PokerHost Closing Date Approaches
A short public-service announcement here, aimed at any of our readers who still might have funds on PokerHost: The site is closing its virtual doors as of July 31, 2018, and any remaining players there should put in a withdrawal request for their funds before that date arrives, in case front-end contact methods disappear as the site furls up its virtual welcome mat.
The end-of-July closing will also put the wraps on a 13-year-old site that’s never been a prominent market entity but managed to hang in there for a long time, bouncing around from one network to another. Since 2014, that network flavor of the week has been the Winning Poker Network, which in turn may be a factor in why PokerHost is closing. PokerHost has long been one of those sites that has targeted a predominantly US player base, and its options have been limited.
PokerHost’s closing, which was announced via e-mail in the first week of July, has been attributed by one affiliate site to PokerHost’s inability to find a new network home, apparently no longer happy with the setup at WPN. PokerHost players, despite being part of the WPN network, have been at a competitive disadvantage of sorts, not able to participate in some of the larger promotions generally offered through the network-owned flagship site, America’s Cardroom.
That in turn may have led to PokerHost seeking to find another US-facing network home, except there aren’t that many that are reputable — “reputable” being one of those eye-of-the-beholder words, caveat emptor, laissez faire, and all that jazz, too. Fast forward a few brain-cell explosions, and PokerHost, as the letter did not detail, is still calling it a day.
What’s interesting about this is that Winning Poker Network sent out the closure notice regarding PokerHost, sent to all of PokerHost’s customers, along with an invitation to open up an account at ACR or another WPN skin to resume playing once the withdrawal process from PokerHost has been complete.
This might lead one to think that PokerHost is actually owned by WPN, but no, that can’t be right. Otherwise is would be simple enough to install an in-common cashier function — this being another of the problems between PokerHost and the rest of WPN — and then do a forced balance migration over to another WPN site before closing PokerHost for good. But that didn’t happen. Yet the fact that WPN sent out the e-mail about PokerHost’s closure is thus unusual, meaning that there’s some sort of disturbance going on behind the scenes.
Perhaps PokerHost is on the wrong end of a reconciliation problem, too. Being a very old site, it wouldn’t be at all unlikely to have a top-heavy population of online grinders that is taking more out of the WPN ecosystem as a whole than it’s bringing in in new depositors. Not that I’m asserting that this is the case, but there are many ways to deal with an underperforming or out-of-sync skin, and this could be something along those lines. We’ll likely never know, or maybe we’ll hear a filtered version of it months or years down the road.
Meanwhile, the top line is still that it’s finis for PokerHost. The site launched in 2005 on the old Dobrosoft Network, but it didn’t stay there long, but Dobrosoft’s software was slow and funky and a lot of sites moved on from there after a short stay. PokerHost jumped to Tribeca in early 2006, just in time for that network to be acquired by Playtech and to be rolled into another Playtech acquisition, the Microgaming Poker Network.
Then, later that same year, UIGEA happened, and Playtech turned off the US-facing spigots. That was trouble for dozens and dozens of MPN sites, and at that time, MPN probably had close to 200 skins, most of them bare-bones, small operations. Anyhow, PokerHost moved over to the Cake Network, which also brought it into contact with the Merge Poker Network, and PokerHost eventually jumped to Merge in 2012. Except Merge was having its own problems in those years as well, and PokerHost jumped again, in 2014, over to WPN. That’s on a par with the travels the old Doyle’s Room endured before closing shop earlier this decade, and for much the same reason — trying to stay active with its original, US-centric player base.
Yet time moves on and the industry evolves. Sometimes, for whatever reasons, it’s just time for a business to close. Go grab those remaining balances.