Merge to Accept New US Players Tomorrow

October 12, 2011 - 5:38 PM EDT
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The Merge Gaming Network has quietly announced plans to start taking new US player sign-ups tomorrow at 12:01 AM EDT. Some Merge skins have contacted affiliates with the news, and some have responded to players’ inquiries to confirm.

Merge, currently the second largest poker network that serves US players according to PokerScout.com, stopped accepting new US sign-ups over four months ago. Multiple sources close to the situation said at the time that the measure was a temporary response to better prepare the network for the large influx of new traffic resulting from Black Friday. Since the decision, Merge’s traffic has actually dropped to roughly its pre-Black Friday levels according to PokerScout.com.

Multiple sources close to Merge tell Subject: Poker that new players from Washington DC and six states will not be able to sign up: Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, and Washington. All seven of these jurisdictions have relatively strict anti-gambling laws. Merge stopped accepting new players from four of these jurisdictions on May 24th, the day after the US Attorney for the District of Maryland seized assets from a number of gambling websites. Kentucky and Washington, both of which have very strict anti-gambling laws, are new to the list.

In communications with skins and affiliates, the network stressed its desire to keep this decision quiet, hinting at the danger of US law enforcement activity.1 Merge and its various skins strongly discouraged affiliates from reporting this news and even threatened financial repercussions for affiliates who aggressively target the US market.

Subject: Poker does not know at this time whether all Merge skins plan to begin accepting US players outside of those seven jurisdictions tomorrow or whether some intend to apply further restrictions. For example, the Merge skins Hero PokerSportsbook.com, and PlayersOnly all stopped accepting new US players before the network as a whole did.

Footnotes

  1. Last month, Subject: Poker reported that the US Attorneys Office for the District of Maryland was reportedly planning to take action against Merge or its payment processors in late September. Due to the nature of such information, it is unlikely that we will ever learn whether this information was incorrect, the plans were canceled or postponed, or seizures were attempted but yielded no assets as a result of our article. We stand by our decision to publish the story.

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19 Responses to Merge to Accept New US Players Tomorrow

  1. Sanderbein
    October 12, 2011 at 8:36 PM EDT

    so im getting confirmation that Pokerview might take us players later today or early am tomorrow. How can I find out for sure?

    • Kid Charlemagne
      October 31, 2011 at 1:26 PM EDT

      Is this the same network that announced they are using bots as props?

  2. Dontrustdurrrr
    October 12, 2011 at 10:35 PM EDT

    Can anyone shed further light on this? Why would a company accept new customers but want that fact kept quiet? I’ll admit, I don’t get it. If we can play without worry, then I’d think they’d want our business without reservation. I don’t want to play on a Beta site only to find out my bankroll (again) is unavailable to me.

  3. Rob C
    October 13, 2011 at 2:02 AM EDT

    Bluff magazine has already spammed me with Pokerview offers on three email addresses. So much for not aggressively targeting US players.

  4. Robert
    October 13, 2011 at 10:09 AM EDT

    Anyone have any input on the best merge skin as far as software and/or best rb deals?

  5. Robert
    October 13, 2011 at 10:47 AM EDT

    Also, are any rooms better for heads up play? I assume they all have the same rake…

    • Robert
      October 13, 2011 at 10:53 AM EDT

      Never mind, Carbon has an exception for HU w/ .50 max, rpm does not (max $1 from what I can tell), and I cant find black chip’s rake structure. Carbon ftw

  6. Sameone
    October 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM EDT

    sounds like Merge is being lulled into a false sense of security so they too can fall victim of the DOJ. Merge cant even handle getting withdraws out quickly right now and they think they are ready for more volume, oh I forgot since everyone is gonna get the full tilt treatment on merge, merge doesnt have to worry about payment quickness imo. We are just going to pay for their retirement

  7. Brian
    October 13, 2011 at 3:54 PM EDT

    Any idea why Washington D.C. was excluded?

  8. eric fleury
    October 13, 2011 at 9:15 PM EDT

    hey retards…read the article….carbon uses payment processors outside the US so DOJ can’t do shit…ive deposited on there twice and each time my credit card has been charged outside the US…why FULL TILT didnt do this to avoid the DOJ mingling in their affairs is beyond me

    • Poker Expats
      October 14, 2011 at 1:05 AM EDT

      My understanding is that FTP and others weren’t using non-US payment processors because it’s more expensive to do so. I think this is due in part to the need for making currency conversions.

  9. zedmaster84
    October 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM EDT

    Noah, can you verify if all existing players from those newly banned states are allowed to continue playing? I have had a few players report that they are blocked now as well, but doesn’t seem like a general thing and more like random selection who can and who can’t.

  10. ManInBlack
    October 14, 2011 at 9:41 PM EDT

    Doesnt some of Merge skins employ bots that have a 40% ROI? So why bother playing there

    • j tomaz
      October 17, 2011 at 2:01 AM EDT

      That’s ongame with the bots. Merge has been banning and blocking bots for a while now. Check the threads on 2+2.

  11. fabby
    October 17, 2011 at 11:08 AM EDT

    The reason Merge is so worried is that the owners of Merge also own Sportsbook.com. Sportsbook internet betting has been illegal in the U.S. for a long time and in fact about 6 people have gone to jail for owning a sportbook site. My guess is that the Merge owners are scared of upsetting the U.S. Department of Justice so they are trying to make it look like they want to comply with all U.S. Internet gaming laws. Merge makes so much money from Sportsbook.com that they aren’t that concerned about their poker business.

    I dont understand why any US players would want to still play there when you can play on Cake network skins.

    I do play on one cake network’s skin ( i m not sure if i can name it) and get my withdrawal money within less than 9 days.

    • zedmaster84
      October 18, 2011 at 8:16 PM EDT

      I guess that also explains why sportsbook.com left the US completely, right? ;)

      • fabby
        October 20, 2011 at 4:06 AM EDT

        As i said Sportsbook internet betting has been illegal in the U.S. for a long time and ONLY 6 people have gone to jail for owning a sportbook site.
        Ur call if u want to still play on merge you would have been warned.

    • larry baker
      November 18, 2011 at 12:58 PM EDT

      hi it seems that you have found Cake to be ok can you tell me if they have any pot limit omaha eight or better action thanks Larry

  12. What's New Poker News
    August 23, 2012 at 4:47 AM EDT

    I am also very surprised at this article too. Surely if a site recommenced player sign-ups, they would make a grand announcement; I think Merge have made some poor strategic decisions in recent times. I understand that some states have very strict gambling laws, but given the implications post-black Friday, one would have thought it would be a great opportunity for the company to exploit a big gap in the market left by Full Tilt. I think the whole online poker industry needs to make some serious changes to try and re-instate the once renowned levels of integrity.

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