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When WSOP.com and the All American Poker Network (888 Poker) entered the New Jerseymarket in late 2013, most were surprised that the two companies did not share player pools in the same fashion that Borgata and PartyPokerdid. As a result, Borgata spent the year on top of the NJ online poker market. That now has changed.

Starting last week, WSOP.com and 888pokerstarted to partially share player pools in cash games and in select tournaments and Sit & Go tournaments. In less than a week, that sharing has allowed both sites to leapfrog PartyPoker to take over as the top spots in New Jersey.

WSOP.com Solidly in First – 888 Holds Slight Edge for Second

PokerScout.com is the game’s top source for online poker traffic and the site has been tracking WSOP.com’s rise over the past week. Both WSOP.com and 888 have leapfrogged Party Borgata in terms of seven-day average. Borgata is still in second place when considering peak hour players.

PokerScout is currently reporting average daily traffic for WSOP.com at 190 players with over 430 players online during peak hours. The AAPN currently boast a seven-day average of 170 players with over 350 at peak hours. Party Borgata is currently third in seven-day average at 160 players with nearly 400 players during peak hours.

Player Pool Sharing Coupled With New Promotions Helped Shake Things Up

Last week, WSOP.com and the All-American Poker Network started sharing player pools in low limit NL Hold’em cash games, low limit sit-and-go tournaments and in select multi-table tournaments. While this is what’s being given as the primary reason for the jump in traffic, it is likely one of multiple factors.

Earlier in the month, WSOP.com changed their rewards system where many players receive higher rakeback as opposed to 2014. Over on the All-American Poker Network, players are currently enjoyingdouble VIP points during January. Combine that with the new player pool sharing and WSOP’s rise to the top was inevitable.

Preparation for PokerStars Launch in March?

While the partial combining of player pools was done to “increase liquidity,” one has to wonder whether this is a preemptive move to prepare for the arrival of PokerStars to New Jersey. Recently, Senator Ray Lesniak hinted that PokerStars would be arriving in New Jersey in March. If this were to happen, many expect the site to take over the top spot.

However, based on recent growth by WSOP.com, PokerStars’ place atop NJ online poker isn’t a lock. Should WSOP.com and 888 decide to fully integrate player pools, this could raise daily traffic to the point where they could hold back a charge by PokerStars. Of course, we’re still waiting to see what type of promotions and tournaments that PokerStars will offer and those offerings could dramatically affect traffic. Regardless, the real winners for a battle between WSOP.com and PokerStars for the top spot in New Jersey are the players.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.

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