Bitcoin ended 2015 as the best performing currency on the market, with each bitcoin worth almost $465 by mid-December. The booming fortunes of the innovative digital currency stand in stark contrast to the declining state of online bitcoin poker sites which suffered a most disappointing year.
Poker rooms that solely accept bitcoin as their deposit option have not enjoyed the most prosperous year. At the beginning of 2015, a host of new bitcoin-only websites were preparing to launch and potentially revolutionise the online poker market completely. These included the likes of BitnPlay Poker, Get Lucky Poker and Burnturn Poker, but none managed to make themselves a success – BitnPlay has now gone offline, Burnturn Poker (which was previously Satoshi Poker) made its debut in April 2015 but is now firmly offline as well.
This bad performance was in part due to the fluctuating value of the bitcoin throughout the year, and the continuing scandals facing the bitcoin poker industry. The much publicised arrest and subsequent trial of Seals With Clubs founder Bryan Micon led to the closure of his popular site and it cast a negative shadow on the bitcoin poker industry as a whole.
Micon’s Seals With Clubs site had until this year been the only major bitcoin poker site to become a success story and garner a significant following. It had a loyal customer base, about a quarter of whom followed over to the SwC site which replaced the former Seals With Clubs. Micon’s home was raided before he left the US for Antigua. He remained there until he was persuaded to return for trial in Nevada and face charges of operating a poker site without a license. After pleading guilty to the charges levelled against him, Micon paid a fine of $25,000 and faces two years of probation in Nevada.
The scandal of Seals With Clubs no doubt affected the state of online bitcoin poker and many commentators feel that it may take some time for consumer confidence in the industry to be fully restored.