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The Bitcoin-only site SWCPoker that relaunched a couple of months ago has seen its cash game player traffic tumble about 44% from its previous peak.

The newest estimate of ring game traffic provided by finds a seven-day average of 18 players at the site. The highest average number of cash players in SWCPoker’s short history reached as high as 32.

As many are aware, SWCPoker is the 2.0 version of Seals With Clubs that was forced offline by Nevada gaming authorities in February. Seals With Clubs chairman Bryan Micon fled to Antigua and quickly launched SWCPoker, but the new site has failed to enjoy the modest success achieved at Seals With Clubs.

Making matters worse for Micon, law enforcement in Nevada issued a warrant for the SWCPoker founder’s arrest last month for operating a poker site without a license. Ten years in the slammer and $50,000 in fines is the maximum punishment possible for the Class B felony charge.

Micon aims to fight the allegation and has asked for the poker-playing public’s help in doing so. A legal defense fund has been established that has raised almost $4,000 toward a goal of $100,000.

Bitcoin Gains Ground

Bitcoin as a payment processing alternative at poker sites has not yet been fully embraced. However, strides have been made recently as more poker rooms and networks have added the cryptocurrency as an option at their respective cashier cages.

Also, 2015 has seen a number of Bitcoin-only poker sites enter the market. Get Lucky Poker launched in January and Burnturn Poker followed in April.

The original Seals With Clubs averaged over 100 cash players during its heyday before falling into two-digit territory just before the Nevada Gaming Commission took aim at its operations in February. It appears that the legal trouble faced by Micon has prompted a good amount of players to scamper away from the relaunched SWCPoker, perhaps fearing possible further action by authorities.

Where Else to Play?

Players in the U.S. not located in the regulated states of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of patronizing sites that are non-regulated. Americans who want to play poker currently have no choice but to play at the likes of Americas Cardroom, Bovada and SWCPoker – or not play at all.

Most U.S. players want regulation to come to their state – or better yet – nationwide. But we may all be senior citizens before that happens considering the current rate of regulation under the state-by-state format.

After weighing the risks and rewards, many players within the U.S. decide to continue playing at unregulated sites. The risks are that the sites may be shut down at any time should another Black Friday take place. Or the site owners can abscond with player funds since there is no government regulation to stop them.

The rewards? Having fun playing poker and making money. To some, the reward outweighs the risk. To others, not so much.

Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.