The Largest Combined Poker Cardrooms on the Internet
A poker network is simply a group of poker sites that share the same games. For the sites themselves this means they are able to keep their players happy with bigger player-pools and prize-funds, while the players can take advantage of the different sign-up bonuses and promotions offered by all the individual sites. Sites operating on networks are normally not responsible for the software, instead they partner with the companies behind the network, who deal with the different technical issues.
Here you can find a quick review on the three major poker networks iPoker, MPN and Merge. While PokerStars dominates the market it is an independent site which does not share its games with another brand. I have also opted to exclude the number 2 site, 888Poker which is technically a network with a few smaller partners, although these now mostly owned and operated by 888.com.
Biggest Online Poker Networks - iPoker
For many years iPoker has been the largest poker network on the internet. This is the poker offerings of Playtech, a major player in casino software who provide games to some of the most recognised names in European sports-betting including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Bet365.
Due to the movement of players from the casino and sports books, iPoker rooms provide some of the fishest (easiest to beat) games on the internet. Many players switch their balance across from the sports betting side of the brands either because they looking to clear a bonus or just want to try a new game and are willing to gamble it up. This tends to lead to a large number of weak and sometimes reckless players who have not spent any time thinking about the game.
On iPoker you can find Hold'em and Omaha games available in Euros and British Pounds. There is plenty of cash game action going up to mid-stakes and even some high limit tables running from time to time. SNGs run frequently and you can enjoy fun variations such as Twister SNGs (lottery sit n go format) which combine poker along with the excitement with jackpot prizes. Tournament players will not be disappointed here either with games running at all stakes, including the prestigious iPOPs series offering some great tournament action with huge prize-funds.
Biggest Online Poker Networks - MPN
MPN is the new name for the Microgaming Poker Network. MPN is European based and does not accept US players. Significantly smaller than iPoker this network provides the poker offerings for those sites using Microgaming's casino and sports-betting sites such as Paf, Betway, Poker Heaven and Bet Victor.
These sites are generally the lesser known niche sites where players have previously gained good cashback deals. The sites using it often offer second poker rooms on Ongame and, until it closed its doors in 2014, the Boss Network. In order to stop rogue operators MPN have now capped cashback at 30%, although you can get some great value sign up deals by shopping around a little between sites.
There are a wide choice of games here. Apart from Hold'em you can also enjoy Omaha, Stud and Draw poker with Hi/Lo variants also available. While this range is great overall the action is a lot slower here, especially if you have any desires to play higher than micro-stakes, and you will be lucky to see a game start that is not Hold'em or Omaha. The same applies to the SNGs and MTTs which normally only run at low stakes with poor volume and small fields.
While they have their drawbacks these can be decent sites for beginner players as the opponents are generally weak with the network not allowing tracking software and using anonymous tables. Tournament players will also find they succeed a lot more in smaller fields, which can help boost confidence as well as the bankroll.
Biggest Online Poker Networks - US Poker Networks (Chico / WPN)
With the Merge Network slowly fading away, two new networks have filled the gap for US players from the bases out in the Caribbean or Central America.
These are the Chico Network, and the Winning Poker Network (WPN). While both of these are small compared to the giants mentioned above, they are growing and offer good online poker sites for US players.
Chico Network: The biggest site on this network, which is the 2nd biggest overall in the US (behind Bovada) is BetOnline. This has been accepting sports bets for many years, via the phone as well as online. Recently they expanded into poker and casino gambing via their giant portal.
The big advantage of playing at BetOnline is that most of your opponents are regular players / amateurs who found the poker room while placing bets. This keeps the games entertaining and lively, and hopefully your profits very high.
Add to this a 200% welcome bonus and plenty of player promos, and you'll see why this is a steadily growing poker site. Check out www.betonline.ag for the latest player deals!
Winning Poker Network: This is the 3rd largest site by volume, and is popular for completely different reasons that BoL. First, tournaments are a big focus. The biggest site on this network, America's Cardroom is the host of the only regular $1 million guaranteed online poker tournaments available to US players. There are also regular events, including the popular OSS (online super series). ACR also have leader board contests, which are progressive. The more games (sit n goes) or hands (cash games) that get played, the bigger the prize pool for players that collect the most points.
Check out when the next big tournaments are running for yourself over at www.americascardroom.eu!
Biggest Online Poker Networks - In Summary
If you outside the US and are looking for a change from the large stand alone poker sites, then the iPoker network is your best choice. Being the largest true network for a long time you can find some great games and deals. Titan Poker is the networks flagship site and if you do not have an account with them, it is a great place to start experiencing the games especially with their 200% match on your first deposit. Check out those easy games now at www.titanpoker.com
Update: High Tech Gambling readers can now get $20 extra free cash on top of the 200% welcome bonus at Titan. Just register with bonus code PBCLUB, and I will make sure the extra $20 is in your account within 48 hours of your first deposit (usually sooner).