Cryptocurrencies slowly enter the asian poker arena

The poker community has been without a doubt one of the earliest adopters of cryptocurrencies. Many players jumped into the crypto bandwagon not so much as speculators expecting to make a profitable investment but as users looking for an easier way to transfer money, sometimes large amounts of money between fellow players and/or poker sites.

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One of the first to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment was USA-facing online poker site Americas Card Room (ACR). Since then, they’ve expanded their payment options with over 60 types of digital currencies accepted. Bovada as well. They started accepting Bitcoin in 2016. These online sites have been promoting cryptocurrency as form of payment emphasizing the numerous benefits such as “anonymity”, “peer-to-peer”, and “zero transaction fees”.

Apart from America, the situation is similar in Asia with the poker community seeing a rise in the use of cryptocurrency. Various online sites and poker gaming apps have begun offering it as an alternative mode of payment with players quick to embrace the convenience. Below are some facts showing the growth of cryptocurrency in the Asian poker community.

Online poker sites / and applications welcome cryptocurrency

The online playing field in Asia has undergone deep changes with the growth of applications like Poker Master. These apps provide a platform for players to be able to host their own real money privates games.

In this new setup, it is the responsibility of clubs owners and their agents to process all payments. Operating in an environment completely unregulated and sometimes at the border of legality, many have adopted Bitcoin to settle a significant portion of their transactions.

There are numerous advantages in choosing this method such as speed of transaction, the relatively low cost, and anonymity. The use of Bitcoin has been especially crucial in allowing foreign players and agents to join the juicy Chinese private games hosted on Poker Master. (Without BTC, it would be very difficult to constantly get money in and out of Mainland China)

But private poker applications are not the only ones using cryptos. Natural8, flagship skin of GGNET, a very popular online site in Asia known for hosting satellites to live events in the area accepts crypto payments for both deposits and withdrawals. The poker room is currently offering free tournament tickets for players using this deposit option.

Slow crawl for cryptos in the live circuit

Despite crypto usage growing fast on the Asian online poker scene, things are different in the live scene. While the crypto option is very helpful and convenient for players that have to carry or transfer large amounts of money when traveling to live poker events, only select places and events accept digital currency.

Riverking poker room in Cambodia is one of those hyping up cryptocurrency. A few months ago, they began accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum for players willing to join their games.

Then most recently, the Asian Poker Tour. Rumors have been surfacing that the prestigious brand has expressed interest in offering cryptocurrency. This would greatly help players with limitations on how much the law allows them to carry in and out of a specific country. It would also relieve any headache on how to cash out big winnings. Stated in their recent announcement,

“the Tour had been considering cryptocurrency as a novel, new additional marketing tool to expand the reach and appeal of APT globally and to attract more players particularly from Europe to APT’s Asian events.”

However, despite the interest, for the upcoming APT festival in Macau cryptocurrency will not be an option for players. APT CEO, Jeff Mann said,

“Clearly, each APT event is different and we are mindful of local operating guidelines. I can confirm that APT Macau Championships will not be associated with cryptocurrency in any way and I apologize for any confusion in the market.”

Article by Triccia David


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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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