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BREAKING NEWS: Merge Gaming Network Desegregates Poker Player Pools

Merge Gaming Network desegregates player pools - traffic increases

Merge Gaming Network Desegregation

Professional Rakeback has some incredible poker news to share with you!  We were playing around on Carbon Poker early this morning, just like we always do, and all of a sudden, we noticed a pretty huge difference... Professional Rakeback brings you the first details and exclusive analysis of this major change in the US-facing online poker markets as well as a historical recap of Merge's player pool in a post Black Friday marketplace.

Desegregation Details:

  • All Merge partner rooms now appear fully integrated and are sharing 100% of player liquidity.
  • This change appeared after a software update was initiated at roughly 12:01am EST on Wednesday, April 9th and was completed two hours later.
  • A new bad beat jackpot has also been introduced at Carbon and Aced Poker - no additional rake or cost will be passed on to players.
  • Some winning players have 4-table maximum restrictions across all Merge partnered rooms.
  • The Jazette skins are not offering stud, draw games, razz, or horse tables and those games are only available for play on the Carbon and Aced Poker skins.
  • All cashout options remain intact, and presumably will continue expanding for US players.
  • The new OPS series is in the poker client and boasts an impressive doubling from the prior OPS of $1,100,000 USD to $2,100,000 USD GTD with a $250,000 Main Event!

Segregation of the Merge Gaming Network began in early 2012 with high stakes games experiencing the initial dissonance. As time progressed, more and more stakes became separated. Ultimately, in early May 2013, full segregation was implemented and Merge effectively had two distinct poker room player pools. This stifled player traffic for months, and was a cause for strife among regular players in the online poker community. Carbon and Aced Poker, leading rooms on the larger Merge player pool, were partitioned away from the Jazette owned poker rooms, and lumped together with approximately 60 other non-network owned skins and white-labels. No player liquidity was shared at all between the sportsbook-heavy Jazette player pool and the other 60+ skins. This included all cash games, sit-n-go's, and multi-table tournaments, as well as the large MTT series such as Poker Maximus, the Online Poker Series, and the micro OPS.

The effects of this could easily be seen reflected in cash game player tracking.  Merge Poker Network, who was at various times the largest US friendly online poker network, fell down to third place in short order.  Bovada and The Winning Poker Network overtook them in terms of both peak player numbers and seven day average player counts.  The fall out had a snow ball effect as well.  Not only was there an initial shock that split the network basically in half, but then, since the games were not as soft any more, there was player attrition.  WPN saw a very solid increase in traffic over the following two months, gaining approximately another one hundred and fifty average players on the seven day moving average. 


Looking for alternatives to Carbon Poker?  Read Professional Rakeback Americas Cardroom Review or our Professional Rakeback Black Chip Poker Review


Merge Gaming Network Recent History

We speculated barely a week ago in our exclusive report on Pokerhost leaving Merge (now fully moved to the Equity Poker Network) that one of the main reasons partner rooms were leaving was due to a desire by new management to condense Merge Gaming towards a lighter, more 'core-centered' property. This began in 2012, when the management team lead by CEO Anthony Taylor was replaced. Still, overall player traffic, which was on a steady if not rising course through much of 2013, began to recede last fall even as payout waiting times decreased dramatically.  However, with Pokerhost having left a mere 24 hours ago and other independent rooms long gone, the rest of the partnered operators now find themselves in a better, more uniform position - and hence, suspects there was no further need for segregation among Merge cash tables and tournaments.

Merge Network Timeline of Events

According to Game Intel, Merge cash game traffic has been on an uneven decline over the past six months. In the latest data, 24-hour averages have fallen to around 300 players in April, with peaks reaching just below 600 players. With segregation seemingly no longer in effect, estimates that traffic could increase by as much as 50% from this "Merge Merger". We also suspect that Merge Network tournaments are about to see healthy increases in their guarantees. Could we once again see the $150,000 guaranteed Big Ticket Sunday major return?  As gamblers ourselves, we feel the odds are excellent! **UPDATE: Merge Gaming Network traffic has exceeded our expectations!  As of this update, November 2014, according to industry leading cash game tracking site Game Intel, the traffic on our favorite US poker site has risen by eighty five percent in terms of both peak player counts as well as the one week trailing moving average!  The games are now rediculously soft, comparable to Bovada in terms of game quality!

How high the traffic increases, how long increases are sustained, and whether traffic will once again begin to grow will be up to the network's policies moving forward. Merge's re-introduction of a bad beat jackpot, as reported on Tuesday by just 12 hours before this article's publication, should be attractive to recreational players.  It is the only current progressive BBJ promotion of its kind offered in the US-facing online poker market. Another positive change is Merge's recent expansion of cashout methods to its US players, which should alleviate strain on check processing and improve overall withdrawal timeframes. will keep you up to date on payout developments in our Monthly U.S. Online Poker Payouts Cashouts Report.  Yet another effort by the network and Carbon Gaming, has been to introduce two things famous for bringing in recreational players in droves, a full online casino, dubbed Carbon Casino, as well as a large selection of sports bets in the brand new Carbon Sportsbook.  The wish is obviously that the recreational punters will spill over into the poker games and vice versa in order to improve liquidity and profits all around.  Professional Rakeback things these are all strong steps in the right direction!

If you'd like to play on the newly desegregated Merge Gaming Network, we invite you to play on the network flagship Carbon Poker Review or it's sister skin Aced Poker. Initial deposit bonuses of 200% up to $5,000 are available for new accounts on either skin.  **UPDATE: Since this article was published, Aced Poker was absorbed by its sister skin and network flagship Carbon Poker.

Professional Rakeback is an online poker affiliate and player advocate offering services to players across highly reputable USA and Rest-Of-World (ROW) poker rooms. We also offer in-depth reports and information to the online poker community in general, including our leading Poker Withdrawal USA Payouts Report, our Overlay and MTT Reports, our player to player Trading Value (Vig) Reports, and our weekly MTT Value | Overlay Report. If you wish to know more, feel free to contact us directly via any of the options available here.