The popular Amateur Poker Association & Tour (APAT) have taken their first steps into the online poker world by acquiring Poker.co.uk with immediate effect.
For years APAT have run their online poker leagues across various sites including Betfair Poker, William Hill, 888poker and more recently on PokerStars but switching sites may be a thing of the past with this acquisition of Poker.co.uk.
Des Duffy, the Managing Director of APAT, had this to say about the developments:
We're excited that APAT will add an online poker room to our product range and look forward to delivering a high quality online poker experience for our customers, as we have in the casino environment since 2006.
Players can download the software now but until later in the year they will see the old Poker.co.uk branding and not the APAT images and table felt. According to the APAT press release, satellites and direct entry to APAT's Live and Online Championships weill be hosted on their new site, as will the National Online League and the inaugural National Online Cup.
Although a foray into the online poker world has been long overdue for APAT and its members, the choice of network has left a number of poker fans scratching their heads. Poker.co.uk, and therefore APAT, will be part of the International Poker Network (IPN) often referred to the Boss network. The Boss network has lost around half of its traffic over the past six months with a seven day average of just 510 cash game players (source: Poker Scout) and whilst a large chunk of that is down to the segregation of certain countries in Europe (particularly Italy) it is also down to the fact in today's climate the software is not rated as anywhere near the best. It is functional but most players want more than just functional.
Karl Mahrenholz, poker player and co-owner of Poker Encore on the iPoker Network, replied to a tweet from barry Carter saying:
@Barry_Carter @apat good luck delivering anything close to a high quality experience on Boss.Follow @KarlMahrenholz
The move will obviously give APAT much more independence and I am positive a large section of their loyal 50,000 members will fully support the move but it does seem strange to see an organisation has great as the APAT joining what many consider to be a network that is far from it former heights. it will be very interesting to see if APAT's input and player base can help lift Boss' flagging fortunes.