Crypto-currency is here to stay particularly in industries, like online Poker, that often see burdensome governmental restrictions placed upon them. The size of the crypto market has surged from little over $7 billion at the beginning of 2016 to more than $230 billion as of November 2017. While most of this movement has come from the growth of Bitcoin (BTC), the granddaddy of all crypto coins, there are other upstart altcoins that are contributing their fair share too. Among them is Ethereum (ETH), which has a market capitalization of about $35 billion as of Nov. 19, 2017, good for second-place behind only Bitcoin itself.
Due to enhancements in blockchain technology developed since the introduction of Bitcoin, Ethereum is able to deliver faster, cheaper results. As BTC miners fees have risen to several dollars per transaction and sometimes $10+, the fees on the Ethereum network have remained low at well under $1 in most cases. Also, the time required for new blocks to be added is almost always less than 20 seconds as compared to the 10 minutes or so it takes for a confirmation on the Bitcoin Network. This means less waiting time as you prepare to eagerly jump into online poker games.
If you are still unsure how to use Ethereum and ether tokens, or not even sure how or where to purchase them, then you will want to skip down to our step by step instructions, with pictures, detailing the entire process start to finish. You might also be interested in reading our similarly detailed Bitcoin Gambling Guide.
If you are a veteran Ethereum user already and eager to get started in using Ethereum at internet poker sites, sportsbooks, or casinos, then we're here to assist you with the site reviews below.
The Best Ethereum Gambling Sites
BetOnline, as its name suggests, lets you bet on poker but also on many other gambling products as well, like casino games and sports betting.
The sporting contests present in the BoL sportsbook are heavily focused on U.S.A leagues, like NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, because this company knows well what Americans enjoy betting on. Nevertheless, there's a pretty decent selection of soccer, tennis, and other international competitions also covered in case you wish to broaden your horizons a bit. Maximum wager amounts are pretty generous and reach into the five figures for the most popular sports, and even in those markets with lower limits, you can place multiple bets to effectively increase your total stake.
Casino game connoisseurs will encounter a couple hundred games for their delectation. The largest selection comes in the slot machines, but there are also table games, video poker, and specialty titles for you to partake in. Don't ignore the live casino section, which contains games that are run by real, human dealers with the results shown through live video streams. There's something for all players here whether they be high-rollers or casino gaming novices.
For those of you who also want to play poker, you'll get a 100% up to $2,500 bonus when you register and make a deposit with Ethereum. This bonus is equal to 33% rakeback.
Cash game poker is spread in No Limit Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Pot Limit Omaha/8 forms from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10. Sit n' goes can be found from $0.05 (with no fee) up to $500 + $25. The multi-table tab at BoL is a bit weak because most of the contests listed are for buyins of $33 and below, so the opportunity to strive for big paydays is pretty limited. However, you can enter a $90 + $9 event called the Main Event every Sunday that guarantees $50,000. On the last weekend of each month, this Main Event balloons to a $100 + $9 cost and a $100,000 guarantee.
BetOnline is a fantastic place to call your poker home if you use a machine other than a Windows PC. Of course, the software is compatible with the popular line of Microsoft OSes, but it also works on Macs, iOS, and Android systems. In fact, the mobile poker client at BetOnline is among the most full-featured and smooth that we've ever reviewed. Their mobile sports betting and casino options are quite fancy and operate fluidly on a variety of devices as well.
To join BetOnline and begin playing poker today, follow the banner link above. You can learn more about this room with our BetOnline Poker review. If poker is the only type of gambling you intend to do, keep reading to learn about our top recommended Ethereum poker sites.
The Best Ethereum Online Poker Sites
Don't let the name fool you, though it is heavily marketed in the USA, America's Cardroom is open to players all over the globe and it is 100% ETH-friendly. ACR is the 5th largest poker site in the world and the U.S.A. Ethereum poker site with the most traffic, and so you'll find a bustling lobby scene whether you prefer ring games, SNGs, or tournaments. When you make your initial deposit, you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus that clears at a rate of 20% effective rakeback, and you'll also receive $50 in free credits to try out the unique Jackpot Poker SNG variant.
NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, and PL Omaha-8 cash game action awaits you at $0.01/$0.02 up through $25/$50, and unlike at some sites with similarly high blind levels offered, these altitudinous tables sometimes actually run. There is also a full complement of fixed-limit formats too, consisting of LHE, LO8, 7 Card Stud, and 7 Card Stud/8. These min-bet poker games reach up to $30/$60 and, in some cases, beyond.
The Jackpot Poker games – you'll be able to play $50 worth without paying a cent of your own money –are three-handed, lottery-style sit-n-gos that use a random multiplier to determine the prize amounts. If fortune smiles upon you, you could find yourself competing for prizes of 2,500 times your buyin. There are many other types of sit-and-go here, including the innovative SNG 2.0 game as well as more mainstream single-table contests.
Multi-table tournaments are perhaps the most noteworthy offerings at Americas Cardroom. The biggest regularly scheduled event at any U.S. internet poker room is the $150,000 Sunday Special, which costs $200 + $15 to join. From time to time, ACR hosts plenty of even larger events whether standalone tourneys, like the $500 + $40 Million Dollar Sunday ($1M Gtd), or series of competitions, like the Online Super Series.
Click on the above banner to join up at Americas Cardroom. Or read our Americas Cardroom review for more details about this internet poker operator. On the downside, this site offers poor sports betting odds and a limited amount of casino games, so stick with BetOnline for those activities.
How to Acquire and Store Ether
The first step in using ETH for online poker is to acquire coins. There are any number of ways to do this, including by making a private trade with someone who wishes to sell, but perhaps the easiest procedure is buying through an exchange. Because it's one of the most popular crypto-currencies in existence, there are many exchanges that transact in Ethereum. We recommend Coinbase highly to our U.S. readers. Coinbase is the largest exchange in the world, licensed and regulated in the United States. It caters to citizens of the USA, Australia, as well as 50 other countries.
After you've bought ether tokens from Coinbase, it's advisable that you maintain a separate wallet account. This will facilitate your movements of digital money more safely, securely, and anonymously than if you tried to use Coinbase for everything. You could send your newly purchased ether tokens directly from Coinbase to your preferred gambling site, but Coinbase, due to being regulated in the USA, frowns upon such activity and your anonymity would be compromised.
If you are caught depositing or withdrawing directly from a gambling site, you may get away with a warning, or they may close your account immediately! Your funds would be returned to you in such a scenario, but why risk it? The easy solution is to use an intermediary wallet. This lets Coinbase off the hook, ensures your transactions are private, and fully negates any issues you might otherwise have with the Coinbase exchange. Plus, it's a cheap insurance policy that only costs you a few pennies and an extra minute of your time. We highly recommend using an exchange plus wallet combo.
We advise you to use a wallet provided by blockchain.info. This organization has been offering Bitcoin wallet services since 2011, and in August 2017, it added Ethereum functionality too. It is safe, secure, and allows users to own their private keys so that they can back up and restore their ether tokens to any other Ethereum wallet or hardware storage device should blockchain.info ever become inaccessible. They are a class act and a safe place to store your ether.
Purchasing Ether Through Coinbase
Click on our link to sign up at Coinbase. We have a special deal worked out whereby your first purchase of $100 or more of digital currency will unlock a free $10 Bitcoin credit, which will be added to your balance at no charge to you. Multiple purchases of smaller amounts, once they exceed $100 USD in value, will trigger the bonus as well! Fill out the required fields, and then press the blue "Sign Up" button.
You'll get an email containing a verification link. Click on this link to proceed.
You'll have the option to add a phone number to your account to enable two-factor authentication. This is a security measure that we recommend you employ because it makes it more difficult for hackers to access your account and any funds you have in it. Next, you'll have to enter in your banking information (account number and routing info). Most Coinbase transactions take a few days to clear. If you wish to get your hands on some ether faster than this, then you ought to link a debit card to your bank account.
Now that your Coinbase account is all set up, it's time to purchase your ether. Select “Buy/Sell” from the menu near the top of your browser. Then choose Ethereum from the list of available crypto-currencies. Pick your payment method from the drop-down menu, and then enter in the value of your transaction. You can either type in a US dollar amount and have the system calculate how much ETH that represents or do it the other way around by entering the amount of ETH you wish to buy and having CoinBase fill in the corresponding sum of USD.
The fees involved in your purchase will depend on the payment method you've selected. If you're paying through your bank account, then you'll be charged a variable amount between 1% and 2%. If you elect to buy instantly with your debit card, then you'll have to pay a bit extra. You'll see a breakdown of all the fees and the time it will take to have the ETH credited to your account on the right of your screen. If everything looks good, click the blue “Buy Ethereum” button on the bottom of the page.
Creating a Wallet at Blockchain.info
Once you have coins in your Coinbase Ethereum wallet, it's time to make a blockchain.info account. We recommend using blockchain as an intermediary between Coinbase and any gambling sites that you bet at. This ensures an additional layer of security and anonymity. Furthermore, at blockchain, you control your own Ethereum private keys while at Coinbase, the company holds them. This shouldn't matter much because Coinbase is a reputable firm, but possessing your own keys grants you the maximum possible control over your digital cash.
From the blockchain.info home page, go to the menu item at the top labeled “Wallet.”
Now select the “Sign Up” link.
Fill out all the required fields, and choose “Continue.”
You'll be greeted with a welcome message like the one below:
Now you'll be able to access the main blockchain.info wallet interface. Meanwhile, you'll receive an email asking you to verify your account. We recommend that you do this now.
There's one important step we advise you to take immediately before doing any ETH transactions at blockchain.info. You ought to write down your Recovery Phrase and keep it in a safe place. This Recovery Phrase is your only recourse if you should happen to lose your wallet ID or password. Blockchain.info, as we've mentioned before, gives you full and total control of your wallet, so the organization has no way of recovering accounts for which the user has misplaced his or her credentials. The only way to retrieve a wallet without your correct login details is by entering in this Recovery Phrase. In fact, due to the way the cryptographic algorithms for wallet creation work, it may be possible for you to import your wallet into an entirely different service besides blockchain.info later on as long as you retain your Recovery Phrase. This is pretty useful in the event of coin splits and airdrops, and it might be the only way for you to claim any new altcoins to which you're entitled as an ETH holder.
To complete this critical step, go to the Security Center in the left panel of your wallet display. Then press the “Backup Phrase” button.
The Backup Recovery Phrase instructions will appear. You might be tempted to store your phrase in an email or document on your computer. Resist this temptation. Anyone who cracks your computer security and reads these words will be able to take over your crypto-currency balances. It's best to store the Recovery Phrase on a piece of paper – this way, not even the most sophisticated hacker can compromise your coin balances unless he or she invades your home. Blockchain has created a printable Recovery Sheet that you can use if you wish, but this isn't strictly necessary. What's vital is that you keep these words safe, offline, and away from prying eyes. Go on to the next step through the interface when you're ready. You'll see four words at a time. Write them down, and then choose “Next 4 Words” to go on to the next set of words.
At the end of this process, there's a verification step to make sure that you wrote the words down in the correct order. You'll have to enter several of them, which will be identified by the order in which they appeared.
After you finish this verification, place the piece of paper in a safe place. You won't need it for your day-to-day transactions, but it may prove invaluable to you in the future.
Moving ETH Around for Online Poker
Now it's time to move your ether from your Coinbase account to your blockchain.info wallet. From within the blockchain.info top menu, select “Request.” From the menu, choose “Ether.” You'll see an address that you can copy and paste. This is the address to which you'll be sending the ETH that you bought on Coinbase.
Go back to Coinbase, and head over to the “Accounts” tab. There will be several wallets listed, including your USD wallet. Choose your ETH wallet, and click “Send.”
Now enter in the address from blockchain.info along with the amount of ether you wish to send. You can enter the value in USD if you prefer, but it's probably simpler to just directly type in the number of ETH you intend to move over. Coinbase will calculate and display a network fee. This fee, which should be much less than a dollar, is paid to Ethereum miners who help verify transactions and keep the crypto network running smoothly. The fee will be added on top of the amount you have chosen to send. When you're done filling out the send form, press “Continue” at the bottom of the pop-up window.
Your transaction will show up both in your Coinbase history as well as that of blockchain.info. It may take a short time to be confirmed, but the Ethereum network is pretty speedy overall, so confirmations will probably start rolling in in less than a minute. You'll see your ETH balance listed in blockchain, ready for you to deposit at any Ethereum-capable internet poker site.
It's time to initiate the depositing process at your poker site. Go to the cashier, and follow the directions for initiating a crypto deposit. Once you get all the relevant data, including the amount of ETH you must send and the address to send it to, open up blockchain.info, and click “Send.” Paste the relevant information from the poker site's cashier into blockchain, and begin your transaction.
Your funds will be credited and converted to USD (or whatever your poker room account currency is). You'll then be able to play like normal. When you're ready to withdraw back to blockchain, open up the site, and press “Request.” You'll see your Ethereum wallet address, which will be the same as it was before, and you'll have to copy-paste it into your poker site's cashout screen.
If you want to exchange your ether for dollars, go over to Coinbase and get an address to send your profits to. Select “Accounts” from the top menu and “Receive” next to your ETH wallet.
Start the sending procedure at blockchain.info just like you did when depositing to the poker room. Copy-paste the address from Coinbase over to your blockchain wallet send window, and finalize the transfer like you did before. Coinbase may require up to 50 confirmations before your ETH is credited to your account, and this may take up to about a half hour notwithstanding the overall quickness of Ethereum transfers.
There's just one more thing you have to do before receiving your funds into your bank account. Head over to the ”Buy/Sell” section from the top menu at Coinbase, and tab over to ”Sell.” Select your Ethereum wallet and the bank account to send it to. Type in the value of your withdrawal (in either USD or ETH). You'll see value of your transaction, the date it will hit your bank, and any fees you'll have to pay. Press the “Sell Ethereum” button if everything looks OK.
That's it. You'll get the cash into your bank account within the timeframe specified. Actually, the target date usually represents a worst-case scenario, and there's every likelihood that your transaction will be completed before then.
Ethereum Poker FAQ
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized network that consists of numerous nodes that facilitate the processing of transactions involving crypto-currency ether tokens. It uses blockchain technology to securely record transactions, which are processed by miners. The miners receive a fee from senders for their services, and they also get a block reward whenever a new block is successfully mined. Ethereum should not be confused with Ethereum Classic, which is a separate network formed as a result of a hard fork in July 2016.
What are the advantages of Ethereum?
Ethereum has much faster transaction confirmation speeds than Bitcoin, and it achieves this with very low fees. Perhaps the most exciting element to Ethereum is the fact that it includes virtual machines that can execute code. This permits users to develop smart contracts that can, for example, automate escrow services, provide for payouts based upon the results of external events, and securely store documents. Other blockchain-based networks provide some of these benefits, but Ethereum is widely considered the most sophisticated in this department.
Who created Ethereum?
Unlike with Bitcoin, the creation of the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakomoto, the identity of Ethereum's founder is well-known. It's Vitalik Buterin who was born in Russia in 1994 and moved to Canada at the age of 6. In his late teens, he delved deeply into Bitcoin, writing for crypto-related publications like Bitcoin Weekly and Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin first described the system that would become Ethereum in a 2013 paper, and the Ethereum project went live on July 30, 2015.
Will I be playing in games denominated in ether?
None of the mainstream online poker sites conduct gameplay in Ethereum tokens. Instead, all deposits via ETH are converted into USD for use at the tables. When you make a withdrawal, these dollars are exchanged back into ether coins that are sent to your wallet address.
Because Ethereum permits anonymous transactions, I won't have to submit any documents to cash out from the poker sites, right?
One of the selling points of Ethereum and other crypto-currencies is the fact that they permit secure, relatively anonymous transactions. However, popular poker rooms must adhere to the Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations of the jurisdictions where they're licensed. This means that you may have to send copies of your ID documents before making your first withdrawal. This is a one-time requirement; your papers will remain on file with the poker organization, and so you won't have to submit them again.
How do I change my Ethereum receiving address on blockchain.info?
Blockchain.info doesn't support the creation of additional ETH addresses. Unlike Bitcoin, which employs a UTXO model that basically requires multiple addresses for all but the simplest transactions, Ethereum was designed with an account/balance model in mind. Without going into all the technical details, it's not necessary for you to make a new address for each transaction. If you're nevertheless keen on multiple addresses for reasons of privacy, you can use an HD wallet, which will permit you to generate new Ethereum addresses at will.
What is the difference between ether and Ethereum?
Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there's actually a difference between them. Ethereum properly refers to the entire network of miners, virtual machines, blockchain, and the other components that comprise the whole system. Ether is the name for the spendable token of the Ethereum network. When you purchase ETH, you are buying ether tokens.