by Renee Israel
After a long, three year hiatus, one of the pioneering online poker sites,
Poker Room, has returned to the scene.
Last month, rumours started circulating that Bwin Party Digital, which owns
the site, would be opening the online poker room to real money players once
more. The idea was initiated by employees of the Stockholm based online gambling
entity, Bwin, which merged with Party Gaming last year.
PokerRoom.com was launched in 1999 and was extremely popular among players,
who flocked to the Ongame Network of poker rooms to seek out this site. However,
when Ongame was forced to exit the US gambling market following the introduction
of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, Poker Room online
poker site started to suffer consequences, and by 2009 it shut down.
At the time, PokerRoom.com transferred its player base to Bwin. An
announcement in April 2009, entitled "End of an Era", stated that "after almost
ten years of fun and games, it is with heavy heart and a tear in my eye that I
have to announce that this is it: as of 11:00 today, Poker Room will no longer
be open for online poker."
"We have seen players qualify online for just a few bucks and turn it into
tens of thousands at the biggest poker tournaments in the world and seen guys
that were used to playing against their mates in lounge rooms mix it up with the
very best players in the world."
Bwin Seeking to Sell Ongame Poker Network
There are a number of reasons why Bwin would reopen Poker Room
at this point in time.
One is that Bwin.party digital is planning to reenter the US
gambling market following a partnership deal recently signed with Boyd Gaming
and MGM, and the resurrected online poker room is part of their plan to attract
a new player base.
The other reason is that Ongame Network is currently up for sale
and Bwin wants to increase its value with the re-opening of a well-known brand
in the industry.
A note on the newly opened site, following the Bwin Poker
Room reopening reads: "We're back... did you miss us?
"PokerRoom is proud to announce its return to the world of
online poker. We have opened our doors again to real money players. Whether
you're a PokerRoom veteran from the past, or a new player just starting out in
poker, we look forward to welcoming you at our tables."