Payout speed has become a key consideration for most online poker players, especially in the U.S. If payout speed is important to you, you should consider playing on Seals With Clubs with Bitcoins. If you’re intimidated by the concept of Bitcoins, don’t be. We’ll make it simple.
Update Feb 20, 2015: Sealswithclubs.eu announced today that they are ceasing operations. Existing players need to request their balances by going to sealswithclubs.eu. We recommend Betcoin as an alternative bitcoin poker site, casino and sportsbook.
What Are Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are a digital currency. Think of it as digital cash that can be transferred to anyone in the world without involving banks. Transfers are to a certain extent anonymous, take about an hour to go through, and are irreversible. There is no central location; Bitcoin transactions and data are tracked by the network as a whole. If the nerd in you wants to learn the technical details, check out the Bitcoin Wiki page.
By moving money with Bitcoins, Seals With Clubs can pay you quickly. Cashouts typically are processed in about a day. They can also do so inexpensively which keeps the rake relatively low.
For reference, at the time of publishing this article Bitcoins are worth about $36 each. Check the current value at the Bitcoin exchange mtgox.com.
Seals With Clubs Game Selection
SWC is a relatively small poker room. You’ll generally find 10 or 20 cash games running. Most games are NL Holdem, but there’s a disproportionately high number of PLO and Limit Holdem games as well. Games are spread from the micro limits to mid-high stakes. If you don’t find the limits running for the game you like, you can add a table yourself from within the software. You’ll also receive 50% rakeback while playing with 3 or fewer total players at the table as an incentive to start new games.
The tournament schedule is good for a room the size of Seals With Clubs. There are hourly freerolls, hourly .4BTC ($15) Guaranteed events, and a 60BTC ($2100) Guaranteed Event on Sundays. There are also daily 1BTC and .5BTC events.
Games are an interesting mix of tough play (mostly 2p2ers) and rookies (bitcoin enthusiasts).
Seals With Clubs Software
The software is the weakest aspect of Seals With Clubs. It’s a web client that has a stale look and feel. However it is serviceable, theres a 4 color deck, re-sizable tables, and quick gameplay. If you have an Android device we recommend checking out their Android client for a better experience. Also later this month you can expect a desktop version.
Security is a concern while playing at Seals. From their FAQ:
How do I know my opponents aren’t cheating? You don’t know that, they might be cheating you – SealsWithClubs is the wild, wild west of online poker rooms. SealsWithClubs will vigilantly fight any collusion, cheating or otherwise unfair game manipulation. We reserve the right to handle cheating, collusion, or otherwise unfair play at our sole discretion. We encourage players to email email@example.com if you observe anything you would like us to investigate. If you are uncomfortable with anonymous ring games we offer heads up tables.
We respect their honesty. The status quo for poker rooms is to announce that they have automated security mechanisms in place even if they don’t. Keep your eyes open for suspicious behavior, just as you should wherever you play.
How To Get Started with Bitcoins
Don’t be overwhelmed. Bitcoins seem complicated because there are so many ways to acquire them. We break it down in just a few steps..
2. Link your bank account to Coinbase. They will make a micro deposit into your bank account and you will need to verify the amount. This will take 2-3 business days.
3. Once your bank account is linked, you can buy up to 7 bitcoins. You will lock in the bitcoin price at the time of purchase and they will arrive in your account in about 3 business days. Other exchanges will have different limits.
4. Create your Seals With Clubs account. Note that you can do so anonymously – no tedious KYC process.
5. Send the Bitcoins to Seals With Clubs. There will be a unique Bitcoin address in your Seals With Clubs cashier. It will be a long string of characters, simply copy and paste that address into the ‘Send Bitcoins’ function of your Bitcoin client.
If you are interested in learning more about the process, check out the bitcointalk forums.
Other Poker Sites Accepting Bitcoins
Two sites other than Seals With Clubs currently accept Bitcoins. RedStar Poker on the Revolution Network and Switch Poker. RedStar might only allow deposits using bitcoins, it’s unclear if they cashout with that method. Switch Poker allows both deposits and cashouts with Bitcoins.
Neither Switch Poker nor RedStar Poker accept U.S players.
There’s another important distinction between these rooms and Seals. On Seals With Clubs all games are played with Bitcoins. On Switch and RedStar, you are depositing with Bitcoins but most games on the sites are played with Dollars or Euros. The value of Bitcoins can vary greatly. Lately the variance has been the type most of us can handle – they have nearly tripled in value in the last two months. But if you prefer to avoid the exchange rate risk, Switch and RedStar are good options.
Keep an eye out for Infiniti Poker as well. Infiniti is expected to launch in the coming months and will accept both Bitcoins and U.S players. There are also rumors that a major U.S facing network will be adding Bitcoin support soon.