Paradise Lost – Paradise Poker’s Beach is Closed to Canadians

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It was one of the first online poker softwares to grace the Internet along with rival Party Poker and a favorite of Canadians and Americans. Paradise Poker was originally founded as a poker software company which at one point during the early days of Internet Poker was considered to be the largest online poker rooms, with traffic surpassing 5000 seated simultaneous cash game players which to this day remains a huge accomplishment as only one network consistently surpasses that amount of seated cash players. The global online poker traffic is scattered across many poker sites that offer varying look and feels, round tables, oval tables, no tables, 3D tables, but at the end of the day its pretty much the same game of poker.

Paradise Poker, once considered the top poker software, has undergone many changes. In 2006, the company was sold to online sportsbook company SportingBet for 300 million dollars. At the time, SportingBet was a pioneer in online sportsbetting and besides their namesake sportsbook site, owned websites like Sportsbook.com, Sportsbetting.com, and a slew of others, even Sports.com.  SportingBet was one of the largest Internet sportbooks and brought with them an enormous pool of poker players. Back then they used the Boss Media poker software platform, also used by sites like PokerHeaven & FortunePoker,  and the plan was to move all of their players onto the newly acquired Paradise Poker software. Shortly after, in late 2006, the UIGEA law shook up the industry, making it illegal to accept online wagers from the United States. Publicly traded SportingBet soon found itself liquidating its predominantly US facing assets for a song, and instead of moving all their non-US poker players onto the superior Paradise Poker platform, instead ended up moving their non-US players from the Paradise software onto the Boss Media software, a blessing in disguise at the time for Boss Media whose poker network was at risk of losing its largest customer.

The Paradise Poker software became a redundant asset but the brand continued to live on the new software. Paradise offered up promotions like the “King of Canada Series” and was known to have one of the widest deposit and cashout options  for Canadians. They ran on the Boss Media software in Canada for about 3 years and  until when Boss Media’s parent company GTECH decided to pull the plug on Canada in favor of supplying the provincial lotteries with a poker product and in late 2010 and Paradise Poker was without a software for Canadians. Several months later they launched on the Entraction network and managed to continue to service a Canadian audience but the recent acquisition of Entraction by IGT Games once again meant  Canadian players were banned on the network as IGT favors its government business opportunities which somehow prohibit them offering software to competing companies in Canada.

Paradise Poker once again find themselves not having a poker room to service their customers from Canada and although they are in the process of integrating the Ongame platform which could potentially fill this void, better not to hold your breath because the Ongame Network was recently purchased by Shuffle Master, a large publicly traded gaming supplier to casinos and their is a big chance they will likely follow GTECH and IGT and pull out of the Canadian market.

So a word of advice, before you get too attached to a poker room going forward, check out some of the trends as many of these poker software companies are being swallowed up by hungry land-based gaming suppliers looking for a software product to cater to the potentially lucrative U.S. poker market when it opens up legally.

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