The dizzying highs of crypto trading are matched sometimes by unfortunate lows. Gambling can be the same way, offering the promise of astounding profits that may or may not materialize. In both activities, we definitely live by the motto: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

But are the two things the same? Is crypto really just gambling in disguise? Below, we’ll break down some of the features that are shared and some key differences that set the two apart. Hopefully, in the end, we’ll have a better understanding of why crypto and gambling attract such similar personalities.

High stakes and the “thrill of the chase” – the potential for outsized returns

High stakes and the thrill of the chase are perhaps the most obvious aspects that the two activities share. Crypto investing and gambling both offer participants the opportunity to put a lot at risk in exchange for a chance at a big return. When crypto markets swing, they really swing. An investment in a fairly new coin that takes off can make crypto investors several times their money in multiples. A look at coin performance just in 2023, for example, reveals top gainers that increased several hundred percent in value.

A gambling session can be the same way, but is far more rapid when it comes to results.

Those willing to wager significant amounts can win back many times their money. And the effect is magnified due to gambling’s instantaneous nature. Crypto coins offer strong performance in best-case upsides, but never carry the possibility of an instant jackpot. It can take months and years for eye-popping returns to materialize. Only a progressive jackpot slot game really can deliver massive profits in the blink of an eye.

Unlike traditional “buy and hold” investing, crypto and gambling both get to the point much faster. The tradeoff, of course, is the risk level.

Competitors and the drive to perform

Crypto and gambling both seem to attract people who love to compete. While a standard 401(k) invested in mutual funds may be appropriate for certain investors, crypto traders are built a bit different. They are willing to research opportunities, take risks, and are driven to seek superior returns. They aren’t passive. They know what they want and have the motivation to go after it.

Gambling tends to attract similar players, especially at the poker tables. They love a battle of wits and the challenge of pushing themselves to have confidence and hunt for their rewards. A poker tournament offers a chance to put a buy in at risk and seek to outlast the competition. Much like choosing a cryptocurrency to back, it carries the possibility of a competition where the winner could take all.

Crypto investors and gamblers love to mix it up and work hard to come out ahead. This is definitely another similarity, although in poker, you’re really going head-to-head with other individuals. In crypto, your advantage comes more from understanding the market and selecting the right times to buy and sell particular coins.

Harnessing innovation and cutting-edge technology

We’ve come a long way from paper money and physical playing cards. Now, both have been relocated online. This is another way in which crypto and gambling seem to be headed in the same direction. Both take advantage of technological advancement.

In fact, casinos were early adopters of computer and video technology. Using well-tuned algorithms, casinos could deliver a fun and engaging gaming experience without always needing a physical dealer. Whole sections of machine-based games were born, even when this technology was still new.

Crypto is quite similar, allowing forward-thinking individuals to take advantage of decentralized financial networks and distributed ledger systems to revolutionize how money travels around the world. In the course of adopting this new technology, they also created a new asset class, or at least a new sub-class. While currencies have been traded for ages, crypto trading “turned the dial up” quite a bit.

As a result, broader society was invited to participate and make use of new innovations as well. Now, payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is accepted in a wide number of situations, all thanks to people who aren’t afraid to experiment and try something different.

Think fast!

Both crypto and gambling require people to think on their feet and make snap decisions, occasionally. Gambling definitely leans more into this, but crypto gives it a run for its money. Anyone who actively day trades crypto can make high-stakes decisions at any given moment, and they need to be right if they want to be on the correct side of each trade. In fact, crypto can sometimes lead to a higher-pressure experience, because a poker hand may offer a time bank to those who need to consider an action, but the crypto markets wait for no one. If you’re not willing to stay in the know and keep up with rapidly-unfolding developments, crypto trading may not be for you.

That said, the ability to make fast decisions at a casino table or crypto exchange often comes from doing your homework beforehand so that you are positioned to be well-informed about what the right move is when it arrives.

Strategy and risk management

Anyone who has played a casino game knows that without a good strategy and at least a loose grasp on risk management principles, you’ll be in for a rough ride. The same is true of crypto investing. You need to know what you can afford to lose and what each investment’s likely return profile is. You don’t want your entire bankroll on a single wager, and you don’t want all your investable funds in a single coin. You need a smarter strategy than that.

Just like traditional investing, you’ll want to diversify your crypto trades, at least a bit. Some in newer coins, some in proven performers, and perhaps some in fin tech. This limits your exposure to downside risk. An identical strategy is true at the casino. You want to size your bets correctly for the amount of risk you can tolerate. Things don’t always work out, and even big winners have to work through some downswings.

Crypto and gambling require you to think things through before taking that leap.

The “no limit” mindset

The no limit mindset definitely unites crypto investors and gamblers. Both know that letting a scarcity mentality own your life is no way to succeed. To really set the world on fire, you need to understand that anything is possible, including outrageous gains. Fortunes in the billions have been made with crypto, and so there’s no reason to put artificial limits on what is possible.

The same is true in the casino. Players who went on legendary hot runs did not live and die by micro stakes grinding. They knew that fortune ultimately favors the bold.


Rome wasn’t built in a day. While big gains are possible in the short term, the most successful players and crypto traders are those who keep at it and get better with time. The simple fact is: those who persevere will see better results than those who let initial discouragements stop them. Be unstoppable.

Crypto Poker at Ignition

As crypto became more popular, casinos and sportsbooks adopted digital coins as a payment method. Now, casinos like Ignition offer crypto gambling as a central way to move money on and off the platforms. In fact, many of our promotions are tied to crypto!

If you’re new to cryptocurrency, get started with this Ignition’s crypto guide.