Gutshot Switches from iPoker to Merge, ENet
Gutshot.com, the online poker room for the now-closed Gutshot Poker Club in London, has left the iPoker Network and set up shop on two new networks: Merge Gaming and ENet.
According to the official press release, the move away from iPoker is in light of the network considering segregating players of some of the larger brands away from the rest of the skins.
Merge Gaming is the sixth largest pool of poker players open internationally, although numbers are approximately one third that of iPoker. However many Merge skins accept players from the US, Gutshot will not.
“It was always going to be a tough transition to mirror the liquidity of iPoker, even though the games there are not as good as they once were,” Gutshot Poker Club founder Barry Martin told pokerfuse. “The only way to accomplish this was to go down the multi-room solution.”
iPoker is up 7% in cash game numbers year-on-year, according to independent industry tracker PokerScout, out-performing competitors like PartyPoker (down 4%) and Ongame (down 24%). However, Merge has grown 72%, mostly thanks to continuing to serve players in the United States.
Gutshot has a history of changing poker networks. In 2008, it switched from Microgaming to Cake Poker; in April 2011, it left Cake for iPoker. Today’s move means Gutshot has dealt cards on five poker networks in as many years and, according to the PR, it is looking to add more rooms later to expand its multi-room solution.
The room has also expanded with the acquisition of Dutch site pokerhuis.com, also previously on the iPoker Network. Gutshot has rolled out Merge and ENet rooms here too, but plans to maintain the brand and “keep the uniquely Dutch identity.”
Lesser-known ENet is an interesting addition. The small Italian-focused network is known for publicly touting its “high rake” structure, with rake caps up to €7 Euros.
“Merge has fantastic action, but we needed something extra for our players in European time zones,” stated Martin. “The games on Enet are famously loose and wild, and with their innovative new client coming soon we are impressed that they are constantly working to improve the playing experience. The opponents on Enet are softer than anywhere else, and the games are more fun.”
Gutshot is licensed in Curaçao. The site was originally born from the Gutshot Poker Club in London, which operated from March 2004 to 2007, but was shut following the conviction of owner Derek Kelly for contravening the 1968 Gaming Act. In his defense, Kelly argued that poker was a game of skill, like bridge, and therefore he a casino license was not required to operate a poker room.