The latest site to jettison from the Cake Poker Network is Lock Poker. In April, Lock Poker will move to the USA-friendly Merge Gaming Network, whose flagship site is Carbon Poker.
In a press release distributed by Lock Poker this week, Jennifer Larson, the site’s Founder and CEO, discussed why the Merge Gaming Network is a fitting destination: “Merge is a natural fit for us. They are aggressive, innovative, and very progressive in design and development. They are also dedicated to allowing their partners to be authentic, which is integral to the success of a network in the long-term.” Also making the hop to the Merge Gaming Network are Players Only and Sportsbook.com.
The Vice President of Lock Poker is none other than Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Eric “Rizen” Lynch, who is also an instructor at PokerXFactor.com, a popular poker training site. Lynch finished 24th in the mammoth field of the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event for $494,000 and fell shy of his first WSOP bracelet one year later after taking second in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament. Lynch has had a monumental impact on Lock Poker and is a veteran of the online poker community.
The man they call “Rizen” gave his take on why the Merge Gaming Network provides a superior home for Lock Poker: “We will now be able to offer great rewards to the North American market. Our philosophy is built on investing in the true poker player and appreciating and rewarding their passion and dedication. We now have the tools to achieve that.” Lock Poker made its debut in 2008 and recently rolled out an online casino.
Lock Poker was a relatively unknown site until March 2009, when it hosted the Bluff Online Poker Challenge. Pitting several of the Web’s top internet players against each other to see who could amass the largest bankroll in a one-month period, the Online Poker Challenge captured the attention of the industry. In the end, Brian “SNo0oWMAN” Hawkins earned $25,000 and ran away with the contest, banking five times the total of the second place finisher, Garrett “GBecks” Beckman. Other players who participated included Brett “Gank” Jungblut, former “Amazing Race” contestant Maria Ho, and 2006 European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo Grand Final winner Jeff “yellowsub” Williams.
Last September, Lock Poker upped the ante by signing a dozen non-U.S. pros to its roster. The cast included Stephen “allinstevie” Devlin (Ireland, United Kingdom), Bolivar Palacios (Latin America), and Vincent “Diamond8” Gabel (Belgium). At the same time, the site inked deals with American poker pros Jungblut, Vinny Pahuja, and David Zeitlin.
Lock Poker offers gaming for Mac poker players and spreads popular variations of poker like Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha High-Low, Stud, and Stud High-Low. According to PokerScout.com, the Merge Gaming Network is the 20th largest worldwide, boasting a seven-day running average of 220 real money ring game players. At the time of writing, which is around 1:00pm ET on a Saturday, 225 cash game players are logged in and seated. Besides Carbon Poker, other sites on the Merge Gaming Network include Aced, Iron Duke, Poker Host, Poker Nordica, Reefer Poker, and RPM Poker.
The Cake Poker Network is the 10th largest worldwide, holding a seven-day running average of 1,880 real money ring game players. Popular sites on the USA-facing network include Cake Poker, DoylesRoom, Power Poker, Red Star Poker, and Stryyke. The migration of Players Only and Sportsbook.com to the Merge Gaming Network could increase its traffic by as much as five times, according to various industry estimates.
Lock Poker’s jump to the Merge Gaming Network is scheduled to take place in April.