Players hoping to insure themselves against suckouts on cash tables and obtain bubble insurance in tournament action will no longer be able to purchase protection through InsuredPlay, as the website has announced today that it is shutting down.
In operation for roughly 17 months, InsuredPlay was designed to provide all-in equity insurance to players who were favored to win an all-in cash game hand prior to the river card being revealed. Also available was bubble protection in multi-table tournaments to guarantee against losing the buy-in when falling short of a cashout position.
Through InsuredPlay, players had the option to purchase insurance in hopes of reducing variance, but the concept apparently didn’t catch on enough for the site to continue operating.
Players who have account balances at InsuredPlay needn’t worry. Although insurance coverage will cease today, Insuredplay.com will remain open until September 30, 2013 to allow players to withdraw their funds. The announcement made at the website assures that “All player balances are safe and everyone will be paid in full.”
The writing was on the wall regarding the site’s demise as early as April of this year when InsuredPlay announced that Full Tilt, PartyPoker and the iPoker Network were no longer supporting the concept of all-in protection and bubble insurance via InsuredPlay. That left PokerStars as the only site where the protection was available.
Two months later in June, Full Tilt was again added as a supporting site. But it apparently was not enough to keep the concept afloat, seeing that an announcement to cease operations followed today, just 2 and 1/2 months after Full Tilt was added to InsuredPlay’s roster.
Players who signed on at InsuredPlay had to first create an account and deposit cash. From there, the parameters of the all-in cash game hands in which insurance was to be in effect were designed by players. Each player selected the minimum pot size insured, the maximum premium paid, the minimum odds percentage as favorite, and the game types insured. Those criteria all had to be established prior to playing, meaning that insurance could not be sought in the middle of a hand.
All hands meeting the agreed upon criteria were insured and funds were added or taken away from a player’s InsuredPlay account following the conclusion of qualifying hands. The insurance cost was calculated according to pot size, the established percentage of being the favorite in hands where shoving all-in or calling another player’s all-in bet, and a nominal insurance premium charge.
It was a concept designed to hedge bets against losing to an underdog who manages to catch lucky cards and scoop the pot. The site touted the possible mental advantage of not being reluctant to go all-in due to being insured against a bad beat. While reducing variance, it also lessened players’ win rates.
With regard to bubble insurance, players also defined the parameters of the protection available. For a fee of 2.5% of the buy-in, players could choose anywhere from 1% to 20% as the category in which landing on the bubble would return the buy-in paid.
While an interesting concept, all-in protection did not find favor with enough players. The InsuredPlay website stated only that “a number of difficulties that we have not been able to overcome” were the reasons for shutting down. Those difficulties were likely a lack of support from poker sites and networks, as well as a limited number of player sign-ups at the poker sites that did allow all-in protection and bubble insurance from InsuredPlay.