The Tsunami

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Why I’m Now Even Less Inclined to Put Money into Online Poker

As of 6/1/2011, Merge Network sites will no longer be offering rakeback. Even if you don’t plan on playing on Merge at any point in the near future, you should still sign up for accounts with all Merge rooms to secure 35% rakeback should you end up playing on Merge at some point in the future. You can get 35% rakeback at the following Merge rooms through Black Chip Poker, Carbon Poker, Overbet, Poker Nordica, and Gr88.

If you’re in the US, and you’re wondering whether you should be playing on Merge (or any other US-facing online poker room), my initial advice regarding this can be found here. As a supplement to my initial advice, the second wave of poker site seizures by the US DoJ makes me even less inclined to put money in an online poker site since I have access to juicy live poker action in Vegas. The decision is tougher for those without access to live poker and for those who enjoyed being able to play for stakes smaller than what live games can reasonably accommodate.

If you live in the US and feel like you absolutely must play online poker right now, then the smartest thing you can do is to play with money that you can live without for a few months (which, coincidentally, is always the smartest thing to do – even if you’re playing live with cold hard cash). After all, of the 3 sites shut out of the US market on 4/15/2011, only one of them (PokerStars) has managed to get US players their balances thus far. Also, even though PokerStars was gracious and allowed players to convert their frequent player points to cash, it’s unknown how other sites will react if put in a similar situation. Therefore, if you’re in the US and decide to play online poker, make sure that you don’t leave large point balances in your account. Back when Party Poker was forced to leave the US market, I had a few hundred dollars in step SNG entries and several hundred dollars in points that I was never able to recoup. And I’m sure that some other players were much worse off than I was!

May Your EV Always be Positive!

Tony Guerrera


Feel free to repost this as long as you include the following author box (including hyperlinks):

Tony Guerrera is an established poker author, an instructor at PocketFives Training, a member of Team Moshman, and host of the popular poker strategy podcast, Killer Poker Analysis. Tony blogs about decision optimization on and off the felt at


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