News reaches us today that the Merge Gaming Network is preparing to once again accept new US sign-ups.Various sources cite next week as the likely time period for this to happen, a move that will make it the biggest network to both accept and recruit new American players.
While many see this as a positive sign we at PokerQ4.com are mystified by this decision, and by the decision of anyone, not just US citizens, to sign up for any skin on this network at this time. By now we have to imagine that the US government and the DOJ in particular are not too keen on poker right now, and there’s more than a little evidence to support that fact. We could cite Black Friday or Black Wednesday but the fact is, for American poker players, every day is a potentially black one now.
Sub-Merge? Merge Gaming Network to go under?
Currently the Merge Gaming Network going under would by most be considered a stretch but nobody really thought that Full Tilt – Alderney licensed, endorsed by the top Pros and supplier of possibly the best poker software we’ve yet seen – would fall so far from grace either. Do the powers at be at Merge seriously think that they’re not on the DOJ hitlist? Especially now that they’re the #1 site for US custom. Like ‘Comical Ali’ during the last Iraq invasion, MGN are announcing that all is rosy while any minute a US Government tank gun could appear and shoot them in the arse.
Sub-Merge Gaming Network?
Payments are the next issue. Presently players are waiting weeks for withdrawals of any size to go through and there is always the possibility that, like Full Tilt, they are not receiving all deposits either. The FT situation of crediting failed deposits was of course an extreme one, and came as a result of gross mismanagement but ponder this: could a network that knowingly accepts ‘illegal’ custom and is willing to subject loyal players to weeks of delays in receiving their own money be in a state of mismanagement too? It was clear from Black Friday that, while Pokerstars refunded US players quickly, Full Tilt was looking to bide its time while Europe raked enough to cover the debt. Merge Poker Network is now looking to gain a license with the LGA in Malta so the parallels are there for all to see.
Another issue with Merge Gaming, even if we could pretend that none of the above issues existed, is one of incentives. Rakeback to new accounts ended around the time that the Merge Poker Network began their US hiatus and although various VIP options are available nothing beats cold, hard cash back. Let’s not forget this crucial thing either- this time last year Merge were nowhere. The MGN was behind Pokerstars, Full Tilt and even Cereus (!) because quite simply, the bonusing and software could not compare. In short, McDonalds and Burger King may have closed down but that’s no reason to eat dog shit off the street.