Poker News

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.

12 Comments

  1. Allan says:

    Best poker experience possible? Are you kidding? The Merge network is a terrible poker network. I hope Players Only loses the majority of their player base. You’re definitely losing me as a player as soon as you switch to the lousy Merge network. You had a good thing going with the Cake network. Too bad you’re too blind to see how bad of a move this is.

  2. Anonymous says:

    great news for merge as traffic has almost halved in the last few months there

  3. Anonymous says:

    merge is a fantastic network. theres no reason to say its lousy. they have excellent software and excellent promos which change every months. they also have live chat. Support and cashouts are both fast. I have played there for years due to the many different bonuses they give (rakeback+vip point rebates+seasonal bonuses+vip freerolls) they are extremely generous.

  4. Chad says:

    I for one will be glad to leave the sharks behind at Cake and move to fishier waters on the new network. Enjoy swimming with all the cake rake back players Alan.

  5. Allan says:

    I’m surprised that anyone would consider the Merge software to be excellent. I deposited one time at Carbon to give it a try and it was by far the worst software of any site I’ve played on. It was constantly freezing. Their game selection is horrible and their VIP point system isn’t nearly as good as the rewards you get at Cake. Your VIPs are earned based on your contributed rake, rather than the dealt rake method at Cake. If rakeback is calculated by the contributed method, then that’s another major reason this moves is bad for us players.

    As far as the fishier waters, yes, I will miss all of the sports betting fish, but there’s no way I play on Merge.

  6. Mr Jones says:

    This is the best thing for the merge network and really does not change anything for PO players except increase the fish in the pool. Cake is a huge nitfest and the dealt method encourages this nit type play. There is nothing wrong with the Merge software. In fact, I have experienced more problems with cake software than the merge software. The only thing I am concerned about is the VIP system,as I see the gold cards/chips superior to the merge system.

  7. Rick says:

    I play at both Merge and Cake sites every day and I enjoy playing at Carbon poker the most out of all of them. I like the software at Merge sites better than the Cake net freeze ups and lock outs at final tables (they always seem to happen at the most opportune times). Also I find the players at Carbon to be more professional. Sportsbook has lots of loose players, and this will increase the bad beats at Merge, but that is to be expected with higher volume anyhow. I figure the player count at Cake net will drop conciderable in the evening hour when Sportsbook and Players Only bring in the largest number of players. As for the gold chip vs. VIP I think that the VIP earned points system is better than the sit back and ride the pot gold chips that don’t add up to much of a bonus in the long run anyhow. Gold Chips have limited uses and VIP can be used as buyin to any tournament. I will still play both Merge and Cake sites, but I have always and will always spend the majority of my playing hours at Merge sites.

  8. Jack says:

    Allan, I simply dont believe you have played poker on Carbon in recent history or you dont know the difference between problems caused by your home set up and those caused by the site. I would rather agree with ricks comments and I have played Carbon for over 18mths now (not just ‘one time’ like you and have never experienced ANY freezing let alone ‘constant freezing’ as you suggest and I play fulltime. I also doubt you can have played many sites if you think it has the worst software as Carbon actually offers one of the best pieces of software on the market. Are you actually a bitter Cake employee because this sounds like a smear campaign that isnt based in any fact from my experience. Do you seriosuly think Cake have been stable software/hardware wise over the last year lol?

    Most of us enjoy playing poker to win cash and so the fact you would also rather play on a site where the action is nitty compared to one where as you say all the fish will be playing is also pretty bizarre.

    So in summary it seems you want to play on a site that is nitty, losing all its fish, half its traffic and has experienced technical issues in the last year just because it calculates rake via the dealt method rather than contributed and you experienced freezing when you played on Carbon ‘one time’ ages ago lol

    A pinch of salt is required with your comments I think!

  9. Marc says:

    This is kinda frustrating for the fact that merge gaming has horrid cashouts atleast for US players. Merge Gaming will take 2months+ to send a check to the US. I’m not sure how this compares to the Cake Poker Network as I have yet to make enough money to warrent a cashout there. Merge Gaming network is the most profitable poker network around In my opinion, but I won’t play there again because they act like Paypal as in thinking all money is their own and not the players. Also their live support is very lousy, but their email support is much better and faster than FTP.

  10. timcut says:

    bingo-i have accounts at almost every u.s. site, thirty at least, due to my love for free rolls…ive played at almost everyone except minted—not enough players—and can speak of my much experience that this merge with merge is the bomb. but yes, they lag in payout times usually three weeks to four weeks—they all seem to use a canadian bank as processor—also it appears we will lose the ability to change usernames every seven days—but the merge network is the crispy creme of online poker, if it wasnt for the low amount of players at offpeak hours on sitngos tables only i would have stayed on merge…..now the site is getting two midsize poker sites plus two new rooms to boot the player numbers should shoot up…..this will bring back players who like the site but numbers was low.as the vip is great instant cash or tourny coupons, not hard to exchange compared to other sites

  11. pay says:

    Problems with merge:
    1. 1 month cashouts [atleast europe]
    2. poker software keeps freeezing,
    that doesnt influence opened games, but main lobby with all flash ads, gets frozen, and you have to restart the program
    3. if you win bonus dollars in rake races, they tranfer it into account, but you have to earn Vip points/ per every dollar, and thats no so easy for lets say 100$.

  12. Doc says:

    If you ever play any table tournaments at PlayersOnly, you will soon realize that since the move,the site continually favors the big stacks. The amount of times that the small stacks get great down cards only to lose to the big stacks weaker hands is way,Way,WAY beyond chance. NEVER deposit there. I say stick to Poker Stars and/or Full Tilt.

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