. Setting up a wallet, adding funds to it and then using it to deposit and withdraw is not technical at all… in fact, it is no more difficult than setting up and using a PayPal account for the first time (only slightly different!). If you are thinking tech, then you have Bitcoin all wrong.
Hacking. Another press thing, really. Regular bank accounts, personal PayPal and other eWallets are hacked way more than Bitcoin is… only this does not make for a very interesting story. I have 2-factor authentication in my BTC wallet, and consider this more secure than many other accounts. You need to be careful (don’t leave things logged on!), though to say that Bitcoin is more vulnerable than anything else is simply nonsense.
Bitcoin Poker Sites – Practical Steps for Making Deposits
#1 – Get a Bitcoin Wallet
There are two types of Bitcoin wallet. The first is a virtual online account (yep, I’m going to compare it to PayPal again!). The second type is a downloadable version that you will store on your own computer.
Unless you are a super high-roller ($25k+ in your account) then an online or virtual Bitcoin wallet will be absolutely fine.
The steps you go through are super-simple, all you need is an e-mail address. Remember to take a note of your password, security information and wallet Id.
#2 – Fund Your Bitcoin Wallet
You now need a second account, at a Bitcoin exchange. Again there are a lot of them, though I recommend staying with the biggest and best known – for example coinbase.com or BTC-e
You need to provide dollars (or pounds / euros / yen etc) from a source which can’t be charged back. This rules out the famous PayPal, with the usual way being a bank wire. What the exchange does is match people who want to buy and sell Bitcoin. You’ll enter your wallet information (a receivers Id) and the exchange will handle the rest.
This is very easy, and the market is very liquid (lots of people in both directions). You can see the process step by step in this FAQ over at coinbase.com
After your funds go in you will have a balance in BTC (or more likely mBTC – micro Bitcoins).
#3 – Sending and Receiving Bitcoin from a Poker Site
The last step is to send some money to a poker site, after which you will be able to start playing.
Here you find the cashier of your chosen poker site (best options are below). You choose Bitcoin and will be instructed to push a button which will generate an Id. Here is an example of what you will get:
This is a receivers Id, and is a string of letters and numbers. Bitcoin transactions work with these. You’ll need to go to your own wallet, click on ‘Send Bitcoins’ and then enter this Id into the field that comes up, along with the amount what you want to deposit.
Once you send the transaction will be instant (below $1000 or so, and only a little longer over this). What your poker site will then do – unless you are playing at a specialist BTC-only poker site – is to instantly covert your deposit into dollars / euros, which you will use to play with at the tables.
Withdrawing Winnings: After you win a bunch of money (after all, you read the many strategy articles here at www.sitandgoplanet.com!). Then you can withdraw using the reverse of this method. You go to your wallet and generate your own receivers Id, which you then give to your poker site to send you the money. They covert your dollars to Bitcoin at the prevailing exchange rate – and the money is transferred.
You then get the option to keep, spend or exchange your Bitcoins back into fiat currency.
This really is simple, I recommend you get started by signing up for a wallet and funding it will a smaller amount now. Once you get to know the process, you’ll wish you had taken those few minutes to set it up sooner!
US Friendly Poker Sites That Welcome Bitcoin Deposits
The offshore US sites were the early adopters of Bitcoin payments. Bovada were the first to go ‘Bitcoin first’, and they have now sold their poker site (which is the biggest pool of US players) to Ignition Casino. Other sites worth a mention include America’s Cardroom and BetOnline Poker.
#1 America’s Cardroom Poker
America’s Cardroom on the Winning Poker Network not only welcome Bitcoin – they provide explainer videos for both the deposit and the withdrawal side, along with a clear step-by-step explanation. In addition to Bitcoin you can choose from a total of 60 different cryptocurrencies (some I have never even heard of before!).
This site is my top pick for US based poker tournament fans, and for very soft Sit N Goes. ACR are home to the ‘Online Super Series’ events, and the only US $1,000,000 guaranteed prize tournaments, which are held every couple of months.
One curiosity with Bitcoin deposits is that you only have 7 minutes from generating the receiver Id in their cashier (BTC is found under ‘popular e-wallets’) to sending your coins. This is easy enough of course once you are aware, you’ll just need to open your wallet and get ready to send!
Minimum $10 deposits and $25 for withdrawals apply, you’ll get a 100% welcome deposit – and plenty of ‘tournament dollars’ which are awarded via a mini-game for your first 7 days.
Check out www.americascardroom.com for the latest promos and easy Bitcoin deposits.
Bovada is the biggest US poker site, and is well trusted for quick withdrawals. These are even quicker if you choose Bitcoin (or Litecoin Bitcoin cash).
Again you’ll find specific instructions on the steps take – Bovada walks you through the entire process, and in my experience their service team is excellent should you need them.
Not only does Bovada have the biggest US player pool, they have a the biggest choice of games too. These include Zone Poker, Lottery SNGs, and plenty of entertaining tournament variations too. Play is anonymous, which prevents tracking software from following you around. Bovada uses a 'recreational player model' which maintains a fair setup for pros and amateurs alike.
The best thing about Ignition is the promos, which include ‘Mad Mondays’ and many others.Check out the latest list and BTC deposit walk-through over at www.bovada.lv
Bitcoin Poker Deposits in 2018 – Summing it Up
Bitcoin is no longer some techy, overly volatile, mysterious concept… it is very easy to use, and very much mainstream!
Once you get a wallet, you’ll wonder why you did not move over earlier. All your gambling needs will be met, and your transactions will be well and truly outside of the remit of governments and financial authorities!
No more excuses, get started with Bitcoin today!
More In-Depth Poker Deposit Methods Guides: