Black Chip Poker Leaves Merge, Moves to Winning Poker Network
Rumors of a rift between Black Chip Poker and the Merge Network, where the skin formerly resided, were confirmed today when BCP and Merge officials jointly announced that BCP would be departing Merge and moving to the Winning Poker Network, effective on Monday, December 3rd.
The move involving Black Chip had been rumored ever since the site pulled references to Merge’s ongoing Poker Maximus III series from its home page and its software client, just a day before that series got underway. Two other mid-level skins among the 70 or so on the Merge Network, Hero Poker and RPM Poker, have similarly withdrawn references to the Poker Maximus series, though whether they will be joining Black Chip in the move to Winning remains unknown.
The Poker Maximus III series is one of Merge’s most popular online offerings, including some of the largest tournament guarantees on the site.
Merge has been in the process of culling some of the most aggressive skins from its network in recent months, focusing on skins which have pirated players from other Merge skins through aggressive rakeback promotions and other factors, which has had the secondary effect of slightly reducing Merge’s own market penetration and brand awareness and control over its own finances.
A contentious fallout between Merge and former skin Lock Poker was part of the recent developments, with Lock moving over to the former cake Network, which it purchased and rebranded as Revolution Gaming.
Instead of following in the footsteps of Lock, Black Chip Poker has relocated to the the smaller Winning Poker Network, where it joins such brands as America’s Cardroom, True Poker and BetCris.
Cash balances of Black Chip Poker players formerly on Merge will be available immediately after the transfer process is complete on Monday, with BCP also continuing to honor the terms of the previous affiliate and promotional agreements, according to a brief release issued by the company.
The complete text of that release:
San Jose, Costa Rica – December 3, 2012 – Black Chip Poker, Merge Gaming and the Winning Poker Network have jointly announced today that effective December 3rd, 2012, Black Chip Poker, its players and affiliates will move off the Merge Gaming poker network. Following that, Black Chip Poker will begin operations on the Winning Poker Network.
All active Black Chip Poker players and their account balances, as of Moving Day, will be accessible as of the next day through the new Black Chip Poker presence on the Winning Poker Network. Black Chip Poker players will have their client seemlessly upgrade on Monday after it closes on Merge Gaming.
Merge Gaming and Winning Poker Network have arranged for the Winning Poker Network to take full responsibility for all the current player account balances when Black Chip Poker moves. Upon the move to the Winning Poker Network, Black Chip Poker players will have access to their player accounts through the new software at the Winning Poker Network. Following the move, neither Merge nor the Kahnawake Gaming Commission will have further liability for the Black Chip Poker player accounts transferred to the Winning Poker Network.
Affiliates will not be affected, all links will dynamically change and it will be business as usual.
Black Chip Poker thanks Merge Gaming for the opportunity to establish and grow Black Chip Poker as a premier brand for serious poker players. The move to the Winning Poker Network, and WPN’s welcome for the Black Chip Poker players, brand and management team, foresees continued provision to its players of a favorable poker climate and play experience.
Despite some players’ suspicions that Merge’s ongoing Poker Maximus III series would be negatively affected by the loss of players from BCP, RPM and Hero, turnout has been fine to date, with virtually every one of the events so far exceeding its guarantee, resulting in no overlay. The PM III series started on November 29th and continues through December 9th.