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There is no question that PokerStars dominates the online poker business. The site garners more players on its dot-com site at any given time of the day or night by the thousands over its nearest competitors. Its notoriety for sponsoring top players, reputation (for many years) of offering the best bonuses and promotions, variety of poker variations and stakes, big tournament guarantees, and sheer name recognition keeps PokerStars on top of the game.

The primary competitors in the global market are 888poker and PartyPoker. While other sites compete in the same arena for cash game traffic, 888 and Party are the ones that typically operate in the same regions as PokerStars and see the most player crossover. When one offers an online tournament series, the other two are never far behind with attempts to garner some of the same traffic with competitive alternatives. And while PokerStars offers the most lucrative series with the likes of WCOOP and SCOOP, 888poker’s Super XL and PartyPoker’s Powerfest are increasing their guarantees with each edition of their respective series.

According to the latest PokerScout cash game traffic numbers, 888poker is the closest of the aforementioned competitors. IDN Poker is a network operating in the Asia-Pacific region of the world and does appear in a solid second place, but the player makeup is significantly different. So, when PokerStars shows an average of 13K players on its site, IDN hovers just above 3,700, with 888poker holding up third place with approximately 1,900. PartyPoker varies between fifth and sixth place with just over 1K players at any given time.

Despite the distance between PokerStars and 888poker, the latter is working hard to capitalize on any missteps by others in the industry and forge its own unique path that sets it apart. The results of the long-term game won’t be known for years, but the rivalry is always present.

Raising for Effective Giving Through Competition

PokerStars recently signed Igor Kurganov to its team of professional players, and he is one of several people on the board of Raising for Effective Giving, a charitable organization dedicated to raising money for the most effective charities in the world. REG, as it’s known, has become popular among poker players, many of whom donate a portion of their winnings to REG as a long-term commitment. Kurganov’s life partner, Liv Boeree, is also on the REG board and a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

Only weeks after PokerStars signed Kurganov, Boeree issued a notice via Twitter that PokerStars had committed to donating all rake collected from the upcoming Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) series to REG charities. PokerStars VP of Corporate Communications followed that with his own tweet to add that the company’s charitable arm, Helping Hands, will match the first $50K of rake to donate to REG in addition to the original raked amount.

Within two hours, 888poker announced that it was stepping up as well. All fees collected from its upcoming Super XL Series “Chip-In” events in May will be donated to REG to raise funds and awareness for global poverty. Three events in the series qualify and will raise money for REG.

Considering the size of the companies, profit margins, and overall ability to donate to charities, 888poker does not have anywhere near the resources of its Stars competitor. Even so, the desire to compete and contribute to a worthy cause through poker prompted 888 to step up to the plate in an admirable way.

In 2016 alone, REG raised more than $1.4 million for its charities through the poker community, bringing the total since the organization’s inception in 2014 to nearly $2.3 million. While many in the poker industry are known for their charitable giving, the focus on REG and players’ dedication to it have raised the level of generosity in the past year to one not seen since the years of the poker boom.

REG welcomes charitable commitments at all levels and appreciates donations of any amount. To find out more about the organization and how you can join the growing number of players choosing to donate, visit the REG website.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.