If you play poker online or enjoy playing in poker tournaments, you’ve probably noticed the growth in interest when it comes to cryptocurrencies in the industry. The popularity of cryptocurrency has exploded over the last few years, with both online poker players and live poker players taking an interest in it. Many former and current poker pros are now prominent crypto enthusiasts and traders who support the use of cryptocurrencies.
What is it about cryptocurrency that attracts poker players? In this blog, we’re going to take a look at how trading cryptocurrencies and playing poker intersect, as well as the similarities between poker and the crypto market that make it so appealing to poker players. So, what are the similarities between live and online poker and crypto?
Although poker is largely a skill-based game, there is always an element of luck that can make the most improbable situations occur. You might have a hand where you’re sure that you’ll win the pot, but your opponent miraculously one-ups you and takes the winnings.
The crypto market is equally volatile. Some weeks the stocks soar to improbable heights, and then suddenly, there’s a massive crash and their worth is obliterated overnight.
The volatility of both poker and cryptocurrencies means that pro poker players have two skills that are perfect for the crypto market: bankroll management and risk management.
With regard to bankroll management, poker players know that they should not put anything more than they can afford into a pot. This is known as overextending and is one of the worst things that a player can do in both live and online poker tournaments, as one mistake could prove ruinous if they aren’t careful with their funds. This same idea applies to crypto, which is why so many good poker players have taken to crypto trading.
When it comes to risk management, a good poker player knows when to fold and when to sit tight. They also know that they should never keep playing when they are tilted. The best crypto traders have the same awareness about when they should be buying or sitting on stock and that they shouldn’t make any rash decisions when they are in a panic.
So, while there are plenty of benefits to crypto gambling, it’s important to keep the volatility of the market in mind when you invest.
There’s certainly a high-risk, high-reward aspect to professional poker; players could spend hours on a game and walk away empty-handed or with an extra six figures in their bank account. The speed at which pro poker players can go from zero to hero (or vice versa) is exciting and attracts people who like a good adrenaline rush.
In the same way, crypto is also high-risk, high-reward. In any traditional market, a gain of 8–10% is considered excellent. However, crypto moves at a much faster pace than traditional markets. For example, Bitcoin had gains of around 7,600% from 2016 to February 2022; despite a slight drop off in the last half of 2022, it’s regaining value at a rapid rate once again. However, in the big crypto crash of 2018, the price of Bitcoin crashed by around 65% in just one month. To some poker players, crypto trading is a risk-reward game, which is what they are trained for and get excited about.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are another aspect of crypto that seems to be gaining some traction among past and current professional poker players. What exactly are NFTs? Well, they are unique, non-replaceable tokens that have a one-of-a-kind digital code that represents them. NFTs could be anything from digital art to music and more in between.
What have these got in common with the industry’s best players? It all comes down to notoriety. The best poker players love high-stakes games, and NFTs certainly qualify as high-stakes. At the end of 2021, the likes of CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club had price floors of 100ETH ($440,000) and 45ETH ($198,000) respectively.
At the end of the day, crypto NFTs became status symbols in an increasingly digital world, and celebs like Jay Z and Jason Derulo invested in CryptoPunks for their Twitter profile pictures simply to show that they can afford to.
Not too long ago, professional players would have invested in a ridiculously expensive watch or car after their winnings, but in 2021, it seems like NFTs were the ultimate flex. Renowned players like Mike McDonald, Ryan Daut, Dan Smith and Jeff Gross all invested in this new trend and bought CryptoPunks for their Twitter profile pictures for around $400,000 each.
NFTs are a prime example of the high risk associated with this industry, however. In 2022, we saw the bubble burst in the NFT world and the value of the tokens crashed. The market hasn’t recovered yet, and there is even a company that is willing to buy NFTs at a fraction of the price and issue owners with a receipt for tax purposes. Many NFT traders don’t see the market rebounding to the sky-high levels of 2021.
Pro Poker Players Who Love Crypto
Considering that many pro players have been using Bitcoin since 2012 and it’s become more common in online poker games, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some pro players have used their poker skills to invest in crypto. Few players are willing to talk about just how much they’ve made from Bitcoin over the years, however.
Fernando “JNandez87” Habegger, Ryan Riess and Dietrich Fast are players who are happy to discuss their crypto riches, though. Fast has admitted to having around 750 Bitcoin, which at the time of writing is worth around $21 million.
Dan Bilzerian, Doug Polk and Haralabos Voulgaris are a few of the other players who invested early in crypto and have seen the rewards.
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