Seals with Clubs closed in February 2015, and a new site SWCPoker opened a few weeks later. In April 2015, owner Bryan Micon was charged with operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system by the office of Nevada´s Attorney General, after which the traffic on SWCPoker plummeted. Now there are only a handful of players at the site and, for a more suitable alternative for Bitcoin poker, we recommend that you try BetOnline instead.
Seals with Clubs was first launched in August of 2011 following the events of Black Friday. Established by a team of regular poker players, and headed by poker professional Bryan Micon, Seals with Clubs is the only one of all the online poker sites for Bitcoin poker which accepts players from all over the world.
The Bitcoin-exclusive online poker site went through a transition in early 2015 when server issues and federal action combined to temporarily force Seals with Clubs to close. Like a phoenix from the flames, a second version of Seals with Clubs was launched on March 2nd – just ten days after SWC V.1 went offline – and it is the new version of the site on which this review of Seals with Clubs is based.
SWC Poker is one of the few online poker sites not to offer a first deposit bonus, but they make up with by offering the lowest rake of any major poker site if you use SWC Poker affiliate code USABONUS, up to 50 percent rakeback and a stack of regular freerolls in which players can win Bitcoins to enter into their valuable and often undersubscribed guaranteed tournaments.
The variety of games available on SWC Poker has grown substantially since the new software was launched. In addition to “cash” games of Texas Hold´em and Omaha, SWC Poker now offers players the opportunity to test their skills at a variety of Stud and Draw games, as well as Badeucey, Badacey, Open Face Chinese (OFC) and OFC Pineapple (an explanation of how to play OFC is provided on the web site).
While the relaunched site is in its infancy, SWC Poker is offering players a stack of freeroll tournaments and bringing in the Sunday Specials gradually. Those hoping for a share in the BIG BTC tournament that used to guarantee 60 BTC in the prize pool will be disappointed to learn that the highest value tournament currently guarantees 10 BTC, but we are sure the size of the prize will grow as more players return to the site.
Since its relaunch, SWC Poker has possibly become more popular than its predecessor. The site frequently registers several hundred players competing at its cash game tables, with hundreds more participating in the freeroll and paid for tournaments. Much of this growth in traffic is attributable to the availability of OFC and OFC Pineapple – which can account for up to 50% of the cash game traffic.
With the concept of playing poker for Bitcoin gradually gaining traction and more players being attracted to SWC Poker due to the availability of “non-standard” poker disciplines, we would suggest that the volume of traffic at the site is going to grow quickly. We forecast that SWC Poker may soon be challenging some of the mainstream networks as the most popular US-friendly poker site.
The SWC Poker software has significantly improved since we first wrote a review of Seals with Clubs. Gone is the former unstable PokerMaven software, and in its place is a completely new software package that has been built from scratch. Many of the improvements included in the new SWC Poker software are there because they were suggested by players, and if you can think of anything that would improve your Bitcoin poker experience, the software team at SWC Poker are prepared to listen.
Banking and Withdrawals
This is where SWC Poker shines. Once your Bitcoin account (not your poker account) is set up and funded, transfers in and out of your SWC Poker account are practically instant. Withdrawals over 20 BTC may take up to 12 hours to be authenticated, but compared to the months many USA poker players have had to wait for checks to arrive, we can live with 12 hours.
The overall impression if you never played on the former SealswithClubs.eu software is this is a fairly good online poker site with plenty of opportunities for respectable poker players to enjoy a lucrative poker experience. If you did play on the site before its February 2015 closure, you should definitely check out the new software and games, and witness for yourself the higher volumes of traffic and action at the tables.
In our original review of Seals with Clubs Poker, we mentioned that we loved the anonymity of playing online poker with Bitcoin, and although players do now have to register an email address before playing on the site, there are still scores of players signing up for an account with SWC Poker because of the novelty of using Bitcoin to play poker and because of the fantastic choice of games that is available.
We would like to conclude our review of SWC Poker with a quote that we used in our original review of the Bitcoin poker site. On the old SWC blog, one player had stated that
SWC uses a system that I think helps people to play better poker, helping disassociate the chips on the table and their real money value.
We (still) believe he is right!