The Ongame Network started out as one online poker room. That room was Pokerroom.com. Pokerroom branched out into the online poker network business. The same group also owned Europoker.com, which was one of the first skins on the Ongame Network. That network began with the skin known as Hollywood Poker. Hollywood Poker eventually closed but the network lives on with dozens of licensees.
- Large player traffic
- Above average quality of games
- Social, recreational player focused
The Ongame Network is populated by well known skins. These include Betsafe, Betsson, and Redkings. Unfortunately for Ongame, the network suffers from a steady drop in traffic. This is partly attributed to the software that many serious players feel is poor in comparison to competing online poker rooms. Some of the loss can also be blamed on losing major licensees. This includes Eurobet, who recently moved to the iPoker Network, and Betsafe, which moved to Microgaming.
Future of Ongame Network
Another contributing factor to the decline in Ongame traffic is its uncertain future. The network was owned by bwin.party. Bwin is an Austrian sports book that merged with Party Gaming in 2011. The new company made it immediately known that the Ongame Network was a surplus asset. The network was sold to Amaya Gaming and bwin players were moved to the Party Poker Network.
Sale of Ongame Network
Shuffle Master originally put in a $115 million bid for the Ongame Network. Shuffle Master backed out at the 11th hour and the Ongame Network was left without a buyer. It is unknown why the company backed out. Amaya Gaming emerged as the new buyer, at a price of less than half of the original bid made by Shuffle Master. The terms of this sale include a premium should Amaya Gaming use the Ongame Network software in the emerging U.S. market.
Amaya Gaming entered into an agreement to acquire PokerStars in 2014. This left the Ongame platform as a surplus. It was sold to NYX Gaming in 2014.
The Ongame Network was the first network to create a rake model that penalized winning players. This model also discouraged affiliates from referring winning players to the network. This rake model is called Ongame Essence.
This formula ranks players against their opponents at a cash game table. If a player is ranked higher than his opponent in a hand, that player will receive less rake credit. The lower rank player will receive the difference. The same rake is still attributed to a cash game table; it is just distributed in a different manner than most poker rooms use. The most common rake formula divides the amount of rake by the amount a player contributed to the pot.
While Ongame Essence requires a player to contribute to the pot, the formula does not equally divide the rake among the contributing players. While the Bodog Network uses a similar formula for affiliates, Ongame is the only network that uses a formula like this to compute player bonuses. This means that a player clearing a bonus on the network does not know the formula used to release a bonus. This has been a very controversial rake formula and has scared many players away from the network. This may actually be the desired effect. Ongame Essence does not affect tournament rake. Players and affiliates receive the normal credit for rake paid to enter tournaments.