PokerRoom.com Closes



PokerRoom.com is closing down again, this time presumably for good. The one-time internet poker trailblazer announced the decision on its website, giving players little to no notice that it was going to join the likes of Planet Poker as former industry leaders who could not survive in a post-UIGEA world.

The message facing visitors to PokerRoom.com revealed that the last day of business would be today, February 19th. This is the final day that players can spend any player points in their accounts; after today, all points will be forfeited. Similarly, any bonuses that have not been earned after today will disappear. Tournament tickets, though, will be converted to cash and added to players’ accounts.

Player funds will still be held by PokerRoom.com and can be cashed out until March 19th. The site suggests players move over to its sister site, PartyPoker.com.

PokerRoom.com was one of the first online poker rooms to gain any traction in the industry, opening in 1999, well before the poker boom. One huge advantage it had was its name, allowing it to be found by those curious about internet poker through basic web searches.

Once the poker boom hit in the early-mid 2000’s, PokerRoom became one of the biggest online poker sites around. It was one of a handful that veteran poker players kept in their rotation when seeking out the best games day-to-day. The site was also ahead of its time on the social networking front, launching one of the first popular internet poker forums, Pokah!, which has also closed.

One of PokerRoom’s most interesting innovations was Team Poker. As is implied, friends could join up and form a team to compete against other teams in league play. During each competition (games were typically run once or twice a week), several Sit-and-Go tournament would run, each being populated by one member of each team. They would run simultaneously yet independently, so everyone could watch and see how their teammates were doing. Players would receive points based on how far they advanced in their respective Sit-and-Go’s, with those points being added to the team total.

Each competition required a buy-in, which was split amongst members of the team (team members would have to transfer funds from their account to a sort of “team account” prior to playing). Part of the buy-in went to the top finishers in each Sit-and-Go, while the remainder went to the teams that accumulated the most points. While Team Poker did not last long because, frankly, it was difficult to ensure enough people would not only be interested, but also be able to organize teams and be available to play on the scheduled dates, it was a fun innovation that added some spice to the game.

PokerRoom.com was the headline room on the Ongame Network, which was purchased by bwin in 2005. Unfortunately, Ongame was not one of the networks that was still able to thrive when it withdrew from the U.S. market following the passing of the UIGEA in the fall of 2006 and PokerRoom.com went from an industry leader to an also-ran. It officially became a has-been in 2009 when it shut down, but was resurrected in January 2012.

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