You will earn two types of points when you play real money games: Status Points (SPs): Status Points dictate your VIP Level. 10 Status Points are earned for every €1 paid in rake/feeCash. Points will expire 12 months after they’ve been earned, should they not be cashed in. Grosvenor Poker’s VIP Club and the rewards that can be enjoyed are provided at the sole discretion of Grosvenor Poker. Grosvenor Poker holds the right to withdraw or change this promotion at any time. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer New Customers Only. £20 extra = one cash game ticket of €8 and 4 x UK Tour tournament tickets of €4. £500 Playthrough bonus = €600. Both bonuses are activated upon first deposit from the poker client. Tickets expire after 35 days and the playthrough bonus after 60. £1 GBP = €1.1875. Selected games only. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer First depositors only. Min. deposit £10 with code SPINANDGO. Tickets credited over 6 days. Expiry after 24 hours. No withdrawal during bonus period. Terms apply. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer New players only. £20 free bonus: includes $1 immediate bonus & $31 in tournament tickets. Bonus will be granted gradually throughout 7 days after claiming. Each part of the bonus expires after 24 hrs. Immediate bonus may be withdrawn after a player has accumulated 2.5 bonus points for every $1 of the received bonus amount. This offer may not be combined with any other offer. Wagering requirements vary by game 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer The partypoker Cashback reward programme is straightforward and simple, paying out up to 40% cashback directly into your account every week. There’s no limit to your bonus payment. Once you have achieved the top tier 40% cashback, you’ll continue to earn cashback at that same level for every 200 points you earn! 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer 18+. New players only. Min deposit $10. First deposit, up to a maximum of $300, will count towards their Welcome Bonus amount with no code needed. Play in any poker game counts towards unlocking the bonus cash, which is released in $10 increments. One $10 increment will be released per $20 paid in net rake and/or tournament fees. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer New Paddy Power Poker accounts only. Deposit min. £10 for Poker Welcome Bonus. Min 5 Twister tournaments to release free £1 Token. Poker Casino bonus up to £100 has x25 wagering requirements, game weighing may apply. Full T&Cs apply. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
New Customer Offer Sign up, create poker nickname and click through displayed free spin message. Deposit/transfer minimum of £10 into the Poker wallet & opt in to unlock missions. See full T&Cs below. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org
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With cryptocurrencies becoming more and more popular, there are now increasing numbers of poker sites that accept Bitcoin as a banking method. There’s no denying crypto is a popular form of payment for many poker players around the world, but what if you’re looking for a Bitcoin poker site in the UK?
This guide provides an overview of the current UK crypto poker situation. We cover the ins and outs of using Bitcoin to play at online poker rooms and look at the top variations of the card game available on your computer and mobile device right now.
In a Nutshell
What is Bitcoin?
Created in 2009, Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralised digital currency. In other words, it exists entirely online and is not issued by a central authority like a bank. Instead, Bitcoin is based on peer-to-peer transactions which are all securely recorded on a digital public ledger known as the blockchain.
The use of complex cryptography to validate the transactions, together with the fact that the blockchain is fully transparent, unalterable, and hosted on a vast network of computers around the world, safeguards the system from cheats and hackers.
How Can I Get Bitcoin?
There are several options for using British Pound Sterling (GBP) to buy BTC. Specialist Bitcoin brokers can be a good option for newbies, as they can provide support and advice on trading and investing in cryptocurrencies. You can also purchase Bitcoin yourself using a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase, Kraken, or Gemini.
Using a cryptocurrency exchange is fairly straightforward. You just create an account, link a preferred payment method, and select how much Bitcoin you’d like to buy to make the purchase. Your BTC assets can then be withdrawn to a cryptocurrency wallet, of which there are two main types.
You can keep your crypto in a ‘hot wallet’ that’s connected to the internet. This might, for example, be a web-based wallet run by a third party, or a wallet app you download to your desktop or phone so you can hold your assets yourself. Alternatively, you can store Bitcoin using a ‘cold wallet’, which isn’t connected to the internet, such as a USB-style hardware device.
It’s now also possible to transfer and convert traditional fiat currency from Skrill and Neteller accounts to crypto wallets. This may be a useful option for poker players who already make gambling deposits using these popular e-wallets.
Gambling with Bitcoin in the UK
Any online casinos and poker rooms legally operating in the UK have to be licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). While the UKGC is theoretically open to Bitcoin being used as a banking method at casinos or online poker sites, operators must meet the regulator’s strict standards of integrity to be granted a licence.
In a statement regarding crypto payments, the UKGC has said “we need to be satisfied that any licensee considering accepting such payment methods has considered and implemented steps to reduce any risk to the licensing objectives to the same level that we would expect from other payment methods”.
At the moment, only unlicensed offshore sites allow people in the UK to play poker for Bitcoin. Since they’re not legally operating in this country, and don’t necessarily abide by the regulatory standards of the UKGC, playing crypto poker at such sites puts you at risk of rigged games and unfair terms and conditions.
As unlicensed operators aren’t legally accountable in the UK, you may be left helpless if they refuse to pay or, worse still, steal your money. For all of these reasons, it’s highly recommended that poker players stick to UKGC-licensed sites, even though they don’t currently accept Bitcoin.
Pros & Cons
Pros and Cons of Using Bitcoin to Play Poker
Just like any other payment method for online poker sites, Bitcoin has both benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the key advantages and limitations of using Bitcoin to fund your online poker account:
A big perk of playing Bitcoin poker is that it removes any need to provide personal information at online casino sites. Your Bitcoin address, which indicates the source of the payment, will automatically change with each transaction you make, so there’s no way for anyone to track your activities on the blockchain.
Fees are also low – if not absent – because Bitcoin is entirely decentralised, with no third-party imposing transaction fees or conversion rate costs. What’s more, online poker providers will often process Bitcoin withdrawals faster than other banking options, so you can potentially have your money as soon as the transaction is verified.
Given that Bitcoin is completely independent and relatively new, it’s much more volatile than traditional currencies, so its value is subject to dramatic fluctuation. This means your Bitcoin poker winnings can abruptly rise and fall in value.
The other drawback with Bitcoin is that it requires poker players to do a bit of homework. You’ll need a working knowledge of the world of cryptocurrencies and digital wallets, complete with all the jargon involved.
Perhaps the most significant downside for people in the UK, however, is the fact that Bitcoin has yet to be rolled out as a payment method at licensed online poker sites.
Anonymity when making deposits and withdrawals
Low/no transaction fees
A secure way to make transactions
Transactions are generally fast
Bitcoin’s value can fluctuate more sharply than fiat currencies
Requires knowledge of crypto and associated terms
No UK-licensed poker rooms accept Bitcoin as a payment method
How to Deposit Using Bitcoin
As mentioned above, you can’t currently play at licensed UK online poker sites using Bitcoin. If the situation changes in the future, however, these are the steps you’ll be able to follow to enjoy crypto poker:
Compare Bitcoin poker sites
Your first step will be to pinpoint the poker platform that’s right for you. Our experts here at Compare.bet make it their business to review and recommend the top poker sites, so you can do all the necessary research in one place.
Once you’ve found a site that offers poker variants you like, along with appealing bonus deals, you’ll be able to follow our link to the registration page and create your account.
Make your deposit
Unless you get a no deposit bonus just for signing up, you’ll have to pay funds into your account to enjoy real money online poker. This will mean navigating to the cashier page and picking Bitcoin as your payment method. You’ll be provided with a Bitcoin address which you simply copy and paste into the relevant ‘send to’ box in your cryptocurrency wallet. A minimum deposit amount may be required to access the welcome bonus.
Play real money poker
The Bitcoin deposit will land in your poker account as soon as it’s been verified on the blockchain, which can take as little as 15 minutes. You’ll then be all set to play poker for Bitcoin.
Cashing Out Using Bitcoin
Withdrawing funds from a BTC poker site works in much the same way as deposits:
Generate your Bitcoin address - Open your cryptocurrency wallet and hit the relevant button for receiving Bitcoin. You should be provided with a wallet address.
Head to the cashier page - Navigate to the cashier page at the poker site, select Bitcoin as your chosen withdrawal method, and enter the amount you want to take out. Then, simply copy and paste your wallet address into the relevant box to make your withdrawal.
Wait for the withdrawal to complete - Sit tight and wait for the transaction to be processed and verified by the blockchain, it should then immediately arrive in your cryptocurrency wallet.
Alternative Payment Methods to Bitcoin
Although poker sites that accept Bitcoin have yet to be licensed in the UK, there are plenty of ways you can currently manage your online poker funds – some of which provide similar benefits to crypto deposits and withdrawals. Some of your options are Paypal, Skrill, Neteller, Paysafecard, and debit cards.
The world’s best-known e-wallet provides some great perks for playing poker online. As with Bitcoin, PayPal is highly secure, as you can move funds without ever having to share your bank or card details. You can also look forward to rapid withdrawals, with some sites processing cashouts in a few hours - sometimes even less.
Skrill is another leading e-wallet, and once again brings an added layer of security because you won’t need to enter your banking details when making deposits or withdrawals. You usually won’t have to wait long for Skrill payouts because – in typical e-wallet fashion – transactions tend to be processed rapidly at online casino and poker sites.
Rounding off the big three e-wallets used at casinos and poker rooms, Neteller comes with the familiar plus points of security and speed. No sensitive bank account or card details ever have to be given at gambling sites, and you can look forward to some of the swiftest withdrawal times available.
Paysafecard is arguably an even more secure deposit method than e-wallets and Bitcoin, as you can fund your casino or poker account using cash. Paysafecard vouchers of various denominations can be bought in brick-and-mortar shops – you then just input the PIN at the gambling site’s cashier page to transfer the prepaid funds over. The major drawback is that most sites won’t let you make withdrawals using Paysafecard. This isn’t always the case, as a MyPaysafecard online account may allow for cashouts, but be sure to check in advance if this is possible.
Good old fashioned debit card payments are still a very popular banking option for poker players in the UK. There are a few key benefits here. For one thing, debit cards are accepted at pretty much every site. Plus, you’ll be able to claim virtually all welcome bonuses, whereas first deposits made using e-wallets can sometimes make you ineligible.
Of course, you will have to share your debit card information online, which may be a potential drawback for fans of the added privacy of e-wallet and cryptocurrency transactions.
What to Play
As you probably already know, there are numerous poker games and variants to choose from. The basic objective is almost always the same – create the best possible hand according to standard poker rankings – but the specific gameplay can vary immensely. Here are three of the most popular variants you’ll find at both traditional and Bitcoin poker sites.
The world’s most popular poker game, Texas Hold’em requires you to create the strongest possible five-card hand using your preferred combination of two initial hole cards and a series of community cards that are dealt across several betting rounds. This culminates in a showdown, where players who haven’t folded reveal their hands to see who the winner is.
The gameplay for Omaha is very similar to Texas Hold’em, with a few significant differences. You’re dealt four hole cards at the start, rather than two, and your hand must consist of two of your hole cards and three of the community cards. In other words, the gameplay is a little less flexible compared to Texas Hold’em.
Seven Card Stud
Before Texas Hold’em swept the scene, this was the predominant version of the game. Still a popular choice amongst online poker players, Seven Card Stud takes community cards out of the equation. Instead, players create their best hand from cards that are dealt across the betting rounds, with some cards face up and some face down.
How to Stay Safe with Bitcoin
Although the Bitcoin blockchain is a highly secure system that’s resistant to hackers and scammers, individual crypto users still need to be vigilant when it comes to their own assets. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Ensure you only use reputable cryptocurrency wallets with good standing in the industry. Activate two-factor notification (2FA) for accessing your account, if possible.
While using hot wallets is convenient for making regular transactions with poker sites, it’s advisable to keep any crypto savings on an offline hardware device (or cold wallet). This makes it impossible for hackers to get at your money.
Write your crypto wallet account’s unique recovery phrase by hand on a piece of paper, and keep it safe. This will mean that if the worst happens – e.g. device theft or failure – you’ll be able to access your Bitcoin at a new wallet account using this recovery phrase. Never store the phrase anywhere online or on your computer.
Never share the private keys associated with your Bitcoin assets. Only your wallet’s public address should ever need to be provided for crypto transactions.
Ready to Play Online Poker?
If reading about Bitcoin poker has you in the mood to play Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and other versions of the card game yourself, you’re on the right site. Although crypto sites are still awaiting the official green light from the UKGC, we can point you in the direction of the very best licensed online poker operators in the UK. This makes it easy to compare welcome offers and sign up to enjoy poker tournaments or cash games whenever you like.
In most cases, yes. Most poker sites accepting Bitcoin won’t charge a fee for BTC deposits or withdrawals. If an operator does charge, the fee tends to be low, although players should always check the cashier page T&Cs to be sure.
Yes. You’ll usually have the option to change your banking option each time you make a deposit or withdrawal from your online poker account. This gives you the chance to try out different payment methods to figure out which best suits you. Keep in mind that different banking options will have their own processing times, so consider these when making your decision.
Anyone with an internet connection will be able to seek out Bitcoin poker. However, if you’re in the UK you’ll only be able to play at offshore sites that aren’t regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. This isn’t recommended, as such operators aren’t bound by the UKGC’s high standards and you may find it hard or impossible to make complaints or get compensation if anything goes wrong.
Yes, welcome bonuses are available to most online poker players, including those using Bitcoin to make deposits. E-wallet deposits, such as Neteller and Skrill, are most often subject to bonus offer exclusions.
Sure – sites that accept Bitcoin will also let you fund mobile poker games using the cryptocurrency. However, as discussed previously, you’re best avoiding unlicensed Bitcoin poker rooms and casino sites – as you can’t be sure the operators will provide a fair, safe environment for gambling.
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Daniel is Head of Operations at Compare.bet. He has half a decade of experience writing on topics including sports betting, online casino and the NBA. Daniel also covers Premier League football for Compare.bet news and has interviewed Louis Saha, Richard Dunne and Gary Pallister. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys film photography and making Spotify playlists.