PurePlay raises $2.8 million for online poker

Ronny Kerr · April 21, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1991

Operated by MMJK, PurePlay has been funded by Bay Partners, Ron Conway, Tim Draper and many more

MMJK, parent company of online poker site PurePlay, has raised $2.8 million of a $4.8 million round, according to an SEC filing published this week. I’ve called and emailed the company for comment, but have not yet received any response.

Besides founders and original investors Jason Kellerman (CEO) and Marc Marin, also listed on the filing are Salil Deshpande (general partner at Bay Partners), Ed O’Dea (partner at CFOs2GO), and Evan Hoff (director at Capricorn Capital Consulting).

Bay Partners had previously invested in PurePlay alongside some pretty noteworthy Silicon Valley investors: Ron Conway (super angel), Tim Draper (founder of founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Steve Jurvetson (managing director at DFJ), Mike Orsak (Worldview general partner), and Owen Van Natta (former MySpace CEO, current Zynga EVP).

So what? It’s yet another smaller-than-the-median funding round for yet another online poker site with a few big names attached: nothing to get too excited about, right?

Not exactly.

The new funding arrives in PurePlay’s pockets less than a week after the U.S. Department of Justice seized websites operated by Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, three of the most popular online poker sites and ones that millions of users had been visiting each month to play for real money. Supposedly, the websites were in violation of a 2006 federal law prohibiting Web gambling sites from accepting payments.

However, it’s a controversial move, analysts are saying, because the law is not black and white about online gambling. Either way, it’s a hot topic and demonstrates how big a market online poker could be.

Enter PurePlay, which holds an interesting hand all its own: it’s online poker where users can play for real cash, even though it’s not exactly a gambling site.

Players who sign up as Basic or Player’s Club members, which involves paying real money for “Play Money Chips,” can enter tournaments like the $10,000 World Series Final, taking place in May. Whoever wins the tournament can choose between a $10,000 seat at the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas or $2500 in cash, with runners-up receiving incrementally smaller prizes.

It’s like gambling without the illegal.

PurePlay also hosts advertising-supported free games, for users who just want to play poker online.

Founded in 2006, MMJK’s PurePlay is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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The PurePlay Story PurePlay was founded by two entrepreneurs who were frustrated with the unrealistic game play at multi-player online games sites. At most of these sites, players don't play competitively because there's no incentive to win and there's nothing at stake. At sites where there is an incentive to win, such as gambling sites, players can lose a lot of money. PurePlay's patented business model was developed to encourage people to play competitively to win prizes without requiring them to risk losing money. PurePlay plans to apply its unique approach to many types of online multi-player games, enabling players to "Win Big without the Risk". PurePlay's launch in 2005 was kicked off with the rollout of one of the largest poker sites on the web. With the incredible rise in the popularity of poker, and PurePlay's unique approach, PurePlay has already attracted hundreds of thousands of customers. The company is funded by several prominent Silicon Valley angel investors and venture capitalists, and is located in San Francisco. The Anti-Gambling Site PurePlay is committed to responsible game-play and is not a gambling site. Because we do not offer gambling, we make it impossible for players to lose money, but still provide an exciting and entertaining experience. Our goal is to maintain the thrill of online games while keeping it safe for everyone. We are partnering with agencies, groups and associations to help promote safe and responsible game play and to provide a conduit to assistance for those with gambling addictions. We look forward to bringing you more PurePlay products that allow you to "win big without the risk".
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