If there is one thing we can be sure of with the US offshore poker scene, it is that things will keep changing. The biggest change as we hit the middle of 2015 is that former leading network Merge has slipped down into 4th place – with the Chico Network the main beneficiary. This post shows you the rankings, and also gives a quick update of the latest news from each network.
B***** / B****g – 1700 Cash Game Players
No longer allowed to cover the poker games on this network - so you'll just have to guess! This network has extended its lead, and is now the single biggest offshore poker site, casino and sportsbook by a long way. Poker Scout report a 7-day average of 1700 cash game players, with peaks of more than 3000. Keep in mind that the tournaments are hugely popular on this network, which means 1000’s more players are not accounted for. I should also note that these numbers are an estimate from Poker Scout.
These numbers are all the more surprising when you consider the negative reaction to their ‘recreational player model’ a few years ago. This limits tools favoured by grinders by making the games anonymous (no player names) and limits cash games / sit n goes to 4 tables at once. This is a US-only site, which does not allow players from any other country.
Chico Poker Network – 475 Cash Game Players
Chico are the up and coming US poker network, and have leapfrogged both Merge and WPN in their move up the rankings. The 7 day average of cash game players is 475, with simultaneous peaks of double this. The tournament part of this site is just getting going, which means this is a truer number than for some other sites.
Your main reason to play on Chico is that the main site is a huge sportsbook. BetOnline has been serving US bettors from their base in Panama for more than a decade. The poker is an add-on to this huge operation, and does attract a lot of cross over (often crazy) players.
There are always a long list of player promos at BetOnline – and I would not be surprised to see this site grow significantly by the end of the year. Check those easy games at www.betonline.eu
Winning Poker Network (WPN) – 425 Cash Game Players
This is the only network which offers a rakeback deal, and also has progressive leaderboards for both cash games and SNGs. There is a reasonable tournament selection, so the 425 cash game 7-day average is low compared to the total player pool. These deals do attract grinders, making the games a little tighter / more predictable than those at the other sites.
If you do like to hit the volume and multi-table, then the Winning Poker Network will get you some big rewards.
The other reason to check out the Winning Poker Network (and their biggest site America’s Cardroom) is their regular $1,000,000 guaranteed tournament events. These take place every few months and feature a loaded final table.
Check out www.americascardroom.com (this link is good for the best available 27% rakeback deal)
Merge Network – 280 Cash Game Players
This network used to be a personal favorite, with excellent software and really strong tournament promotions including the ‘COPs’ series. Unfortunately, they have hit a bump in the road, which has led to delays with player withdrawals. Without the trust of the players that these would recover to their old speed, many people have abandoned the site - which has seen the player numbers crash from 450+ (7 day cash average) to just 280.
I hope to see Carbon Poker and Merge recover soon – though can not recommend them to SNG Planet readers in their current state.
Equity Poker Network (EPN) = 140 Cash Game Players
Equity is a revolutionary concept, where the poker sites involved actually own the network. In theory this takes out some 3rd party fees, leaving more profits for the players. Things got off to a promising start with Equity, though they are currently struggling to keep up the momentum. With only 140 cash game players (7 day average), it is hard to offer too big a selection of games at this point.
On the positive side, my experience of the tables is that the games are very soft!
US Poker Networks in 2015 – Summary
B***** continue to be the dominant player, with around 4x the 7-day average of their closest rival.
BetOnline (Chico) are a great alternative, especially for regular players who like to bet sports and play in casinos as well as play poker. I expect to see the Chico Network consolidate their hold on 2nd place over the coming months.
GL at the tables, Mark
Popular articles covering the offshore US poker scene:
- Best US Poker Sites (main page, links to many other articles)
Submitted by Planet Mark on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 09:25