Several major Merge Gaming skins have bailed on Poker Maximus III on the same day that the multi table tournament series was set to begin. RPM Poker, Hero Poker and Black Chip Poker have all bailed on Poker Maximus III today. The first event started at 7pm ET today.
Merge Gaming Breakup Rumors
Rumors have been all over poker forums for weeks about Black Chip Poker moving to a different network. Black Chip Poker has neither confirmed nor denied these rumors. Opting out of Poker Maximus III seems to cement these rumors. Hero Poker and RPM Poker backing out at the last minute also caused players to speculate what the reason is. Some players think that these rooms are leaving Merge Gaming as well.
The issue could also be that Merge Gaming will share the overlay with the skins. The event that launched at the time of this post currently has a $32,000 overlay, even though late registration may close that gap some. The event at 7:30pm ET currently has a $10,000 overlay. At this rate, a skin would be responsible for three times a player’s entry just in overlay. Considering a player’s tournament juice is only about 10% of that, the skin could be on the hook for 30 times the actual juice paid in entry fees by their players if Merge Gaming passes the overlay burden on to skins. Overlays are typically an expense passed on to network skins.
Guaranteed Prize Pool Quietly Lowered
The announced guaranteed prize pools were originally $1.4 million. The current count is $1.14 million. This is a 20% reduction in guaranteed prize pools. These may be lowered even more if there is a large payout for the early Poker Maximus III tournaments.
Merge Gaming also lengthened the late registration time period in an attempt to meet the guaranteed prize pool. Even though late registration rules on Carbon Poker’s website state that late registration for guaranteed tournaments ends 60 minutes after the tournament starts, the first event saw late registration last three hours and event #2 saw late registration last two hours. Both of these go against published rules and helped push up tournament numbers. This drew the ire of players that entered the tournament during the normal buyin period. While the one hour late registration rule is published on the website of skins, the amount of time designated for late registration for Poker Maximus is available in the event’s tournament lobby. Players should double check the tournament lobby of all events to see the amount of time allowed for late registration.
Merge Gaming Turmoil
There has been a lot of turmoil on Merge Gaming lately. Carbon Poker moved their players to a new cashier based in Antigua. Due to this, player to player transfers were banned on Carbon Poker as they are forbidden by gaming laws in Antigua. The entire Merge Gaming Network adopted this policy. This crippled players that depended on player to player transfers to receive and pay back stakes, affiliate transfers, alternative deposit methods, skin reimbursement of Western Union deposit fees, and players that used trades to speed up withdrawals.
Carbon Poker was able to add Visa as a deposit option when they moved to a new cashier but the main Merge Gaming cashier does not have this option. Players in the U.S. that play on Merge Gaming skins that use the standard cashier can only deposit by Western Union. Players must now eat the cash transfer fees since Merge Gaming took away the ability to make transfers away from skins. Many of these skins once covered the fees on Western Union deposits, which can run as high as 15%.
It should be an interesting next few weeks at Merge Gaming. It seems certain that a large shakeup is coming on the network.
Two more skins will move to Carbon Poker’s cashier on December 1st. These two skins are Aced and PDC Poker, sister sites of Carbon Poker. This will further lower the liquidity on the main Merge Gaming cashier.
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