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    Stake Guides is where you can find various articles and resources that are aimed to help improve education within the crypto gambling sphere.

    • Jarrod
      You may have seen the recent boom in the scope of social media around the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This has extended to a huge presence on websites such as Youtube and Reddit; thus, we thought we would give our players a more detailed analysis on the importance of using a VPN, and why it’s something our players can take real benefit from.
      A VPN is a service that ensures your cyber safety by encrypting your internet traffic. It protects your online identity and is something that we know our players value quite highly. Simply, it is like sending a box to somebody that is completely packaged away.
      Why should I use a VPN?
      - Using a VPN ensures your personal information is secure. Hackers do exist, but their impact on a person using a VPN is nullified. Your information is truly kept out of the wrong hands.
      - A VPN ensures end-to-end encryption, which means there is zero chance that anybody can see what you are doing. Without this, at any point, anybody can see your information.
      - You simply browse the internet with complete anonymity. Some prefer to have their accounts on Stake set to hidden, so that their name is not shown to the rest of the community. This tells us that many of you will appreciate the added online safety.
      - Some websites, including our own, are blocked in certain regions. Using a VPN allows for people to use websites from wherever they are, no matter the website restriction.
      - VPN’s can provide you with an IP address from another country.
      - Connecting to a VPN will route your traffic through another country - ultimately providing better bandwidth. Fast gaming means happy gamers.

      Which VPNs should I use?
      A single ExpressVPN subscription gets you access to over 3000 fast servers in 94 countries. It is on the pricy side, but it is one of the highest quality VPNs available.
      No other VPN service can match NordVPN’s server count, with over 5000 servers in 60 countries. They also come fully loaded with a kill switch.
      IPVanish offers access to 1300 servers in 75 countries, whilst also offering up to 10 simultaneous connections.
      Private Internet Access (PIA) have the fourth fastest server speed, with a price that is extremely respectable in comparison to its competitiors.
      For its price, Mullvad is one of the best value-for-money VPNs out there. They are one of the cheapest, despite having the 10th best server speed on the net.
      For $2 a month at the time of writing, you cannot go wrong with Surfshark. Accompany its stellar price with 800 servers in 51 countries, as well as its ability to be used on an unlimited number of devices, Surfshark is a popular VPN choice.
      We feel that these VPNs are the most safe and reliable in the industry. We recommend our players use these VPN services to ensure the utmost safety and privacy in their gaming.
      Please note: This is not a sponsored article. We are concerned that our players are subject to a lack of cyber safety, and we are ensuring that we do our due diligence by letting you all know this. While we may recommend the websites above, we cannot guarantee impeccable performance.

    • Jarrod
      The introduction of Sportsbook on the Stake platform is beyond exciting - it is a product that is going to change the game. With millions of different outcomes, no bet will be the same. A feature that many will already know how to use, is placing a multi. This is a bet where you combine the odds from a number of matches or markets to create a huge multiplier. The bet wins if all of the legs that you’ve selected are winners.
      But this type of betting isn’t just limited to Sportsbook. You can do these types of bets on Stake Casino.
      With formulas ready-made for you throughout this guide, you will be able to place multi’s on one of Stake’s most popular games - Dice.
      Remember that a multi is a bet that requires you to win every single ‘leg’ within the bet, in order to be a winner. Some people forget you can actually get the exact same profit from betting three times with a 2x payout, than one time with an 8x payout.
      Let’s say we are doing exactly that - putting 2 Dogecoin on a 3 leg multi, with every bet having a payout of 2x.
      Our final payout if we won all of our three legs would be 16 Dogecoin. This is because (2x2x2) is 8. And we are placing 2 Doge on this x8 multi - equalling 16.
      To get the most out of this table, you need to fill in the green boxes. The blue boxes will work out themselves once all green boxes are completed.

      So we are saying my current balance is 300 Doge The payout I want is 2x I want to bet three times I am wagering 2 Doge The blue boxes have now calculated:
      My balance whether I win or lose The odds of my multi and my potential winnings What I need to set my ‘On Win’ and ‘On Loss’ numbers Seeing this put into practice on Stake will look like this:

      It’s simple, if I win all three bets - I win 16 Doge! This is exactly the same as placing a three-leg multi on Sportsbook, where all of my legs pay $2. If I lose, I lose just 2 doge.
      If you want to do this the other way around, we have also created a part of the spreadsheet that can give you the exact payout you need to win your own multi. You just need to choose your winnings and the number of legs you wish to have in your game.

      Pick the return you want Pick how many bets you think you can consecutively win Then see the generated payout that you need to set  
      Download your own Stake Multi Betting guide here!

    • Jarrod
      Video poker may just look just like a slot machine, but its appearance is not entirely what meets the eye. They may have a lot in common, such as it’s user friendly nature and it’s lack of interaction with players or even a dealer. But video poker or ‘poker slots’ actually requires skill.
      Played skillfully, video poker machines offer odds that are better than any other game. If you can be part of the minority that know how to play video poker properly, you will make a profit. Casinos make money off those who casually play, who rely on luck rather than skill.
      So how do you play perfect video poker? Despite luck being a key part in winning or losing hands in video poker, playing perfect video poker still requires strategy - like most games. Playing with some level of system increases your chances and minimises the house edge that exists in all casino games. There is a basic strategy and a more advanced strategy, that both simply involve which cards you should throw away after being dealt your first hand.
      Low cards are virtually pointless in video poker, unless they look as if they are going to result in a three of a kind, straight or flush. Any low card in any hand that doesn’t fit into any of these can be discarded. Because of the jacks or better nature of the game, a pair of anything under a jack is also pointless if they cannot be turned into something better.
      In saying that, low pairs can be important, as they could result in a three of a kind or even a four of a kind.
      Cards above a jack should be kept even if they have no pair, or look like they have any connection to any other cards. High unsuited cards are valuable to you, so try to keep them in most cases, while discarding any low card that does not connect to any other cards in some way.
      However, the potential of a low straight is worth more to you than high cards. If you have three or four low cards that have the chance of resulting in a straight or flush, and two high cards that aren’t giving you much, keep the low cards and go for the straight.
      Key takeaways
      Sounds simple, but high unsuited cards are worth more to you than low unsuited cards Low pairs can be important, but you need to decide if they are worth more than high unsuited cards such as aces and kings Low straights are important. Discard higher cards if you need to, in order to get a low straight or flush.  

      Prioritising cards and making decisions on what cards to get rid of is also extremely important to advanced video poker players. They tend to play the percentages a little bit more. For example; if you have been dealt two high cards and three cards that straight flush, you should get rid of the three cards. This is because you have a better chance of making something with your two higher cards than actually completing your straight flush. Mathematics and percentages agree with this.
      However, when dealing with low cards and the chance for a straight, the straight is of high importance. More experienced poker players tend to prioritise winning small amounts regularly, higher than big amounts every so often.
      Another example of this involves when players have four cards to a straight. The most important cards, and the ones that are more vital to the player, are the cards on the ends; not cards that could be used to fill a gap.
      Advanced players also value the chance of getting a straight flush rather than a royal flush, if the cards dealt lean more towards a straight flush - even though the payouts are substantially different. If you have three cards of a straight flush and two of a royal flush, bank on getting a straight flush as you have a higher percentage of this than getting a royal flush - it’s quite simple.
      If you have a low pair but are two or three cards to a straight/flush - keep the lower pair. However, if you have four cards to one of these, keep them.
      If you have a flush but are just two cards away from a royal flush, your flush is still going to be a winner. Keep it and don’t be greedy.
      Prioritising cards and making decisions on what cards to get rid of is also extremely important to advanced video poker players.
      Key takeaways
      Play the percentages Keep cards that have a higher percentage of getting you something - don’t rely on luck A low three of a kind or a high pair is better than missing out on a royal flush by one card  

      If you need more help, check out The Wizard of Odds - Video Poker Hand Analyser to ensure you're keeping the right cards at all times!
      Whether you’re a beginner or you are experienced, these strategies require time and thinking. This is a pro of playing video poker in comparison to real poker. There is less pressure and time restraint on you. Take your time and think about the percentages in play. Ultimately, video poker players should keep cards which give them a higher chance of winning, rather than keeping hands that could win them more money. Video Poker is one of the games available on the biggest Bitcoin site on the internet, Stake.com.

    • Jarrod
      Blackjack is one of the oldest card games to ever exist, with its first mention of it being in the late 16th century. Despite trying to get as close to 21 as possible, the most important thing is beating the dealer. Whether a real dealer or a dealer on an online game, there is a house edge that you need to minimise in order to be a consistent winner. There are strategies that players need to base their game around, in order to play what can be called perfect blackjack.
      Many players play with something that is called an optimal strategy, which is the closest thing to maximising your chances at winning every blackjack hand.
      Hard or Soft hand?
      Before getting into strategy, it is important to know the difference between hard and soft hands. The difference is simply one card. This card is the ace. If you have an ace and an eight, you have a soft 19. If you have a ten and a nine, this is a hard 19.
      In blackjack, splitting can occur when you are dealt two of the same card. When this happens, you have the option of splitting - before being dealt two more cards. This also means your bet is doubled. You have the chance to beat the dealer twice.
      One of the most important strategies in playing perfect blackjack is to split your 8s. The reason for this is pretty logical. 16 is a number in blackjack that is more than likely not going to lead to a winning hand if you don’t split. 16 means just a six or higher will mean that you bust, and it is also a number that a dealer will be able to beat with their first two cards.
      A pair of 8s is still not an ideal position especially when your dealer has a nine or ten, but is more likely to win you more over time if you do indeed split, rather than chancing your hand at holding and trying to draw a card that is five or less.
      Splitting 9s can also be of some importance to a blackjack player too - except when the dealer is showing a seven. If the dealer is showing a seven, it is somewhat likely that they are going to have a hand of 17 - meaning they need to stand. This is going by the assumption that any card you cannot see, is a card with the value of ten. This is an assumption that all players should go by, considering there are more cards in the deck with the value of ten than any other value.
      Some players also opt to split their 10s, which is probably only a move you would see from more experienced players. Having a hand of 20 is more than likely going to get you in the money, but some players like to chance their hand at winning more.

      There aren’t that many points in a game of blackjack where doubling down is a great idea, despite many thinking that putting more money on and in turn, winning more money, is the ideal scenario.
      There are more cards in the deck that have a value of 10 than any other value, by quite a bit too. As we said, it is important to assume that any card you can’t see is a 10. Because of this, you only want to double down when the value of your two cards is 11 or less. That way, it is impossible to bust. Remember you only get one more card when you double down also, so doubling down when the value of your two cards is less than seven or eight is entirely pointless.
      Doubling on 11 is imperative, and is a tactic that must be used.
      It is also important to notice what card you can see that the dealer has. If their first card is a six or seven, they could be suspect to getting a 16 or 17, which are numbers that put them in the danger zone. From here, they are likely to bust, which means you are a winner.
      Getting as close as you can to 21 without busting is one of the aims of blackjack, other than of course beating the dealer. However, with the average winning hand in blackjack being just over 18, anything at 18 or over is enough to give yourself a good chance of beating the dealer.
      Assume that the next card the dealer is going to get will be a ten. If the dealer shows a ten, you must hit on 16. Once again, assuming that the dealers second card is a 10, which will give them 20. 16 means you must hit. You have more of a chance of hitting and getting lucky than sitting on a 16 and hoping for the best.
      You should only stand if you believe you are going to beat the dealer, or if the dealer is going to bust. An important thing to remember is that the dealer must hit on 16 and stand on 17.
      Optimal strategy says you need to stand on a hard 12 when the dealer is showing 4-6, and on a hard 13-16 when the dealer is showing 2-6.
      Always stand on a hard 17 or more.
      Always stand on a soft 19 or more.
      Always stand on a soft 18 except when the dealer is showing a 9, 10 or A.

      Playing blackjack still relies heavily on the house edge that comes with any casino game. Keeping a strong strategy can reduce the house edge from 5% to as low as 0.5%, which is ultimately going to make you as much money as possible - with a better chance of beating the dealer. Blackjack is one of the games available on the biggest Bitcoin site on the internet, Stake.com.

    • Jarrod
      Understanding the Bitcoin Price Chart
      There are two main types of analysis used in trading. When deciding to buy Bitcoin or any alt-coin for that matter, traders get their information in one of two different ways. The first method used is to look at the bigger picture; does the coin have a good team behind it? Does the coin solve a problem that needs to be solved? What is happening on the world stage that might influence the coin? This type of analysis is known as Fundamental Analysis.
      The second type of analysis that traders use when deciding to invest in an asset is Technical Analysis. Technical Analysis concerns price charts. These charts allow traders to view the current price of an asset alongside historic trading patterns. This is the type of analysis you have likely seen if you've watched the movie The Wolf Of Wall Street.
      In this lesson, we will examine a Bitcoin price chart. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to read a price chart and understand the information that it displays.
      How to read a Bitcoin price chart
      At first sight, a price chart looks complicated, but don't be put off by this. Once you know what you are looking at, the charts are very easy to understand.
      Here is a bitcoin price chart for the year to date:

      Plotted at the bottom of the chart horizontally are the months of the year and on the right-hand side of the chart plotted on the vertical axis you will see the price of bitcoin in USD.
      The red and green blocks are known as candlesticks. A candlestick is a great way of visualizing how well a coin performed over any given period of time. In the above chart, each candlestick corresponds to a particular day.
      Candlesticks have a very long history, in fact, candlesticks were invented in China about 400 years ago, back then they were used to analyze rice markets during times of war. Today they are used all over the world to analyze stocks, shares, and of course coin performance.
      The name candlestick derives from the way the visual tool represents a candle, you will see why if we zoom in on the chart:

      In the above graphic there are thirteen candlesticks. The block of each candlestick is known as the real body. If you look closely you will notice that the blocks have vertical lines extending from them in both directions up and down. The line that extends below the real body is termed the lower wick and the line that extends up from the real body is known as the upper wick.
      You can see the various parts of the candlestick labelled below:

      Candlesticks are usually red or green. A red candlestick indicates that the price closed lower than it opened at (so the coin lost value over that trading period), conversely a green candlestick represents an increase in value, the coin closed higher than it opened at. Sometimes the candlestick that represents an increase in price is coloured white instead of green, but both mean exactly the same thing.
      The wicks show the highest and lowest prices the coin achieved during the given trading period.
      As you can see, the candlestick packs a wealth of information into a very useful succinct format. At a glance, you can very easily see if the coin lost or gained value, what the highest and lowest price points were and where the price opened and closed at.
      If the coin you are looking at has a large number of red candlesticks in close proximity, this is known as a bearish trend. It indicates that the coin is currently losing value. If on the other hand, the coin you are looking at has more green candlesticks than red in close proximity, this is known as a bullish trend and is an indicator that the coin is currently gaining in value.
      What next?
      Price charts are very useful for anyone that is interested in cryptocurrency. Not only can you see the current price of a coin, but now you know how to read candlesticks you can easily spot trends in performance.
      If you are thinking of investing in a coin it's a smart idea to check the price charts out before you do so to find a good point of entry. There are certain candlestick patterns that come up time and time again on price charts; the patterns candlesticks fall into on a price chart allow traders to predict (within probabilistic likelihood) what will happen with a coin in the future.
      If you would like to learn more about candlestick patterns, you might want to explore this article on Investopedia which examines common candlestick patterns and discusses what each pattern signifies.
      Where to access cryptographic price charts
      Different services provide access to different types of charts, some charts are basic while others have more advanced features.
      A good service for accessing basic price charts is coinmarketcap.com. Coinmarketcap has price data on 895 coins (at the time of writing).
      Coinmarketcap is great for getting a feel for how a coin is performing over time. However, if you are deciding to invest in a coin, you likely want more information than is displayed on the Coinmarketcap charts.

      For more advanced charts we recommend Trading View. Trading View is a site that provides free stock charts on just about any asset you can imagine. The free version of Trading View is packed with various charts and analytical tools and will give you more than enough data to get up and running with bitcoin price analysis.
      To access the charts open a free account using the link above and click on the chart icon from the main webpage.

    • Jarrod
      Many Coins, One Blockchain: Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin Private Explained
      A blockchain is a valuable thing. It is the representation of immutable data - a public record not hidden away from the view of the public. Traditional blockchains are secured with “proof of work", which means the amount of cycles spent by computers around the global network backing a given blockchain. Blockchains benefit by there being multiple, potentially millions or more, copies, all of which agree with each other. Two copies of a blockchain must agree with each other or they are either both invalid or separately valid.
      When the latter case happens, and a disagreement is found, a “hard fork” takes place. Hard forks can happen every 10 minutes if the system were more dysfunctional. Essentially, a hard fork means that there are now multiple, competing, conflicting versions of history. In one blockchain, this set of transactions took place, while in the other it never did. Usually hard forks are not a big deal. The network will have a clearly defined winner and that is the chain that will be mined. However, occasionally hard forks happen in which enough people support the minority chain that it continues on.
      In some cases, this is done very intentionally, while in others, a disagreement is reached and rather than find some middle ground, the two blockchains go their separate ways. This is what happened with Ethereum Classic. A hack enabled someone to steal millions of Ether and rather than allow that to stand, the Ethereum community hard forked to make these transactions null and void. Ultimately a minority did not agree that this should be done and continued mining the original Ethereum, renaming it Ethereum Classic. Ethereum Classic still exists today.
      Bitcoin Cash
      After a long scaling debate in the Bitcoin community, it became clear that there were two very different philosophical approaches emerging. One side believed that simple on-chain scaling is the way forward -- that the maximum size of each block in the Bitcoin blockchain should first be increased before other discussions of scaling solutions made any sense.
      When Bitcoin developers applied the patch resulting from Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91, which instructed the network to begin rejecting blocks created by nodes which do not support Segregated Witness, people with the “on-chain” view of scaling decided to hard fork the network, immediately increasing the maximum size of blocks to 8MB from 2MB.
      For a time, there was speculation that the majority of the Bitcoin mining network might support the new chain as opposed to Bitcoin, but this never took place. There was a degree of network instability as miners algorithmically switched between networks based on the value of Bitcoin Cash.
      Most importantly for the user, Bitcoin Cash meant free money for Bitcoin holders. Yep, that’s right - all the people who had money on the Bitcoin blockchain also had money on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. Since there was an active community developing around Bitcoin Cash, most exchanges made it possible, if not always easy, to convert Bitcoin Cash to Bitcoin or fiat currencies.
      Bitcoin Gold
      Bitcoin Gold has exactly the same properties as Bitcoin Cash, in that people who held Bitcoin before its launch also held Bitcoin Gold, but rather than forking due to the scalability debate, Bitcoin Gold was created with the purpose of changing the way Bitcoin is mined. Bitcoin Gold’s primary difference is that it uses Equihash as opposed to SHA256 for mining, which means that the amount of available dedicated hardware is lower and therefore “centralization” of Bitcoin mining -- a situation in which only a few interests are in control of Bitcoin mining -- is undone.
      For the most part, Bitcoin Gold has not been very successful when compared to Bitcoin Cash, which has maintained a reasonably high price in relation to Bitcoin and continues to see new services launched on it.
      Bitcoin Private
      Bitcoin Private has the Bitcoin blockchain in common with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold, but it also has the blockchain history of Zcash. The purpose of Bitcoin Private is to bring the privacy and protocol improvements created in Zcash to the Bitcoin blockchain. If you held Zcash and Bitcoin before the launch of Bitcoin private, you get rewarded proportionally for both. There is no special process for claiming your currency, and the developers are not “in control” of you receiving it. The nature of using the Bitcoin blockchain is that its previous holders must be respected for any fork to have legitimacy.
      So, Which One Is Bitcoin?
      An unfortunate potential side effect of all this forking around is that people just coming into the cryptocurrency scene might have a hard time understanding which one is the one they’ve heard so much about. While certain proponents in any single community will always try to spell it as the “one true coin,” the only Bitcoin is the one with the original blockchain and the current consensus rules in place. Bitcoin Cash and the others have as much right to the word “Bitcoin” as Bitcoin itself does, but simply invoking it does not make these products into bitcoins.

    • Jarrod
      How can I buy Bitcoin with Paypal?
      Buying Bitcoin can be a difficult experience. If you’re not careful, you can overpay or lose your money in the process. While there are many good ways to buy Bitcoin, most of them require a long process of signing up for the exchange and waiting for bank transfers to clear. Centralised services like Coinbase work well, but they have limits on the amount one can purchase.
      People coming into Bitcoin may wonder if there is an easier way to buy Bitcoin, one that doesn’t involve long sign-up processes and strict limits on trades. The answer is that there is a peer-to-peer marketplace, in the spirit of Bitcoin, which allows for any payment methods to be used, including Paypal, which this guide will focus on.
      Sign Up and Start Trading
      Obviously, the first thing you need to start buying Bitcoin with Paypal is a Paypal account. You also need a LocalBitcoins account. You may at some point have to verify your personal information with the exchange, but the process is much less invasive than other online exchanges, and no bank account is required.
      Find The Right Price
      The next thing you’ll want to do is filter the advertisements to find one that is selling Bitcoin for Paypal. You can use the filtering tool in the upper portion of the website to do this. Now you’ll want to have a look at advertisements in your price range. You’ll notice many of them have minimum purchases. The higher the minimum purchase that you can afford to satisfy, the better the prices you will find. People buying and selling small amounts of Bitcoin tend to do it at a higher price. To get an idea of what you should be paying versus what people are charging on LocalBitcoins, you can go to Preev.com and see the current average across exchanges.
      Make the First Move
      When buying Bitcoin with Paypal, you will have to send your payment before you can expect your currency to be released by the seller. There is a dispute process that can be used with the LocalBitcoins support staff if you have a problem, but ordinarily, it’s in the best interest of both parties to carry a trade through to its faithful completion. As such, all you need to do is send payment to the correct Paypal address and then inform the seller that you’ve done so. They should release it within 15 or 20 minutes after that.
      Tips of the Trade
      Get Good Feedback
      LocalBitcoins works like eBay or any other peer-to-peer marketplace - the feedback system is everything. Creating a new account and trading on LocalBitcoins means that you will be an unknown quantity and will need to put some time in before you can expect traders to automatically trust you. The seller, after all, is the one taking all the risk.
      If you happen to be using a hacked Paypal account or have some other means to scam the system, then it is the seller who will lose their money, not you. That is why it is advisable to do several smaller trades at first. You can't expect to get the best rates when first starting out, but by doing small trades and showing multiple people that you are serious about your trading, you’ll build up a positive feedback profile faster.
      Follow Directions
      Answer any special questions the seller might have for you, and be forthcoming in all interactions. Follow directions - if they say you need to scan and send a copy of your identification, then that’s what you need to do. Going the extra mile and helping your sellers check whatever boxes they need for their process is a path to getting good reviews and thereby increasing your trade volume.
      Use Good English
      Although LocalBitcoins is growing around the globe, English-speaking locations still seem to dominate trading, especially in Paypal and other Western-style second-level payment solutions. Therefore, it is helpful in peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading to use good language skills. If you don’t understand what someone is saying, ask them to clarify or use a translation tool. Avoiding misunderstandings is the best way to avoid problems and bad feedback.