Monday, February 16, 2015

Bitcoin in Action: BETCOIN

As some of you may know, I've played poker seriously for the last four years. Being stuck in an online poker unfriendly country like the United States, our options for sites are limited. With the promise of a stateless, decentralized, digital currency like bitcoin, this barrier can be overcome by a polished site like Betcoin, currently a member of the Winning Poker Network (WPN).


 Betcoin runs a fully functional casino, sportsbook, and poker operation. While I don't mess with games of chance like casino games and sports-betting, I have been playing on their poker network partners at WPN for over a year. Using the exact same software as you will find on an America's Cardroom, Betcoin's poker room offers many of the features you would expect of a top-notch online poker site.


One thought strikes you when you first play a hand on Betcoin's software: My God, that action is smooth. While nothing may top the decade-proven efficiency of the PokerStars platform, Betcoin's software is as slick as you'll find on a US-facing poker site. Hands are dealt quick, pot amounts are clearly denoted, and there are a multitude of features you would normally expect of a professional poker site, including player notes, granular control of sound effects (notifications only, please!), and four-color decks.

Also on Betcoin, you enjoy the liquidity of the WPN player pool. Not only does The Winning Poker Network rank in the top 25 of player traffic (dwarfing every other bitcoin-only site), but also you are back playing with the rest of the world, instead of these restrictive intrastate, ringfenced operations; there is room for growth.

Primarily a tournament grinder, I appreciate having access to the improving tournament schedule of the WPN with my bitcoin, with a variety of game types, formats, and structures. And yes, there are plenty of VIP/rakeback levels to attain for you volume players out there.

The Cons: As a member of the Winning Poker Network using their software platform, Betcoin is constrained by similar software issues found throughout the network. One of the biggest, in my estimation, is the inability to check mucked showdown hands. Information is power, and poker is a game of incomplete information. Lacking an essential piece of info when checking your hand histories versus your opponents is a glaring oversight I am confused about why WPN will not fix.

Lately, the network's stability has come under attack, with several fits of DDoS attacks hampering tournament series, Sundays, and other big traffic times (again, this is the network's fault, not necessarily Betcoin's).

Although my heads-up display (HUD) PokerTracker4 works on other Winning Poker Network sites, it doesn't work at all on Betcoin, being able to track my hands but not show the HUD on my open tables. For the multi-tabler like myself, this is a huge deterrent.


One the most underrated aspects of Betcoin is the community of players it has built. With a scrolling Player Chat on the community page alongside the latest news/corporate shillages, er, messages, Betcoin definitely looks out for, and celebrates with, their own. Most notable was its recent 10 BTC Anti-Collusion Freeroll, where management rewarded the community watch nature of its players having outed some unsavory activity with a giveaway tournament open to all Betcoiners.


All in all, Betcoin is as pleasant a poker experience as you're going to find for your bitcoin at the moment. While a HUD monkey like myself may limit my exposure to the site until there's a PT4 fix, Betcoin offers far better graphics than Seals, nearly the liquidity of Merge, and the unmatched cashout speed of the blockchain.

To see for yourself, visit today.

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