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Bitcoin Poker and the Lack of Population

One of the biggest problems Bitcoin related poker sites are having right now is the lack of population. The number of players on any given site is pretty small, and even if we added them all up together it would still be pretty small. There have been some sites sold or looking for investors, and I think that a lot of people are not looking at them with a proper view as to what is going on. My goal for this article is to help clarify some things related to Bitcoin poker sites, in an effort to help better understand why the population is the way it is and some hurdles that they must go through before this changes.

Bitcoin is Still New

We hear about this all of the time, but many people do not take it in to consideration. Bitcoin, as a currency, is still considered to be in its infant stage. In a way, we could even classify it as an alpha currency (or one that is still not even through with its initial testing). We have no idea what is going to happen with it in the future, and if we look at its progress short term, we see that there are constant changes.

This is important to realize because of what gambling is. In essence, it is the act of putting up something that has monetary value (at least, this is what we are considering when it comes to poker) in order to win more of it. This means that the currency that is being traded also needs to go up in value as someone wins more. It would not make sense if you doubled up your chips and still left with half the money you started with, right? Well, this is a pretty big hurdle that the currency itself has to overcome. It is tough to throw money in to Bitcoins to play poker and win more, when there is the risk that even if you have more they could be worth less. This pushes away a lot of gamblers that would otherwise try out the new systems; the risk is just too great (since you are also risking that you might lose the coins through the gaming itself).

Not Enough Advertising

I have seen some sites that claim to be working on this, but when it comes down to it, advertising for gambling sites is expensive. You are talking about an area that is very competitive, where the big players are throwing millions of dollars a year at the advertising. Bitcoin, while it uses a different form of money than most other sites, still has to compete. After all, if someone is gambling they have to choose which method is the best for them. But Bitcoin also has another thing holding it back because of this: why convert?

When playing poker on a site, the site gets a cut of the profit, or the amount put in to the pot. This is how the site can continue to run. Whether the site runs on cash or Bitcoin (or even another crypto currency), it is still taking a cut of the bets for itself. Because of this, and because of how the sites work in general, there has to be a real reason to get people to switch from using local fiat currencies to Bitcoin. Without giving people a true reason to switch, they are going to keep taking the path of least resistance. In this case, that is to stick with the forms of money we are used to using already.

Hacks, Hacks and More Hacks

Many Bitcoin related sites have been getting hacked recently, and every time this happens the funds that are in the wallet get lost. This means that people who are taking part in each of the sites lose their money as well. Imagine going to a poker site and making a deposit, only to wake up the next day and find out that the site has been hacked and all of the funds you had are now lost. This makes people very hesitant to trust the sites, because there is no guarantee that your funds will remain there. In fact, there is really no recourse if anything does happen, either, and the people who deposited are usually blamed for being naive enough to do it.

There are some sites that honor their own insurance, but most do not. And even those that do often have “small print” that has to be paid attention to. For example, some will calculate the payment they give back based on the USD value you deposited vs what it is worth now. If the coins went up by 20x their value, for example, you would only get 5% of your deposit. This should not be a big issue for poker players (being that you are usually playing for and getting back fiat), but it can be if you are also playing the crypto game at the same time. On top of this, it can also be problematic if you take in to consideration the fact that the coins can drop in value at any time. These things all mix together to make a pretty volatile situation that a lot of people would rather just not get caught up in.

Most Crypto People Are Developers

Something I have been seeing a lot lately (and it does appear to be changing, which is great) is that most people in the crypto world are developers of some type. Essentially we are all in the “nerd” population. And this really does make sense though; we are the ones that keep up with technology and help ensure we are up to date on what is going on with its progress. As such, it does not seem out of the ordinary at all for us to be way ahead of the curve in terms of knowing about these things before the general public does. But at the same time, it means that the crypto currencies are really catering to a pretty small set of people at this point. And those people do not appear to be poker players.

Over time, as Bitcoin and other currencies grow in popularity and use, we can accurately assume that Bitcoin related poker sites will start to grow in popularity. All it would take is one big boom to make a huge difference. And to make things even better, a single major poker site could start accepting Bitcoin for deposits and pay outs and that could help transform the system as well (being that people would become more comfortable with the idea and may give other sites a chance; think of it as being like social acceptance). Of course, how long this will take is anyone's guess. Some will even claim that it will never happen. I just think that it is a matter of time!

Conclusion

Bitcoin poker sites are still pretty new, as is the currency itself. A lot of people are jumping in to the site and service building industry without taking in to consideration that growth is going to take time. This is especially true when dealing with a new thing like Bitcoin that most people still do not understand (and that many have never even heard about yet). While poker sites are very popular and have hundreds of thousands of players on at any given time, Bitcoin is lagging behind. The most popular one I have seen only had around 100 players on at a time. But you have to realize that this is with a new concept and it only deals with a very small group of people right now. As time goes on and things progress further (and the general public becomes more and more aware of the Bitcoin industry) we can reasonably expect the sites to start growing as well. At this point I think that the only real fear would be major sites switching over to, or at least allowing, Bitcoin, which could possibly disrupt the smaller sites and cut off their players. We will not know what will happen for sure until it actually happens though, and major sites making the switch could very well be what makes the smaller sites thrive as well! Only one thing is for certain right now: if you are playing poker using crypto currencies, do not let the small population on the sites scare you. Instead, embrace being one of the first people playing there and know that if it is successful in the future, you were one of the reasons for it.

Poker


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