Amid the rise of Bitcoin casino, SealsWithClubs remains to be the top pick among Bitcoin poker enthusiasts. Now headed by Bryan Micon, who learned about Bitcoin and the largest Bitcoin-only poker site in 2011, SealsWithClubs is gearing up for significant upgrades. I chatted with Bryan and found a lot of interesting bits of details, including the priority the platform gives on security.
What is the main inspiration behind SealsWithClubs?
Black Friday, when poker players across the USA were put out of a job. It was running when I got here, which was only a few months after its inception, but it wasn’t my idea to start it.
Were you already aware of Bitcoin back then, though? What was your story?
I found BTC personally after seeing a #LulzSec defaced webpage asking for tips. I was like, “how can they take tips!?” and that’s when I saw a bitcoin address for the first time. My history is well documented on bitcointalk.org. I started calling out scams like Pirateat40 and Butterfly Labs. I’ve been a pro poker player for over a decade so I naturally used bitcoin to do what I know.
What can you say are the best things about SealsWithClubs?
The consistency of our cashout for the past ~3 years of operation, pure bitcoin poker site, and worldwide players.
How about the greatest accomplishments you’ve had while operating it?
Launching proper Android and PC / Mac / Linux clients. That really made us available on all of your devices. I am personally proud of the large affiliate network I have built. The greatest accomplishments all go to ST6 and their various technological brilliance that is the fuel that runs SwC. Our software engineers are some of the smartest men I have ever had the pleasure to trade words with.
Have there been challenges that surprised you?
I was most surprised at the number of females that play SwC, but that wasn’t really a challenge.
Let’s talk about setbacks or snags that you have encountered while manning the Bitcoin poker room.
Our biggest snag ever was a hack we suffered end of 2013. One of our hosts got social’d in a really embarrassing way. It also exposed legacy security flaws that ST6 missed because quite frankly they weren’t that strong yet. It was a wakeup call and I am very proud of how the team responded. Our user tables are so salted and hashed now Elton Brown was going to serve them as a signature dish. We expanded ST6 and spent the next 5 months or so making little progress towards features and instead securing our systems. The feel-good ending to this story is that no bitcoins were lost. Players did have to do an annoying password reset, but no coins were lost, and I think that is the ultimate metric in this game.
That’s great, but is the security of your platform ready to take on future attacks?
I have full confidence in ST6. SwC may be the oldest centralized holder of bitcoins that has not been compromised. I think that makes us most secure as a function of time. I am not technologically proficient enough to properly understand the security architecture of the system, so I speak more in levels of trust. I personally trust SwC to hold some of my bitcoins.
And it looks like more players do just the same. Can we expect something big from SealswithClubs in the future, though?
We are going to get sick with it. Build many games, make the krill rewards system really fun, have many different and more fringe poker games, anything to make it really fun and different. Also, beta.sealswithclubs.eu went live a few weeks ago.
Definitely going to be looking forward to that. How has the feedback of your players been so far?
The response is overwhelmingly positive.
Would you mind sharing an advice with other similar brands or platforms that are just starting out?
The space is exploding, be as transparent as possible.
What are your thoughts on the legalization and regulation of cryptocurrency for gambling?
I am not knowledgeable enough in the field to do anything but speculate, I dropped out of Indiana University and hold no professional titles of any sort.
How about the Bitcoin price?
That it will generally trend higher over time as the world adopts it.
One last thing, Bryan. If SealsWithClubs has a mission statement, what would it be?
“Vigilantly working to keep our bitcoin poker site secure”
Thank you very much for your time. It’s a real pleasure!