Useful Information + Comparisons On Tiers, Sites and Bonuses For The iPoker Network Split
Latest Update 13th March: Some more good news... Betfair are now offering iPoker games to their big player base. They will continue to offer OnGame tables alongside for 6 months, before going 100% iPoker. With the big brand betting exchange, Betfair are sure to bring a big amount of recreational / amateur players with them, and will join the top 'iPoker2' group. In addition, Ladbrokes have announced their intention to join - this should be yet another welcome boost!
iPoker are split their network into 2 tiers in September 2012. This is a major change separated the big betting brands like William Hill and Bet365 from the 100's of tiny 'skins' on the network. The result is that there is a top tier (tier2) full of sports betting fans and recreational players... while all the 'grinders' who were attracted to the tiny skins by lucrative VIP deals now get to play against each other on the lower (ipoker1) tier. Since the split we have seen several small skins fold, and some big name signings on the upper tier, including Everest Poker and now Betfair.
This page has 2 purposes.
First, summarizing the key news, information and press releases all in one place. This part can be found at towards the bottom of the page in the section marked 'Latest News'. You'll see that I point out how each item fits in with the wider picture - plus provide links to more information where needed.
Second, I will compare the ‘top tier’ or 'ipoker2' sites (this is where the soft action will be). By laying the deals down side-by-side, you will be able to tell which iPoker site offers the best package for your needs. At the moment there are 7 'definites' as far as the top tier goes - Everest and the newly-joined Betfair the only ones not in the table - keep an eye on this page for news of any futher additions.
The table below compares the iPoker2 sites, showing the different welcome bonuses and ongoing rewards. The clear rates were calculated by assuming the max bonus amounts. First I have some background on the split, which is in a 'read more' format in case you already know about it and want to skip the details. The FAQ section and then the latest news are below this.
iPoker Split - What Exactly Is Happening, When and Why??
This section explains the background to the iPoker network split, giving you some background on the issue of 'parasitic skins' vs those members who bring new players. I give a context as to what is happening, and fill in some details as to what it means for you as a player (click the read more to open the section) Read more...
There are currently a lot of sites on the iPoker Network, these range from big brand names though to some very small sites. Sites on any poker network are commonly known as ‘Skins’.
Now, with the doors open to virtually anyone, a problem occurred with good players being ‘poached’.
What would happen is this. Big brands like Titan or William Hill would bring 1000’s of players. Of these, a small percentage would get the poker bug, study the game and end up getting good – and so beating the games and often multi-tabling too. These were obviously valuable players, generating a lot of revenue for the sites.
Next, smaller ‘unknown’ brands would offer these high volume players special VIP bonus deals, based on the amount they play. This took several forms, though was often the equivalent of rakeback, which iPoker officially bans.
So the big brands were seeing their most valuable players lured away by small skins who brought no new players to the network themselves. The marketing dollars were spent by the big guns, and a good proportion of the profits were being skimmed by the so called ‘parasitic’ skins.
Fast Forward To Summer 2012
Obviously the big players wanted to solve this problem, and they have done so by splitting the games (cash games and SNGs) between those sites who bring a lot of new and depositing players, and those who do not.
From 1st September, skins who do not bring a big enough proportion of new players will only get to play on tables with other small skins. The tables for the big brands will be separated.
This is obviously fantastic news for recreational and amateur players. The ‘grinders’ will be shut out, and you will be playing against other amateurs.
Some grinders will move over to the bigger brands of course – part of this article compares the VIP club deals for exactly this reason. This is basically death for the smaller ‘VIP’ focused skins though, all they will be able to offer are tables featuring other ‘good’ grinders from similar places, nobody will want to play there for long.
You will see the new setup in early September, and I expect a lot of news about mergers / closures of smaller skins by the end of the month.
There are a lot of big brands on the iPoker Network who will certainly be in the top tier. These include Titan Poker (biggest of all), William Hill, Paddy Power, Bet365 and more. The section below compares their bonuses, promotions and player reward schemes at-a-glance. I’ll then make my recommendation for those who are still undecided.
This is a great time for all of us who enjoy the soft iPoker Tables – they already host the softest poker games around, and are about to get a lot softer!
Which Top Tier iPoker Site Offers The Best Player Deal?
|Welcome Bonus||Ongoing Rewards||Check 'em Out|
Note: If any poker site reps see anything I missed in this table, feel free to let me know and I'll change / add as required!
iPoker Split - FAQ - Covers Games, Bankrolls and Sites
This section answers all of your questions concerning the split. Here I cover the 'definite' iPoker-2 sites and the games which are affected, explain what I would do with my bankroll on smaller (non-top-tier) sites (Hint: Withdraw very very fast!). Not all games are affected by the network split, so I will explain about those too. Read more...
Which Rooms Are Certain To Make The Cut?
At the moment there are only 5 rooms I believe are certain to make the cut into the softer iPoker2 (top tier) network. These are: William Hill Poker, Titan Poker, Bet365, Paddy Power. and Poker770.
There are some possible additions, which I will add to this list as soon as the initial candidates are confirmed. With Everest Poker moving over to iPoker, this is an almost certain addition to the top tier (and a welcome one, since the bring a large recreational audience from around the world).
If Your Bankroll Is Elsewhere
If you are playing on a smaller iPoker skin, for example due to a generous VIP deal, then the time to withdraw your bankroll is now. There is a significant risk that smaller skins will quickly close, and they may not have big incentives to pay back their players after their businesses collapse.
While this advice might turn out to be too cautious, I am recommending that players on skins not listed above remove any cash not needed for their day-to-day poker play immediately.
What Games Are Affected?
Not all games will be affected by the split. With Speed Holdem and Multi-table tournaments not included in the initial split. Cash games up to $400 No-Limit Holdem and SNG tournaments are the key games which will be split. My understanding is that this covers 80% of the cash game action anyway, and tournaments at the lower buy-ins are for the recreational player types anyway, and so not affected by the smaller skin ‘grinders’ as much.
Planet Mark's Rec: I have been playing at Titan Poker for more than 5 years now without a single issue. With the network split meaning that a lot of the 'grinders' will look elsewhere I am looking forward to dedicating a lot of my time there over the coming months!
SNG Planet readers can claim an extra $20 cash on top of your 200% welcome bonus, with bonus code SNGPLANET. Just deposit $30+ first time and I will ensure that the extra is paid direct to your player account within 48 hours. This is a great opportunity to experience poker at it's most profitable - check out TitanPoker.com today!
Latest iPoker Network Split News
This is the part of the page where I bring you the latest news and press releases. Remember to bookmark this page today, it will be a busy month for the iPoker Network.
March 14th 2013: News coming through that Ladbrokes are to join the network. This is another welcome boost to the top (iPoker2) tier. This brand have a huge presence in the UK, and already run a successful poker site on the Microgaming network.
Jan 21st 2013: Another high profile site has announced that they are joining the iPoker Network Tier2 sites. Betfair will run a dual network strategy with their existing OnGame tables still open, while also allowing play at the iPoker tables. In 6 months time the OnGame tables will disappear... and Betfair, along with their big pool of sports betting exchange fans, will be 100% iPoker. For existing iPoker2 players this is excellent news, since many more amateur / recreational players will be joining.
November 6th: Sun Poker have closed. This site were on the iPoker-1 tier, and have now closed their site completely. Player money is safe - this is being transferred to the Omni Casino brand and can be cashed out from there. I am expecting this to be the first of many sites from the 'lower' ipoker tier either closing, selling to a tier2 site or moving to another network. With Everest now established in iPoker2 it has quickly become a 'no brainer' to play with the recreational crowd on this network.
October 15th: Everest have announced that they will be transitioning to the iPoker Network on the 16th of October, with player balances moving over to the large network. With a big international profile (Everest marketed all over the world well before anyone else) this should be a welcome boost to the network - who recently lost the #2 spot in traffic to Party Poker. I am assuming that Everest are big enough to join the iPoker2 tier, along with all the sports betting brands + Titan. If this is not the case then I will update this article again later in the week!
September 18th: Dafa are not in the top tier, meaning we have just 5 iPoker skins making the 'iPoker 2' network (with Everest set to make it 6 in the near future). I am hearing great things about the recreational nature of the top tier of sites - with a significant difference (25% more players to each flop mentioned) compared to the smaller 'iPoker1' network.
September 5th: Ok, the split went ahead last night, though iPoker / Playtech have not done a great job of their PR! Some news on brands who have not made the split, these include Sun Poker, BetFred, Mansion, Genting and Dracula Poker (who have now given up their own branding and merged with Titan). I feel that the tables should be marked more clearly, as the pools look the same from the lobbies of the tier 1 / tier 2 sites - though I can assure you that they are not the same, the big brands is where all the recreational players are... if you are on a smaller skin you need to get moving to Titan today!
August 28th: I have it on good authority that we can add Dafa Poker to the list of top-tier certainties. Dafa may not be on the radar for a lot of readers of this site, since this is an Asian-focused brand - however they are strong for both casino and poker and will be included in the fishy part of the network!
August 25th: Everest Poker to join the iPoker Network! Everest were always a dark horse in the world of online poker, they were consistently top 5, with big tournament traffic and a truly international reach. This makes perfect sense for both Everest and the network. Now they know their top players will not be poached by the 'VIP skins' Everest can cut the costs of maintaining their own software and join an establihsed platform. While this brings the number of 'definites' to 6, we do not yet have the details of the move... so I will hold off from adding another line to my table just yet!
August 23rd: Celeb Poker to merge with Titan Poker. This is the first of what I expect to be many 'merger' announcements over the coming months. While Celeb Poker did have some media presence (from my perspective they were not a 'parasitic skin' in the bad sense), they had knowhere near enough players to get to iPoker2. These smaler skins have valuable player bases for the big guys, and will be negotiating for their lives at this very moment!
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