Lock Poker Segregates Mid and High Limit Games from Network Partners
Lock Poker segregated many of their poker tables from the rest of the Revolution Gaming Network earlier this month. They did this without any announcement. It was not discovered until a player started a thread in Lock Poker’s sponsored forum at Two Plus Two and it was confirmed by other players.
At this time, it appears that all no limit and pot limit tables 2/4 and above are affected. (Since posting this has changed to 1/2 tables and above) All fixed limit tables are also apparently segregated. Both Texas Hold’em and Omaha tables are included in this change. This has caused a serious loss of active tables in all of these games on both Lock Poker and the rest of the network. Feedback from players has been negative.
What Caused This Move?
One of the most disturbing allegations is that Lock Poker did this because they are unable to pay their skins. The largest skins on the Revolution Gaming Network include Intertops, Juicy Stakes, Cake Poker and Red Star Poker.
A poker network skin model is a difficult one to manage. This is especially true when each skin manages their own cashier like Revolution skins do. A network often has a clearinghouse where funds are transferred from the skins to a main account electronically. A set time is determined for the network and skins to settle. The network will almost always owe the skins money at the end of the cycle because players pay rake with every cash game hand or tournament entry.
If we assume a skin had their players lose $10,000 including rake, but rake was $15,000, the network would owe the skin $5,000 minus the network fee. This fee is typically about 25%. With that royalty rate, a skin would be owed $3,750. This is a small example. Skins like Intertops are raking exponentially higher than that. The network makes their money from their royalties and the skin makes their money off of the other 75% of rake paid not held by the host network.
Accusations are flying that Lock Poker, owner of Revolution Gaming, in unable to pay the skins their rake payments. These would easily total well into the six figures each week. This is not a stretch considering that Lock Poker is taking over a month to pay non US players and US players are waiting 4-6 weeks for Western Union withdrawals and 3-4 months for checks.
Another thought is that players were chip dumping to other skins. While Lock Poker is having issues paying players quickly, several skins are still paying players in a reasonable time frame. These include Intertops and Red Star Poker. While neither of these skins accepts new US players, both have many legacy players from the US still on them. They also have a number of players outside of the US. A player with money stuck on Lock Poker could intentionally lose to a player on one of these other skins and then swap chips for cash outside of the system. These types of dumps are much easier to do at higher limits. They are now near impossible since the highest limit on Revolution Gaming that shares tables with skins has a $200 maximum buyin.
Lock Poker Uses Poker Ecology Argument
Lock Poker has claimed that the other skins were destroying their poker ecology. When a network refers to poker ecology, they mean the ratio of recreational player and professional players. This is a legitimate concern for poker networks. The reason players doubt this is because of all of the payment processing issues Lock Poker has been having since they moved to their own network.
The reverse argument is that many of the other skins are well diversified online gaming companies. For example, Intertops was the world’s first online sports book. Poker World is the poker room for the massive sports book known as The Greek. Red Star Poker feeds players from Eastern Europe and Asia into the network. These are not rakeback skins; they have large recreational player bases. Ironically, Lock Poker is basically a rakeback skin. Their previous disputes with Merge Gaming prove this.
Lock Poker Dispute with Previous Network
Lock Poker bought the Revolution Gaming Network from Cake Poker in May 2012. They did this due to a nearly two year dispute with their former partner, the Merge Gaming Network. Merge Gaming accused Lock Poker of violating network rules including giving under the table rakeback deals and bonuses that were in excess of what the network allowed. The dispute boiled over and Lock Poker left, apparently with the belief that they could manage a network better. It is interesting that Lock Poker made many accusations about how unfairly they were treated when they were a skin on Merge, but now are removing a large number of their games away from their network partners without making any public announcement.
No Network Has Ever Held This Many Private Games
This type of move is somewhat unique. No network owner has ever removed a portion of their games from the network. There are some examples of radical changes in the network though. Party Poker removed all of their skins from their network in 2005. Party Poker players played on one network, while the former skins that included Intertops, Eurobet, Multi Poker and Empire Poker, moved to their own network managed by Party Poker. This dispute was over rakeback offers made by skins against Party Poker’s network rule. The secondary network eventually closed after most skins left and Empire Poker was acquired by Party Gaming.
iPoker split their network in 2012 into two separate platforms. Some large skins share tables that cannot be accessed from smaller skins. Titan Poker is one of the skins on the larger network. Titan is managed by the same group that owns iPoker. The difference here is that other large skins are sharing their tables. Titan Poker does not have exclusive tables.
In the past, some skins have chosen to shut themselves off from their parent network. Microgaming has many tables that are only accessible through Unibet or Ladbrokes. When Sportsbook.com and PlayersOnly were on the Cake Poker Network, they chose to ring fence their higher limit players to keep them from losing big pots into the larger pool of network players. Sportsbook.com and PlayersOnly eventually moved to the Merge Gaming Network.
This is just another story in the Lock Poker saga that includes violating Merge Gaming rakeback rules, reneging on promotions, late payments, avoiding negative player feedback in forums and now pulling the plug on their higher limit games on their network partners. The situation is not hopeless. Lock Poker player payments are slowly improving from their low point. It should not take long to see if these changes benefit the network as a whole, or at least Lock Poker.