EPN Defends Bans on Winning Players

Accusations that poker rooms on the Equity Poker Network (EPN) are banning winning players have been met with an unusual and robust response.

According to Calvinayre.com the EPN has replied stating that it is not “the universal panacea for all poker players and operators who wish to offer poker, but it is intended to appeal to a large subset of the poker community.”

Pokerfuse was told that the EPN does not ban winning players, and that the network has nothing to gain by doing so.

However, the EPN has been set up as a cooperative network, so any network room that introduces highly “aggressive” or professional players may be advised that these players are not helpful to the network’s player ecology. It is up to individual poker rooms whether to ban players or not according to source close to the situation.

The network’s business model imposes a tax on operators who have too many “sharks” which disrupt the balance between the member rooms. The decisions so far has likely only affected a handful of players.

The EPN has been in business for only six months, and the development of a new online poker network is a business task which should not be underestimated—the market is not growing, and is dominated by well resourced and established brands.

Against this background, the EPN and its skins may face tough decisions about what to do with customers who are unprofitable, and who may drive away recreational players.

Nonetheless, there are other means available by which to manage the player ecology. Table limits and VIP programs have been used by poker rooms to curb the impact of winning players on the overall poker ecology of the network—Unibet’s recreational model has removed the link between rake and VIP benefits, at least partially.

Bans on successful players risk alienating a vociferous poker community. Although pokerfuse has been told that exploring these methods is on the agenda, questions remain about the ethics of taking such arbitrary decisions, and the message that sends about the EPN’s attitudes towards its customers.