WPN has announced that “VegetablesArentYummy” is the first player in the network´s history to reach the highest level of its Elite Benefits program.
The Winning Poker Network has had a remarkable year. A series of successful Million Dollar Sundays has raised the profile of the sites on the network (including Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and Ya Poker), which has resulted in a 128% increase in cash game traffic since the start of 2015.
The network´s credibility received a massive boost in September when UK professional poker player and EPT San Remo winner Rupert “JohnLegend” Elder chopped one of the Million Dollar Sundays for $124,882, and then tweeted how quickly his check arrived. Elder´s victory was – at the time – the biggest ever win for a player live-streaming his online action on Twitch.
The overall growth of the network has had multiple benefits for new and existing players. The value of the network´s non-contributory rake race – the Beast – has rocketed, ACR, BCP and Ya sent more players to live poker events in 2015 than ever before, and the network has been able to make its $1,000 buy-in Cage cash game a weekly event.
“VegetablesArentYummy” First to Reach Five Star General
Despite the Winning Poker Network having many achievements to look back on during 2015, the one thing it was missing was a “first”. Now that has been changed with the announcement that “VegetablesArentYummy” has become the first player to reach the highest level of the network´s Elite Benefits VIP Program – a Five Star General.
To understand what an achievement this is, you have to consider that – at the beginning of the year – the Winning Poker Network was struggling to maintain a seven day cash game average of 500 players. Taking nothing away from players who achieve SNE at PokerStars, achieving the top level of a VIP Rewards Program on any site with less than a couple of thousand players is astonishing.
Furthermore, “VegetablesArentYummy” may not be the only player this year to reach Five Star General. According to our sources over at Americas Cardroom, two more players are on course to match this achievement by the end of the year. We know that “TheGreenSmoothie” is one, and guess – judging by his frequent appearances on the Beast leaderboard – that “SunTzu13” may be the other.
What is Five Star General Worth? 110% Rakeback?
This is interesting, because the 1 million rank points earned by “VegetablesArentYummy” are worth $98,600 in cash conversions and milestone rewards. However, because he took advantage of the frequent reload bonuses offered by the Winning Poker Network, and cashed multiple times in the Beast rake race, his total “free poker money” for the year was $196,963.
As the Winning Poker Network awards “Rank Points” using the dealt rake method – rather than using the contributed rake method – it is difficult to calculate the rate of rakeback that $196,963 equates to. The cash conversions and milestone rewards have been estimated to be equivalent to 55.91% rakeback, so we guess that “VegetablesArentYummy” must have got about 110% rakeback for achieving Five Star General.
Winning Poker Network to Grow Again in 2016?
Back in August, the Winning Poker Network´s CEO – Phil Nagy – said that his aim was to drive the network to be one of the top five in the world. Although this would require a further 70% increase in traffic, the stars seem to be aligning to fulfill Nagy´s wishes. Two factors in particular appear to smiling down on Nagy – the failure to regulate online poker in any US state since 2013 and players´ disenchantment with PokerStars.
The failure to regulate online poker is likely to continue in 2016. Too many self-interested parties in California, too many fingers in the pie in Pennsylvania and too little interest in New York will likely result in other states putting any plans to regulate online poker on hold. Indeed, Massachusetts may be the next state to regulate online poker, but probably not until 2017.
Possibly of more significance to the fortunes of the Winning Poker Network is PokerStars decision to cut its top level of rewards from next year. Many high volume players feel cheated by this move and are disenchanted with the site since it was purchased by Amaya Gaming. If, as anticipated, high volume players investigate opportunities elsewhere, it is likely that many will end up playing at Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and Ya Poker.
It could be a very good New Year for the Winning Poker Network.