A Quick Guide to Bitcoin and Online Poker
Bitcoin is the fastest and most cost-effective way to get money on and off poker sites today, especially for players in the USA. However, since many people have not used Bitcoin, they tend to find it intimidating. It doesn't have to be! By using this quick guide, it will take you no more than 10 minutes to set everything up, and after that your deposits and withdrawals will be smooth, instant, and free.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency. It's decentralized, meaning it's not controlled by a government, and it's flawlessly encrypted. You can use it to send and receive any amount of money--from less than a penny to millions of dollars. Bitcoin runs on a back-end ledger system called the blockchain, but just like you don't need to understand how the Federal Reserve works to be able to use dollars, you don't need to understand how the blockchain works in order to use bitcoin (you can research that elsewhere if you'd like).
Setting Up Bitcoin for Online Poker
First you'll need to sign up for a bitcoin exchange such as Coinbase or Gemini. These sites allow you to buy and sell bitcoins using your credit card or bank account. The largest of these exchanges is Coinbase, and it's also the simplest. Head to www.coinbase.com and they will walk you through the sign-up process.
Next you'll need a bitcoin wallet. Exchange sites like Coinbase do not let you transfer money to gambling sites, which is why you need a separate wallet in the middle. This will allow you to send and receive bitcoin anonymously. We recommend Blockchain Wallet, which is free, simple, secure, and has been around since 2011. Head to www.blockchain.info/wallet to sign up.
You're almost done! To deposit to a poker site, buy bitcoins on your exchange (i.e. Coinbase), send them to your wallet (i.e. Blockchain), and then send them from your wallet to the poker room. Each site will explain how to send and receive the bitcoin--it's as simple as copying and pasting a unique string of letters and numbers.
To withdraw, open your bitcoin wallet and click "receive". Then request a bitcoin withdrawal from your poker site, and paste the code that you get from your wallet. After receiving the payment (usually within 24 hours), send the bitcoin from your wallet (i.e. Blockchain) back to your exchange (i.e. Coinbase), and from there you can sell them for dollars which will appear in your bank account.
Now you can use Bitcoin to deposit and withdraw from online poker sites.
Click here to check out our reviews of poker sites that accept Bitcoin.
Good luck at the tables!
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