Poker And Bitcoin Unite With Intelligent Internet Users
Poker and Bitcoin were bound to get together as the demographic is exactly the same: young, white, male, highly intelligent, tech savvy, and rebellious. The internet poker phenomenon began when it became possible to play multiple online poker tables at once. Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003 qualifying from an online satellite on Pokerstars. Suddenly, the light bulb went off in many young guy’s heads at once: they too could become wealthy from online poker.
Bitcoin also started as an underground movement that was only accessible if you were able to understand the technology. Early adopters of Bitcoin saw the technological genius in the Satoshi white paper and were willing to make a real money bet on it. Those who bet bigger on Bitcoin in the early stages gained the most. Like those who have been successful in online poker, their results had very little to do with luck. With both poker and Bitcoin, early adopters saw an incredible opportunity and capitalized on it.
Not surprisingly, Las Vegas is becoming one of the Bitcoin capitals of the world. Expect poker and Bitcoin to remain together a long time.
Cross Over Between Poker And Bitcoin
The poker community has increasingly been using Bitcoin as a form of currency. It makes sense for many poker players to use Bitcoin as carrying around large amounts of cash can be troublesome. Taking more than $10,000 on an airplane requires that you declare the money, or have it confiscated. Additionally, if you want to take more than $10,000 out of your bank, it sets off red flags potentially notifying the IRS or even the FBI. Bitcoin solves a lot of these problems for poker players, as $10,000+ in Bitcoins can be easily stored on a thumbnail drive. Bitcoin is not taxed at the moment which is another incredible advantage for Bitcoin.
Twoplustwo is the main internet poker forum, and there you can find a high-stakes transfer thread where people are looking to trade in different currencies such as: cash, poker site money, Skrill, and Bitcoins. Skrill is an online payment service that makes it easier to get money in and out of a poker site. Later replies in the transfer thread start mentioning Bitcoin more often. For example a typical post may look something like this:
Have Stars/FTP/Skrill + vig
This poster wants Bitcoins, and has money on poker sites. “Vig” means that he wants some extra money for making the transfer. Another 2+2 member is also looking for Bitcoins in this seemingly cryptic message:
have stars + 3%
He has money on Pokerstars, and wants Bitcoins for a trade of no less than $5,000. If you are thinking it would be easy to scam this guy; think again, as you need a reputation of previous successful transfers for people to trust you on 2+2.
Similar Mindsets With Poker Players and Bitcoin Users
Both communities disdain the corporate life style, and you are unlikely to find an experienced poker player or Bitcoin enthusiast working a 9 to 5 job. The Poker and Bitcoin communities must deal with criticism of their passion.
To have gotten involved in poker in 2002, or Bitcoin in 2010 required a special mindset. You had to be highly curious, intelligent, and not readily accepting mainstream opinions. Most people are unwilling to risk their own money in any significant way, let alone on an offshore poker site, or an unproven virtual currency.
“But how much did you lose?” is a frequent question asked if you mention to a non-poker player that you won in poker. The Bitcoin enthusiast is laughed at as well for buying into something like a glorified beanie baby mania. Often the Bitcoiner, may receive a link to Tulip Mania from a skeptical friend, as a warning. Or the Bitcoin investor might be lectured by someone about the benefits of owning gold. Do not expect a better response from your local bank either:
Poker And Bitcoin Communities No Stranger To Scandals
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 kneecapped the online poker industry. The congressional bill was snuck into an Afghanistan spending bill last minute by a senator Bill Frist. Then in 2011, online poker was totally banned in the United States in what was known as Black Friday, a few days before poker players were supposed to pay their taxes. Later a terrible blow came to online poker when the Full Tilt poker site collapsed, leaving some player stranded with over a million dollars on the site. Full Tilt Poker has since been bought out and re-branded by Pokerstars.
Scandals and company blow-ups have also rocked the Bitcoin world. MT Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange suddenly disappeared overnight leaving some 774,000 Bitcoins “missing”. Other Bitcoin exchanges have been hacked over the years as well, and most of the early versions of wallets were also hacked. Users who failed to back up their computers or had poor computer security lost everything in some cases. One unlucky British gentleman tossed away 4 million pounds worth of Bitcoins as he forgot his Bitcoins were on a hard drive he threw away.
Poker And Bitcoin Unite In Las Vegas
It is likely both poker and Bitcoin will become more integrated. Already there are some poker sites where you can play exclusively in Bitcoin, one called Seals With Clubs. Internet casinos like BitCasino are accepting Bitcoins.
On the Bitcoin Talk forums, there is a Gambling section. Additionally, Las Vegas is fast adapting to the Bitcoin economy as casinos and shops begin accepting Bitcoin. Bitcoins In Vegas shows you which places accept Bitcoin, and they organize the local Bitcoin community in Las Vegas.
Poker players and Bitcoin enthusiasts will remain successful by knowing the odds, taking calculated risks, and studying diligently. Do not expect poker or Bitcoin to disappear anytime soon as the intelligent money is betting on both poker and Bitcoin.