The sudden departure of Black Chip Poker from the Merge Gaming Network has made an already competitive US online poker market that much closer. Black Chip Poker’s addition to the Winning Poker Network (formerly the Yatahay Poker Network) has doubled the traffic to the network, closing the gap between itself and the larger players in the US market like Merge, Revolution Gaming, and Bovada.
Prior to the network switch, the Winning Poker Network had a rolling average of about 300-350 real-money cash-game players according to PokerScout.com, well below the averages of their competitors like Revolution Gaming which averaged of about 1,080 real-money cash-game players, Bovada and their average of 1,020 and Merge Gaming about 770 players. It should be pointed out that Boavada’s numbers are difficult to track due to the site using anonymous tables and other methods to thwart tracking sites.
With Black Chip’s player base taken off of Merge and sent to the Winning Poker Network the numbers are now a lot closer, with Merge Gaming’s rolling average dropping to around 700, while Winning Poker’s average has risen to 420 players. You can see all of the online poker traffic by visiting www.pokerscout.com.
Additionally, now that the Winning Poker Network (which also includes True Poker and Americas Cardroom) has a slightly larger player base more players may give the Costa Rican based company a look thanks to their tremendous reputation for withdrawal speed –a major concern for US players in recent times.
The pinnacle of the US online poker room crop is still the Lock Poker led Revolution Gaming Network which boasts the most traffic and offers the best promotions for their players, including a huge deposit bonus and 36% rakeback, but it appears that the Winning Poker Network is not content with a small but loyal player base, and is looking to make a run at the major players in the US market.
On the flipside is the once-prominent Merge Gaming Network. The former #1 US online poker network has seen two marquee sites jump ship in 2012; first Lock Poker (which took over the Cake Poker Network and rebranded it to Revolution Gaming) and now Black Chip Poker. And Merge’s troubles may not end there, as RPM Poker and Hero Poker also opted-out of the Poker Maximus tournament series being run on Merge –the only other room to do so was Black Chip Poker, and we know they did so in order to move to a new network, so who knows if Hero and RPM Poker are next in line for a Merge exodus?
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