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Grand Poker Network on Extended Hiatus

Grand Poker Network Logo

As of Dec. 10, 2017, the Grand Poker Network has been inaccessible since near the beginning of November. Nobody can log into the room through either the download client or the instant play functionality on the website. The Grand Poker Network was started in 2014 by 5Dimes and has a number of skins, including GrandPoker.eu, Sportbet, Island Casino, VietBet, and 5Dimes itself.

One-Month+ Downtime

Reports started surfacing on Sunday, Nov. 5 at popular poker forums that users were unable to connect to Grand Poker (also called Dragon Room). In the following days, the situation continued. Customer support gave varying responses to different customers. They sometimes claimed that poker was down for maintenance and would be back shortly. At other times, they said that the poker room was closing for good. We here at Professional Rakeback were informed that the poker site was switching servers and undergoing a client update, and there was no word on when the process would be completed.

Upon launching the poker software, users see the familiar “Updating” window like normal:

Grand Poker Updating Window

However, when the “Connecting” interface appears, nothing happens no matter how long the player waits:

Grand Poker Connecting Window

Clicking the “Network Status” button merely directs the user's web browser to a page that times out. The 5Dimes poker webpage shows the following message:

Message on 5Dimes Website About Poker Maintenance

A conversation that we had with Live Chat support at network partner VietBet on Dec. 10 was singularly uninformative:

Live Chat With VietBet

Update

Following a concerted effort on the part of ProfessionalRakeback to obtain further information on the situation, we received on Dec. 14 a communication from one of our contacts at the poker department. They said:

We are experiencing technical issues and improving security for all players - we expect to have poker back online within a month.

We don't feel as though this response was particularly informative, but it's the most we could get out of the company. It at least demonstrates that poker is still on the radar and hasn't been discarded. We'll see in about a month what the outcome is, and we'll just have to sit tight until that time. Sometimes just the fact that a room is still communicating is a positive, and we take this as such a sign.

About the Grand Poker Network

Info Button

Since the time of its launch in 2014, Grand Poker has remained a niche operator without very many players active at any given time. There were rarely more than about a half dozen tables going in the cash game section while the SNGs were practically deserted. Tournaments fared better, but even there, it was uncommon to see more than 100 participants in any event. The busiest time for Grand Poker seemed to be Sunday evenings when around 300 people would be playing in the weekly $500 freeroll that the site hosted. However, many of them were non-depositing players who merely intended to build up a bankroll from scratch, and so they aren't representative of real money customers of Grand. Game Intel's tracking page for Grand Network, currently offline as of the posting of this article, recorded that there were typically fewer than 40 cash game players simultaneously at the tables over the course of 2017.

The combination of low player counts, generous promos like the Sunday freeroll and 50% rakeback, and very low rake to begin with indicates that Grand was never a big money maker for its owners. Yet, it would be wrong to suggest that the operation was faltering and on the verge of insolvency. You see, the founder of the network, 5Dimes, is a well-known and reputable USA online sportsbook with a history of fairness and honesty going back more than 20 years. It has an A+ rating on SportsbookReview, and there's next to no chance that it's suffering from financial difficulties.

5Dimes was likely running the Grand Network as a loss leader. That is, the company was perfectly willing to provide poker, even without making any money on it, to entice newcomers onto its platform and then hopefully convert them over to higher-margin casino and sports-betting products. Moreover, some of 5Dimes existing customer base likely was keen to try their hand at poker, and rather than having them move part or all of their balances over to a competitor, 5Dimes hoped to keep them in-house via its Grand Poker division.

What Now for Grand Poker?

Three Paths Going in Different Directions

It's anyone's guess really what will become of the Grand Poker Network going forward. Without any solid data coming from the network itself, all we can do is speculate. There are a few outcomes that appear possible:

  1. Grand Poker will return better than before
  2. 5Dimes and its associates will no longer offer poker
  3. Poker will return but in a different form than before

The first scenario appears to be what the firm wishes us to believe with its talk of “upgrading…to better your playing experience.” However, not being able to enjoy poker for more than a month can hardly be considered a better playing experience, and it's not readily apparent what could be happening behind the scenes to justify such a lengthy period of downtime. We feel that the operators of the network aren't exactly being forthright with us, and they're certainly tight-lipped about what their plans are.

It's conceivable, though unlikely, that 5Dimes has had enough of running poker at a loss and will therefore close its poker department permanently. This would be an admission of defeat on its part, and the business would risk losing considerable revenue as new poker players ignore it while some current customers opt to go elsewhere for cards. 5Dimes manages a sportsbook, three separate traditional online casinos, a live dealer casino, a bingo hall, two racebooks, and a lottery section. Given the breadth of its wagering portfolio, we would be surprised if execs decide that there's no room for poker within its offerings.

The third contingency is perhaps the most interesting. In the past, 5Dimes has partnered with outside networks, like Yatahay, the Winning Poker Network, and the Equity Poker Network, to deliver poker gameplay to its user base. It may be true that 5Dimes now views the Grand Poker Network as a failed experiment and is attempting to sign an agreement with a third-party to hop aboard a preexisting poker operation. This would explain the long delay while management irons out all the details of a contract.

There are risks to doing this, and in fact, one of 5Dimes' previous network partners, the Equity Poker Network, closed down unexpectedly in 2016, stiffing both players and 5Dimes itself. 5Dimes is probably hesitant to work with other gaming networks now. Yet, this course of action is maybe the best compromise between not having poker at all and 5Dimes endeavoring to do everything by itself. We think that 5Dimes and the Winning Poker Network would make a great team, and they have worked together well in past years without any serious incidents.

Rumor has it, though, that 5Dimes' action gamblers were losing their shirts to players from other WPN sites, necessitating cross-cage payments from 5D to its partners and negatively impacting the enterprise's bottom line. So perhaps they would be hesitant to jump back into bed with WPN. This sort of scenario has been faced by other operations in the past however, and many have responded by simply limiting the stakes that their players were able to access on the network.

Alternate Poker Sites

Royal Flush in Spades

A month is a long time to go without online poker, and if you're a Grand Poker user who's annoyed by being unable to play, then it might be time to select another poker room. You can read our guide to the leading internet poker sites for USA players to get a better idea of the options open to you. For more info on the Grand Poker Network itself, check out our Grand Poker Network overview page.

Comments

If they offer online poker in the US except with a licence in Nevada or NJ, they are illegal and no one should be surprised they abruptly pull the plug. Note: online sports betting is currently illegal too.

Hello johnqpublic and thanks for posting here at PRB,

Unfortunately your opinions are without factual merit. Let us take a look at the fallacies of your post:

except with a licence in Nevada or NJ

We assume that you meant to say "without a license" which is a pretty egregious error when speaking of the legality or illegality of a matter. Furthermore, you have left out the state of Delaware which is also regulated and issues licenses. And on top of that, you seem to be unaware that Pennsylvania also recently passed regulations for online poker/gambling. You appear to not be aware of half of the states who have regulations in place and somehow we are beginning to devalue your authority on this topic. 

 they are illegal

There is often confusion among laymen about "legality," and who can blame them when "major media" outlets misrepresent the truth about online poker so frequently. Let us also make something clear. Just because an activity is not "regulated" by the government does not mean that said activity is "illegal". For example, we like to put a pinch of salt in our morning coffee if we brew it hot, to remove the bitterness. The government doesn't regulate how coffee is made in a private citizen's home. Does that make the activity illegal because there are no rules about how one should prepare their morning cup of joe? Of course not. Anything that is not explicitely illegal, is in fact, legal.

and no one should be surprised they abruptly pull the plug

By the tone of your response, we're going to assume that you didn't really read the article and/or you have made some wild assumptions that this is another "Black Friday" or "Lock Poker Scandal" type of event.. that people are suddenly screwed out of lots of money and it is all their fault for engaging in "illegal" activities. Given the falseness and lack of understanding in your post, we are not surprised at all.

The fact of the matter is that not a single person has claimed to have lost money. Why? Because none have. A player's funds on this network are held in either poker, sports, or casino accounts all of which are controlled by the master account of the player. Moving funds from one vertical to another is simply a matter of logging into the website and making a few clicks. In fact, the members of Grand Poker Network went ahead and did this for everyone already and moved all poker funds into the sportsbook accounts of players. From here, players can freely withdraw all their funds. Speedily we might add.

In closing, our advice to you mr johnqpublic, is to study up on the legality of online poker.  Perhaps try going to Google first and doing some reading. Here, we will give you a link to a proper search - Google, is online poker legal?

Thanks for participating, but let us stick to the facts next time OK?