Bitcoin online poker room SealswithClubs.com is no more. SwCPoker.eu has risen in its place. As Seals chairman Bryan Micon promised in February, his poker site was down but not out, re-launching on Friday with its new brand.
The SwC saga dates back to the morning of February 11th, when Micon’s Las Vegas home was raided by Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) agents and armed law enforcement officers. According to Micon in a video he posted to explain the incident, he was led out of his house handcuffed and dressed only in his underwear. The agents remained in his home for eight hours and confiscated his computers and electronics. Micon stressed that he was not placed under arrest.
It was that day that SealswithClubs went down, leaving its players wondering what was going on. As the days went on and the site did not get back up and running, the poker community began wondering if it was something more than just a technical problem. SealswithClubs management finally decided to officially shut everything down on February 20th and e-mailed customers to let them know what was happening. While the e-mail did not go into detail about the raid (it did not mention it at all), it assured players that their funds were safe.
That Micon was not arrested was important, as he was free to leave the United States and move to Antigua, where he got going on setting up SwCPoker.eu. In his video, Micon said that a move was being planned before the raid, but the unexpected “visit” by law enforcement forced him to expedite the process.
The new site is effectively the same as the old one, albeit already a bit expanded and more polished. Upon launch, Micon posted a celebratory message on the SwC blog, writing:
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.
As mentioned, SwCPoker is a bitcoin online poker room, as was its predecessor, SealswithClubs. The site uses the cyber-currency bitcoin exclusively, eschewing all traditional currencies such as the U.S. dollar. Even player balances are denoted in bitcoin and chips on the table are simply counted as chips, not as a currency. One chip on SwCPoker equals one one-hundredth of a bitcoin.
The only information a player needs to register an account on SwCPoker is an e-mail address. Of course, a bitcoin wallet is necessary to deposit and withdraw funds. The site feels that this minimal amount of information is the best way to go. “We here at SwCPoker flatly reject the idea that an online poker room should require your personal information,” the site’s FAQ reads. “We believe the online poker experience should be similar to a live cardroom, whereby players can buy chips, play, and cash out anonymously. By using bitcoin, SwCPoker can securely, anonymously and quickly process chip transactions without requiring any documentation.”
One bitcoin is currently valued at approximately USD $274.