It’s now been three weekends since Pokerstars shut it’s doors to players from the US and the question on everyone’s minds is what online poker site will become the new Pokerstars. The answer seems to be poker sites on the Merge Poker Network.
Merge Poker has increased it’s cash game traffic by 70% since Black Friday and ranks #10 for cash game traffic in the world and #1 in the US.
Leading the way for the Merge Network is Lock Poker because of their huge first deposit bonus and their monthly promotions. Lock Poker is also 100% Mac compatible and has a sleek black look.
Lock Poker is not the only Merge Poker skin making a splash. Another skin, Hero Poker, (No longer Accepting US players) has signed former Pokerstars Pro Gavin Griffin as well as a few other poker pros. P5’s and Holdem Poker Chat members received a special invite from them this past weekend to play in an exclusive 15k freeroll. The CEO for Hero Poker explained why he set up the unpromoted freeroll by saying “I set this up for traumatized US players”.
The Merge network is one of the last major poker networks available to US players and there have been hundreds of thousands of new sign-ups on those sites within the past three weeks.
Other skins that we like on the network are Carbon Poker, RPM Poker and Feltstars. There are many poker sites on the Merge Poker Network but we do not recommend most of them.
You may be asking yourself, How do I decide which Merge Poker Site should I play on? Our recommendation is that you try out several of them and see which one you like the best. Download them and sit at a play money game or play in a freeroll while you get accustomed to the software. If you like the overall feel of the site then make a deposit. If you don’t like it, move on to another one and try that one out. According to out sources Merge is working hard on a major software upgrade that we’re told “Will have all the features that Pokerstars has” That upgrade is expected sometime next month.
Update: Lock Poker along with all other Merge skins have halted NEW US player accounts.
Sportsbook.com and Playersonly.com, two large U.S. friendly online poker sites on the Merge Poker Network are leaving the U.S. market. This action is most likely in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s seizure of three online poker sites; PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com and Absolute Poker, who have stopped accepting players from the United States. Sportsbook is one of the oldest and most trusted gaming companies in the world so it comes as no surprise that they would want to protect their business.
While Sportsbook and Players Only poker sites will be closed to new traffic from US players, they will continue to service players who currently have accounts or who sign up for new accounts before May 1, 2011. So we strongly suggest that all players from the US sign up today even if they don’t plan to use the account any time soon. Both poker sites have excellent processing and both are Mac compatible US poker sites.
This is a a huge blow to the online poker community since April 15, 2011. Some of our sources have suggested that other major online poker sites are planning to exit the U.S. market as well.
With recent developments for United States players we have decided to summarize the current choices for US poker online. This is not meant to be a listing of every site that allows players from the Land of the Free, rather it is a compilation of the sites that Holdem Poker Chat has confidence in and that we feel comfortable recommending to you, the players.
Sportsbook Poker is a financially stable company. They run the rapidly expanding Merge Gaming software. As the name implies, you will run into poker players who are really just sports gamblers without a good grasp on poker fundamentals. Soft play and easy marks are what you can expect with Sportsbook Poker. The initial signup bonus is a liberal 100% up to $1,000. No special code is needed to receive this bonus.
Luvin Poker is the only room on the growing Everleaf Network that Holdem Poker Chat recommends. Ladies, if you are tired of the male dominated world of poker, Luvin Poker’s player base is 40% female. They also offer a huge 200% bonus up to $1,000. you must enter the code HPCMAX for this bonus.
Lock Poker is on the Merge Network. They have recently signed some poker pros to represent them at live events. Lock Poker has some of the most rewarding monthly promotions. Cash game players will especially like their rake races and challenges. Lock Poker offers an initial deposit 200% bonus up to $1,200. No bonus code is needed to get this deal.
Bodog Poker is one of the oldest and most respected names in online wagering. Their core sportsbook business insures a steady flow of less than savvy players to the poker tables. In the new order, Bodog offers some of the highest prize pool tournaments available to US players. The initial deposit bonus of 110% up to $1,100 is nothing to sneeze at. No bonus code is needed to get this great bonus.
Carbon Poker is the flagship of the Merge Network. They have perhaps the widest selection of tournaments available on a daily basis. there is usually always a tournament starting in a few minutes. There are a few high buyin events, but with the new influx of players expect more mid and high level buyin events to appear. their $109 buyin $50k guaranteed tournament runs every Sunday. Initial deposit bonus at carbon poker is 200% up to $500. you must use the code HPC500 to receive this bonus.
The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would license and regulate online gambling in the United States, in a 41-22-1 vote.
The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act) was an Act of Congress covering port security online gambling measure that was added at the last moment. The House and Senate passed the conference report on September 30, 2006, and President Bush signed the Act into law on October 13, 2006.
Since 2008, Committee Chairman, Barney Frank (D-Mass) has been fighting and lobbying to halt the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Frank’s first attempt failed to get out of Committee on a 32-32 vote. A second bill passed Committee on a 30-19 to vote, but was never voted on by the full House of Representatives.
This year, Rep. Frank introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2267). This bill drew a large amount of support by the Democrats and almost half of the votes by the Republicans. Thirty-four Democrats voted for the bill and four voted against it, while seven Republicans voted for the bill and 18 voting against it. Several members of the committee failed to even vote.
Along with Frank, two California Representatives, Republican John Campbell and Democrat Brad Sherman, took part in amending the bill Wednesday and ensuring its passage.
Campbell created a substantial amendment which called for changes on both the administrative and consumer protection sides of the proposed legislation. Campbell’s amendment gives “states and tribal authorities parallel authority to administer licenses and enforce these regulations.” Campbell’s amendment also requires licensees to maintain all online gambling facilities targeting U.S. residents within in the United States.
Campbell added additional protections for consumer by requiring the odds of winning be posted for each game. His amendment also requires loss limits for players in addition to age and location verification.
Sherman’s amendments added language that prevents bad “actors” from obtaining licenses, gives states a full legislative session to opt out of the federal plan and specified that that in order to get a license, the majority of that company’s job had to be in the U.S.
Other amendments that passed include bans on inappropriate advertising, bans on ads targeting minors and the frequent testing of minor protection systems.
“The fact is, online poker is not going away,” said former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, in a statement. “Congress has a choice – it can license and regulate it to provide government oversight and consumer protections, or our lawmakers can stick their heads in the sand, ignore it, and leave consumers to play on non-U.S. regulated websites in all 50 states. I’m glad the Financial Services Committee today overwhelmingly chose to act and protect Americans as well as preserve the fundamental freedoms of adults and the Internet.”
There are still several hurdles that need to cleared before it can become law. First, the full House needs to vote on it. Since the house breaks on August 9th, it is unlikely the vote is going to happen. It is also unlikely the voting will occur during the lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections. The bottom line is that this means it has to pass a full floor vote between Sept. 7 and Oct. 8. In order for a full vote to happen, the Democratic leadership in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), needs to schedule it.
If the House passes the bill, then it needs to be taken up by the Senate. If it is passed by both the House and the Senate, then it will need to be signed by President Obama.
It is important for all of this to happen this year, before the end of the legislative session. If it doesn’t, the process will have to start all over again next year. Then it will have to be presented when the makeup of both the House and the Senate will be different.
A bitter sweet victory for online gamblers, but a continuous uphill struggle and fight for those Representatives fighting for our rights.