'' Ongame Essence | Network changes | Rake Changes | Rules
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In July 2010, Ongame introduced a new rake and points distribution system called “Essence”.1 The changed system is yet another example of how a major online poker network intends to deliberately target winning players, their affiliates and their favorite skins in order to cater to the losing players, or 'fish', instead.

In another article on PokerHistory.eu, we have discussed how networks like Boss Media and iPoker have introduced severe network policy changes to rid some of their skins from sharks and regulars who generate large amounts of rakeback.

These changes primarily serve one purpose: to boost the influx of losing players and force the skins to make an extra effort to sign up new players to their rooms. 

In the case of Ongame Essence, the network has chosen not to target the skins directly, but instead hit them where it hurts the most: their players.

Essence introduces a new categorization system, in which players are divided into different categories, depending on whether or not they are a 'grinder'/rakeback pro, a 'fish' or a 'shark'. Each category will count differently towards the collection of rakeback and points, meaning that players in each category will earn different amounts of points/rakeback with the same amount of activity at the tables.

As a result, losing players are now earning more points than before, as a way of "subsidizing" their losses from Ongame. Correspondingly, a regular who play high volumes will be categorized as a winning player, and he or she will now have a harder time collecting the points need to clear a bonus - even though they are playing the exact same amount of hands.

Again, this categorization just represents a different measure from Ongame in the battle against competing networks. The solution as such only really favors losing players, who will receive more benefits the more they lose and deposit.

For the regulars, however, this system makes it harder to earn rakeback, and they will therefore likely see themselves as being punished severely for doing well in their games or for being hardworking in terms of rakeback.

Ongame's Essence model may be part of an industry-wide trend to open up the games and attract losing players and keep the poker economy breathing. But the measures adopted by this, the world's seventh largest online poker network, is one of the most radical to date, seemingly affecting a host of players, their affiliates, as well as the skin operators.

For an outline of how Ongame Essence can potentially affect different player types, affiliates and skin operators, take a look at this write-up from pokeraffililatesolutions.com

1. Insiderpokerbusiness.com July, 2010