Posts Tagged ‘Merge Gaming Network’

Lock Poker leaves Merge Network and purchases Cake

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The recent troubles between Lock Poker and their network, Merge Gaming, seemed to have finally boiled over. Lock has now announced that they’re leaving Merge, and making a big purchase in the way of the Cake Poker Network. Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson made the following statement about her site’s big moves:

We are very excited at the prospect of driving the product, marketing and overall vision of the network. It is a dream come true. Merge was a great stepping stone for us but we have outgrown them. We really need to forge our own path to continued success. The only way to do this is to stay true to our of core philosophy: partnering with our players.

The comment about Lock having outgrown Merge is particularly telling in all of this, and it seems like a thinly-veiled insult too. Back in early April, Lock Poker was excited about holding their first major tournament series – LockOPS. This event was set to offer $2 million over the course of 33 poker tournaments, until it was stopped by Merge Gaming on April 23rd.

Lock wasn’t happy about this at all, and no specific reasons were ever given for what caused Merge to halt LockOPS. This being said, it’s interesting timing that Lock would leave their former network just a couple of weeks after the disagreement over LockOPS.

One thing that’s worth watching in this story is how both poker entities do following their split. Lock is one of the biggest sites on Merge – the biggest according to them – and this will take a huge chunk out of the network’s traffic. Going further, many will be interested in how Lock Poker does on their own, with the Cake Network as a new asset.

Everleaf Gaming bans French and US Players

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Everleaf Gaming made big news yesterday after announcing that they were banning players from France, Malta and the United States. Now those from these countries who try to log onto an Everleaf Gaming site get a message that says:

Client is blocked.Dear Member, according to our Terms and Conditions we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to accept traffic from your country. Your account has therefore been locked until further notice.

The main reason why Everleaf has taken these actions is because the US Department of Homeland Security sent them a cease and desist order. In other words, if the poker network continues to accept Americans, they’ll be in for quite a legal fight. So Everleaf has updated their terms and conditions to include the following:

No person who is resident in Malta, France and USA may open an account, play, or in any other way participate in the ELG offerings and/or services.

It’s unclear why the Everleaf Gaming network decided to pull out of France and Malta as well, but there’s a good chance that the Maltese Licensing Authority told them to pull out of these markets before any legal action happened.

Going back to the US market, Americans have increasingly fewer options for places where they can play poker. In less than a year’s time, they’ve lost the ability to play at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and now Everleaf. Now their only real options include the Merge Gaming network, the Cake Poker network and Bovada.

Seeing as how the United States is attacking all of these offshore poker companies, it seems about time that they hurry up and give Americans some “legal” options for playing. Perhaps this is a sign that the federal government is closer to instituting their own online poker operation?


Joe Hachem: From PokerStars to AsianLogic

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem definitely raised some eyebrows when he chose not to renew his sponsorship/endorsement contract with PokerStars. Seeing as how PokerStars is the world’s biggest poker site, one would think he’d have stayed put here.

Then came the rumors that the Aussie had signed on with a little known Merge Gaming Network site known as HahaPoker. This definitely got people talking because of the disparity of the move from PokerStars to HahaPoker. However, this has definitely been proven as a rumor following Hachem’s announcement that he will be signing with the AsianLogic Group.

If you’re unfamiliar with AsianLogic, they are best known for operating the Asian Poker Tour, and they also provide software services for online poker sites and other gaming entities. As for Hachem’s role within this company, he shed a little light on the subject by saying, “I am delighted to announce that I have decided to partner with a consortium comprising the AsianLogic Group and some of their contemporaries.” He added, “I will be working with the group in several areas, initially as a new ambassador for the Asian Poker Tour to further the growth of poker and to assist them with several strategic opportunities in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”

AsianLogic’s chairman, Tom Hall, expanded on Hachem’s role with his company by saying, “Joe brings much more to the table than just his poker playing skills. His knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry both domestically and internationally will be invaluable to us going forwards.” He also said, “The Asian Poker Tour is already widely recognized as Asia’s only independent tour and we feel Joe will be able to help us expand this business. AsianLogic and its partners are also involved in a number of poker and gaming projects and Joe is helping us with some of these, particularly those in Australia and New Zealand.”

It’s no surprise that Joe Hachem would sign a sponsorship deal so quickly since he’s not only the 2005 WSOP Main Event winner, but also ninth in career poker tournament winnings with $11,342,508. Considering that almost $3.9 million of this has come away from the Main Event winnings, Hachem is definitely one of the most successful ME winners of all-time.

DOJ really after Merge Network?

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

One of the biggest poker stories to surface in the month of September is how the US Department of Justice is supposedly targeting the Merge Gaming Network, which includes Lock Poker, Carbon Poker, RPM Poker and others. The story broke from a website called Subject Poker as the writer, Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, said that a source gave him information on the potential bust.

Before we get into the specifics, it’s worth mentioning that this source was never actually mentioned in the story. In short, the writer put this article into question before it even got started with the anonymous source. Essentially, using anonymous sources like this isn’t far off from what tabloids and Hollywood gossip magazines do before printing an outrageous story like, “Arnold Swarzenegger pregnant with Twins!”

Moving to the actual article, Noah claimed the source told him that the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland was hot on Merge’s trail. He wrote:

According to our sources, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland plans to seize the assets of payment processors who facilitated transactions between the Merge Network and its US customers. It is unclear exactly which payment processors are reportedly being targeted, whether indictments are planned in addition to seizures, or whether the DOJ intends to seize domain names as well.

The sad part about all of this is that people actually took the article and its unnamed source at face value, and rushed to make withdrawals. This is definitely bad news for a host of reasons, including the fact that Merge Gaming has already had a difficult time processing all of the new customers. The influx of withdrawals certainly aren’t going to help matters. Going further, other poker sites have started to question whether or not Subject Poker has a hidden agenda by writing this malicious article.

PokerNewsBoy writer Gerry Poltorak said that the anonymous source also contacted him on Skype after Poltorak bashed Subject Poker. Poltorak wrote the following about what the source said when pressed for information:

Finally, I even offered to retract my article if this guy could provide any proof at all who he is:

4:24:04 PM] Robert: its all sealed
[4:24:08 PM] Robert: i can’t
[4:24:14 PM] Gerry Poltorak: id be happy to look over the proof and retract my post backing noah up
[4:24:54 PM] Robert: i can’t send any docs
[4:24:58 PM] Robert: on merge
[4:24:59 PM] Robert: sorry
[4:25:05 PM] Robert: i gotta run for now

So…he can send this stuff to Noah, but not to me? It’s sealed, but Noah got them.  Right.

Gambling911 was another doubter of this story’s legitimacy as they wrote: posted an article last week that was full of obvious agendas looking to take down either the Merge Poker Network or one of its main skins.

“We suspect the later,” said Costigan.

“It’s not so much the Merge Poker Network per se that is the target of this smear campaign, but one of its larger skins and we will leave it at that,” Costigan said.