Fighting for US Market Share, Merge Ups Tourney Series Guarantee to $2m Fighting for US Market Share, Merge Ups Tourney Series Guarantee to $2m
leonardobc, SXC Standard Restrictions

The fifth Poker Maximus tournament series on the Merge Network kicks off this May with a guaranteed prize pool for the 52 events set at $2m.

The Poker Maximus V prize pool represents an increased in guarantee of over 50% over the Poker Maximus IV that guaranteed players $1.3m earlier this year.

Significantly, the Poker Maximus V $2m guarantee outstrips the recently announced iPoker Online Poker Series (iPOPS) headline figure of $1.2m.

iPoker has just moved up to second place in the traffic rankings behind PokerStars, and its guarantees cover just eight events, but from a marketing perspective, the Merge promotion may have a wider appeal to lower stakes players.

Both tournament series are dwarfed by the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) that is due to start immediately after the Merge and iPoker series finish. The 2012 SCOOP awarded over $65m in prize money as the biggest online poker tournament series in history.

Merge continues to serve the US market, but is ranked third behind Revolution and Bodog.

Attempting to resolve unfair competition issues between skins, and simultaneously move to a more recreational player based model, Merge ended rakeback deals, and started to introduce changes to its poker product. The Bad Beat Jackpot promotion was abandoned and the highest stakes games have been removed from the lobby, leaving $3/$6 the richest NLHE cash games spread by the network.

Merge, and its larger skins such as Carbon Poker are hoping that these promotions and the Poker Maximus V events will help to reinvigorate the network.