Horizon Poker Network – A Focus on Micro Stakes Cash Games
The Horizon Poker Network is another long-running group of sites which has recently had a name change. The software, which the current poker sites use to pool players, was created by Cake Poker back in 2006. Since then, this network was called the Revolution Poker Network for a while, before becoming Horizon in 2016.
Sites include the long-running Intertops Poker, which has a long history of offering sports betting to US customers. There are a lot more sites, though most of them are regionally focused. The other main name which welcomes US players is called Juicy Stakes Poker.
Traffic on this network is very low compared to the big three of PaiWangLuo, Chico and WPN (Winning Poker Network). You’ll find the action mostly in lower stakes cash games. Tournaments are available, though the guarantees for these top out at $2,500.
Here is what you will find in this guide to the US-friendly Horizon Poker Network:
-Horizon Network Overview and Payment Options
-Individual ‘Skins’ Which Make up the Network
-Poker Games and Variations Available
-History of the Horizon Network
-Wrap Up: Reasons to Choose this Network
Horizon Poker Network Overview and Payment Options
If you are a multi-tabling pro, or a high-stakes crusher, you’ll need to look elsewhere to play real money poker. The Horizon Network has peaks of around 100 players, making it tiny compared to other sites. The good news is that the lack of pro players keeps the games very soft. You’ll find the action concentrated at the micro-stakes, and at the No Limit Hold’em tables. A full table at $100 NL and above can be found at the weekends, with little action above this.
When the software platform was first created by Cake Poker, it was innovative. More than 12 years later, this has fallen behind. You’ll get a side-on 3D view of the tables, with cartoon avatars in the seats. While there are a lot of different formats available, the lack of players means that games outside of NL Hold’em rarely run. You’ll find a unique game called Telsina on the Horizon Network. This is a 5-card stud variant.
Welcome bonuses are generous. New players get a 200% matched bonus on most sites. Keep in mind that you’ll only have micro-stakes games to clear this in – meaning a lot of volume is required.
Intertops, the biggest Horizon site, is licensed in Curacao.
Payments and Withdrawals
The US-facing sites on the Horizon Network accept Bitcoin payments. This gives another option for a site which was previously reliant on credit cards. If you are outside the US, you’ll be able to use debit cards and selected eWallet solutions too.
If you deposit with Bitcoin, you’ll also be able to use this option for fast and free withdrawals. Players that deposited with credit card will instead receive a paper check.
Skins on the Horizon Poker Network
There are a lot of small sites on Horizon, though only two of these are available for US players. These are Intertops Poker and Juicy Stakes Poker.
This site has a history with US gambling going all the way back to 1999. They left the US after Black Friday in 2011, returning to form the Horizon Network in 2016. Intertops are primarily a sports betting and casino brand. The crossover traffic from these areas provide a steady stream of new/inexperienced poker players, helping to keep the games soft.
Juicy Stakes Poker
This site is another long-running brand. They were part of the original Cake Poker Network, and targeted new players with a long list of promos for many years. Those bonuses, including the 200% welcome offer, are now the same as those at Intertops Poker.
Poker Games and Variations Available
With a tiny amount of player traffic, it is not so much what games are available – it is more a question of which areas of the site are not completely empty!
This is where you will find the action. Peaks see up to 25 tables running. Most of these are at the lowest stakes, which range from 1c/2c blinds up to 25c/50c. If you play at the weekend, you might find the occasional game at 50c/$1 and above. There is a fast-fold poker variant, though this does not attract enough players to make it viable.
Other Cash Games
Pot Limit Omaha sees the occasional micro-stakes games running. You will also find Omaha Hi-Lo, Stud and Telsina, though these games only see action rarely.
Buy-ins for the regular games range from $1 to $11. The fields are small, making many of the games feel like multi-table sit n goes. Where guarantees are given these are in the $100s. The biggest daily tournaments have a $1,500 guarantee, with a $50 buy-in. The Sunday version boosts this to a $2,500 guarantee. Occasional live event qualifiers can also be found.
Sit N Goes
Not too much action in this area. While all the usual variations are offered, even the smallest buy-in games take a long time to fill up.
History of the Horizon Poker Network
This network has a questionable history. This makes for an interesting read, though keep in mind that it is now under the ownership of some very reputable brands.
Cake Poker was created by poker pros back in 2006. Their idea was to make up for the shortcomings of the big brands by creating a site which was made by players for players. This site offered rakeback, and attracted enough players to run big tournaments and a high-volume of cash games. Promos including gold cards and gold chips gave away big prizes. Cake survived Black Friday, though it has since shut down.
The most interesting part of the history occurred after Black Friday, when Lock Poker came on the scene. They rebranded as the ‘Revolution Poker Network’, with a big advertising push pushing the player base to new highs. Unfortunately, payments started to become a problem, with many players complaining that withdrawals were taking months. Lock continued to take deposits, eventually closing down in 2015 and taking all the player balances in the process.
Revolution took a huge hit in traffic until Intertops decided to return to the US market in 2015. They rebranded the network to the current Horizon name. While the payments are now excellent, traffic has never returned to the previous levels.
Wrap Up: Why Choose the Horizon Poker Network?
This network uses a solid (if dated) software platform and has the full range of games available. What is needed is traffic. Without enough players, the tournaments are tiny, and the cash games restricted to micro-stakes NL Hold’em. If this network gets a traffic boost (perhaps from a bigger brand joining), then it would make a great choice for US players.
With a great reputation, the addition of Intertops Poker has put the questionable history of the Horizon Network well and truly in the past. New players will get a generous 200% welcome bonus, plus enjoy a range of races and other promotions. If you enjoy the small stakes games, this network certainly offers some of the softest tables around.