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NETWORK POLICY CHANGES

As the competition becomes fiercer almost by the month in the online poker industry, more and more rooms are adopting measures to gain an edge against their competitors and keep the influx of new players. This tendency will mostly harm winning players on the different networks, as they will be the ones suffering the most from the initiatives taken up by the struggling networks.

Over the past four years, the industry has witnessed a number of networks implementing these types of changes. Seen as a whole, the measures seek to minimize the network's losses and to keep an influx of losing players by favoring them over sharks. In some cases, this also means that if a skin is mainly occupied by winning players, that skin will be penalized as a whole by the network.

iPoker started to fine poker rooms with too many winning players in late 2008. The fine system led to several operators left the network while others just banned certain winning players to avoid excessive fines by iPoker.

 

Boss Media Fining System

One of the most common ways of minimizing network losses is to implement a fining system, which punishes th

e winning skins while rewarding skins that host losing players. This policy was introduced on the Boss Media Network also known as International Poker Network in September 2009, which introduced fines for poker network licensees that rely too heavily on the regulars or rakeback pros1 and did not bring in enough casual, losing players, or 'fish'.1

Due to a certain amount of secrecy surrounding these measures and network policies, it is not possible for PokerHistory.eu to disclose just how big these fines are, but Boss Media is far from the only room to pursue this tactic.

 

iPoker Network Split

The perhaps best example of how online poker networks actively seek to favor losing players to keep the games and the rake running is the split of the iPoker Network, which was announced in June 2012.2

The iPoker Network, the world's second-largest online poker network (in September 2012) with 42 different skins, announced that it would be splitting the network into two sub-divisions, based on the performances of the various skins. This happened on September 1, 2012 and it split the network into iPoker1 and iPoker2.

In other words, the split meant that networks that fail to meet a "predetermined performance criteria" will see its players ring fenced with other offenders on the network, while the remaining rooms would be pooled together in a second tier.

The division of the network into 'iPoker 1' and 'iPoker 2' skins was made according to a scoring metric, with focus on players' life expectancy on the network, as well as balancing the "drain volume" - withdrawals - from the skins. Once again, the tactic is to make it harder for skins to rely on winning rake back players, and to force them into making an effort to create new signups.

iPoker has already began collecting data to determine which rooms belong in which category, and sanctions were imposed for the first time on September 1, 2012.

However, it is not all of the network's players who will be affected by the split, as it will only apply to NLHE cash tables up to $2/$4 and some sit'n'go formats. The network's pool of multi-table tournament players will remain intact as well. 

Another term that surfaced was that be eligible for being part of iPoker2 it was required to have 6000 active players and 800 new first depositors per month. This information was printed in the iPoker Network Policy distributed to the skin owners in August 2012.


1. twoplustwo.com September 12, 2009

2. pokerfuse.com July 18, 2012