Top Bitcoin Poker Sites 2018
When Bitcoin was first created in 2009, not only did it change how society views money, but it has also spurned a new and exciting alternative to a variety of industry sectors. One such transition is the online casino sector that now plays host to hundreds of competing crypto-casinos and sportsbooks. However, most people aren’t actually aware that it is now possible to play online poker using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies too.
This article will firstly explore the difference between Bitcoin casinos and regular fiat casinos. After that, we will then discuss some of the different variants of online poker, followed by an impartial list of the top Bitcoin poker sites in 2018. By the end of reading it from start to finish you will be able to make an informal decision on whether or not Bitcoin poker is for you.
What is the difference between Bitcoin and regular fiat poker rooms?
When discussing the difference between Bitcoin poker sites and traditional fiat casinos, it is important to remember that the many benefits afforded to the former are inclusive of all cryptocurrency gambling operators.
First and foremost, when using regular online casinos, you are required to go through a stringent sign up process. This will initially entail providing your personal information such as your full name, home address, nationality and date of birth. Moving forward, prior to withdrawing your winnings you will be required to support this information by uploading a copy of your ID (passport or driving licence), proof of address (bank statement, tax document or utility bill) and a copy of the front and back of your debit or credit card.
These requirements are the absolute minimum. Various crypto casinos like to take things one step further by requesting additional documentation such as getting your ID signed and stamped by a local official or taking a selfie with the document held against your face. These measures are nothing but intrusive, however as these casinos are dealing with fiat currency, they must impose these controls to ensure they remain compliant with national regulators.
Bitcoin poker rooms, table games and sportsbooks are somewhat difference, insofar that they are not accustomed to the same set of regulatory red-tape. As the casino is dealing purely with cryptocurrency – which isn’t class as real-world money, they can avoid the enforcement of identity verification. As a result, when registering with a Bitcoin poker site you are most commonly only asked to provide an email address and a strong password.
When it comes to withdrawing your winnings, various crypto operators now process your request within 10 minutes. This is in stark contrast to a regular fiat casino, as withdrawal times are often closer to a week before they reach your bank account. In this sense, using a casino that specializes in Bitcoins is far more beneficial to the player.
What are some of the major advantages of Bitcoin Poker?
So now that you know about the benefits that Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals affords the user, we wanted to discuss some of the other advantages that is brings to the player experience.
Firstly, think about how inconvenient it is to travel to your nearest land-based casino to play poker. Not only do you need to make the journey at a specific time during the day, but you are also required to a) sign in with your membership card or b) register as a new member. Instead, by using a Bitcoin poker room at a crypto-casino, you can play in the comfort of your own home.
Moreover, games are operational 24 hours per day, meaning that you can play at any time of day. There is also no reason to communicate with anyone as all of your decisions are performed at the click on a button. On the other hand, if commination is your thing, you can talk to other player’s through the instant chat facility whilst you play.
The next advantage to using Bitcoins to play poker is with respect to the rake. The rake is how the casino makes money and it is achieved by taking a fee from the player in return for hosting the game. This can be as a fixed fee on a tournament/sit and go table or a percentage of the pot in a cash game. In regular online fiat casinos this can be as high as 10%. Why? Well due to the nature of their relationship with real-world money, fiat casinos must install various risk departments to ensure that they do not breach anti-money laundering regulations.
As we mentioned earlier, a player’s identity must be verified prior to any withdrawals being made. Risk departments must also monitor suspicious betting patters, which also takes time and money. All of these costs are subsequently passed on to the player in the form of high rakes. On the contrary, Bitcoin poker rooms do not need to employ the same set of regulatory safeguards, so the rake is vastly lower in comparison.
The next thing to consider when using a crypto-casino for your online Bitcoin poker platform is the guarantee of fairness. The operators that we at BitBettors recommend all have something called provably fair installed. This is a protocol that is supported by a cryptographic algorithm, ensuring that each and every hand that is dealt is true and fair.
The protocol guarantees that the cards cannot be manipulated by the casino, nor can any of the players gain access to them prior to them being revealed on the table. Provably fair data is decentralized insofar that it can be accessed by anyone that wants to verify it, notably players or regulators. With this in mind, players don’t need to trust that the Bitcoin poker room is legitimate, as provably fair is the ultimate safeguard.
A further benefit to using a Bitcoin poker room as opposed to a regular fiat casino is that the former doesn’t discriminate on where the player is based. Traditional online casinos must ensure that they hold a full gaming license and as such, can only accept player’s from certain jurisdictions. Again, this is linked to the fact that they are dealing with real-world cash. Certain nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia and even the U.S. prohibit all forms of online gambling, meaning that local citizens are prevented from playing at poker sites. Even if people from the aforementioned counties attempt to bypass the regulations, governments often block internet access to anything that is related to gambling.
So how are Bitcoin poker casinos different? Cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology is a borderless phenomenon. Its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, wanted to create a global payments system that required no third party, allowing people to trade anonymously on a peer-to-peer basis. This is where the term decentralization comes from, as not only is the system controlled equally by those who engage with the system, but it is immutable from manipulation or malpractice.
As a result, when registering at a crypto-casino there is no requirement to identity yourself. When making a deposit, players simply need to transfer their Bitcoins to the wallet of the operator, with there being no need for a financial institution to get involved. Therefore, players from all over the word are able to open an account.
In the rare event that a cryptocurrency platform prohibits players from certain jurisdictions, it remains to be seen how they would actually enforce this. For example, a player can use an anonymous browser such as TOR, which obscures the true location of the user. Add this to the fact that crypto-casinos most commonly don’t ask for the player’s name, address or date of birth – let alone their nationality, we would imagine that restrictions are merely to appease regulators. However, it must be mentioned that we do not recommend joining a crypto poker room if you are playing in a nation that is banned.
So now that you know the many benefits to using a Bitcoin poker site rather than a regular fiat casino, the next part of our guide is going to discuss the two main variants of online poker.
What are the main different Bitcoin poker variants?
When playing at an online poker website, there is actually more than one variant of the game available, which can be split in to two branches. Firstly, if you have ever been to a land-based casino and seen people playing a machine, there is a good chance is was something called video poker. Unlike the table game alternative, the player is playing against a virtual dealer.
Although there are various versions of video poker, the standard rules are as follows. The player is dealt five cards from a single deck of virtual cards. The player must then decide whether they want to hold or replace any of the five cards. If the player chooses the latter, then the software machine will randomly exchange the card for another one from the deck.
The Goal Of Poker
The purpose of the game is then to hold a winning hand, which can be as low as “Jacks or Better” right up to a Royal Flush. The better the hand you are holding, the more you can win, which is determined by the pre-defined odds offered by the particular casino. These fixed-odds are then multiplied by the amount you decide to stake on that hand. For example, if you decided to stake the Bitcoin equivalent of $25 and you held a “Three of a Kind” at odds of 10/1 (11.0), then you would win a total of $275 – which includes your original stake.
These Bitcoin video poker platforms are also fully protected by the provably fair protocol that we mentioned earlier. Thus, each and every hand that is virtually dealt to you is guaranteed to be true and fair, in line with the pre-defined odds on display.
As crypto-casinos often have a significant range of games, there are many variations of video Bitcoin poker. Many offer different bonus features if you hit certain hands, such as an enhanced payout for hitting “Four of a Kind” or better. Various video poker games also reward you for playing the maximum stake possible, whereby in some circumstances the odds of hitting a “Royal Flush” are increased from 250-1 all the way up to 4,000-1!
If video poker isn’t your thing, there is a full suite of table poker games available at Bitcoin casinos too. Just like in the real-world, you have a choice of sit and go tables, tournament tables and then of course cash tables.
Sit and Go Poker
Sit and go is a variant of poker whereby you play against a fixed amount of players, either on one table or across multiple tables. There will be a plethora of options available to the player with regards to how much they want to stake. This could be as low as $1, all the way up to $10,000 or more. To illustrate this with an example, let’s say one of the options is a “$3.50 – 12 person sit and go” table. This means that 12 players would each stake $3.50, giving a total pot of $42.
In this example, the players would usually be split across two tables, with a player exiting the game when they lose all of their chips. Then once a certain number of players are left, they would all be moved to the same table. There is normally a prize for at least the first two players, however when more people are involved, this number can increase.
Every player starts with the same amount of chips and the small and big blinds increase incrementally. This ensures that player’s don’t sit hording their chips until the right card combination comes along. These types of tournaments are few and far between in land-based casinos for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it would not be worth the casinos efforts to host a sit and go table for small valued buy-ins. It wouldn’t be worth their time to not only monopolize a table(s), but to pay the salary of a full-time dealer. As we mentioned earlier, crypto-casinos can offer sit and go buy-ins for as low as $1, meaning that those who want to stake small amounts are not excluded.
Furthermore, what you will notice when joining a sit and go tournament at a Bitcoin poker site is that you will not wait for more than a few seconds before your game starts. How long do you think it would take before a real-world casino is able to fill 12 seats? If you ended up missing the cut, you would have to wait for the entire game to finish before getting a chance to play. As crypto-casinos operate on a global basis, they facilitate entrants from all over the world. This means that no matter what variant of sit and go you want to play, you will never have to wait more than a minute before you are pondering over your first hand.
Moreover, think about how long it would take for a specific hand to be dealt. You would have to wait for the dealer to thoroughly shuffle the cards, deal them out and then wait for slower players to make their decision. As Bitcoin poker rooms use software (fully supported by a random provably fair protocol) to shuffle and deal, a new hand can be ready to play in a couple of seconds. Don’t forget, because it’s provably fair, the hand is always true and fair, with no capacity for internal or external malpractice.
A particular strategy that more experienced players like to use is to play multiple sit and go table at the same time. In fact, the best that we have seen is 12 tables being played at once! Although at first glance this might sound unfeasible, as soon as the player makes their decision the next table pops up on to the screen. As sit and go does not require the same level of “player reading”, such a strategy can be highly profitable long-term.
Tournament poker tables are very similar to that of the previously mentioned sit and go variant. Users still pay a pre-determined fixed entry fee, all players start with the same amount of chips and the small and big blinds increase incrementally. The major difference is that tournament games are generally filled with a significant amount of players.
It would not be uncommon to have a tournament with over 5,000 individual tables, distributed across multiple tables of 9 seats. Every now and then the underlying technology will move players to other tables to ensure that each table has as close to 9 players each. As you can imagine with a tournament with so many players, the prizes on offer can be highly significant. On the other hand, these types of games can take hours on end until they are finished, so make sure that you have sufficient free time to ensure that if you play well, you are able to see it through.
Both sit and go and tournament variants generate their rake as part of the entrance fee. You will often see something like “$3.50+$0.25”. In this example, the $3.50 represents the fee that is put in to the sit and go/tournament pot, and the $0.25 goes to the casino as per the rake.
Poker Cash Games
Cash tables are often described by the professional players as the most consistent way of making long-term profits. The game rules, although somewhat minimal, are actually entirely different. Many players actually struggle to play cash tables because the mindset requires a combination of patience and aggression. The timing of either characteristic can be the difference between winning and losing, which is why so many players fail to succeed.
Nevertheless, cash tables are separated by the amount that players want to stake and is determined by the value of both the small and big blinds. In case you are unfamiliar with such terminology, the small blind is placed to the left of the dealer, and the big blind is directly to the left of the small blind. After every hand is complete, the small and big blinds shift clockwise. Unlike sit and go/tournament games, the blinds never increase. If other players want to stake in a particular game, they must at least match the big blind.
The first significant difference with a cash table is that each hand can be limitless. If two players go head-to-head, they can out-raise each other until either a player decides to fold, call or they have no more chips. In this sense, cash games are substantially more risky. On the flip slide, it is possible to play with blinds as low as 1 cent/2 cent, meaning that inexperienced players have the chance to practice without losing too much money.
The next significant difference with cash tables is that unlike sit and go/tournaments, there is a lot more emphasis on reading players. Although it is not possible to read the player’s expressions (as you are not playing in a land-based casino face-to-face), it is possible to analyse the way that a player operates. “Do they always bet big when they have a good hand” or “Do they always fold when I bluff” are questions that must always be asked when trying to assess a player’s gameplay.
Hand rankings in Bitcoin poker
For ongoing reference, we thought it would be a good idea to supply you a list of poker hand rankings, from the strongest hand to the weakest. If you ever forget which hand comes out the best, refer back to this page! Let’s hope you can achieve a Royal Flush!
- Royal Flush: A straight of A, K, Q, J, 10 – All of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: Any five cards in consecutive order – all of the same suit.
- Four of a Kind: Any four cards of the same rank.
- Full House: A combination of a three of a kind and a pair. E.G. K, K, K, 2, 2
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit.
- Straight: Any five cards in consecutive order – but not of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind: Any three cards of the same rank.
- 2 Pair: Two different pairs of the same rank. E.G. K, K, 9, 9
- Pair: Any two cards of the same rank.
- High card. When you haven’t made any of the above hands, your highest card.
What Factors we keep in count reviewing a Bitcoin poker website
As a completely impartial and unbiased review platform, we at BitBettors only recommend the very best. We have worked tirelessly to hand-pick a very small selection of Bitcoin poker operators with the view of giving you the final decision. The only way that we felt this was possible was to actually test out the platforms ourselves. This required us to not only open an account and deposit cryptocurrency, but to also test out each variant of games.
However, prior to doing this, we made extensive enquiries in to the casinos credentials. This begun by ascertaining whether the operator holds a gaming license. Although this isn’t a necessity in the crypto-casino industry, it certainly adds weight to the legitimacy of the platform in question. After that, we made sure to enquire whether every single poker game on offer was fully supported by a provably fair protocol. This of course ensures that each hand is dealt in a fair and random way, with no potential for outside influence.
After that we also explored the breadth of the games on offer, to ensure that you are provided with a significant choice of games. Moreover, we also sought to discover if any sign-up bonuses, promotions, VIP packages or rake back programs existed. All of these specificities were a crucial part of our crypto-casino review process.
Just remember that whilst one casino might suit someone else, it might be suit you (and visa-versa). It all depends on what your preferences are. For example, are you looking for a substantial sign-up bonus, or are you more interested in finding huge tournaments?
So now that you know how we review and evaluate Bitcoin poker sites, we will now present to you – in no particular order, 4 of the best in the industry.
FortuneJack Bitcoin Casino
FortuneJack casino are one of the largest and most trusted crypto-casinos in the industry They were founded in 2014 and are in receipt of a full gaming license from the Curacao Gaming Control Board. Moreover, all of their games are fully supported by a provably fair protocol. FortuneJack offer a wide-range of video poker games, including fan favorites Joker Wild Poker, All American Poker and Poker Bowling Strike.
Each game has its own twist, bonuses, pay-out structure and skins, so make sure to take full advantage of the operator’s highly lucrative sign up bonus. This consists of multiple first deposit match bonuses, which is a great way to test out their variety of Bitcoin poker games. Unfortunately, the casino doesn’t offer a player-to-player table room.
FortuneJack also have an excellent customer support team, which includes a 24/7 live chat facility, as well as email support.
Created in 2013, Betcoin are one of the most established crypto-casinos in the industry. Not only do they offer a full range of casino table games and slots, but they also have a fully-fledged sportsbook.
When it comes to poker, Betcoin have something to suit all needs. Video poker games are covered, as the operator has a plethora of options such as Deuces Wild, Joker Poker and Five Draw Poker. However, the fun doesn’t stop there, as Betcoin have a substantial poker room available, covering sit and go, tournament and cash table games.
The Betcoin platform also has a VIP player’s club, which awards you for your loyalty. Essentially, the more games that you play, the more benefits you get. Furthermore, as an established crypto-casino, the operator also offers a live chat platform, which is great for receiving instant support.
Unlike the aforementioned casinos (and as the name suggests), America’s Cardroom has been built specifically to facilitate poker. Although the operator was originally fiat-specific, due to consumer demand they have since decided to support Bitcoin. Practically every single variant of table poker is supported, such as cash tables and sit and go, however there are no video poker machines.
Not only has the operator been in business since 2001, they also offer a sizeable 100% sign up bonus up to $1000. There are also various major tournaments held where it is possible to win thousands of dollars. Moreover, it is also possible to quality for the World Series of Poker (WSoP) tournament by playing at America’s Cardroom!
Furthermore, if you require support from the customer service team, America’s Cardroom have a 24/7 live chat facility, or if time is not on your side, email support.
Bovada casino were first launched in 2011 and offer a full gambling platform – covering casino games, slots, sports betting and of course poker. They are a hybrid casino, meaning that they offer both fiat and cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. They have a huge range of video poker games to choose from, all of which are backed up by a provably fair protocol. Moreover, their poker room has hundreds of thousands of users, each split between cash tables, sit and go tables and tournaments.
If you have never registered an account at Bovada before, new players are offered a significant $5000 welcome package. This is provided to the player in stages, depending on how much you bet. All of the poker tables at Bovada are also accessible on your mobile phone, meaning that if you are in a long format tournament and have to pop out, you can continue playing!
When it comes to customer support at Bovada, although the operator does not have a live chat facility, they can be contacted by telephone or alternatively, you can always send them an email.