More than a week ago, the already on life support Equity Poker Network (EPN) and its flagship site, Full Flush Poker, went offline. They have yet to return. In the meantime, the network’s players as, has happened too many times in the history of online poker, are left holding the bag. Nothing is official, but it certainly looks like the Equity Poker Network has gone kaput.
Currently, visitors to Full Flush Poker are hit with the following message:
“We are in the process of updating our gaming solutions to offer a new, more exciting platform to meet the needs of our players and an ever changing industry. We will have updates on this change each day for you, and we apologize for any inconveniences we have caused during this period.”
Contrary to what that says, though, updates have not been given each day. It is also highly unlikely that the issue is an update of the network’s “gaming solutions.” Poker sites and networks don’t normally go offline for days and weeks when they change software. At worst, there is maybe an hour of downtime. On top of that, if there really were no problems, the site and network would likely be much more transparent about what was going on.
We reported on the launch of the Equity Poker Network back in November 2013. The idea behind the network is that it was a “cooperative” in that founder Clive Archer believed that the role of the network was to support the member poker rooms, rather than the poker rooms constantly feeding the network a portion of its revenue. Instead, the poker rooms pay a $10,000 monthly fee and that’s it. Network profit distribution is based on the volume of each poker room. Additionally, there is no incentive for members to poach each other’s players, as only the first room to sign up a customer gets the rights to that player’s revenue.
EPN launched with four rooms: Full Flush, Gear Poker, Integer Poker, and Heritage Sports. Gear and Heritage have left the network as have later members 5Dimes and Poker Host.
Launching a poker room or network is difficult; it is especially tough to build up a large enough player base to allow the network to actually grow. Equity Poker is just the latest example of how high the barriers to entry (not to mentioned likely mismanagement) in online poker are – the problem is that it looks like the network might not have taken the best care of players’ funds.
In the middle of last year, network players and those on Full Flush, in particular, started reported in poker forums that they were experiencing unusual delays in receiving withdrawals. Delays continued to lengthen into this year. It got so bad that players decided getting something was better than nothing and many sold their Equity bankrolls for pennies on the dollar (the way this works is that Player A would transfer, say, Full Flush funds to Player B and Player B would transfer funds on a different site to Player A – in this case, Player B would transfer significantly less money because of the risk involved).
EPN and Full Flush were technically still honoring some withdrawal requests before they went offline, but typically in very small amounts, very slowly, and via Moneygram. There really is no reason to play on this network any longer if it does come back. It’s deader than Donald Trump’s presidential bid.