Pokerhost Rumored to be Leaving Merge Network

Pokerhost Rumored to be Leaving Merge NetworkOn Wednesday, Professional RakeBack revealed that Pokerhost would be moving from the much maligned Merge network to the upstart Equity Poker Network.

The Merge Gaming Network has suffered through a tumultuous year-and-a-half marked by management changes, traffic losses and cashiering problems. And now it appears as though the struggling network is about to experience another setback, as a report on ProfessionalRakeBack.com hints that the well-regarded Pokerhost will be leaving Merge in favor of relative newcomer Equity Poker Network.

The report speculates that the move will occur sometime within the next two weeks. Pokerhost, which is rated second only to Bovada among US-facing poker sites in terms of cash-out efficiency, will not alter its cashiering options, nor will players lose their accumulated VIP points. Instead, Pokerhost will convert player points into an equivalent value on the new VIP program that will be implemented when they officially move to EPN.

ProRB was unable to procure information regarding player accounts. Currently, the Equity Poker Network (EPN) only allows players to create an account on one of its skins – the sole exception being if a player had remained idle on one EPN skin for a period of 60 days or greater. EPN enforces this policy to reduce infighting among its skins and to dissuade backhanded dealings.

Thus far, EPNs policies have boded well for the non-profit organization, as it has already risen to fifth place among US-facing networks, according to PokerScout. Notably, it has already surpassed the Revolution Network in terms of overall traffic.

With Pokerhost supposedly leaving Merge, ProRB predicts that the network will lose 10-20 percent of its player base, and could easily find itself locked in battle with EPN for fourth place in the US-friendly market. Merge’s recent decision to pull out of Nevada and New Jersey has also led to a noticeable traffic decrease.

After a new management team took over in 2012, the Merge Network would quickly dispose of Lock Poker and other reputation damaging skins. A new cashiering system, entitled the Jazette Cashier, was implemented, which ultimately led to the ousting of several popular skins – the beloved Hero Poker included.

One by one, skins using the Merge Cashier or an independent model were filtered out, until only Pokerhost was left. But because Pokerhost was processing cash-outs faster than Jazette, it didn’t amend its policies. As a result, the skin was excluded most several major MTT events, and its players excluded from participation on SNG leaderboards. And now, it looks like the skin will seek fairer treatment at EPN.