Black Friday updates: Merge exits U.S., Phil Ivey sues Full Tilt
More fallout from the U.S. government’s April 15 seizure of the world’s biggest online poker websites: Just after Cake Poker Network site PowerPoker announced it was ending new U.S. signups, reports are indicating that the entire Merge Network will do the same.
Affiliates who checked out today’s CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com webinar heard four of the poker affiliate world’s sharpest minds mention that Merge was no longer accepting U.S. players. That news had also been reported yesterday at SubjectPoker.com. Some of last week’s Dublin iGaming Super Show attendees have also reported hearing those plans from Merge reps.
What’s it mean?
After the sudden loss of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and CEREUS network sites UB.com and Absolute Poker from the U.S. market, the Merge Network suddenly found itself in the position of being the biggest online poker network in the biggest online poker market, the U.S.A.
That triumph was short-lived, however. As the industry watched the United States seize even more poker domains, such as DoylesRoom and TruePoker, it became clear that all large sites were being targeted. Many large poker sites not targeted by the FBI began voluntarily leaving the U.S. market.
Though it was first described as “temporary”, it looks like Merge has indefinitely exited the United States, too. According to PokerScout’s numbers, that now makes Bodog the largest poker network in the United States, although today’s webinar hinted that Bodog’s days of accepting U.S. poker players would be over soon, too, if they weren’t already.
Also per PokerScout, Bodog’s cash player average is 546, to the Merge Network’s 1,393. PokerStars still dominates the global market with 28,970, with Full Tilt coming in second at 13,108.
Ivey sues Full Tilt, boycotts WSOP
Speaking of Full Tilt: That site is getting some legal grief from one of its former stars, and arguably the world’s most successful poker pro.
Making a statement on behalf of all the players still owed millions of dollars by Full Tilt Poker, poker celebrity Phil Ivey has announced he’s not only boycotting the World Series of Poker (WSOP) but also suing his former employer.
Ivey’s absence from the WSOP will sting. Yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun ranked Ivey as one of the 10 most anticipated factors in this year’s event.
“Ivey is regarded as the best poker player in the world,” Case Keefer writes. “Ivey has won eight World Series of Poker bracelets, tied with Seidel for fifth all-time, and three in the past two years.”