Gambling With Bitcoins

November 8th, 2012   Submitted by Seth King

I have a gambling success story I would like to share with all of you. It highlights another strength of Bitcoin that may be overlooked by many skeptics.

A little over one year ago a Bitcoin gambling website came out called BetsofBitcoin that allows users to engage in a prediction market much like the famous Intrade. In November of last year somebody created a prediction over whether or not Barack Obama would be re-elected President. Well, this just happened to be something I had been confident about since 2008. Barack Obama would be a two-term President.

I decided to place a 50 BTC bet that Obama would get re-elected. At the time 1 BTC had a price of about two dollars. The total of my bet was about $100.

Fast forward one year and my winning bet brought in 95 BTC for a total worth of $1,045. The fact that I had nearly doubled my money in bitcoins was dwarfed by the incredible increase in the value of those bitcoins.

Back in my professional online poker playing days I had upwards of $8,000 in my Full Tilt account. It had always bothered me having such a large balance of Dollars. If the inflation rate was 10% it meant I had to earn $800 a year just to cover the loss in purchasing power of my money. But now with the advent of bitcoin poker I feel confident that my balance is gaining value over time just as any sound money should.

Many of my friends enjoy gambling on some level. A popular form of gambling is fantasy sports. At the beginning of the season all the members of the pool will send a Paypal payment to one of the members for safe keeping, to be paid out at the end of the year. Every transaction incurs a 3% charge from Paypal to start and another 3% fee to return the winnings. But on top of that there is the loss of purchasing power of the Dollar over the course of the playing season. It’s easy to see, then, that more than 10% of the prize pool is eaten up in fees and currency devaluation.

My attitude is that if my friends are too lazy to set up a blockchain.info wallet and use bitcoin as the currency for gambling then the gamble simply isn’t worth it. If you feel the same way and want to convey this message to your friends, please feel free to share my success story with them.

16 Responses to “Gambling With Bitcoins”

  1. KathyNo Gravatar says:

    Hahaha! Vegas won’t like this. They’d better start accepting Bitcoin, right?

  2. dpalmeNo Gravatar says:

    Damn, that’s a helluva haul.

  3. MAMNo Gravatar says:

    Congrats man!

  4. SheenaNo Gravatar says:

    Seth, sounds like good “cents” it working for you!
    Great information, thanks! So much to know. Glad your there.

  5. r3VOLutionRefugeeNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Seth, can you convert bitcoins to cash with blockchain, or am I better off using MtGox for that?

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      I think there may be a way to do that, but it might be expensive.

      CoinBase.com recently came out with a new service that is fairly quick(two business days) and SUPER inexpensive. They only charge like 1% or something. I would definitely check out CoinBase.com if I were you.

      • r3VOLutionRefugeeNo Gravatar says:

        Cool, I may need to check that out. So, what if someone doesn’t have a bank account? Are there any services that would allow them to conveniently convert their bitcoins into USD?

  6. ShawnNo Gravatar says:

    Seth, do I take from this that you play on Seals with Clubs? Because I’ve been playing over there for some time now, though admittedly, not as well I’d like. 🙁 But it would be rather “cool” to know that an admired anarchist were playing poker at the same place as myself. If that’s the case (and I feel it’s inferred from the link you gave in this article), what’s your handle over there? If you don’t want to give it in the message stream here, would you mind pm’ing me? I don’t mind saying here that I’m “auderon” over there…

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      No problem. My handle is “elkingrey.”

      You can find me pounding the tournies. Right now the buy-ins are piddly-dink. But I’m hoping over time that bitcoin poker will grow and that we will eventually see Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars quality come out of some of the online poker rooms. Maybe Infiniti Poker will fill that void. I sure hope so.

      • ShawnNo Gravatar says:

        Oh, ok…no ring games for now? Because I want to keep an eye out for you. 🙂

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          In my past professional days it would be ring games I played. But right now, on a site like Seals, I think it would be too easy for collusion. Seals just doesn’t have the same ability to monitor for that sort of thing as a multi-million dollar operation.

          I’m not saying that there is collusion going on in the ring games, only that it wouldn’t surprise me if there were. The nice thing about the tournaments is that collusion is mitigated when there are several tables involved.

          • ShawnNo Gravatar says:

            Hmm. I hadn’t really thought of it, but yes, that’s a valid concern. For now, I’m playing for literally just change over there, so it’s not that big a deal for me, but if you’re really playing for any significant amount of coin, I can certainly see the concern. SWC runs into a major issue when it comes to that, though – how do you really monitor for collusion when you’re goal is to keep it completely anonymous??

            • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

              To be honest, I don’t know. It’s a shame because I really like ring games, but even with a big operation like Full Tilt or Pokerstars, collusion is really something that can’t be stopped, especially with anonymity technology.

              That’s why I think tournies are the best way to go. If there are thousands of players and hundreds of tables in a tourney, collusion goes right out the window, for the most part.

              • ShawnNo Gravatar says:

                Well, they do say in their FAQ that they’re the “wild west of poker” and play at your own risk, so…

  7. MAMNo Gravatar says:

    I won some money on the fights Saturday! I actually convinced some sucka at the bar to bet against GSP, seriously… Of course Carlos trains out here so he was the home town favourite.