PokerView closes; Interpoker moves to Ongame; Esfandiari Ultimate ambassador

pokerview-interpoker-ultimate-poker-esfandiariWebcam-friendly online poker site PokerView has announced it’s shutting its doors, effective immediately. The Merge Gaming Network skin posted a notice on its site assuring players that their funds were safe, but that it had “recently transferred … certain assets which form part of the PokerView brand” to Merge. In February, PokerView sent a message to its affiliates saying that it had received a purchase offer but was open to competing bids, although it’s unclear whether Merge was the original bidder or it stepped up following PokerView’s ‘everything must go’ email.

PokerView players have been invited to choose a ‘Merge Gaming Preferred Partner’ (, Players Only or Carbon Poker) in order to be reunited with their PokerView account balances, but any accumulated VIP points or statuses won’t be making the switch. PokerView debuted in February 2011 as an Everleaf Gaming Network skin, shifting to Merge in September 2011. Merge has seen a flood of its former skins either close up shop (RPM, Bluff Room, Feltstars, Hero, Overbet, IronDuke) or decamp for other networks (Black Chip) in the past six months.

Malta-licensed InterPoker has announced it will shift from its current home on the International Poker Network (IPN) to Amaya Gaming’s Ongame Network by the end of April. In doing so, players will no longer enjoy the 30% rakeback they received on IPN, but will settle instead for Ongame’s ‘ValueBack’ promotion, in which players earn 3.7 ‘Poker Points’ for every $1 in rake they generate. Danish players will temporarily be frozen out of the system due to the Amaya GO platform – on which the Ongame Network resides – having yet to receive the blessing of Danish regulators.

Big One for One Drop winner Antonio ‘the magician’ Esfandiari has signed on as brand ambassador for Ultimate Poker, the Nevada-licensed online poker division of Ultimate Gaming, the Fertitta Entertainment/Station Casinos’ fledgling online gambling outfit. Ultimate Poker chairman Tom Breitling said he was “thrilled” to have “the ultimate champion and modern poker player” become the first poker pro to formally endorse a new US-licensed online poker site.

Way back in those heady pre-Black Friday days of early 2011, the Fertittas had inked a joint venture-style partnership with then-number-two ranked Full Tilt Poker (FTP). That deal died within hours of the indictments being unsealed, but the rejuvenated FTP recently inked a deal with Bubble Protection, the online tournament hedging outfit. Bubble Protection CEO Eugene Castro said the move was made in response to consumer demand since FTP was relaunched as an offshoot of PokerStars. Bubble Protection already offers tournament entry fee protection and indemnity to players on PokerStars, Party Poker and the iPoker network.