Unless you have been living under a rock or haven’t had Internet access for a couple years you have probably heard of Bitcoin. It seems like it has been in the news at least on a weekly basis and has covered the financial sections of newspapers and online news services for quite some time. Now you can use Bitcoin to fund your account at some poker rooms. Learn more about Bitcoin poker below.

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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not backed by gold, silver or other precious metals. It is completely online, with no actual physical notes or coins. It is transferred from person to person or business to business using long computer generated keys to send and receive. The funds are kept in an online account called a wallet. The value of Bitcoins is set completely by a free market involving what people are willing to buy and sell them for. It is easy to think of Bitcoins as being like a Paypal account, and in many ways it is, but in many ways it isn’t as well. The biggest difference is how the currency is handled and some of the safety issues, covered in the next section.

Is It Safe?

Depending on how you look at it, Bitcoin is either the safest poker deposit option available or the most unsafe. The reason it can be viewed as the safest is because once you send the funds to your poker room, it doesn’t matter if anyone else gets the details of the transaction or not. Once the Bitcoin has been received the specific details of the transaction are worthless to anyone else. As long as you keep your log in details for your Bitcoin wallet, you don’t have to worry about the poker room or their security. When you send money using Bitcoin, you send it to a specific address for the Bitcoin account belonging to the poker room. Your wallet creates a specific code used to send the exact amount to the poker room. Once it is sent this code is no longer of any value.

Another reason so many people are adopting Bitcoin is because of the complete anonymous aspect of using the currency. No one needs to know your name, address, email or anything else about you. It doesn’t matter where you live or what the laws or regulations are, you can send and receive it without hassle. Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that you break the law, but many people believe that the governments around the world have too much access to our personal details now, so this is one way to fight this intrusion.
So if it is so great what is the possibility of it being unsafe? Unlike using credit cards and most online wallets, there is no real regulation or fraud prevention associated with Bitcoin. Once the funds are sent they are gone. There is no way to reverse the transaction and there is usually no way to track the other party. This is not a problem as long as you only deal with established and trustworthy poker rooms, but you definitely need to be aware of the dangers. Be especially wary of anyone on forums or elsewhere offering to fund your poker account in exchange for Bitcoins or to exchange other forms of payment like Paypal for them. One prevalent scam is to make the exchange and then do a charge back or reversal of the payment. They keep the coins and the money they agreed to pay you.

While this doesn’t fall completely under a safety issue, at times the value of Bitcoins can have large swings. Just take a look at the value fluctuations for the last few years and you will see that there have been a few days that were pretty wild. Because of this, you should know what happens to your money when it gets to the poker room, while it is there and when you take it out? Are the Bitcoins converted to dollars, Euros or some other currency when they are deposited and then converted back before withdrawal or are they kept in Bitcoins? How are sudden spikes or bottoming out of the currency handled by the poker room? I am not including any of this to scare you, but you really need to understand how these things work before taking the chance of losing your money.

Are There Fees?

The acceptance of Bitcoins for playing poker is still fairly new so you may or may not find fees associated with their use. Most poker rooms are not currently charging deposit fees but some wallets charge fees for transfers. The best way to find out about fees on either end is to log into your poker room’s cashier to see if they show any fees and do the same for your online wallet.

Do I Have To Deal In Whole Bitcoins?

Believe it or not, this is one of the biggest problems facing the acceptance of Bitcoins. People who don’t understand how they work get the idea that they are forced to only use whole Bitcoins, which depending on the current market are in the hundreds of dollars. However, the truth is that they can be split down into very small amounts all the way down to what is called a Satoshi. It takes 100,000,000 Satoshi to equal one Bitcoin. Currently a single Satoshi isn’t even worth a tenth of a US cent. There are also other benchmarks that are fractions of a Bitcoin including a Bitcent, which is 1/100th of a coin (1,000,000 Satoshi) and you can use 1/10th of a coin (10,000,000 Satoshi) measurements also.

Why Was My Deposit Declined?

A declined deposit isn’t something that you generally will have to be concerned about when it comes to using Bitcoins. If the poker room accepts it as a deposit method and gives you their code to receive the funds, unless your wallet for some reason restricts the transaction there isn’t really any reason for the transaction not to go through. If there is a problem check to make sure the room’s exact code was entered correctly in your online wallet. The next step is to contact the room directly to see if they have been having any issues or know what may be the problem.

How to Deposit Using Bitcoin

In order to make a deposit to your poker room using Bitcoin, you need their unique code that will direct the coins into their account. This is usually found in the cashier or account area of the software. You will probably need to be logged into your account to access this information. Then take this unique code, open you online Bitcoin wallet, open the area to send funds, enter the code and the amount you wish to send and then start the transaction.

Depending on the poker room, it can take a few minutes up to days to fund your account. The money is usually sent within a matter of minutes, but because this deposit method is fairly new there are delays at some poker rooms. The best way to find out is to contact the poker room before sending your money to get an idea of how
long the process takes.

Does My Poker Room Take Bitcoin?

More and more card rooms are accepting Bitcoin all the time. But it still isn’t as popular as other options like Neteller, Skrill and credit cards. Log into the cashier area, found inside your poker room account, and click on the deposit options. This will quickly show you what options you have to make deposits. You can also find Bitcoin listed toward the lower area of the home page of most poker rooms who accept it.

What Can I Do If My Site Doesn’t Take Bitcoin?

When your poker site is not one those that accepts Bitcoin deposits you will be forced to find a different way to make a deposit. Other popular methods include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Neteller, Skrill and Paypal. Always check the laws where you live to see which of these options can be used in your country. For example, Paypal can’t currently be used to fund online poker accounts if you live in the United States.

Can I Use Bitcoin To Withdraw My Winnings?

Almost every poker site that accepts Bitcoin deposits will also allow you to take your money out using them. Some of them limit the amount to the same amount you put in. This does not mean you can’t withdraw more than you put in, it simply means that you will need to take out anything over your initial deposit by another method. There is also the possibility you may have to wait until enough Bitcoins are available if your funds are converted when you deposit them and they need converted back. This is not a common occurrence, but be aware that it can happen. This is usually covered in the terms and conditions, so it may be worth your while to read them before making your deposit.

Conclusion on Bitcoin as a deposit method

Bitcoin is a great way to make a deposit to play poker. You don’t have to share any financial data with the poker room and the only security issues are the ones on your end beyond the amount you are sending. In other words, if you send two Bitcoins in the transaction, your only risk is two Bitcoins. Even if the poker room gets hacked or loses your information the bad people can’t access your Bitcoin wallet, because the poker room does not have those details.