many poker players do not realize that they can use cryptocurrency such as the Ethereum in the gaming industry or don’t understand how it works. Other poker enthusiasts ignore it fearing that its difficult or complicated to understand or that it requires one to be technologically savvy. You might also be worried about the security of your money, but Ethereum poker sites are the future of online poker.
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The advancement in technology has brought unprecedented growth to online gaming.
People can now connect and play from any device, including the mobile phone, from anywhere in the world. In the same way, a revolution that promises to change the way you deposit and withdrawing funds from your favorite poker site is taking foothold, fueled by blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In fact, one of the industries that have benefited the most from cryptocurrencies is the online gaming industry. We’ll take a look at Ethereum poker in particular.
The world of cryptocurrencies has changed drastically since the introduction of the first cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin. As can be expected, other forms of cryptocurrencies such as the Ethereum have quickly followed, albeit with different characteristics and functions that make them most suitable for playing poker. Now, Bitcoin is by far the most popular cryptocurrency, and the number of online poker sites that accept it are by far more than those that support ether. So, why all the craze about it?
The answer to this question goes beyond the scope of this article. But just to mention, Ether is a superior form of Blockchain technology compared to Bitcoin. Also, based on strict Utilitarian principles, Ethereum poker transactions are quicker, cheaper, and processed and confirmed in seconds but bitcoin transaction can take as much as 60 minutes. If you have been actively playing online games such as poker using conventional methods or Bitcoin, you might want to try Ethereum poker.
This article discusses Ethereum poker and explains why you should consider switching from fiat currency and how you can go about it. But before we get to Ethereum Poker, let us talk about the Ethereum.
What Is Ethereum and Where Did It Come From?
It is difficult to explain what the Ethereum is and where it came from without mentioning the Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was released in 2008 by an anonymous entity. Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency that is transacted online using blockchain technology.
Since the introduction of the bitcoin, other alternate cryptocurrencies have come up. The Ethereum is one such cryptocurrency. It was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, a programmer and cryptocurrency researcher. Since its inception, ether has gained momentum to become one of the most popular altcoins. It has a market value of 50 billion making it second after Bitcoin. There are other numerous cryptocurrencies in the market such as Litecoin, Ripple, Dogecoin, Cardado, Neo among others, but when it comes to online poker, ether takes center-stage.
Ethereum and Bitcoin are similar in that they are both peer-to-peer electronic payment systems using blockchain technology. They are also completely decentralized and can be used anonymously. But Ethereum is widely used as BTC in most poker sites because it’s technologically superior in many ways.
What Is Ethereum Poker?
If you have been playing poker online chances are that you have been transacting using fiat currency, i.e. typical money such as USD via credit card or bank transactions.
Ethereum poker involves playing poker but transacting using Ethereum, rather than fiat currency. In Ethereum poker the ‘ether’ is the currency. The fact that you are playing using ether does not change the game or its rules. The only that thing that changes is the means of transacting, which comes with numerous advantages to you as a player.
If you are used to playing with cash you might be wondering why you should change to ether poker. Here are the biggest advantages:
Ordinary poker sites have stringent sign up requirements that include sharing personal information such as nationality, full name, proof of address, ID etc.
All this information easily tells anyone who cares to look, what you have been up to, what poker sites you have been visiting, and the transactions you have made. And who know how could be looking?
Ether poker websites do not require you to share personal or financial data online. All you need to register and access your favorite poker games is your password and email.
When using cryptocurrency such as Ethereum, you can make and receive withdrawals in only a matter of minutes, as opposed to the normal fiat casinos where it may take a few days to a week for your money to hit your bank account.
No country Restrictions
Because cryptocurrencies are not centrally governed by any entity, ether does not abide by a set of rules. Casinos using fiat currency have to abide by rules including country restrictions. Ethereum poker sites do not discriminate players based on their location.
Not as Popular in Online Casinos as Bitcoin: Bitcoin, being the first ever cryptocurrency, is accepted in many virtual poker sites. However, there is a fresh collection of poker websites that accept ETH. You won’t have trouble finding an Ethereum casino that you love.
Cryptos Are a New Tech: Poker players are used to time-tested payment options such as PayPal, debit and credit cards that they have used for years. On the contrary, Ethereum is quite new and unfamiliar.
Just to put the facts right, using Ethereum to play poker is easy and convenient, but it might take time to understand the whole concept of blockchain and smart contracts.
But who wants to get lost in the technological details when all you want is a convenient, secure, fast, and cheap way to deposit and play your favorite poker games?
In the US there are increasingly more poker sites accepting cryptocurrencies, including the ether. Most sites accept a mix of both fiat currency and cryptocurrency for transactions. Such sites allow you to deposit your money in ether, after which it is converted to whatever fiat currency you have such as US dollars. The main advantage of this is that you can convert your winnings to fiat currency immediately eliminating any risks associated with holding cryptocurrencies.
Pure Ethereum Poker Sites
There are a few dedicated Ethereum poker sites coming up. These pure Ethereum poker sites only use the ether as the form of transaction. Most importantly, information on pure ether sites is not stored in a central server in the casino but uses blockchain technology. A factor that distinguishes the Etherium system from other altcoins such as bitcoin is the use of a feature called ‘smart contract’.
Smart contract is a protocol on the blockchain created to ‘referee’ interactions between two parties. It verifies and enforces the contract if the set conditions are met. One of the biggest advantages of using Ethereum poker sites is that you can trust that the system is fair and cannot be rigged.
This is because such casinos store their RNG (random number generation) software in the blockchain and not on central servers on site. The RNG number is what determines whether you win in a game or not. The fact that it is stored in the blockchain means that it cannot be manipulated in any way, meaning that your wins or loses are guaranteed to be fair.
Another distinguishing factor with Ethereum poker sites is that the house edge is always lower. In normal casinos the house edge is somewhere between 1-5%. For those using purely Ethereum technology the house edge is much lower. Infact, a new way that some online poker sites are using to attract customers is to offer 0% house edge. This is an exciting development that gives an advantage to the players, all thanks to blockchain technology.
The first thing you need to do to get started with Ethereum poker is to open an Ethereum wallet. Basically, to be able to transact in ether you need a place to store it. This is what is called a wallet. Think of it as a piece of software from which you can transact with your poker site, check your balance and make withdrawals.
To include a little technology here for clarity purposes- remember that your ether does not actually exist in any form but as a record on a blockchain. Your wallet interacts with this blockchain to enable your transactions. Your wallet also has an address (public key) which people may use to send ether to you. Your wallet also stores your ‘private key’ which acts as your password that allows you to transact and unlock any ether sent to you.
How do I choose the best Ethereum wallet?
There are different types of wallets available and it is prudent to study and compare them to see which one works for you. Some important factors to consider while choosing an ether wallet are:
Security– security should be the biggest factor in choosing a wallet. Different wallets have different security measures. Is it a hot wallet or a cold wallet? A hot wallet is one that stores your keys online, and allows you to transact anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to the internet. A cold wallet stores your information offline and only connects when you want it to. This feature makes cold wallets safer from hackers.
Security Keys– some wallets will allow you to keep your security keys on your device while others keep them for you, taking away your security control.
Supports smart contracts– The Ethereum network implements smart contracts against an address. To access this address your wallet needs to be compatible with smart contracts
Functionality– You want to pick a wallet that is easy to set up, use and navigate. Some wallets have complicated set up processes and confusing interfaces.
Compatibility– can your wallet be used from different devices or restricts you to one?
Multiple currencies support– while you may be dealing primarily with Ethereum, you might also have use for other altcoins such as bitcoin. You might want to go with a wallet that can store multiple currencies for convenience.
User Reviews- do not underestimate the power of other people’s experiences. While the final decision is yours, it is important to read what other people are saying about a particular wallet. This is especially useful when you are using cryptocurrency for the first time.
Once you have picked a wallet, the next step is to acquire some ether. The easiest way to buy ether is from a currency exchange. There are many Ethereum exchanges online, and they are only increasing with time. Most of them allow you to exchange fiat currency such as USD, EUR or GBP for ether.
Others only deal with cryptocurrency trading, i.e. they only exchange cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies. As each exchange has its own fees, timelines, withdrawal methods etc. with some research and due diligence you can find the best ones to trade with.