In the month of February, the poker site among the top ten that saw the biggest increase in player traffic was PokerStars.it, gaining an average of 200 players on ring game tables.
Jumping to 1,800 from 1,600, a 12.5% rise in action, PokerStars.it pulled into a fourth place tie with Bodog/Bovada in the global rankings provided byPokerScout.com. PokerStars.it has been enjoying a wonderful 2015, as its February gain comes on the heels of a 10% player increase in January.
Bodog also was on the rise in February, albeit at a more modest 6% spike in traffic. Bodog was the biggest January gainer of the top ten, recording a 21% increase last month.
Steady in 2015
Ahead of Bodog and PokerStars.it in third place is the iPoker Network, who lost its 5% January gain in February. The world’s top poker network sits once again at a seven-day player average of 2,000, the same total as when 2015 began.
A new source based rake (SBR) format kicked off at iPoker on February 1. Perhaps the 100 or so players lost in February were disillusioned by the change that may see a restructuring of VIP programs on some iPoker Network skins.
Also in the category of giving back January gains in February was PokerStars. Starting 2015 with an average player base of 19,000, ‘Stars saw a 10.5% boost in action last month to 21,000. With the arrival of March nearing, we find PokerStars back at 19,000.
Stability has been the name of the game for 7th-ranked Partypoker and its 1,500-player average. The bwin.party offering has been consistent for the first two months of the year. That may change in March when a new VIP program takes effect that makes it easier to move up the loyalty ladder.
Ups ‘n Downs
Second-ranked 888poker saw less action at a rate of 7% for the month, down to 2,500 cash players from 2,700. For the year so far, 888poker is up 4%.
Full Tilt remains the industry’s sixth most popular poker room, holding steady for the month at 1,600 players. A cash game promo early in the month was adored by ring game players, but a classic tournament promotion toward the end of February likely saw cash players move over to affordable MTTs.
Holding down eighth place is Winamax.fr, who had the second largest percentage gain among top ten poker rooms and networks for the month of February. A boost in traffic from 1,150 cash players to 1,250 came out to an 8.7% increase. The France-facing poker site reversed a 4% drop in January.
PokerStars.es and Adjarabet round out the top ten, respectively. Both dropped an average of 50 ring game players, with the Spain offering of PokerStars now hosting games for 1,100 ring game players and the site based in Georgia 100 behind at an even 1,000.
Unregulated in U.S.
The Merge Gaming Network added 25 players to its average in February and remains second behind Bovada among U.S.-facing sites that are not regulated. Led by top skin Carbon Poker, Merge clocks in with 600 cash players.
The Winning Poker Network (WPN), home to the largest increase in player traffic in January at 58%, continued its ascent up the popularity chart. An influx of players at the rate of 15.8% in February has catapulted WPN into 3rd place in unregulated land.
WPN now boasts a seven-day average of 550 cash players. That’s an 83% rise since January 1. The successful running of the Winning Millions on Feb. 22, and the awarding of 50 WSOP Main Event seats from that date to June in weekly qualifiers, is boosting the stature of the network.
Knocked down to 4th among U.S.-facing sites was the Chico Poker Network. A 10.5% gain in February to 525 players from 475 was not enough for Chico to stop the hard-charging WPN and lead skin Americas Cardroom.
The Equity Poker Network (EPN) gained the 10 players it lost in January and is back to an average of 190. The Revolution Network saw Intertops Pokeropen its virtual doors to U.S. players this month, but the recent change has not yet made a dent in player traffic. Revolution held firm at 110 cash players.
Lock Poker player traffic slid for the fifth month in a row, losing 10% of its action in February. On average, Lock only fills two full tables at present.
U.S. regulated market
Topping the regulated U.S. market continues to be WSOP/888 (NJ) with 220 players on average. That’s an 8.3% drop from the 240 in January. Party/Borgata in NJ also experienced a February decrease, albeit a bit less at 5.8% – 160 cash players from 170.
WSOP.com in Nevada has now seen two straight months of gains. A 7% rise in January was followed by a 6.6% increase in February. With no threat coming from Real Gaming, WSOP.com in NV averages 160 players.
What happens in Nevada ….. moves to Antigua
Perhaps the most intriguing story in February was the shutdown of SealsWithClubs, the Bitcoin-only site that averaged 85 cash players before the lights went out on February 11. It was later learned that the Nevada Gaming Commission was behind a raid at the home of SWC Chairman Bryan Micon.
The SWC honcho has since relocated to Antigua, re-opening SealsWithClubs with a new team and under a new domain at swcpoker.eu. Those who trust Bitcoin, and there are many despite the Mt. Gox shutdown and such, may likely once again deposit and play at the new SwC.