The cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin reached a price of $463 this month, a value not seen in the past 15 months.
While it appears that the virtual currency may close out 2015 with a bang before 2016 is ushered in, the same cannot be said for Bitcoin-only poker sites. Poker rooms that accept Bitcoin as the only deposit option have not had the best of years.
When 2015 began, a number of Bitcoin-only poker rooms were preparing to launch. Get Lucky Poker, BitnPlay and Burnturn Poker were a few that were aiming to take the online poker world by storm, embracing Bitcoin as perhaps the future of payment processing in the igaming realm.
Down and Out
And now, about 12 months later, those sites have made nary a dent in the online poker market. BitnPlay is offline, its last social media posting appearing way back in April following a much-ballyhooed Feb. 1 launch that was apparently fraught with problems. “A New Age for Poker” was the site’s slogan. However, it’s obvious that that new age is not yet here.
Burnturn Poker, which was previously Satoshi Poker, made its debut in April 2015. Burnturn is offline as well, but seemingly had a longer run than BitnPlay, from April until August. The Burnturn Twitter page says “currently in beta,” but no tweets have been forthcoming since last summer.
GetLuckyPoker, the brainchild of Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi, at least has a pulse. The site is online, but players hoping to sign up are met with the following message: “Our site is currently in closed beta testing and registration is not currently available to the public.”
Clubbed in Nevada
The past year has also been rather gloomy for the only Bitcoin poker site that had managed to gather a small following – Seals With Clubs. The poker room had been sailing along with a loyal cash game player base of 100 or so – according to PokerScout.com – before the authorities in Nevada raided the Las Vegas home of founder Bryan Micon in February.
The site was closed down and Micon moved his family to Antigua where he promptly opened another Bitcoin poker site, SwCPoker. But Nevada takes its online poker regime seriously and summoned Micon to return to the Silver State and face charges of operating a poker site without a license.
A guilty plea last month resulted in a $25,000 fine and two years of probation for Micon, who apparently has to remain in Nevada until the terms of his sentence are satisfied. In the meantime, SwCPoker lives on, albeit with an estimated one-fourth the player traffic of Seals With Clubs.
An Added Option
There are a number of igaming and poker sites that added Bitcoin as an option for processing payments along with their other cashier offerings. However, poker rooms that go the Bitcoin-only route have not enjoyed the best of runs lately.
Despite near-anonymity when transacting Bitcoin and the ability of poker rooms to offer lower rake compared to industry standards due to the lower costs associated with payment processing, Bitcoin has yet to find favor among online poker players.