It’s time to see if three really is a crowd. Winamax, the long-time French-only online poker room, has announced that it will open up its tables to Spanish players this month. The exact date was not specified; it is unclear if this is immediate or if the merged player pools are yet to come.
The benefits of this are clear as day. With more people in the poker room, there will be more players competing in tournaments, which will increase the prize pools (of course, it also increases the number of players you have to beat, but we’ll ignore that for now). Cash game tables will see more action, which will attract more people to the games, which will increase the action, and so on and so forth.
Winamax has also decided to reduce the rake in cash games because of the potential increased player traffic, taking it down from 6.75 percent to 5.75 percent.
The flip side of that, though, is that “miles,” Winamax’s version of VIP loyalty points, will be reduced from four per euro raked to just three. VIP statuses on Winamax start at Chrome for those who earn 20 to 69 miles per month. From there, it goes Aluminum, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and finally Platinum for players who earn 6,000 or more miles per month. During July and August, those statuses are half off, so players can hit Platinum by earning 3,000 miles.
Diamond statuses are annual levels, which begin at Diamond I for players who earn 50,000 to 99,999 milers in a year. It then goes Diamond II through Diamond V and finally Red Diamond for 2.5 million miles per year.
This is all to say that with Spain being added to the Winamax player pool, those VIP statuses will be difficult to earn, though they will come at a cheaper price because of the reduced cash game rake.
The news of Winamax bringing on Spanish players is big not just because it will increase the poker room’s player count, but also because it is possible. For years, Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal had ring-fenced themselves from the rest of the world, allowing people to only play online poker against others residing within their own country’s borders. Last year, though, the four countries agreed to share player liquidity. While they still aren’t expanding outward to the rest of the world, having the four countries get together is a start.
PokerStars was the first online poker room to launch shared liquidity with the partnered nations, beginning with Spain and France in January. Portugal was added in May. Partypoker then launched partypoker.eu for Spain and France last month. There is no word as to when Italy will join the fun.