I've been curious about bitcoins for awhile now, but never had a use for them until sealswithclubs came along. There's definitely a barrier to entry in actually getting the bitcoins, but once getting them into my wallet, everything else has been a breeze. Yesterday I went through the whole process and here's what I experienced.
1) I downloaded the bitcoin wallet http://bitcoin.org/
and installed. Took a few hours for it to download all the "blocks" or "transactions". This is required before you can recieve coins to your wallet.
2) I signed up for accounts at both mtgox.com. Thinking I needed both to get coins to my wallet. However, after going through the process, it turns out I really just need bitinstant.com. (see notes below) So in my wallet I created an address to recieve money from bitinstant.
3) I wen to bitinstant.com ... I used the "Cash Deposit -> Major Bank Branch" to-> "Bitcoin Address". And entered the address I created in my wallet.
4) I was then directed to another site which created a deposit ticket based on the bank I wanted to deposit at.
5) Drove to the bank on the slip, and deposited the exact amount of money required. Teller told me I could actually do this online. Since I have an account at that bank, I could have just signed into online banking and deposited the funds into the account number on the deposit ticket. Would have saved me a trip in the car.
6) Waited an hour or two, and finally got my email saying the transaction had completed.
7) Checked my bitcoin wallet - no biitcoins :-(
8) Waited longer and finally logged into chat on bitinstant.com to talk to a cs rep. Turns out there was a technical issue with a third party provider that actually sends the coins to my address (coinapult). And bitinstant was having to manually transfer the coins over, and there was currently a rather long queue of transactions ahead of me. For the record, this was a probably a fluke and from what I am told this should have taken only a few hours, but it is probably a result of this be fairly young technology. The cs reps at bitinstant were helpful and responsive (had a chat going in less than a minute). They were transparent in telling me exactly what the deal was and when I double checked with coinapult, the story checked out.
9) Went to bed, woke up... fired up my bitcoin wallet and yay! The transactions were there. But... boo! The transactions weren't confirmed yet and I could not actually use the coins yet. After googling... since this is a peer-to-peer service, I guess sometimes it may take some time for the peer-to peer network to approve a transaction. And more than one peer needs to approve it? Unsure of the technical stuff here...
10) Around 11am, the transactions were approved and available.
11) Logged into *******************, found my deposit "address". Cut and pasted that into my bitcoin wallet and transferred some of my coins to SealsWithClubs. This time the transfer was NEARLY INSTANT!
12) I had chips in my account in time to register the half hour 45/5 100 bonus tourney.
13) Shipped said tourney.
14) Busted the Hourly Free roll later
15) Decided to see what cashing out was like...
16) Created a request address for SealswithClubs in wallet, copy and pasted into "request bitcoin cash out" and hit submit.
17) I will update this thread when I actually get those funds in my wallet.
Note: Regarding the fluctuating value of bitcoins. While technically I don't need a mtgox.com account, due to the fluctuating value of btc, it might be better to convert them into dollars and keep them that way until I need to use them (as either bitcoins or as dollars) since the value of the dollar is more stable than btc. mtgox.com is used more as a trading account I guess? Once you have coins you can switch between bitcoin <-> dollars pretty easily using mtgox.com with a small .6% fee.
Also, you could probably cashout from SealswithClubs directly into your mtgox.com account without ever needing to deposit into you wallet. (from what I understand, however I have not actually tried the direct to mtgox deposit).