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BitNPlay to Join Ranks of Bitcoin Online Poker Sites in February

Another Bitcoin-based online poker startup is set to test the market on February 1st, 2015, when a new European site called BitNPlay will open its doors.  As with most new BTC-based poker sites, this one will come with a twist: An opportunity for advance investors in the site to purchase a token which, when activated, offers its owner 100% lifetime rakeback on the site.

Both the pluses and minuses of such an offer are clearly evident.  On the plus side, if BitNPlay takes off, then the opportunity for a frequent player, a high-stakes grinder, to garner a lifetime of rakeback-free play would represent a huge profit opportunity.

bitnplay logoOn the flip side, no Bitcoin-based site has shown the ability to draw the thousands and thousands of players necessary to create the traffic needed to make such an offer pay off in a reasonable timeframe.  SealsWithClubs.eu, the largest Bitcoin online poker site, might have several dozen players around at any given time, and probably has no more than a few hundred players who could be described as site regulars.  Other sites have far less, and part of the longterm success any BTC poker site hopes to achieve is how quickly — or even if — Bitcoins are accepted by the mainstream.

In case one is wondering, the price for the rakeback-free tokens has been set at 2 BTC each.  That translates to abut US $638 at today’s market rates.  200 of the tokens are being made available — a counter on the site claims the first one has already been sold — and if all 200 are purchased, BitNPlay will have generated US $125,000 or thereabouts in seed money.

The tokens themselves don’t seem to have many restrictions.  Any player/customer can purchase one or more, and secondary market sales and purchases will be allowed.  The tokens can also be transferred from player to player, though it remains to be seen if the site itself takes steps to prevent players from frequently swapping tokens among a small group, thus engaging in a form of team play designed to garner multiple free rakeback deals.

Is the whole concept a good deal for would-be players?  A bad deal?  As with most things Bitcoin-based, it’s hard to say for sure.  As an innovative way to attempt the crowdfunding that will help boost the site’s February 1st launch, it’s not half bad.  It might work or it might not, but the poker world has seen far worse.

Comparing BitNPlay to Breakout Gaming, the BTC-based site that announced itself to the poker world in September, shows one radical difference.  A huge problem with the Breakout Gaming offering is its creation of a separate cryptocurrency, BreakoutCoin (BRO), which users -must- purchase to play on the site.  What’s the incentive to do so, when Bitcoins themselves can be used as an online exchange medium for poker sites.

Despite that, a checkout of the Breakout Gaming’s offering site claims that that site has sold either 201.58 or 387.65 BTC worth of BRO for use on the site.  That means that Breakout’s founders and developers, which include a handful of well-known “old school” poker pros, claim to successfully generated their own $125,000 – $200,000 in startup money.

That begs another question about this new BitNPlay?  Who’s behind it?

According to a “partners” manifesto available on the investment site, the new site will be offered by Escrúpulos LRAR S.A, a Costa Rica-based corporation.  At this time, no online footprint for the company exists outside pages related to BitnPlay, which means not much other than it’s a brand-new venture.

Deeper in the investment portfolio one learns that the founders and core developers of the company are largely Cypriot and Greek by heritage.  BitNPlay’s co-founders are Andreas Anastasiades and Ilias Makropoulos-Lalaounis, and though it claims to be developed “by poker players for poker players,” the most well-known poker player associated with the site is Cypriot Henrik Witt.  Witt, a long-time poker affiliate, also has some decent European tourney cashes to his credit, though nothing since 2006.  Witt was also the operator of Poker Classic, a site serving Denmark, his birth country.

As for BitNPlay’s planned offerings, they’re going to start modest, with only Texas Hold’em to start with and that only in sit-‘n’-gos (SNGs) and multi-table tourneys (MTTs).  Later on, they’ll add hold’em cash games, then consider addin other games at a later date.

It’ll be interesting to watch this site and see if it takes off, or if it creates and new form of development in the still-fledging Bitcoin online poker space.

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