Best Ongame Poker Rooms

The Ongame Network is one of the giants of the online poker industry, regularly ranking among the five largest networks in terms of real money cash players. The more than 25 poker rooms in the Ongame Network include some of the biggest names in online poker, and there are plenty of excellent rooms to choose from. While there are lots of rooms that could have made this list, here are our picks for the best poker rooms on the Ongame Network.

Ongame Poker Network – History

The Ongame Network started as a single online poker room in 1999. That poker room was In 2004 skins were added to the network. The network was then called the Poker Network. In 2005, Ongame was sold to BWIN for £474 million.

The Ongame Network is now owned by Party/BWIN after the merger of Party Gaming and BWIN. While there are rumours that BWIN will move their poker players to the Party Poker Network and sell the Ongame Network it is business as usual for now. Ongame is the 6th largest online poker network and consists of about 30 Ongame skins. The network averages about 2000 cash game players at any given time with traffic peaking at around 4500 cash games players daily. After the UIGEA passed in the US Ongame stopped accepting US players.

While the Ongame Network is not available in the United States, they do have a very large following in Europe. This popularity in Europe is certainly helped by their association with Bwin, which is the continent’s leading online gambling portal.

Ongame skins consist of major online sportsbooks and online casinos meaning that Ongame players tend to be casual punters that gamble on other games besides poker. This gives the Ongame Network a healthy poker ecosystem. Ongame is dedicated to this healthy poker ecosystem.

Rank Site Download Mac Linux Bonus Visit Site
1 Betsson €1000 www.Betsson.comRead Review
2 BetSafe $2500 www.Betsafe.comRead Review
3 Betfair €2500 www.Betfair.comRead Review

Introduction of the Essence Rake Algorithm

In July 2010, Ongame introduced their proprietary Essence rake formula. This formula replaced the weighted contributed system that Ongame used previously. While Ongame is secretive about the exact formula, they have been open about the basics. In order to combat rakeback, which is not allowed on Ongame, Essence was invented. Essence rewards affiliates for bringing in net depositing players.

It also rewards losing players more player points. This helps weaker players earn points. Earning more points helps these players clear bonuses faster. It also helps players move up tiers faster in the Ongame VIP programs. Ongame states that since introducing Essence the network has grown by 5%. They also state that the number of casual, recreational players, has risen by 8%.

The Essence formula rates all of their players. For every $1 in rake generated, 3.25 points are generated to be split among the players at the table. The distribution is based on contribution to the pot as well as the skill level assigned to each player as it relates to their opponents. If a player is rated higher than the other players that contributed to the pot, that player will receive fewer points than the other players. If the player is weaker than their opponents then that player will receive more points. Essence does not affect sit and go or multi table tournaments. Players will receive 5 points per $1 in entry fees regardless of how they match against the other players in that tournament.

Ongame Cash Games And The Effect Of The Essence Algorithm

Ongame offers cash game tables that are heads up, 5 handed or 10 handed. The exception is stud where tables are 5 or 8 handed. Ongame sit and gos are offered up to $108 while some multi table tournaments go as high as $525. While some sit and gos are offered at higher limits these tournaments rarely run.

The rake at cash game tables is typically $.05 per $1. At lower limit games the rake cap is $1.50. At higher limit games the cap is $3, assuming the tables have 5 or more players dealt in. Tournaments below $100 have 8-10% entry fees. Tournaments above $100 typically have a 5% house fee.

Due to the Essence rake formula savvy poker players tend to stay away from Ongame. This is not only because rakeback is not allowed, but also because the under the table rakeback deals became less attractive to the sharks. In addition to this, winning players earn player points at such a slow rate that it is not worth their time to pursue the VIP programs offered by all Ongame skins.

Skilled players also tend to stay away from Ongame due to the software that uses too many computer resources. This prevents mass multi tabling. Many online poker pros want to play 24 or more tables at the same time. While the software permits players to play as many tables as they want, the software quality typically prevents this from happening. Casual players that play just a few tables will not run into any software problems.

Casual players notice bonuses clear faster at Ongame than other online poker networks. These players also notice faster VIP benefits. This helps retain casual players. Not only is the competition level lower at Ongame but weaker players earn bonuses and VIP cash back at a rate that helps these weaker players play longer than they can on most online poker networks.

Ongame Casinos

Every Ongame Network skin offers a casino. Some of the skins use the casino software provided by Ongame that is integrated into the poker software. Some Ongame skins have chosen to use a different online casino software than Ongame’s offering. For example, Coral/Eurobet uses Chartwell casino software. Betfair uses Playtech’s casino platform.

The Ongame Network is a great place for online poker players to play their favourite pastime. The games are great for casual players and players that do not have success at other online poker rooms are likely to find the Essence system helps them earn more promotional money. Even highly skilled poker players that are willing to accept lower promotional money will benefit from the softer games.