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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
      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.

    • Jarrod
      Safely Storing Bitcoin
      From the moment you begin acquiring Bitcoin or winning them on Stake, bad actors in the world want to separate you from them. Hackers frequently steal funds from exchanges and other online services, while malware and other security hazards illegally capture the funds of everyday users.
      In order to safely store your Bitcoin, you first need to understand a few things about the design of the Bitcoin system.
      Cryptography is almost as old as human language itself, and at its heart simply means securing a message or piece of information so that only the intended parties are able to access or understand it. Cryptography has been vital to computer systems from very early on -- in fact, one of the first computers in the modern era was dedicated to breaking German cryptography, the Turing machine.
      Cryptography has a lot to do with Bitcoin, which uses a form called public-key cryptography. For our purposes, a Bitcoin public address can be understood as a public key. Most cryptocurrencies today use similar systems, and many, including Litecoin, use the same system to generate 64-character addresses.
      Every public key or address is associated with a corresponding private key. The private key can be used to access any funds allocated to a public address. As such, securing your private keys is incredibly important. Custom addresses can be generated using tools like Vanitygen, and these are fine so long as the private keys generated are protected.
      Securing Private Keys
      Most Bitcoin wallets have a built-in password function, and such basic security can go a long way to preventing Bitcoin from being lost. However, dedicated malware and hackers will go to great lengths to get at your coin stash, so taking as many precautions as possible is recommended.
      Rules for Securing Private Keys
      In general, it’s best to avoid reusing addresses when you can. The less an address is used, the less likely it is to be compromised. However, this is not always possible. As such, never store your private keys in plain text. Anywhere, for any reason. This means that the use of a cryptographic vault for the storage of private keys is ideal. This is if you even take your private keys with you. A more ideal situation is to simply send the funds stored on an address to the new wallet over the network, thereby eliminating your need for the old private key.  
      Use Secure Computers Any computer you send and receive Bitcoin with should be as secure as you can make it. If you use a commercial operating system like Windows or MacOS, some form of virus detection like Malwarebytes or Avast is a must, and it is imperative to keep your system up to date. Outdated Windows computers are the biggest target online.  
      Don’t Keep More Than You Need In a Hot Wallet
      If you have a lot of coin, why keep it all in one place? That makes the potential loss a lot greater if all your security efforts fail. For coins you will not need immediate access to, a service like Bitaddress.org can help you create a secure, offline address. This is the private key to which you can later import into your hot wallet as needed.  
      Minimize Mobile Usage
      Mobile wallets are fun, but it’s simply insane to keep more value on a phone than the phone is even worth. Try to minimize the amount of Bitcoin kept in mobile wallets like Mycellium so that if your phone is lost, stolen, or falls in the toilet, your funds are relatively secure.  
      Do Not Rely On Online Services
      Online wallet providers are simple and easy to use, but one of the key tenets of Bitcoin is being your own bank. While Stake takes every precaution to protect your account and offers you fine and dandy tools like 2-factor authentication to protect your account, compromise is always possible, and more often than not it will be you who is compromised, rather than the service in question.
      Have the most fun at Stake by only keeping the funds you need to play with on your account, and keep the rest in a more secure location, such as your computer.
      Hardware Wallets
      For people who have enough Bitcoin to justify the expense, hardware wallets are a beautiful way to protect your bitcoins, and the manufacturers go to great lengths to support their customers. Here is a list of competing hardware wallet solutions:
      Ledger Trezor KeepKey

    • Jarrod
      In the early days of Bitcoin, there were not many users. Thus, there were not many transactions. Because of this, it was very cheap to send transactions on the Bitcoin network. They were also very fast. Over time however, Bitcoin became much more popular, which today supports many dozens of exchanges, as well as retail merchants and peer-to-peer transactions.
      At present, there are more than 100 transactions per minute that are being broadcast on the Bitcoin network. The average transaction cost is more than $1. Because of this increased popularity, there have emerged a number of proposals on how to “scale” -- that is, to grow -- Bitcoin’s capacity for transactions. For most of Bitcoin’s modern history, the maximum size of each block in the blockchain was 1MB.
      Warring Camps Create Two Bitcoins
      In August of 2017, a patch was introduced into the core Bitcoin client, which began rejecting blocks produced by miners who did not support the new SegWit version of Bitcoin. As a result of this patch, a minority group decided to create a new version of Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash, which immediately increased the size of Bitcoin blocks from 1 megabyte to 8 megabytes. Although many in the Bitcoin community felt that this version of Bitcoin would fail, Bitcoin Cash has actually gone on to stand on its own two feet. It has the support of several Bitcoin personalities, including Roger Ver and Craig Wright, who once claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
      Lightning Network
      The Lightning Network is a scaling solution that settles transactions outside of the Bitcoin blockchain and therefore allows for instant transactions. For companies that generate a lot of transactions like Stake, Lightning makes it possible to send more transactions for lower fees than ever before.
      Segregated Witness
      Segregated Witness or “SegWit” is a technology created by famed Bitcoin developer Peter Wiulle, which enables more transactions to fit into less space by rearranging the way that information about transactions is stored. Its implementation came with a small block size increase to about 1.8 megabytes per block.
      The Future
      Bitcoin’s popularity has only been increasing over the past few years, and demand for Bitcoin block space will increase right along with it. At present time, it is still sensible and feasible for an average user to run a full node, but eventually the blockchain will be so large that more and more people will move to lightweight wallets, given that the Bitcoin blockchain already consumes more than 170 gigabytes on a hard drive.
      It is believed that Lightning Network and SegWit will be enough to accommodate future network growth, but other scaling solutions are sure to come along and further improve the capability of the Bitcoin network.


    • Jarrod

      Who uses Bitcoin?

      By Jarrod, in Beginner,

      Who Uses Bitcoin?
      The cryptocurrency world has a fair number of critics, ranging from executives of big banking to certain governments that fear its rise will destabilize the economic structure of their countries. But the digital currency along with the industry it has single-handedly created have been making tremendous strides. It has increased its footprint in terms of its worldwide acceptance as a means of exchange for goods and services. Not long ago, Japan announced that it is allowing the use of Bitcoin within its territory, and for some years now, a growing number of companies have already taken this option as well.
      Accepting Bitcoin in exchange for goods and services is very attractive to certain companies, as there is always hope that its price will spike which means they stand to benefit more whenever they choose to sell it off for its fiat equivalent. Despite the risks of a big downside, here are some of the most renowned companies that presently accept Bitcoin as a means of exchange.
      Subway: The Subway franchises in Buenos Aires. Virgin Galactic: The commercial space venture accepts Bitcoin purchases and customers can even pay for their space travel using Bitcoin. Expedia.com: Users can book hotels using Bitcoin, they hope to include flight bookings soon. Zynga: Online gamers can use Bitcoin for in-app purchases. Newegg.com: An online electronics store, who accept Bitcoin for payment. eGifter: This gift card app accepts Bitcoin for buying gift cards for places that do not receive Bitcoin. Overstock.com: An online retail store that accepts Bitcoin as payment for all their items. Reddit: They accept Bitcoin as payment for premium features. OkCupid: This online dating site accepts Bitcoin as payment for subscriptions. Cheapair: This travel/hotel reservations site accepts Bitcoin payments for airline tickets, hotel reservations and car rentals. Namecheap: Namecheap accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment for domain name registrations Shopify.com: An e-commerce platform where retailers can create their own e-commerce site. Naughty America: The adult entertainment provider also accepts Bitcoin as a means of payment for subscriptions. LOT Polish Airlines: The international Polish airline accepts Bitcoin as payments for online ticket purchases PureVPN: Virtual Private Network Provider accepts Bitcoin for their premium subscriptions Webjet: Travel agency T-Mobile Poland: Mobile phone top-up company Badoo: Dating network online, they accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for subscriptions. Mexico’s Universidad de las Americas Puebla: A University in Mexico State Republican Party: This is the first State Republican Party to accept donations in Bitcoin. MIT Coop Store: The student bookstore of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepts Bitcoin as a mode of payment. There is a rise in the use of cryptocurrency, and this is because of its numerous benefits such as speed, low transaction fees, security, storage and management.