It has only been a week since the Cake Poker Network lost two of its major poker rooms to the Merge Gaming Network, but the effects are already being felt at both online poker networks.

On April 15th, both Sportsbook.com and Players Only migrated from a top ten poker network to one that was barely in the top twenty. The date had been anticipated by the online poker community for months, as people wondered what sort of impact the defections would have. So far, it’s been a pretty significant one.

According to a report issued by online poker tracking site PokerScout.com on Monday, Merge Gaming Network’s cash game traffic increased over 160 percent on the day of the change. Looking at the peak daily player numbers, Merge’s traffic topped out at 381 players on April 14th, but on April 15th, that figure hit a peak of 996 players. Yesterday, that peak number had fallen to 858, but it is still a large increase, nonetheless.

In an interview with PokerNewsDaily.com, Ian Williams, Marketing Director at Carbon Poker (Merge’s flagship room), said, “I was conservatively predicting a rise of around 20%. In fact, we are seeing increases of over 100% in daily ring rake and almost 200% in tournament traffic.” He went on to say that while that immense leap is not sustainable, he does feel that the network could double in the next few months.

In the meantime, Cake Poker’s peak traffic slumped 16 percent the day after the two rooms moved, but has rebounded slightly, sitting at approximately 11 percent below its pre-migration levels as of Wednesday. Cake’s seven day average cash game traffic is down severely over the last couple months. In the first half of February, Cake had become the 8th largest poker network/room, with an average of 2,250 cash players per day. Now, according to PokerScout.com, Cake’s traffic is just 1,520 players and the network is in danger of falling out of the top ten. The network still feels, however, that it will be fine in the long run. Earlier this month, three new rooms – JuicyStakes, BeteXpress, and Kakuy Poker – were brought onboard, and Unabomber Poker, fronted by Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, was added before them.

The Merge Gaming Network was created in February 2007 by the management of the old Poker.com online poker room. In what at the time appeared to be an odd decision, Poker.com did not become one of the members of the new network. Instead, Poker.com simply became a poker portal, providing poker information and links to online poker rooms. Merge acquired the Poker.com software and used it to create essentially a Poker.com clone, CarbonPoker.com, which became the network’s flagship site. Poker.com did not allow any new signups at the old room, although existing Poker.com customers were still able to play at the site as usual.

It turned out that Poker.com management had an interesting reason for the site change. Land-based poker tournaments in the U.S. were getting tough on online gambling advertising in the wake of the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. As such, no “.com” poker websites were allowed to be displayed on the tournament premises, including on clothing. Tournament officials, most notably those at the World Series of Poker, began to require anyone wearing an online poker logo to cover up the “.com” portion of the web address. The ramification for Poker.com was that its URL turned into simply “Poker” when the “.com” was concealed. Thus, perhaps the best online poker web address became a non-descript noun, not giving anyone who saw it any idea that it was actually an online poker room. Becoming CarbonPoker.com remedied this. Someone who saw “CarbonPoker” on a shirt could hop on the internet, enter the name in a web browser, and find the site.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.