PokerHost Leaving Merge For The Equity Poker Network

PokerHostPokerHost.com, the online poker division of SBG Global, will be leaving the Merge Gaming Network and moving to the newly launched Equity Poker Network.

The last two years has not been good for the Merge network with a number of skins deciding to call it a day and part ways with the network, including Lock Poker, Black Chip Poker, and Hero Poker. These sites either moved to a different network or closed their doors permanently.

In January of 2014, Merge also made the decision to pull out of the two biggest regulated U.S. states in that of Nevada and New Jersey, which also led to a pretty big traffic decrease.

This is fairly big news in the US online poker world, since PokerHost is considered to have the second fastest cash outs for US players, second only to Bovada. It was also one of the flagship skins on Merge, and it is expected that the move could result in the Merge network losing about 10 to 20% of its cash game player base.

Fortunately, for existing players on PokerHost, it’s not expected that players will lose any of their accumulated VIP points, which is often the case when something like this happens. It’s expected that Pokerhost will convert these points into points of an equivalent value once the new VIP system on the network is launched.

The Equity Poker Network (EPN) is home to skins such as Full Flush Poker, the biggest poker site on this newly formed network, IntegerPoker, HiroPoker, Heritage Sports, and Gear Poker, with the poker network opening its doors and offering real money poker games for US players a bit more than 4 months ago. The network now has 6 skins on it in total and boasts around 150 cash players at the tables on average.

Nothing regarding this announcement has been mentioned to confirm exactly why PokerHost left the troubled Merge Gaming Network for EPN. A big part of the reason, however, probably has to do with the online poker room being marginalized from other skins on Merge because they were using their own cashier instead of the Jazette cashier, a new cashier system that was transitioned on all the Merge skins in November 2012.

Poker Host continued to use their own cashier, since they could offer faster cash outs. This als lead Merge to pull the skin out of a few of their MTT offerings. For instance, just recently players on PokerHost were not able to play in the recent Carbon Online Poker Series. As a result, PokerHost’s tournament schedule became fairly weak in comparison to other Merge skins.

Being a fairly new online poker network, EPN is going through a growth period and would still be considered a relatively small network. The move, which first came to light on a report on ProfessionalRakeBack.com suggests that PokerHost will join EPN within a few weeks. Currently, EPN sits ranked in fifth place in terms of overall traffic of US poker networks. Due to this announcement it’s expected that EPN will climb a place or two above the Merge network, benefiting from Merge’s loss.

One of the unique things about EPN is that is has a policy in place which prevents players from creating accounts with one of the other skins on its network. Exactly how this will impact the players who already have accounts on some of the new EPN skins is unknown, although based on early reports it suggested the transition will not be an issue for these players.