Aced Poker, of the embattled Merge Gaming Network, has announced it is bagging up its chips for the final time and heading for the fire exit. The site will become the latest in a string of Merge skins to close its doors when it became subsumed by its sister site Carbon Poker on July 1st, 2014. It joins the likes of RPM Poker, Hero Poker, FeltStars, Black Chip Poker and Poker Host – all Merge sites that have hit the rail over the past 18 months.
Current Aced players will be automatically moved to CarbonPoker.ag when they next log-in, says the Chip Split affiliate site, where they will be able to carry on playing on the Merge Network with their balances intact.
It’s an ignominious end for a site that launched with a huge flourish in 2009. Aced Poker heralded its appearance on the online poker landscape by signing controversial ex-World Series of Poker champion Jamie Gold as its spokesperson and sponsored pro in what was reportedly the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of poker, “a seven-figure sum,” according to Gold. It was big enough news at the time to make the cover of Bluff Europe Magazine.
“AcedPoker.com came to us and they realized that to make this work they’d have to give us more commitment than any other poker sponsorship deal ever before,” Gold said at the time.
“I believe we’ve been privy to what the other deals were, and unless we’ve been completely misled, we’ve never heard of any deal that ever came close. No player has ever been offered this kind of deal without actually owning the site.
“Because they were a new, unproven company, you can never know how successful they’re going to be, and so it was a risk for us and that meant it was going to take a lot. And not just a lot of money, they had to prove a lot to us to make us comfortable.”
Aced Poker was giving Gold $50,000 per day, beyond that “seven-figure deal,” to play with at the tables, but ultimately, and for whatever, reason, the relationship broke down within a matter of months.
Having failed to make the intended waves on the poker scene, Aced was acquired by Carbon Poker in 2010, which kept the brand going, but with minimal marketing, and Aced Poker went under the radar. It’s not the first time that Carbon Poker has ditched one of its acquisitions and assumed its player-base; in December 2012 it closed down PDC Poker, which used to operate under the poker.com domain name.
The Merge Network, meanwhile, has been dropping skins at an alarming rate and as a result has lost half of its cash game traffic since June 2012, according to PokerScout.com. Despite this, the network remains one the leaders in the offshore US market.Â While recently deciding that it would cease accepting players from the newly regulated markets, it still offers poker to the unregulated states.