The Winning Poker Network is the fourth largest US facing online poker network. The network has about doubled in size since Black Friday, but still lags far behind Bovada, the US online poker market leader.
The Winning Poker Network consists of several long running online poker brands. These include Americas Cardroom and True Poker, both of which were early entrants in the online poker world. Black Chip Poker and 5Dimes are also well known names on the network. The network is operated by the same company that owns BetCris and Bookmaker, two well respected online sports books.
There is no reason for the network to struggle for traffic. A few small tweaks and this network could become competitive.
The Winning Poker Network has mastered what is arguably the most difficult aspect of servicing the US market. That is payment processing. The network accepts deposits by Western Union and there is a reasonable acceptance level for US credit cards. Players that deposit by Western Union will have their fees refunded on deposits of $300 or more.
The deposit options are standard for U.S. facing online poker networks. It is withdrawals that set the Winning Poker Network apart from many other U.S. online poker rooms.
The major Winning Poker Network skins all offer a debit card for U.S. players. The card is delivered to players for a $25 fee. Once received, debit card withdrawals are processed in just a few days. Western Union cashouts are just as fast, but more expensive. Checks arrive in 1-2 weeks and players receive one free per month.
The Winning Poker Network also offers excellent support. Players may contact general support and security through live chat. Emails receive a reply in just a few hours and never longer than one day. There is also a Two Plus Two sponsored forum dedicated to Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and True Poker.
What is the Problem?
Great cashouts and support are two of the most common features online poker players look for when choosing a new room. There are a number of smaller issues that combined create an environment that many online poker players find unacceptable.
The software currently used by the Winning Poker Network is based on the old Dobrosoft platform. This was used by a number of US friendly online poker rooms during the poker boom, including Americas Cardroom. The Winning Poker Network moved to this platform in 2011 after finally dumping the outdated 3D software True Poker had used for nearly a decade.
The software does not have any major bugs. It does, however, have dozens of small bugs that annoy players. There are also a number of modern features missing from the software. Winning Poker Network representatives are aware of these issues and announced that new software is coming that will address these bugs that drive players crazy.
TheBeast is a monthly promotion that pays the top 500-600 players in terms of points a portion of the prize pool. The prizes are not taken from standard rake. Players are paid out of an additional jackpot drop that is taken from cash games. The house holds 10% of TheBeast jackpot drop. It also rewards grinders with money taken from recreational players that will lose at an accelerated pace. These low volume players may not know why they are losing faster than they do at competing poker rooms, but they are sure to notice how fast they lose.
Bad Beat Jackpot
Winning Poker offers a Bad Beat Jackpot. A player seated at a Bad Beat Jackpot table must lose four of a kind 8’s or better to release the jackpot. Both the winner and loser of the hand must play both hole cards. The Bad Beat Jackpot is only available at Texas Hold’em tables.
TheBeast and Bad Beat Jackpot Rake Make Many Games Unbeatable
Limits of $1/$2 and lower have a $.25 jackpot drop. Higher limits have a $.50 drop. This makes many lower limit games unbeatable. For example, if two players limp to see a flop at $.10/$.25 then there is $.25 jackpot drop taken from the pot. There is also $.02 in standard rake taken. A $.50 pot is now $.23, more than 50% of the pot. This is an extreme example but the drop causes extraordinarily high rake at these low limit tables. Low volume players tend to be recreational players and this promotion takes their money and awards it to higher volume players. This cannot help with player retention.
Lack of Limit Games
The Winning Poker Network lowered their fixed limit rake in November 2012. It now mirrors that of PokerStars and Merge Gaming. This failed to generate any traffic though. The next step might be to employ prop players to help get these games started.
A Few Changes Could Make Winning Poker Competitive
The Winning Poker Network deserves credit for its payment processing and support. There are a lot of small issues that keep it from competing with Bovada. This is the perfect time to release new software and restructure promotions to help draw players from troubled Revolution Gaming.
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