EPN: Winning Poker Players Need Not ApplyMay 2, 2014 3:53 pm
Over the past few years online poker sites have tried to counteract declines in traffic by implementing a range of controversial measures in order to protect the best interest of the poker room as a whole. At the heart of the problem are those pesky, skilled winning players who quickly manage to relieve the new or less experienced players of their funds, often driving the “fish” (any losing player) away completely, never to return again.
It is a well known fact that a poker ecology relies mostly on money injected by ‘fish’ to provide most of its income, and that allowing their money to go further not only generates more rake for the poker room, but also improves the possibility of their repeat business.
Therefore, measures employed in the past have included limiting the stakes available at sites so as to remove the temptation of tilting players blowing their bankrolls in one foul swoop. Other methods include blocking tracking sites, heads-up displays (HUDS), as well as rakeback schemes which often favour the pros.
Keenly aware of the challenges facing the online poker industry, the Equity Poker Network (EPN) has now also introduced its own set of measures designed to help protect its player ecology, which apparently involves dissuading highly “aggressive” or professional players from joining its poker rooms in the first place. As one affected player was informed in an e-mail sent by EPN skin PokerHost:
“We are now in a network [that] focuses on having recreational poker players and you do not meet this criteria. [We] will be happy to hear from you in about 6 months to a year, time when we expect [sic] to be big enough to afford your activity and continue the good relationship the we have had.”
In a departure from other networks EPN, which launched at the end of 2013, has been set up as a “non-profit” poker network with profits shared amongsts its member skins, and a “shark tax” imposed on those poker sites which have too many winning players relative to its more valued recreational players.
Although the decisions is likely to have affected just a few players thus far, in a shrinking market dominated by just a few established brands, it shows how seriously EPN views its recreational players, and the extent to which it is prepared to go in order to prevent sharks from driving them away.