We are a month into the new year and the biggest leap by a poker site within the top 10 in terms of places gained finds Bodog/Bovada landing in fourth place in player traffic after starting 2015 in seventh place.
Bodog currently averages 1,700 ring game players on its tables, a 21% increase over the 1,400 average on January 1. Remember in late 2011 when Bodog was widely criticized after announcing its anonymous tables concept and Recreational Poker Model? Those critics have disappeared.
Another large increase in player traffic in the last 30 days occurred at no. 2-ranked 888poker, who gained 12.5%. PokerScout.com reports that 888 currently enjoys a seven-day average of 2,700 players, up from 2,400 thirty days ago.
Rake hike rescinded
Also a big gainer over the last month was PokerStars, who went from 19,000 to 21,000 cash players. That’s a 10.5% gain in traffic, which may be partially due to reversing a previous rake increase implemented late last year. The reversal was announced during the first week of January.
Holding down third place is the iPoker Network at 2,100 ring game players, up from 2,000. Implementation of a source based rake (SBR) system that was set to get underway on Jan. 1 at iPoker was put off until Feb. 1. SBR favors casual players and may affect traffic.
Full Tilt tumbles
PokerStars.it and Full Tilt are currently tied for 5th place with an average of 1,600 players. The Italian offering of PokerStars saw an increase of 150 players, a 10% boost. Full Tilt went in the opposite direction, falling from 4th place and losing 200 players from 1,800 on the first of the year.
That’s an 11% decrease for Full Tilt, but the site’s player traffic should fare better in February. A new Cash Knockout promotion gets underway on Feb. 6 that will dole out $60,000 in three leaderboard races and 10 Flip Freerolls to NLHE and PLO ring game players.
PartyPoker remained stable for the month at 1,500 players, but lost two spots in the rankings by falling to 7th.
Rounding out the top ten in the same positions as a month ago are Winamax (1,150), PokerStars.es (1,150) and Adjarabet (1,050). No. 10-ranked Adjarabet saw a decrease of 100 players (8.7%), while the other two sites both lost 50 players (4%) since Jan 1.
U.S. sites non-regulated
Following Bodog/Bovada in the U.S.-friendly unregulated poker sites category, the no. 2-ranked Merge Gaming Network remained steady at 575 cash players in a seven-day average. The Chico Poker Network picked up a modest 25 players to 475.
The big winner for the month was the Winning Poker Network (WPN), who saw a massive 58% player increase from 300 to 475, pulling into a tie with Chico. Led by Americas Cardroom, WPN may be benefiting from the Twitch.tv appearances of network CEO Phil Nagy during “The Cage” contests.
Nagy answers questions from players during the live stream in a refreshing display of transparency and honesty that is somewhat uncommon in the industry. Kudos to Nagy and WPN for shaking things up.
The Equity Poker Network dropped 10 players to 180. Those 10 players may have gone to Revolution, as that network saw an increase from 100 to 110. Lock Poker lost 23% of its action since the first of the year, with an average of only 20 players remaining at the untrustworthy site.
SealswithClubs now averages 85 players, a decrease of 23% after starting the year with 110. The downswing in players matches the volatility of Bitcoin, it can be argued.
Regulated U.S. market
A mid-January pooling of players between WSOP.com and 888poker in New Jersey is the biggest news regarding regulated player traffic in the U.S. over the past month. Now identified by PokerScout as CIE/AAPN (NJ) for Caesars Interactive Entertainment and the All American Poker Network, the alliance averages 240 cash players – tops in the market.
On Jan. 1 when those two sites were tabulated separately, WSOP.com NJ averaged 120 players, while AAPN had 80. That’s a 20% increase in action. Party Borgata in NJ also saw a boost in players, 13% from 150 to 170 over the course of the month.
Some of the recent increase may be attributable to the blizzard warnings a few days ago on the East Coast. Much of that region, New Jersey included, found residents in hunker down mode due to predictions of a massive snow storm. When forced inside, online poker player traffic tends to rise.
Over in Nevada, player traffic bumped up to 150 from 140 at WSOP.com over the last thirty days, a 7% increase. Real Gaming has yet to make a charge in the market and no new sites have launched despite previous rumors that others were coming.