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Equity Poker Network Debuts Five-Skin Lineup

equity-logoClive Archer’s fledgling Equity Poker Network has expanded this week with the debut of three more skins offering poker or sportsbetting services, swelling Equity’s current count to five.

Archer, whose flagship skin Full Flush Poker was the first Equity skin to go live, as we reported last month, has since seen his network swelled by the addition of four more skins — IntegerPoker, Gear Poker (a former Chico Poker Network skin), HiroPoker and Heritage Sports.

Equity and its sites, most of whom accept US-based players, were several months delayed in their rollout.  Archer and Equity had eyed a June rollout, but that was delayed due to the slowed signing of member skins; Archer’s own site Full Flush finally made a solo appearance in September.  That was followed last month by IntegerPoker, with the latest three going live in the last two weeks.

Equity has strong roots in a couple of smaller networks with iffy histories, the Action Poker Network and the Chico Network, the latter of which Equity split away from to start up.  Action folded its tents a year or two back after being inundated with slow-pay / no-pay consumer complaints, and a number of Action’s sites ended up on Chico, which suffered from a similar player backlash.  In recent months, however, as a current story at pokerfuse has noted, Chico sites have been able to improve on what used to be a horrible payout track record.

Chico and Equity share one similarity: Both run using a software platform developed by Swedish firm Playsafe Holding AS, with Archer confirming earlier this year to this reporter that he had purchased a separate copy of it for use with Equity, having been familiar with Playsafe through his experiences at Action and Chico.

Archer himself is a long-time veteran of online-gambling scene, having been part of the BetOnSports (BOSports) sportsbetting operation, which was likely the largest US-facing offshore sportsbook before it was targeted by American prosecutors nearly a decade ago.  Top BOS execs such as Gary Kaplan and David Carruthers served jail term in connection with BOS’s activities, while secondary execs such as Archer scattered to the winds, many catching on with other online gambling firms.

The five skins now present actually match the count projected by Archer back in March, when he first announced Equity as a “non-profit B2B poker platform,” which promised its operator skins a “fairer future at a fixed price.”  Equity charges its skins a flat $10,000/month fee to be part of the network, and its operator terms and conditions include a “shark tax” designed to reward member skins for recruiting newer, casual players to the network.  According to Archer, Equity also has measures in place to prevent player poaching, another cannibalistic process.

In many, ways, and regardless of whatever success it might have, Archer’s model for Equity seems designed to address and prevent the type of network warfare that has emerged on the competing Revolution Network between embattled site Lock Poker and other Revolution skins.

Archer has also promised that Equity (EPN) will employ a “Clearing House Functionality” that allows its member skins to track reconciliations on an ongoing basis, removing another frequent point of contention in recent intranetwork battles.  Archer also provided a brief laundry list of EPN’s appeal to fledgling poker skins:

Player and Operator Security:

  • Clearing House – basic version of Securities Clearing House
  • Holds amounts to cover Cross Cage liabilities
  • Ensures that Players funds are always available to Operators
  • Ensures against Operator failure
  • Funds held separately – ensures against Network failure.
  • Player rake always benefits the Operator who originally attracted him.

It’s way too soon to know if Equity will turn out to be a success, though the US-facing poker market in particular could stand the presence of additional providers.  The last few years, however, has shown that trust has to be earned.  We’ll see if Equity is up to the task.


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