MicrogamingSkins.com – Honest Ratings of MPN Poker Sites

Hi everyone and welcome to MicrogamingSkins.com. After being a regular on Pokerstars and iPoker for the past 4 or 5 years, I recently decided it was time for a change of scene as I was getting tired of the tight games, the tables filled with grinders and the lack of fish. I tried a few different networks along the way including Ongame and Merge, but eventually settled on Microgaming which I now call my poker home.

Along the way I played at the majority of the skins on the Microgaming network and cleared the bonuses at more than 10 different sites. As a result I decided to setup this site to help other poker players who wanted to try out the network but wern’t sure which skin to choose. The rankings and reviews on this site are no fluff and no BS; they are an honest reflection of what i thought about the site. Rankings are based on merit, and merit alone. So without further ado, you can check out my toplist below, or continue navigating the reviews via the links in the sidebar.

Best Microgaming Skin 2017: Betsafe Poker

Betsafe Poker

200% up to €1000 Signup Bonus!

Betsafe Poker is the number one site on the MPN network. They’re one of the biggest names in online gambling and have a long history of security and reliability in the industry. As well as a big signup bonus, they also have the best customer support. All in all I rate them as an A+.

The Microgaming Story

About Microgaming

First off, if you’re a casino player, then the Microgaming casinos page at Azonlinecasinos.com goes into a lot more detail than I can here.

The Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) has been around for the best part of 10 years and at one point back in 2005 was one of the top poker networks in Europe. Back then it was known as the Prima network and was the first home of high stakes cash games, featuring the likes of Johnny “bad_ip” Lodden and Patrik Antonius among others.

A large part of their early success was down to the fact that Expekt.com was a skin of the network, with reports saying that up to 40% of the network’s traffic came from them alone. When Expekt left and moved to the little known Tain Poker Network, they took a great number of poker players with them.

The addition of Unibet shortly afterwards did help to soften the blow, but it was a big set back for Microgaming and their ambitions to become a tier 1 poker network. The fact that they’ve been hit by a number of controversial incidents since then hasn’t helped matters. Firstly, 28 skins of the network went busto in 2008, taking players funds with them. Just a year later, one of their flagship sites EuroLinx shocked the poker world by announcing they were bankrupt and going into liquidation.

These scandals crushed the network and truth be told it has never made a full recovery. From a network that was once in and around the top 5 trafficked sites, they’ve now plummeted to a lowly 11th. I for one am doubtful as to whether they will ever be able to regain their place among the online poker elite. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for those looking for somewhere to play poker. In fact I think the opposite is true.

You see these days, it’s rare to find easy games on the big sites. Pokerstars, Full Tilt, iPoker and the other major players in the poker business are all full of professional players and tight games. While those sites do have advantages like security and great software, the likes of MPN are equally safe. In fact nearly every site I’ve listed on this page is a massive, publicly traded company who make tens of millions in profits each year.

Not only are the sites safe, but they also have the added benefit of being home to the largely European fish pool. While their are of course grinders and pros at Microgaming, there are way less than at other sites and overall the games are much softer. This is because the majority of the sites on the network have poker as a side business to their main operations namely sports betting and casino games. These bring in a huge number of recreational players who then try their hand at the poker tables, ensuring their is a constant influx of weaker players.

The network does not provide poker for US based poker players and in December of 2012, they rebranded from Microgaming Poker Network to MPN.

What Games are Offered

One strong feature of Microgaming is the number of poker games available. The majority of the action is at the no limit holdem and pot limit Omaha tables. They do offer razz and draw games, though these are rarely inhabited and seem to be more of a token offering. According to the Microgaming regs thread on 2+2, there are more NLHE tables running during the day at MPN than any other European network.

Their MTTs and SitNGos are comparable to other European networks with buyings ranging from micro stakes all the way up to high stakes. The competition at each is probably a touch fishier than other Euro networks.

Bad Beat Tables

The Microgaming Bad Beat tables have been some of the most lucrative in the industry for a number of years now. In fact, in years gone by this was arguably one of their biggest selling points. But times have changed, the economy has declined since the ‘Moneymaker years’ and so have features such as bad beat jackpots. MPN changed their bad beat policy so that now players can opt in. If the bad beat is hit a and a player has opted in he then receives a share of the jackpot. The minimum conditions were also changed. Up until mid 2013 a player needed to lose with quad 8s or better in order to hit the bad beat. That has now been lowered to quad 2s.

I always opt in and was lucky enough to win €2400 earlier this year. For me, I like the bbj for the fun of it and the chance of hitting a big score for a small investment. For those of you more concerned with EV the news isn’t so good! A recent study carried out by a Brain Alspach worked out that the probability of this jackpot being hit at one of their tables was around 1 in 100,000. When you consider that any table only clears around 21,000 hands per month (assuming its open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) then the odds really do stack massively against the player.

MPN’s Solution to the Slow Down of Online Poker

There is no doubt that online poker traffic has plateaued and most sites have seen a big decline in player numbers. This Google trends graph paints a very clear picture of the slow down in the industry. This slow down can be attributed to a number of things – a saturated market, increase in skill level of the average player and lack of “fish”.

Microgaming has been very vocal in their response to this, citing the lack of recreational players and the large number of sharks as being the main problems. So whilst it may appear that Microgaming is heading in just one direction, they are in fact trying to provide a better environment for not just ‘grinders’, but also the recreational player. And in trying to create a more balanced poker eco-system they’ve taken some brave steps along the way.

One of their latest movements has been to limit the number of tables that a player can play at once. This only applies to skins that are sending a large number of winning players compared to casual ones. Stan James felt the brunt of this new policy early in 2013 when they were forced to limit all their players to a maximum of 4 cash game tables at one time. Apparently the majority of the players at Stan James were winning ones, something that MPN management deemed to be detrimental to the network as a whole. This policy forces the offending sites to increase their marketing budget for recruiting recreational players or otherwise have their poker revenue streams severely restricted.

Another measure introduced was to make all headsup tables anonymous in order to stop what is known in the poker world as bum hunting. However, this led to even more problems. Headsup tables are now only available in 8 man Blaze Poker formats. So instead of selectively choosing their opponents, headsup players are now forced to play against 7 other random opponents, switching every hand. Whilst eventually you will play against weaker and stronger opponents in that pool, there will be no way in knowing which player you will be playing until that hand has started, thus reducing the ability of the sharks to prey on weaker players and avoid playing each other. Microgaming referred to this move as the “speed dating of online poker”.

What Does the Future Hold for MPN?

The future of MPN has taken a very positive change in the last few months. They have gained some fantastic new skins such as PKR and Grosvenor in particular. Along with adding these sites they have also listened to the poker community in relation to cash game rake. While a lot of people consider the smallest stakes unbeatable on some sites due to rake, MPN have introduced low caps at these stakes to give everyone a fair chance. This has been welcomed by a lot of people, whether they play those stakes or not. It is thought to be a great move for the poker ecosystem as a whole. If you want to play on a smaller network with great software and easier to beat games then look to further than MPN. And if you do decide to join me here, watch out for me at the tables. My SN is FishFood86.