Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bovada Turns Ignition

So it sounds like Bovada -- the U.S.-serving online poker site (and casino and racebook and sportsbook) -- is going to shut down at the end of September.

The site has been sold to Ignition Casino, and players have been invited to open accounts over there and have their funds transferred over. There’s a casino there, too, to go with the poker room, but no racebook or sportsbook I believe. An email to players explains how Ignition’s poker room “uses the same platform as Bovada,” and so includes all the same games and tournaments.

In fact, the site looks very much like a “skin” or copy of Bovada in every respect. In other words, the move is a bit like the one the site pulled off back in December 2011 when the U.S.-part of Bodog split off and was rebranded as Bovada.

I played on Bodog back in the day, and still have an account over on Bovada although I never played any real money games there. After messing around with some small bankrolls won via freerolls on Merge sites during the year or two following Black Friday, I haven’t bothered trying to play on any of these “rogue” sites at all. Too many stories of various difficulties getting funds onto such sites and making withdrawals have been enough to discourage me -- never mind the much worse tales of scams and loss of funds (via various causes) making playing on those sites even less enticing.

Of course a lot of players have stuck with Bovada in particular over the last few years, with its traffic essentially rivaling that of the 888poker, the world’s second-most frequented online poker site behind PokerStars (that is, well behind Stars which is like 8-10 times as busy as either).

That’s including the Bodog.eu portion of the player pool, too, which I’m not sure will be the case with Ignition. That is to say, Ignition may only have U.S. players competing against each other, or at least that’s what an Ignition customer service rep told PokerNews.

Americas Cardroom (on the Winning network), another U.S.-facing site, also remains popular among a decent number of American players, despite all sorts of bugginess with its software and other issues (besides that missing apostrophe in its name).

It remains kind of curious how this Bodog-Bovada-Ignition shell game gets to continue onward while managing to escape the punishments -- and, it seems, the miscalculations that helped lead to those punishments -- that knocked their larger rivals out of the U.S. five-plus years back. Seems like this might be a step away from the U.S. online poker game (of sorts) for Bodog owner Calvin Ayre who recently has been mentioned in some of these investigative reports regarding Bitcoin (with which he seems heavily involved).

The rogue sites remain interesting on some level, I suppose, if only as a dim echo of other examples of shady, legally-dubious poker games that have constantly been part of the history of the game in the U.S. But for me the interest is essentially academic, as I’m content to watch from the virtual rail.

Image: Ignition Casino.

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1 Comments:

Blogger John Anhalt said...

It's still going to be a solid site. It sucks, but there's still going to be plenty of fish. Most tools already work with the change over like bovada card catcher now works with Ignition as well as drivehud. So there's still going to be plenty of support for the site. Wish they didn't do it, but it's not the end of the world.

8/14/2016 3:33 PM  

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