Bitcoin Plunges, Putting Some Poker Players on Crypto-Tilt

All year long, Bitcoin has been the gift that keeps on giving. But days before the largest gift-giving holiday in the world, the only thing the cryptocurrency is giving its investors is a headache. Bitcoin’s value has taken a massive plunge in less than a week, losing more than 30 percent of its value, putting a large segment of the poker community noticeably on tilt.

Bitcoin price graph on Dec. 22

Could Bitcoin be ready to fall off a fiscal cliff, or is this just symbolic of the volatility that gives so many poker players such a thrill? (Image: Coinbase)

If you’ve paid attention to Poker Twitter the past few months, you’ve probably noticed it’s become Crypto Twitter. Poker pros have been tweeting more about the massive rise of Bitcoin than sharing tournament chip count updates.

Over the past day, however, the tweets have switched from positive to concern. On Sunday, Bitcoin’s value hit $19,800, a record for the currency. By Friday morning, it dropped all the way down to $10,400 before soon rebounding to a shade over $12,800 at late-morning.

For those who invested prior to the start of the year, the plunge isn’t a killer. After all, one Bitcoin was only valued at a tick below $1,000 on January 1. But investors who hopped on board later in the year after the currency had already skyrocketed to unexpected levels are desperately hoping for a rebound.

Cult of Cryptocurrency

Outspoken high-stakes pro Doug Polk, who also happens to own a new cryptocurrency news and advice website, made light of the situation with a bit of sarcasm.

“If crypto drops much lower I might have to head back to the micro stakes I’m supposed to be playing anyway,” he joked on Twitter in reference to the $100 to $10,000 bankroll challenge he began over a year ago on and still hasn’t completed.

Polk is one of many high-stakes players who have incessantly tweeted about Bitcoin the past year, charting its meteoric rise.

Brian Rast, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and 2015 Aria Super High Roller Bowl champion, is another habitual crypto tweeter who also serves as an advisor for an Ethereum-based online poker site. (Ethereum is another popular form of cryptocurrency that has seen a big dip in recent days.)

Rast remains optimistic about the potential for Bitcoin (BTC), but argued that its recent spinoff, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), isn’t a viable long-term investment.

“BTC’s primary value is as a digital permanent record, decentralized and controlled by no one. This isn’t a feature, it’s THE feature. It’s not as money to buy things (yet), we’ve [got] cash/visa for that in meantime. BCH might do that better atm but it’s not transformatively valuable,” he posted.

Scott Seiver wasn’t ready to freak out over the recent plunge. He posted a simple message for his fellow Bitcoin investors: “Trust The Process.”

Funny Money

Jason Mercier took the opportunity to talk smack to those investing. He joked, “Everyone was a genius…Until today.”

Mike “Timex” McDonald also found humor in the Bitcoin drop.

“This sucks. I haven’t been this poor in like two weeks.”

McDonald is far from poor. He’s one of the top online poker pros and has more than $13 million in lifetime live tournament winnings. But he said he bought a “boatload of BCH at the literal top,” so he’s taking a loss unless the price rises, which it very well could.

The overall consensus was that It’s not time to push the panic button just yet, though many on social media appear concerned. This is the seventh 30 percent or higher plunge Bitcoin has seen this year. Each time, the drop has been followed by a massive increase.

So amid all the skepticism, there are still plenty of gamblers who see the current dip as a prime buying opportunity.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.


Jere Rivard wrote...

Of course it went down, now you can short Bitcoin on the exchange…………DURR

albosaltenio wrote...

I do not understand ben on the subject. but I also do not understand how it can be worth to much something that is intangible and with which nothing can be bought.

For some time I have been thinking that physical money will be replaced by a currency like this and maybe the BTC is the currency that plummets to the dollar and other strong currencies. now we have to see if the world’s great wealthy people like this or try to block this coin.

apparently it is a currency which will not be able to be controlled by the tax collection agency and insurance at some point will have legal problems.

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