Equity Poker Network Banning Winning Players

Equity Poker NetworkA recent report suggests that the Equity Poker Network (EPN), a very new online poker network that opened its doors just six months ago, has been banning winning players on its network in an attempt to create a better environment for recreational poker players.

When this news came to light, player accounts on Poker Host were immediately closed. Poker Host is part of the Equity Poker Network. This skin left the Merge Poker Network back in April to join EPN. As far as we know there has been three players that have had their accounts closed.

This was first discovered on the 2+2 poker forum. Poker Host had sent e-mails to the winning players that had their accounts disabled, offering an explanation which stated that a variety of background checks were carried out before the player’s accounts were closed for “aggressive play and behavior”. The e-mail sent to the players also went on to state that the player’s accounts had been closed and that their funds would be returned.

Here is the contents of the e-mail sent from support staff, which was posted by Bazuko and other players. He was one of the winning players on Poker Host.

At this time your Poker Host has been closed, since our network has come to this decision after checking your table activity and have notice your aggressive play within the network, they have done a serious of background checks in order to come to this conclusion, at this time since we are in a small but growing poker network we cannot afford your aggressive behavior.

If you have a read of the 2+2 poker thread it also reveals that in every incident, each player had played only a small number of hands, and so it can be assumed their winnings would have been fairly small. In Bazuko’s case he had only played somewhere in the range of 1,000 hands for a profit of around $2,000.

Another member on the forum claimed in the same forum thread that winning players on other EPN skins also had their accounts closed, although the affected players didn’t post anything to neither confirm nor deny the claims.

According to Calvinayre’s website, the EPN network has responded to the issue of the player account closures, stating that they are not “the universal panacea for all poker players and operators who wish to offer poker, but it is intended to appeal to a large subset of the poker community.”

Clearly, EPN does not accommodate semi professional or professional poker players. Their controversial “shark tax” was created to penalize network skins for having too many “sharks”. This “tax” was the networks way of offering a more balanced poker environment. The logic being that with fewer “sharks” preying on casual players, the fish won’t be losing all of the time.

Of course, this raises the question of whether this “shark tax” imposed on network skins is the reason for these winning player’s accounts being closed. It is a topic which is being discussed on the 2+2 thread right now.

Although there is no denying the fact that it would be incredibly difficult for a new poker network to gain a stranglehold on the online poker market, a market which is dominated by already well-established brands – one has to ask themselves whether banning winning poker players is taking things one step too far. Bodog first introduced the “recreational poker model” with their anonymous tables, but now this.

The EPN was also quick to say that removing winning players was not the only method that would help ensure a “healthy balanced network” largely made up of recreational poker players, with promotional efforts to encourage recreational players another option that is worthwhile exploring.