While PartyPoker’s parent company, PartyGaming, was created in 1997, PartyPoker did not officially launched to the public until late 2001. At the time there was very little competition on the market, with PokerStars becoming the main one in December 2001. This allowed PartyPoker to ascertain and maintain an extremely large market share during the early years of online poker, which they maintained until 2006 when the United States government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which essentially made all forms of online gambling illegal in the United States.
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PartyPoker made the decision to respect this law and instantly ceased trading with all US-based players, while PokerStars did not. This meant that PartyPoker relinquished much of their market share and saw their stock price drop by more than half in a single 24-hour period.
During the early days of online poker, just as it is now, many online poker rooms shared their player pools to ensure that games were always running and that their sites looked active to prospective new players. PartyPoker became one of the leading operators in this field, offering multiple companies access to their players. In 2005 PartyPoker decided that this was no longer in their best interests and withdrew themselves from that pool, however they still maintained the network that connected all of the third parties. This led to a lot of controversy within the industry and eventually resulted in the acquisition of Empire Online in a deal thought to be worth more than $250 million. PartyPoker also acquired various other partners that were within this network and were now struggling duty PartyPoker’s withdrawal from the system.
In March 2011, PartyGaming officially merged with Bwin, one of the world’s largest sports bookmakers and online casino companies. The deal had been in the pipeline for around 18 months and had to be passed by the PartyPoker shareholders, which it was in just over two months.
PartyPoker offer a wide variety of tournaments, with buying in prices ranging from free (aka freerolls) to $100 and beyond. There are also many different types of tournament to choose from, with single table sit & go’s being the most popular. However, there is also multitable sit & go, scheduled multitable tournaments, shootouts and knockout tournaments. Sometimes these tournaments are also satellites, which means that winning (or reaching a predefined stage of) the tournament will qualify you for another – usually one hosted off-line at a hotel or convention centre of some sort.