A poker fish can be defined as a weak or inexperienced poker player. This is a direct take on the common use of the term poker shark when labeling a well seasoned poker player. The problem is picking the right ocean, or poker room/network, in order to find the real poker fish out there. There are a number of changes that occur all the time that can alter where the fish swim to. Do not worry, whether it’s the Merge or Cake Network, PokerStars, or Full Tilt Poker the fish can be found.
The Merge and Cake Network of Poker Fish
For years the place to find poker fish was on the Cake Network that hosts rooms like Cake Poker, Power Poker, Doyles Room and Online Casinos Ghana. What made the Cake Network full of fish was the fact that there were a number of online sportsbooks that were hosted by the Cake Network and brought in thousands of inexperienced players with money to play. This trend all changed in April of 2010.
In April 2010 there was a sizable exodus of poker rooms from the Cake Network to the Merge Gaming Network that is headlined by the poker room Carbon Poker. Some of the poker rooms that moved were Sportsbook and PlayersOnly, two major sources of poker fish and large player base as well. In the opinion of many online poker regulars the Merge Network now houses the largest percentage of unseasoned poker fish. The trick is to not scare the fish away because they will move and one of the first stops for many online poker players is either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker.
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker Bring the Most Players and Possibly Most Fish
Given that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have a market presence that is not matched by any other poker room, these poker rooms are usually the first stop for any and all poker players around the world. To say that PokerStars and Full Tilt have the most poker fish is most likely true, but if a poker shark were to factor in the real ratio of fish to the average player, many will find that they are probably pretty close to one another.
PokerStars and Full Tilt are also the most frequented by poker sharks which grind out a living everyday on the virtual felt. Many time it is difficult to distinguish between the grinders and the fish until it is too late. Therefore, it is important to remember that there are other online poker pros out there looking for fish and most are regulars on the big rooms, so be warned.
Free Poker Bankrolls and Picking the Right Stake Level to Find Poker Fish
There are plenty of other poker rooms and networks out there with their fair share of poker fish, such as Pacific Poker and the Cereus Network, but poker sharks also need to pick the right stake levels. Players who are just starting out will frequent low buy-in tournaments and sit-and-go games rather than the more pro friendly cash ring game tables.
Many new players go and look for free poker money deals and start playing there after a while. Search out those rooms that offer free poker money deals through certain affiliates like Pokerspace and look into the rooms. Be sure to take advantage of the free poker money deals too, there’s really no harm in it as this will create a risk free environment to test out whether the room or network is fishy. Just be prepared to move with the fish, especially as rooms move and the industry continues to evolve.
State of the Online Poker Industry: Free Money and too Many Rooms
Since the explosion of the online poker industry early in the 2000’s there has been a significant rise the popularity of poker in general. With hundreds of poker rooms attracting millions of players around the world the industry has seen a continued rise even during the recent years of economic instability. However, since the start of 2010 the online poker industry traffic levels have started to plateau and the free poker money push is becoming even more important.
Online Poker Traffic Levels and Too Many Options
Other than the largest online poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, and the surprise growth of the Merger Gaming Network with Carbon Poker as their flagship room, the online poker industry has seen a significant drop in growth. During the month of June 2010 PokerScout posted that the online poker industry as a whole is seeing a negative growth average that has never been seen before. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the only rooms that seem to be keeping the bleeding to a minimum.
With the U.S. imposed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that started June 2010 and the movement to charge individual poker rooms a licensing fee when online gambling regulations come to fulfillment in America, many poker rooms will be crushed by the added expense.
There are hundreds of poker rooms all vying for their share of poker players. Until the U.S. fully regulates the industry, thus fully opening up the industry once again, the smaller poker rooms are having trouble turning a profit. With the recent downswing in player levels these small rooms and networks may be taken over by other networks. In April 2010 a sizable number of poker rooms that were part of the Cake Network moved over to the growing Merge Network and since then Cake has been in a traffic free fall. In less than a quarter the Cake Network has seen a 50% traffic drop and there is no indication that this drop will be stopped.
The move of poker rooms from Cake is only an indication at what will happen. It is inevitable that as growth slows there will be a consolidation of poker rooms. In the meantime poker rooms are trying whatever they can to attract as many players as possible. The premier promotion comes in the form of not enormous tournaments, but of free money.
The Free Poker Money Movement in Online Poker
Over the years free poker money was handed out to try and attract new players and this is exactly what new online players should expect too. The largest poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt, do not have to rely on this tactic as their growth appears to be self sustaining due to their size, but the mid-range poker rooms like UltimateBet and the smaller poker rooms like Power Poker and Yoga Poker are using free poker money as a major part of their growth strategies.
Free poker money sites like Pokerspace are the companies that hand out the money as they are excellent affiliates to go out and find players that are interested in starting out on a new poker room. Free money is hard to turn down, especially when it is real and the tactic is proving to be very effective. Poker rooms like Titan Poker have grow steadily over the last five years and continued success because of this promotion.
The future issues will be the diluting of the industry’s player base and the eventual regulation of online poker. Until the industry sees another huge explosion of potential players through another market like Asia, the next year or two will more than likely bring interesting changes to the online poker industry. But rest assured, online poker isn’t going anywhere.