Friday, February 15, 2013

Adventures in Xbox poker and Bitcoins

I recently downloaded the FULL HOUSE POKER on xbox. It has a few things going for it. The first is that it is available to play... Let's explore the software.

It has a level progression tree where you build experience through defeating either bots or humans. These experience points level you from 1-50. Other than the level indicator, there is little gain in all of this. But it does show you who actually played the game enough to level up and who just came to the table to "donk" as the level is displayed in the lobby. The multiplayer consists of putting your virtual bankroll at a cash or SnG table. You are gifted 200 to start (or when broke) and you build that up. I wish there was a bot cap and the remaining chips would have to come from multiplayer, but that isn't going to happen. If you are willing to play bots for hours, you can build any bankroll you wish. There is a "ranked multiplayer", which I assume ranks you based on winn/loss and not bankroll, but I have no idea how it works. I have finished 3 SnGs, all in second place. I got 4 rank points for each. I still have no idea what it means. On the third one, despite being a ranked event, there were 3 all-ins on the first hand.

There are MTT "Events", but I have never managed to find one. There supposedly 30 minute events where you try to accumulate the most chips, Monte Carlo night style. Ugh.

The real niche of this game is for your xbox friends to get together and play. This supports Headset chat and thus you can have a pretty decent experience, despite the wonky table views (birds eye). If you are interested, let me know. My current xbox friends are all Rockband and Borderlands players, so I hope 9 of you crawl out of the shadows.

Ok, now for the real adventure... BITCOINS. Seals With Clubs poker opened up, which is a online poker room for bitcoins. This means that there is zero jurisdiction for funds, because bitcoins is a non-government backed currency. The equivalent of a community based currency. It works as long as people are willing to use it. It's a bit esoteric to wrap your mind around, so go to the site and watch there marketing video.

Now that I decide to try this, there is a ton (I mean a crap-ton) of learning. Not just how it works, but how to MAKE it work. There is a virtual wallet, which is like a portable safe. Lose it (or the combination) and it becomes a black hole. Then, there is the issue of how to deposit. Here is where the "risk meets the road" (like that?). There are brokers, merchants, cryptic messages like "Transaction status: Not funded. Seller should send the bitcoins to the temporary transaction address. " and lots of cloak and dagger type instructions featuring two factor authentication. I can purchase bitcoins for just under $30 bucks each, assuming I can find someone or somewhere to buy them from. If I want an easy transaction, I may be paying upwards of $50 for a single coin, which is an insane premium for a virtual coin.

I decide to try the local merchant route and use to find a local person to purchase from. Will this work? No idea. I am going to buy 3 coins for like $85 bucks, which is 3000 chips on seal (1 to 1000 conversion). The mission is to meet a broker in Plymouth (over a beer I assume) and trade money for a virtual "code" which contains my 3 coins. That "code" is assigned to me via the broker. At that point, I can "re-assign" the code to Seal, and in exchange for the 3 coins, they give me 3000 chips. Today, I have to arrange a "meet up"... More to come.

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