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Gear Poker Leaves Equity Poker Network

Adrift in the vast sea of internet poker, Gear Poker currently has no companion other than its own inner monologue and a bloody volleyball. On Wednesday it was announced that the online poker room has parted ways with its network provider, the Equity Poker Network (EPN), and is, at least for the moment, independent.

In a press release, the Equity Poker Network said that “both parties have mutually agreed to go their separate ways,” adding, “Gear Poker’s exit is simply a realization early in the partnership that each party has different ways of doing business – nothing more, and nothing less.”  gear poker logo

That way of doing business for the Equity Poker Network is quite novel in the world of online poker. Launched last year, the EPN calls itself a poker “cooperative,” a poker kibbutz, if you will. The creators of the Equity Poker Network see the network’s role as one that should be of service to its member poker rooms. EPN is not looking (or so it says) to rake the rakers non-stop. It isn’t looking for bottomless streams of cash derived from a percentage of each member poker room’s profits. Instead, it charges a flat monthly fee of $10,000 to each poker room. Everything else the poker room makes is its to use as it sees fit. This fee, says the Equity Poker Network, is used only to maintain the network, not to gild the doors of the network executives’ mansions.

The network also takes a fantastic approach to the problem of self-defeating competition amongst network members. One big issue that online poker networks have had in the past is that the poker rooms can easily poach players from fellow network members simply by making it cheaper to play. Whether it is through more attractive bonuses or, commonly, a higher percentage rakeback deal, it takes almost no effort for rooms to steal each other’s customers. Since they are on the same network, there is almost no risk to the player in making the jump, as he is already intimately familiar with the network’s software, lobby layout, player base, tournament formats, cashier system, etc. Just move from 25 percent rakeback to 27 percent rakeback and boom, off you go. Poaching like this has hurt networks and poker rooms because it serves to slash profit margins without developing any customer loyalty. If a poker room doesn’t keep giving better and better bargains, that player will just move to another room on the network. It is a cycle of destruction.

What the Equity Poker Network does is simple: only the first poker room on the network to acquire a specific player receives that player’s revenue. Another room on EPN could offer some sort of better deal to that player, but all that will accomplish will be to pad that player’s pockets. The second room will not see a dime of that person’s rake, as it will always be credited to the original room. With that policy in place, the poker rooms must focus on marketing to new players and work on developing their services to keep people playing on their tables so they don’t flee to other networks. It forces the member rooms to make themselves more attractive, not just their prices.

Another policy that steers the direction of the member rooms’ marketing on the Equity Poker Network is the dubious-sounding “Shark/Winners Tax.” While we do not have knowledge of the intricate workings of this tax, it is rather apparent that the Equity Poker Network aims to penalize poker rooms that attract too many hardcore grinders, the serious players who tend to be net winners and end up pulling money out of the poker economy. The network would prefer recreational players, the usually lesser-skilled players who prioritize fun over winning. They will have occasion to reload more often, thus providing more revenue for the poker rooms.

The divorce of Gear Poker from the Equity Poker Network took effect on Wednesday, August 13th. Gear Poker has not announced plans to join up with another network, but one would expect that it eventually will. It is nearly impossible for a small or new online poker room to survive without a network nowadays. There are many independent poker rooms in the top ten of PokerScout’s cash game traffic rankings, but most have been established for years or are offshoots of PokerStars. The Equity Poker Network sits in 34th place in PokerScout’s rankings with a seven day average of 190 cash game players. As Gear Poker naturally contributed to just part of that traffic, there is no way it is big enough to stand on its own. Besides, it used EPN’s software, so it does not have any way to get up and running by itself right now.

In the aforementioned press release EPN said that Gear Poker will honor all player payouts and will notify customers when it has a new network partner.


Leave a Comment


One Response

  1. Cris

    Hi I played at Gear Poker, had a good balance then they told me my account was closed. They have not payed me, nor have they responded to my many emails. I suggest that they are a bunch of crooks
    Regards Cris


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