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A year-over-year comparison of cash game player traffic finds 12% less action on ring game tables this year than in 2014.

While that number seems high and may contribute to a belief among many within the industry that the heyday of Internet poker is over and that the online game is perhaps dying, deeper analysis of player traffic reveals otherwise. Traffic is not exactly decreasing at the rate reported, but instead finds that a good portion of players have transitioned to the lottery SitnGo tables.

PokerScout.com reported on Saturday that the number of players joining cash games may soon reach its lowest level in eight years. But during the past year, half of the industry’s top ten poker rooms have rolled out lottery-style SitnGos that have proven quite popular among a segment of the online poker-playing community.

Making millionaires

A decent percentage of those players who had in the past been regulars at ring game tables are now doing battle at the likes of Spin & Go at PokerStars and Expresso Poker at Winamax. And PokerStars’ current promo that is making millionaires out of some $5 Spin & Go players is adding to the excitement of the game.

PokerScout estimates that if lottery SitnGos had not been introduced and become part of the culture of online poker, that cash game player traffic in comparison to this date in 2014 would be down only around 5%. Hardly a percentage that would indicate that Internet poker is dying, reflecting more on the situation regarding regulation in the U.S.

With only three states regulated thus far and a good number of U.S. players leery of depositing and playing on unregulated sites, a 5% decrease in action shouldn’t be considered alarming at all. Add some other factors to the mix that have turned recreational players away from online poker such as poker-tracking software and the increased skill level needed for success compared to years past and it’s not hard to see why cash game traffic is down.

Expect More Sites to Follow Suit

The popularity of lottery SitnGos at PokerStars will undoubtedly cause the copycats to come out in full force. We can expect other poker rooms and networks to add the game to their offerings, capitalizing on a trend that finds players enjoying the hyper-turbo, three-handed action that sometimes permits large jackpots to be won.

The advantages of lottery SitnGos are many. Fast-paced games that typically take only a few minutes, allowing players short on time to enjoy some poker. Only two other opponents to beat. The complete opposite of poker as it’s been throughout most of time – a slow game that requires a tremendous amount of both patience and time.

Many online grinders bemoan the fact that lottery SitnGos reduce the skill element needed to excel in poker. Perhaps worse than that, recreational players who tend to lose more than win at cash games are making their way over to the quick-paced, lottery-type SitnGo games.

Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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