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Poker Networks

Poker networks are a collection of online poker rooms that have come together to share the same poker software and form one large pool of poker players. Usually there is one key software developer to whom poker sites affiliate to reduce the costs of developing their own software and attracting their own pool of poker players.

Some players will prefer one specific poker network because of the software, the standard of play, choice of games or a potentially lucrative reward scheme. Others will play on certain poker networks “by default” simply because they already have an account with an online bookmaker who offers a poker facility.

“Skins” – the name given to individual online poker rooms affiliated to a network – can change from one network to another as they wish, but often this is a time-consuming process, and the online poker sites run the risk of alienating players who have become familiar with a certain software and have compiled comprehensive notes about the players from other skins playing on the same network.

PokerStars

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

PokerStars PokerStars

NO

25,600

Although strictly not a network, online poker legislation in Europe has forced PokerStars to isolate its French and Italian players, while the ongoing “situation” in the United States means that there are as more players playing for play chips on the .net site than playing for cash on the .eu, .com and .co.uk sites. PokerStars does however offer the biggest choice of online poker games, the most valuable online poker tournaments and a qualification route to the widest selection of live poker tournaments.

 

Party Poker

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

Party Gaming Party Poker

NO

4,250

Empire Poker

NO

Prior to the Safe Port Act in 2006 (UIGEA) which drove many online poker sites out of the United States, Party Poker was by far the biggest poker site and poker network in the world. It still maintains a significant position in the market because of a good loyalty program, easy to beat tables and a high level of player security. Party Poker is already in the process of negotiating a comeback in the United States and could significantly improve its player database in the near future.

 

iPoker

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

iPoker William Hill Poker

NO

3,800

Paddy Power Poker

NO

Bet Fred Poker

NO

The odds are that if you have an account with an online bookmaker in the UK, you will be playing on the iPoker network. Not all the skins on the iPoker network are high street bookmakers (Genting Poker, for example, is a chain of UK casinos) but a higher percentage of gamblers – compared to what you may find on other poker networks – is a fair indication of the standard of play you are likely to find on this well-liked poker network.

 

Pacific Poker

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

Pacific Poker 888 Poker

NO

2,400

WSOP Poker

NO

Pacific Poker was one of the first online poker networks and remains one of the most popular poker downloads due to its innovative software which enables players to compete on “PokerCam” tables. Skins on the Pacific Poker network tend to be populated by players from all over the world (except the US), so it is likely that you will be able to get a game any time of the day or night. Generally a good standard of play and excellent customer service.

 

OnGame Network

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

OnGame Guruplay Poker

NO

2,150

Red Kings Poker

NO

Betfair Poker

NO

The OnGame Poker Network has been a force in Europe for more than a decade due to its patronage by clients of BWin. Now that BWin are joining forces with Party Poker, it remains to be seen what will become of the traffic on the OnGame Network. As mentioned above, players who have spent years compiling notes on their opponents might resent having to move networks, and it could be that skins such as Guruplay Poker, Red Kings Poker and Betfair Poker see a significant increase in clients.

 

Revolution Gaming Network

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

Revolution Intertops Poker

1,100

The Revolution Gaming Network was established in June 2012 when Lock Poker moved from the Merge Gaming Network and re-branded the existing Cake Poker Network. The move practically doubled the size of the old network and, as an exciting selection of promotions were offered after the launch, the Revolution Gaming Network grew to compete with Merge as the leading network to accept poker players from the US.

 

Merge Poker Network

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

Merge Carbon Poker

1,100

This Australian-based network still accepts online poker players from the United States, enabling players from the rest of the world to compete against some of the biggest names in online poker. Significantly, many of the skins on the Merge Poker Network still reward players with rakeback in the form of a cash back promotion. Consequently you will find many break-even players competing on the Merge Poker Network and this is therefore a good network to play on if you are generally a profitable poker player.

 

Everest Poker Network

Network Notable Sites

Accepts U.S Players

Average Nº of Players

Everest Everest Poker

NO

840

BetClic Poker

NO

Everest Poker is a poker network primarily consisting of European low-stakes poker players. This may not be such a good thing if you come from the South Pacific and are looking for a game at 2.00am in the morning, but great for an average tight aggressive player as much of the competition is weak and the tournaments are often simple to beat. The stand-out feature for playing on the Everest Poker Network is the sign up bonus, which is easy to convert despite the low volume of high stakes games.

Other Networks

Just because a network or an online poker site only has a few hundred players on it at any time, it does not necessarily correspond that the network or site is no good. Online poker rooms such as Sky Poker or PKR generally provide a good poker experience and each has its unique advantages to performing the poker download and opening an account. Some poker networks however are best avoided.

Poker Networks to Avoid

It is always worth keeping an eye on poker news web sites and forums to detect any justifiable criticism of a poker network. Players on the Cereus Network (UB Poker and Absolute Poker) knew for a considerable period of time before Black Friday that their network was in trouble, but not all could get their funds out in time. A similar scenario is developing with the Everleaf Gaming Network after its forced withdrawal from the American market and sanctions imposed on the network by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority for operational “irregularities”.

Poker Networks Summary

Many players are drawn to one poker network or another due to the promotional marketing of a particular skin, or because the poker player already has a gambling account with that online poker room. Many players – especially recreational ones – will not give much thought to which poker network the online poker room is affiliated to, but it does pay to look around and investigate more than one poker network to find out which is best for you.