MPN closes its doors

Though online poker is booming right now, there is a bit of a dark cloud hanging over those of us who have been in the industry for a long time. Today, Wednesday, May 20, is the first day in over 17 years that MPN is not dealing any cards. MPN, a shorted version of its former name, the Microgaming Poker Network, closed its doors on Tuesday, May 20.

MPN’s fate was announced in September 2019, as managing director Alex Scott, who has been with the network for the better part of the past decade, regretfully informed the public on the MPN blog that the network was going to close.

He said that he had carried out an “extensive review” of the poker network with help from industry experts.

“The conclusion of the review was that, for poker to be as successful as possible, we had to adopt a very different strategy and business model. Ultimately, the poker network is not part of that vision,” he said.

“The network model no longer fits with our strategic vision for poker, and this is the right time to announce the closure as we focus on redistributing key resources and personnel across the business,” added MPN CEO John Coleman on MPN’s website.

It does sound like the company wants to bring back poker one day, as Coleman said that MPN will “follow a new strategic direction for the vertical,” but that’s all we know at this point.

Skins move to other networks

In the meantime, the 16 MPN skins had to find new homes. Before this week, three closed up shop. Another, 32Red, which actually predates MPN by a year, announced last week that its last day of existence would also coincide with the network’s.

Nine skins have already moved to the iPoker Network and another, Guts.com, is expected to join them. OlyBet hopped onto the GGPoker Network, while One Time Poker has not said what it is doing.

MPN was my first poker home

I have written about this before, but on a personal note, even though I haven’t played real-money online poker in years, this does make me sigh ruefully. I might never have spent the last decade and a half in this industry, able to work from home and be with my kids every day, if it wasn’t for MPN.

Back when it launched in 2003, MPN was called the Prima Poker Network. Like many people, poker caught my attention when Chris Moneymaker made his historic WSOP run. My brother and I started searching for online poker when I came across a Prima site called The Gaming Club that was giving new customers $10 for free, no deposit required, no strings attached.

Not knowing what I was doing – Ace-Deuce was my favorite hand – I somehow ran that stake up to $100. While doing so, I discovered a large online poker affiliate through which I used that $100 to deposit on other stakes and get rewarded with all sorts of poker goodies. That affiliate had the first poker forum where I ever posted, I got to know the owner, and after quitting a shitty job, said owner hired me to help start this very site I am posting on right now.

And here I have been ever since. Thank you, MPN.

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