Photo via Jason Benjamin
It was recommended that I make a deposit on Americas Cardroom using Bitcoin. I don’t really understand bitcoin or how it works, how can I do this? Is it easy? Can I cashout with it too?
When Bitcoin hit the mainstream a couple of years ago, everyone was asking, “Just what the hell is Bitcoin?!” And still today, people are asking, “Wait, what is Bitcoin again!?”
I bought my first Bitcoin in May of 2012 when the price was around $5 per coin. I bought 100 coins for ~$500. And before you ask, no I didn’t hold onto it and yes, I did kick myself months later. (The same amount of coins was worth ~$95,000 in December, 2013.) Back in 2012, purchasing Bitcoin was difficult as exchanges were relatively new and you didn’t know who you could trust. I purchased mine from a friend who happened to be a miner.
However, it’s now 2015 and buying Bitcoin is as simple as setting up and funding a Paypal account. In this article I’ll break it down, step by step. This includes how to setup a Bitcoin wallet, purchase Bitcoin, make a deposit on an online poker site, and how to cashout using it. EZPZ.
What is Bitcoin?
There are a ton of other resources available which explain this better than I ever could, so I’ll keep this brief. Bitcoin is a peer to peer digital currency launched in 2009. The total number of Bitcoins are finite and must be mined which is done by solving complex algorithms using computing power. There are many exchanges where these mined coins are bought and sold.
A few of the reasons Bitcoin has reached the masses are the very low transaction fees, instantaneous transfers, and transparency. All transfer are verified and logged in the public domain.
The video below explains what Bitcoin is in just over one minute:
For more resources on what Bitcoin is, see the following sites:
Why Use Bitcoin for Online Poker?
The people who benefit the most from bitcoin deposits are those in the good ole USA. It’s no secret that it can be difficult to deposit and withdraw from US online poker sites, and bitcoin eliminates all the issues that come with using a credit card. It’s also far simpler than Western Union (I’ll get to that in a different article). When I deposit on an online poker site, if they accept bitcoin, then without question bitcoin is what I use. It’s fast, easy, and the fees are so low they’re almost non-existent. You also don’t have to worry about running into fraud issues and the like as you may via credit card. Although I promote bitcoin for those in the USA, it doesn’t mean those outside of the US should avoid it. It’s a great option no matter where you’re from.
The very first time you deposit using bitcoin, it will take longer than other options because you have to setup an account, link bank accounts, and verify some of your personal details. However, you only have to do this once and every other deposit or cashout from then on will only take minutes.
There are many different exchanges online, where millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin are transferred each month. The first exchange I used was CoinBase.com, and I still use it today. I’ve never had an issue using Coin Base and recommend it to anyone who asks me where to buy Bitcoin. In this article I’ll be using Coin Base as the example, but there are many other options available if you fancy.
$10 Free at CoinBase
A quick bonus & transparency note. By using my CoinBase link to signup, you will receive an extra $10 in bitcoin if you verify your account and purchase $100 or more bitcoin. I also receive a $10 commission. It’s a win-win deal for both of us. Bitcoin purchase must be made within 90 days of creating an account to qualify.
Signing up at Coinbase
To start, you should visit CoinBase.com and you will be greeted with a message saying “Bonus Ace sent you $10 USD in bitcoin!” along with a basic signup form. Fill out your basic details and click sign up. You will have to verify your email, so don’t use a fake one.
After verifying your email, you will be asked to link your phone number to your account. This is done for security reasons as your account can be setup using a two step verification. This means you will have to enter your password and a verification code from Coinbase when you login or attempt to make a large transaction. It states that you can skip this step, but you won’t be able to purchase bitcoin until you add your number, so just do it now. Don’t worry, they have never spammed me and won’t spam you.
Next, you have to add a bank account to your Coinbase account. If you’ve ever setup a Paypal account, it’s pretty much the same deal. Just enter the routing number, account number, and your name. A deposit verification must be made to complete this process. This means Coinbase will deposit two small amounts under $0.99 into your bank account and you have to enter what those amounts are. This (annoyingly) can take up to 3 days, and took around 48 hours for me. Once you have the numbers and enter them, your bank account is verified and now you can buy Bitcoin!
You can now make a buy order for Bitcoin. However, you may want to consider adding a backup credit card on file as well. This will enable instant buy, which means you can purchase and receive bitcoin instantly. Without this feature enabled, it can take up to 3 days to receive your bitcoin.
To purchase bitcoin, click on Buy/Sell Bitcoin. The current price will be shown. You can enter how much you want to purchase in $USD then click Buy Bitcoin. (Remember, deposit at least $100 to receive $10 free!) If you added a credit card, this will be deposited into your Coinbase account instantly, and can then be deposited at any online poker site that accepts Bitcoin!
Making a Bitcoin Deposit on Americas Cardroom
In this example, I will be making my deposit on Americas Cardroom. Many other rooms accept Bitcoin and their method may vary slightly from ACR, but the overall concept will be the same. If you have questions about a specific room, you should hit up their support desk or contact us for help.
These instructions assume you already have an account at ACR, but if not, you can signup here. This also assumes you already purchased your bitcoin following the instructions above.
To deposit with bitcoin, click on Cashier from the ACR lobby, then Deposit. After the deposit screen loads, it will likely default to Visa. On the left sidebar, click on Popular e-Wallet, then click on bitcoin. Enter the amount you wish to transfer, then click Next. Confirm the amount and your account on the next screen, then click Deposit.
The next screen will give you an address and an exact amount to send. Note that since the price of bitcoin fluctuates quite regularly, the amount is only good for 15 minutes, so make sure to send it as soon as you can.
To do this, go back to your Coinbase.com account. Along the left sidebar, click on Send/Request. Enter the address from ACR in the Recipient field, then the exact amount in the Amount field. Then click Send Funds. Confirm the amount and click Confirm. Coinbase will confirm it has been sent.
Once you do that, you just wait for ACR to confirm the transaction. This can take up to 30 minutes, but will usually be faster. In this example, it took about 4 minutes:
And now the $25 I deposited is available in my account to play. Like I said, EZPZ! I was only charged one fee for $0.50, which came out to 2% of my deposit. However, if I had deposited more, the overall percentage will be lower. For example, a $100 deposit to claim the $10 bonus will charge a $0.99 fee, or less than 1% overall. You can’t beat those fees.
Cashing out With Bitcoin
Again, this will vary slightly from room to room, but the same general principles should apply. Every online poker room or casino you play at is likely going to ask you for various documents to verify your identity and location. These may include a drivers license or valid picture ID, a recent utility bill/statement with your name and address, or bank statement. Using Americas Cardroom again, they require both an ID and utility bill, plus an image of the credit card if you used one for a deposit.
Withdrawals are even easier as you don’t have to do anything other than make the cashout request. To do this, visit the cashier, than click the large Withdraw button. On the screen that pops up, select Bitcoin. Enter the amount you want to withdraw, then enter your bitcoin address in the last field. You can send this directly to your Coinbase account. To find your address, login at www.coinbase.com, click on My Wallet, then on Wallet address. A QR code and a string of numbers and letters will appear. This string is your wallet. It will be similar to something like: 1CMjbjzSbgmYuoS2iTTHkUdMNruhzugkgs
Copy this address, paste it in the ACR field, then press Next. Confirm the details and finish the request. Then money will be sent to your bitcoin address within 24 hours, but usually much faster. Just to note, ACR only allows bitcoin withdraws between the hours of 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM ET.
And there you have it! You’re now a bitcoin user, have fun moving money around easily and cheaply like we could pre-2006!
Just to note, if casino or sports is your thing, and the website you’re looking to bet on accepts bitcoin, then this guide will work for that as well. If you have any questions or notice any issues, please leave a comment or contact us directly.
Best of luck!