Bitcoin Poker Update: Seals with Clubs Relaunches as SwCPoker
Bitcoin-based online poker site Seals with Clubs has completed its move to a new software platform and a new brand name, relaunching on Friday as SwCPoker. The move to the new platform was formerly planned, as a version 2.0 of the old Seals With Clubs offering, but was hastened and reworked under a new brand name following a Nevada Gaming Commission raid against former Seals With Clubs chairman Bryan Micon.
Micon, a former Las Vegas resident, quickly announced his relocation to the online-gambling friendly Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda following the raid. Micon noted that while numerous electronic devices were seized, he was not arrested, and he was allowed to leave the US, whereupon he quickly announced his expatriation to Antigua and the imminent launch of the new SwCPoker site.
The new site, with its Internet home now found at swcpoker.eu, offers a far more attractive user interface than the original Seals With Clubs site’s rudimentary graphics. The new site also has rolled out additional poker variants, including open-faced Chinese, pineapple, badeucey, badacey, 12 game, dealer’s choice and others, though the site does not as yet have a comprehensive listing of exactly what games are available.
SwCPoker head Micon published a self-congratulatory text following the new offering’s rollout, which saw a hundred or so players join in. According to the text:
What a brilliant few days for Bitcoin poker. The successful launch of SwC Poker has been met with worldwide cheer. New games and features are online, such as OFC pineapple, badeucey, badacey, 12 game, dealer’s choice, and many more, available in Cash, SnG, or MTT format. OFC/p MTTs have quickly become a crowd favorite. Look for cash game stakes to slowly increase as confidence in the new system builds. Thanks for the outpouring of support for SwC. We are happy to be back and serving the btc poker public.
The site continues to bill itself as a nontraditional offering, choosing to remain independent of online-gambling regulatory oversight and the long reach of major governments. SwCPoker requires only an e-mail address and access to an individual bitcoin (BTC) wallet to play on the site, with users able to deposit and withdrawal BTC balances from SwCPoker at any time. The site is open to residents of all global jurisdictions, including the US, due to the bitcoin currency’s own presumed anonymity.
The anonymity of bitcoin users in general is part of the attraction of sites that use the virtual currency, though their use and popularity remains tiny compared to mainstream online poker sites. A March 1st check of SwCPoker’s site showed only about 20 tables in use, with perhaps 150 total players participating.
Indeed, the new SwCPoker continues to promote itself as the “wild, wild west of online poker rooms,” though Micon, as the ongoing public face of the site, maintains that SwCPoker continues to battle any form of player collusion or other online game manipulation. The site also maintains a “no bots” policy, though given its tiny size, it’s unclear that SwCPoker would even have the tools to detect a high-level bot or network of bots, if one was ever placed in use on the site.
It’s also that despite the rapid relaunch of the site under its new SwCPoker brand name, the nontraditional and poorly promoted aspects of the offering give the site the feel of an online popcorn stand. Former Seals With Club adherents and bitcoin-poker enthusiasts have already reacted warmly to the new site’s rollout, but it’s not at all clear that the site or its management is capable of pitching the site’s expanded offerings outside of its already existing hardcore audience. SwCPoker and other Bitcoin-only online poker sites appear destined to remain a tiny niche offering, and nothing about the new software seems likely to change that.
SwCPoker’s continuing driving force, Micon wasn’t available to provide more details on the site’s relaunching when we asked, citing ongoing technical and marketing needs needing immediate attention while offering just a few brief replies via Skype. But that doesn’t mean others aren’t watching the debut of the “new” SwCPoker with interest, including other bitcoin-based gambling and e-commerce operations. As Jay Purcell, CEO of the popular bitcoin gambling site BitcoinCasinos.com, offered, “It’s important to see sites like this remain viable in the face of certain types of pressure, though SwCPoker’s move to Antigua was likely a wise decision for all involved.”
Added Purcell, “Bitcoins remain an independent, virtual currency tied to mathematics and user demand. The resumption of SwCPoker services and quick return of many of its players gives evidence that Bitcoins’ popularity remains constant, whether individual sites come and go. Those looking to play poker have few viable options as a result of small player pools. As such the swift return of SWCPoker is a big win for the industry and gives poker players with an interest in cryptocurrencies a quick route back to tables.”