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PartyPoker.com was launched in 2001 and has since grown to be one of the largest online poker card rooms. At peak times, over 100,000 players can be found playing on the site's virtual poker tables. The site is endorsed by Mike Sexton, the host of the World Poker Tour television show.
Games include Texas Hold 'em (No Limit and Fixed Limit), Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven-card Stud and Seven-card Stud Hi-Lo. Stakes range from 0.05/0.10 to 100/200 for limit games, and 0.02/0.04 to 25/50 for No-Limit/Pot-Limit games.
Players can play for either real money or play money. All poker variants offered at real money tables are offered at play money tables. Party Poker offers a bad beat jackpot, which has at times grown to over $700,000 USD.
Party Poker makes money by taking a percentage of each ring game pot (this is known as the rake) and approximately 10% of entry fees for each real-money tournament. The site has dealt over five billion real money hands and over fifty billion play money hands, including tournaments.
The site offers a variety of tournaments, ranging from ten to thousands of participants with some very lucrative prize pools.
Single-table and multi-table tournaments are offered. Furthermore, there are both scheduled tournaments (which begin at a specified date and time) and tournaments which are offered 24 hours a day and begin as soon as the table is full. The latter type of tournament is commonly called a "Sit 'n Go" or "SNG" tournament.
The flagship tournament is the PartyPoker.com Million, now in its fifth year. This is a Limit Texas Hold'em Tournament. The second, third and fourth Party Poker Million tournaments were World Poker Tour events. The tournament begins with online qualifiers but the final stages are held at actual poker tables aboard a cruise ship. The winners of previous Party Poker Million events were Kathy Liebert, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Michael Gracz, and Mike Schneider.
Additionally, there are play money tournaments, but the offerings are not nearly as extensive as the real money tournaments and mostly consist of single table events.
Every player is limited to playing up to six tables simultaneously.
Split with "Skin" Partners
In its early days, PartyGaming entered into several marketing partnerships that allowed companies such as Empire Online to share in a common pool of poker players. Players could access the PartyGaming network either through the PartyPoker.com software itself or through the software of one of PartyGaming's "skin" partners.
In mid-2005, PartyGaming made various moves to ringfence its own players from those of the "skin" partners. The company began to explore mergers, buyouts, and other options. In October of that year, PartyGaming launched an upgraded PartyPoker.com software system that cut off the "skin" partners from the main pool of players, and left the "skin" players on the old system.
In November 2005, offer discussions with Empire Online were terminated, and on 6 December 2005, Empire Online confirmed that it had started legal proceedings against PartyGaming in the High Court of Gibraltar. On 14 February 2006, the two companies announced a US$250 million settlement deal; PartyGaming agreed to acquire Empire's "skin" operations, and Empire dropped the suit.
PartyGaming also acquired the operations of former "skin" partners IntertopsPoker and MultiPoker, in separate private transactions for undisclosed amounts.
In December 2006 the company announced it was acquiring the remaining assets of Empire Online.