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Online Poker Players Are Turning to Bitcoin Amid Surge Past $18,000

As Bitcoin has seen a strong surge in recent weeks, gaining 86 percent since September alone, when it sat around $10,000, online gamblers increasingly look to asset as a way to take profits.

According to Bloomberg, Winning Poker Network, a network of online gambling sites, is paying 90 to 95 percent of payouts in bitcoin, which adds up to approximately $100 million each month.

The reason: it's "going up," as WPN chief executive Phil Nagy told the outlet. Nagy added that to service this demand, his company has had to buy "lots" of bitcoin, "more than we've even had to before."

Prior to the recent rally, approximately 60 percent of payouts were made in bitcoin. The recent increase represents an uptick in demand for the cryptocurrency as investors look to compound their poker gains with bitcoin.

WPN, however, doesn't hold bitcoin: as Nagy explained to Bloomberg, due to the pioneering cryptocurrency's heavy price movements, the platform converts and bitcoin to fiat as soon as it can.

Many professional poker players have entered the cryptocurrency space, both as investors and as builders.

Prominent pseudonymous cryptocurrency researcher "Hasu," for instance, used to be a professional poker player, but said he then found Bitcoin when playing poker online. The skills Hasu developed through poker, he says, applies to cryptocurrency economics quite well.

Professional poker player Doug Polk, too, is an avid Bitcoin investor. The co-founder of Blockfolio, Edward Moncada, and trader Alex Wice were also poker players prior to entering the Bitcoin ecosystem. 

With Bitcoin continuing to rally, it appears that online poker will continue to mint new Bitcoin investors and users. 

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Nick is a writer and analyst who has been following Bitcoin since 2013. When he is not writing, he works on HTC's Bitcoin phone, EXODUS.