In the world of online poker there are two types of rooms: those on a network and those that go it alone. Each has its pros and its cons. For example, SpinPalace casino and PokerStars are the two largest online poker rooms in the world and are on their own network which means they get to control the software, full promotions, and they don’t have to pay any of their profits to another company for rights to play on the network. But for players, especially those looking to profit from inexperienced players, a large poker network may be a good place to play.
Here are the three of the biggest benefits for playing on a network:
- More competitive loyalty programs
- Ability to jump poker rooms for better promotions
- Fresh inexperienced players to play against
The More Lucrative Poker Network Loyalty Programs
The big word for many loyalty programs in online poker is rakeback. All rooms have some type of existing loyalty points program that works like frequent flier miles, but many network rooms offer rakeback which is a portion of the tournament fees and cash game vig that is taken as payment to play online at a table or in a tournament.
Poker networks like the Merge Network with its flagship room Carbon Poker, typically offers a rakeback percentage of 35%. While the Cereus Network that is home to the huge rooms UB.com and Absolute Poker offers a solid 30%. There are also non-U.S. friendly networks like the Ongame and iPoker Networks that have just as competitive percentages of rakeback. With rakeback a break even player or even a slightly losing player can become a profitable player. When you get your rakeback payments it feels like receiving an interest payment from a savings account.
The ability to earn rakeback, however, is almost exclusively for poker networks. PokerStars and Full Tilt have a form of rakeback, especially Tilt, but the percentages are low and if you already have an account there you will never see any rakeback at all. Rakeback deals are given out by room affiliates like Pokerspace.com and Poker Listings rather than straight from the room.
Ability to Move Rooms for Better Deals
Capitalism is at its strongest in online poker when boiling the industry down to a single poker network. Poker rooms that are part of a network know that players have choice and to keep players on their room rather than another they must come out with the best deals and best tournaments to keep players coming back.
For example, say you joined a room on the Cake Network where you felt at home, but they stopped adding a particular tournament that
may have had free added cash you can pick up your money and jump to another room without leaving the network and even enjoy some extra perks. These perks include new depositing freerolls, special rake races, and even exclusive guaranteed tournaments.
Inexperienced Players, or Fish, on Networks
One thing that has been known by online poker sharks for years is that with certain poker networks like Merge and Ongame attract inexperienced players from online sportbooks that also have poker rooms. Rooms like PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com have long been places for sports betting fans to come and place bets and they also have poker rooms that help push new players to the game which means weak players to play against.
In the early days of online poker the key was finding weak players this is why the Cake poker network grew so fast in the early days of online poker. They had the fish and the regulars knew it. This is why networks are valuable, because they attract sportsbooks to open up a poker room for a lower overhead cost. For the average player this means a network is your chance to go against possibly weak players whereas a powerhouse poker room will attract those players making a full living on poker meaning they will be very tough.
As you can see there are a number of benefits to playing on a poker network. The biggest thing to remember is that if you don’t feel comfortable playing on a particular room leave it. There are plenty of other rooms out there thanks to the creation of poker room networks.