Full Flush Poker Acquires Integer Poker
For a small poker network, the Equity Poker Network (EPN) is certainly making news lately. The latest: EPN’s flagship poker room, Full Flush Poker, has acquired Integer Poker. The transition of Integer Poker players to Full Flush Poker took place this morning.
The hope is that the combination will help both rooms. Full Flush is the rare site nowadays that is mainly U.S.-facing; taking on Integer Poker should broaden its reach, as Integer is primarily focused on the European market. At the same time, Integer Poker players now have access to tournament and promotions that were not available to them previously. Full Flush Poker offers several guaranteed prize pool tournaments that will be completely new to Integer Poker players.
Interestingly, the two rooms were already on the same network together. Typically, when a poker room makes some sort of move, it is to another network, so there won’t be any noticeable, immediate benefits to Full Flush players, as the network’s player base won’t suddenly swell.
“The obvious synergy between our two brands has made the decision to take Integer Poker’s players on board a ‘no-brainer,’” said a Full Flush spokesperson in the press release. “It fits perfectly with our quest to further establish FFP as a global online poker room, with viable and healthy markets outside of the U.S. We’re excited to offer Integer Poker’s players the complete Full Flush Poker experience, and we’re happy to welcome them to the family.”
Another aspect of the intra-network acquisition that makes this interesting is that the Equity Poker Network has setup rules to discourage and prevent unfair competitive practices by their members. One member poker room absorbing another could be seen as something to be frowned upon. Everything was apparently okayed by the network, though, as the press release stated, “Integer Poker has always had the best interest of the players foremost in mind, and this move will ensure their players gain more advantages. Integer Poker Management is in good standing with EPN, and is happy to facilitate this acquisition in order to further promote a positive poker environment for poker players all over the world.”
The Equity Poker Network came into existence in November 2013 as a unique bird, considering itself a poker “cooperative.” Its founding premise is that the network exists to support the member poker rooms, not the other way around, as is sometimes the case on other networks. Rather than constantly siphoning off a percentage of the poker rooms’ revenues, EPN charges each room just a $10,000 monthly fee, used to keep the network up and running.
EPN rooms are encouraged to compete against each other and are in control of all their own promotions. Members can setup their own tournaments and create their own loyalty programs, so long as loyalty rewards to not exceed the equivalent of 50 percent rakeback. At the same time, though, they aren’t allowed to get to the point of being cutthroat. Whichever member room acquires a customer player for the first time gets their rake forever, even if that player plays at a different EPN room. This prevents rooms from poaching each other’s players.
The Equity Poker Network is also geared towards the recreational player, leading to its most controversial policy. The network imposes what it calls a “Shark/Winners Tax” in an attempt to steer rooms towards recruiting casual players. Presumably, members will have their customer bases analyzed and those who are determined to have more winning players (read: players who pull money out of the poker economy) will be penalized monetarily.
This may have come into play in April when Poker Host, a room on the Equity Poker Network, suddenly banned players for apparently being too good. One player was sent the following message from Poker Host (spelling and grammar errors are part of the original message):
At this time your Poker Host has been closed, since our network has come to this decision after checking your table activity and have notice your aggressive play within the network, they have done a serious of background checks in order to come to this conclusion, at this time since we are in a small but growing poker network we cannot afford your aggressive behavior , we are now in a network the focuses on having recreational poker players and you do not meet this criteria, we thank you for your business at Poker Host, but at this time we will restricted your account, and the we will proceed with the normal process to cash out your funds in a prompt matter. We will be happy to hear from you in about 6months to a year, time the we expect to be big enough to afford your activity and continue the good relationship the we have had.
One industry inside on Two Plus Two said that it is EPN that forced Poker Host to close the accounts and another player confirmed that after chatting with Poker Host’s customer service. Coincidentally, an Integer Poker representative entered the conversation on Two Plus Two and said that Integer has not banned anybody.
Both EPN and Full Flush also made industry headlines in the past week when first Full Flush and then the entire network withdrew from the Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, the three regulated markets in the United States.