Eleven years ago, in March 2010, a group of enthusiasts from the bitcointalk forum played what was touted as the first bitcoin forum online poker challenge event. The creator organized it using 1500 bitcoins as rewards, which were worth around $120 at the time. Fast-forward to March 2021, and that same amount costs more – significantly more – about $80,000,000.
BTC Used In a Friendly Poker Game
The year is 2010, and bitcoin is still a baby with essentially nonexistent applications. This is far before the current institutions’ mania, before ever being considered as digital gold, and even before it was traded on exchanges.
However, one of the first and most popular BTC-related forums, bitcointalk, did exist. In it, a user under the BitcoinFX handle had an idea to host a friendly tournament of Texas Hold ’em. Unlike the traditional games, though, this one had a little twist – instead of using fiat currencies, the host decided to use “no real money – we are playing for electronic bottle tops only” – he meant bitcoin.
He invited anyone who wanted to join with a maximum cap of ten people. The rewards were as follows:
“4 places will be paid. 1st – 750 bitcoins, 2nd – 375 bitcoins, 3rd – 250 bitcoins, 4th – 125 bitcoins (based on 10 players.”
Consequently, the entire pool was supposed to be of 1,500 bitcoins. BitcoinFX said that he will provide 1,000 BTC from himself, while the remaining players had to send 55 BTC as an entry fee.
The Multi-Million Dollar Prize Pool
Although every bitcoin proponent will say that 1 BTC equals 1 BTC and it shouldn’t be compared to fiat currencies, the cryptocurrency is still predominantly weighed against traditional money such as the dollar. As such, it’s compelling to review the aforementioned poker game in terms of USD back then and today.
That’s somewhat challenging, having in mind that it’s tricky to determine BTC’s price in USD that far back. However, data from Investopedia says that the cryptocurrency traded between $0.0008 and $0.08 in 2010. If we take the highest price of $0.08 per bitcoin, that means that the 1,500 BTC price pool was worth $120 in March 2010.
It’s quite remarkable what has happened with bitcoin’s price since then. In fact, it’s doubtful that any one of the participants could have imagined how much their bitcoins would be worth just over a decade later.
So, just for comparison, let’s look at the numbers now. With BTC’s price trading at around $53,000 now, it means that the asset has skyrocketed by about 66,250,000% in eleven years. Yes, that’s over 66 million (%).
This makes the entire prize pool worth 79,500,000. Yes, that’s almost $80 million. Just for reference, the 2019 World Series of Poker (the 50th annual tournament of the largest poker event) had a prize pool of $80,548,600.
If we break the prizes down to participants, it would mean that the winner’s BTC would have a value of close to $40,000,000, 2nd place – nearly $20,000,000, 3rd place – $13,250,000, and 4th place – $6,625,000.
Moreover, the entry fee alone of 55 bitcoins equals almost $3 million with today’s prices.