The Merge Gaming Network implemented a new rake system for No-Limit and Pot-Limit games that went into effect on Wednesday.
The new rake system increases the rake percentage from 5% to 5.5% and also features changes to the rake cap. The rake cap for heads up games and three hand games have doubled from 50c to $1 and $1 to $2, respectively. Furthermore, the rake cap for full tables (6 max or higher) has been changed from $3 to $4 for low stakes and $5 for midstakes and higher.
Carbon Poker representatives have promised that Limit Games and tournaments will not be affected by the new rake system. Furthermore, network representatives have stated that the increase in rake will be alleviated with more rake chases, bigger guarantees, and cash back promotions.
Merge Poker is currently one of the few networks that provide real money betting to current United States players. It has been battling with Bovada (Bodog) and Revolution for player liquidity and has remained in the third spot consistently. However, Revolution Poker has been experiencing some issues with its new segregation policy and controversial withdrawal methods. The Merge Network is hoping that the recent fallout by the Revolution network will provide a boost in player traffic.
The rake increase signals a major business change for the struggling network, which seems to have adapted to a policy of austerity and simplicity over the past months. The network recently lost several popular poker skins including RPM and Hero Poker. Furthermore, Merge has encouraged players to move to the flagship sites such as Carbon Poker and Aced Poker. Recently, Merge Gaming also cut its rakeback program and transitioned its players to its VIP system.
With United States legislation soon to come, the Merge Gaming Network and the rest of the US black market may become obsolete within the next few years. Nevertheless, the Merge Gaming Network is attempting to survive through increases in rake and measures to cut down on costs. The increases in rake have brought about negative reactions from the poker community, but most United States facing players also understand that the choices are limited.