Thursday, August 22, 2013

Red Star Flees Revolution for MicroGaming, Boots American Comrades

There's one less site serving American online poker players today after the small site Red Star Poker, a Russian-oriented site on the embattled Revolution Poker Network, announced the site will jump ship and relocate to the MicroGaming Network.

Red Star had a few American players, though it never actively recruited them, as the site had an English second-language front for its general dot-com audience, in addition to its Russian-language home.  With the move, Red Star will now be asking those few American players to cash out, since new parent MicroGaming is among the networks that departed the US market way back in 2006.

The move is also interesting because it represents another little leak in the sinking Lock / WinCake / Revolution ship.  Red Star was probably in better shape than most third-party Revolution skins and thus had an easier choice to leave, since like similar indie Revolution skin Intertops, Red Star maintained its own cashier.  (Intertops also has some American players, but like Red Star, has not allowed new US signups of late.)

Revolution's sagging fortunes continue elsewhere as well; in segueing away from Red Star specifically, Revolution flagship site Lock Poker was recently downgraded from a "D" to an "F" in John "PokerAddict" Mehaffey's monthly overview of online cashout times for several US-facing sites.

The flip side of that is that all the non-Revolution sites tracked by Mehaffey have improved to their best marks in many months.  He's upgraded Bovada from A to A+, America's CardRoom (on the Winning Poker Network, which uses pre-paid debit cards for withdrawals) to an A, and Merge Network's Carbon Poker from a C to a B.  Mehaffey noted several markedly improved cashouts for Carbon players in the last few weeks, including a small one received by yours truly earlier this month.

Returning to Red Star, the general cashout problems going on by what appears to be a cash-strapped Revolution Network (whether requested by US or international players) are likely the driving force behind the move.  Red Star may not be owed nearly as much as Intertops is by Revolution; that figure's been alleged to be $2 million worth of player reconciliations in industry-forum postings, and appears to be a contributing factor in why Intertops hasn't moved elsewhere as well.

Each of these sites appears caught between two damaging eventualities, either virtually accepting the need to write off whatever Lock / WinCake / Revolution owes them, or risk the continuing market and brand-name damage caused by being affiliated with a network that takes months to pay.  That's a Damocle's Sword choice.

No comments: