Normally, we might say “pick on someone your own size,” but it is kind of hard to say that when the bully is tiny.  The bully of which we speak: the Merge Gaming Network.  Its subject of torment: the Cake Poker Network.
Yesterday it was announced that Lock Poker will be jumping from the Cake Poker Network to the Merge Gaming Network, the fifth online poker room on the Cake Poker Network to make Merge its new home in the last two months.  In February, Merge Gaming issued a press release stating that “…it has successfully agreed to migrate the online poker gaming activities of Jazette Enterprises to the Merge Gaming platform.” Jazette Enterprises operates, Players Only Poker, and  Those three rooms have not switched to Merge yet, but plan to by April 15th.  Earlier this month, made the move, making Merge its third home after the Microgaming Network and Cake.
Of those sites, the ones that intrigue players on both networks the most are and  Those two, along with are sports betting sites first, poker rooms second.  Sports bettors have the reputation of being “fish,” the type of players who use their sports winnings to have some fun playing poker.  Online poker networks and their customers love having these kinds of players at the tables, as they increase action and generate rake. and are thought to have sizable enough player bases where their defection will result in a noticeable change in the makeup of both networks.  Only time will tell, though.
Officials at the Cake Poker Network have not shown much outward concern, claiming that the player bases of the sports betting sites are largely seasonal and that the network has many new poker rooms in the pipeline.  Most recently, the network added the Latin America-facing Burro Poker and Unabomber Poker, headlined by poker professional Phil “The Unabomber” Laak.
Lock Poker launched in 2007 and quickly attempted to make itself attractive to the young poker pro crowd.  In 2009, the poker room teamed up with Bluff Magazine to create the Bluff Online Poker Challenge.  In the Challenge, 25 of the world’s top online poker players started with $200 on Lock Poker and raced to see who could end with the largest bankroll after one month.  Brian ‘Sno0owman’ Hawkins used mostly heads-up Sit-and-Go’s to win the Challenge, transforming his $200 into over $25,000.
Shortly thereafter, Lock Poker hired famed online player Eric “Rizen” Lynch as its Vice President of Product Development.  While he has cut back on the amount of poker he plays nowadays, Lynch was once one of the top players on the Leaderboard, a ranking of the top online players in the world.  Televised poker fans may remember him from the 2006 World Series of Poker, when he placed 24th in the $10,000 Main Event, winning almost $500,000.
There is no word as to why the poker rooms are moving from the Cake Poker Network to Merge Gaming.  Considering the relative sizes of the two networks, however, one might guess that Merge simply offered them a financial deal that was too hard to pass up.  Currently, the Cake Poker Network ranks 10th in the industry in average cash game traffic, with 1,900 players per day, according to  Merge Gaming, on the other hand, is way down the list in 20th place, averaging just 220 players per day and trending downward.

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