In press statements released on Thursday, it was revealed that the move of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com from the Cake Poker Network to the Merge Gaming Network would occur by mid-April.
A press release distributed by the new home of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com proudly boasted, “Merge Gaming, the designer, developer, and licensor of software to the international online poker industry, today announces it has successfully agreed to migrate the online poker gaming activities of Jazette Enterprises to the Merge Gaming platform.” It was previously rumored that the shareholders of Jazette Enterprises had purchased the Merge Gaming Network entirely; however, that does not appear to be the case. Instead, PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com will migrate their players to the new network by mid-April.
Anthony Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Merge Gaming, commented in the same release, “This is a industry changing deal and we are delighted to have come to an agreement with Jazette Enterprises. This deal will bring massive liquidity to the network and see the online poker industry landscape change overnight. We are delighted to sign such an established partner to the network, it’s through our great software and superior backend we are able to attract a group of this size to the network.” According to Cake Poker Network officials, PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com contained largely seasonal player bases, as the two sites focused heavily on online sports betting.
Roger Whitaker of Jazette Enterprises added, “Our goal is to provide our players with the best poker experience possible, which is why we decided to make this move. We’re confident that our players will enjoy the groundbreaking features, generous loyalty rewards program, and improved overall playability that Merge’s poker software provides.”
The Merge Gaming Network’s flagship site is Carbon Poker. According to the traffic watchdog site PokerScout.com, the network stands as the 20th largest worldwide, with a seven-day running average of 245 real money ring game players. During its peak hours, which occur in the evening throughout North America, nearly 500 cash game aficionados are typically logged in. PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com will join a lineup of sites that also includes ACED, Iron Duke, Poker Nordica, and Reefer Poker.
An anonymous source told Poker News Daily that the addition of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com could boost Merge’s traffic by four or five times. Posters on TwoPlusTwo, citing inside information, threw out similar figures.
Meanwhile, the Cake Poker Network is the ninth largest worldwide, with a seven-day running average of 2,150 cash game players. Its lineup of sites includes network namesake Cake Poker, DoylesRoom, Lock Poker, Poker Host, and Stryyke. Both the Cake Poker and Merge Gaming Networks accept players from the United States. The former recently saw the addition of Phil “The Unabomber” Laak’s Unabomber Poker, which opened its doors for business last week.
Despite its smaller stature in the industry, the Merge Gaming Network is looking forward to providing longevity for its new partners: “With the same dedicated team behind us, players can rest assured that our new poker offering comes with the same steadfast adherence to player protection, security, and fairness we have been providing since 1996.” The network expects a “seamless transfer” of the player bases of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com to their new homes. Also hopping over to the new network is Superbook.com, which is another Jazette Enterprises site.
Posters on the popular online poker forum TwoPlusTwo discussed the impact of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com changing networks: “Very interesting. Hopefully the recent merges will allow either Everleaf or Merge to become another viable alternative for US players, or even better, both of them.” Others cautioned that the departure of sports book players might tighten the competition on the network: “this might make cake a little less soft.” The actual impact of the move remains to be seen. In addition, no timeline other than “mid-April” has been set.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on the move of PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com to the Merge Gaming Network.