Published on
Update on

Online poker is convenient. You don’t even have to leave your house in order to play poker. However, there is one thing that makes people hesitate regarding playing online. One, online poker in general lacks transparency. In fact, it is quite common that online poker companies have breached the trust of their players over the years. In 2001,
PokerSpot shutdown and was able to take players’ money that is worth $400,000 in deposit.

And this wasn’t the only incident. You also have during Black Friday in 2011 when Department of Justice shut down all major poker sites in the US on April 15, 2011, Full Tilt Poker realized that around $360 million worth of player funds were drained. The thing with Full Tilt Poker is that the player funds mingled with their operational funds that eventually became like the company’s own personal ATM. And despite the breached trust that happened between customers and online poker companies, online poker companies still hold player deposits.

Online Poker Companies As Banks?

In essence, these online poker companies stand as banks. Here, players deposit their money and they believe that the funds are actually safe. If players win, they depend on the company to process the withdrawal and get their funds. And since online poker companies aren’t backed by Federal Deposit Insurance, players have no other option but to actually risk their money.

Blockchain Could Restore Trust

There is an intense media interest when it comes to cryptocurrencies over the last few months. And what makes cryptocurrencies interesting even in the world of online poker is the fact that it operates under the disruptive tech called blockchain technology. The blockchain is a decentralized ledger. This only means that the ledger has a number of copies in order to be verified by miners all over the world.

Another thing that makes blockchain interesting is the fact that you won’t be needing a third party such as a bank in order to verify the transaction.

So how exactly does it help online poker websites? Smart contracts have the possibility of allowing you to control your very own wallet. For online poker websites, it allows players to transfer the amount of cryptocurrency from a digital wallet into a smart contract for the tournament. And the smart contract is going to hold it in escrow for you. Smart contracts operate just like any other blockchain transaction and are audited by the rest of the community.

Virtue Poker has a smart contract that allows short-term escrow account. It can also provide the game and the payout logic. Does the first place winner get 80% of the win while second place gets 30% and third place gets nothing? Once the game has been played and the results are already made, the results are sent to the contract that automatically executes the winners of the cryptocurrency.

Could smart contracts actually resolve problems in the online poker industry? Considering the volatility of cryptocurrencies, is it really wise to use them considering that there is always the chance that your money could lose a significant amount of its value in just a matter of few hours?