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Following an announcement by Full Tilt roughly a week ago that heads-up games would be removed and bum-hunting eliminated, the poker room intent on fixing online poker suffered a decrease in cash game player traffic.

The dip in ring game action is currently 15%, as PokerScout.com listed a seven-day average of 1,000 players on July 27, and pegs that cash game number at 850 as of this writing. The decrease is not entirely unexpected and thought by many to be only temporary.

Aiming for Long Term Growth

Full Tilt’s desire to reshape online poker and level the playing field for recreational players cannot be accomplished in a short period of time. The changes made, such as revamping the table selection process by seating players based on stake level and game type instead of allowing players to choose their own tables, did not go over well with the everyday pro players who had been enjoying preying on weaker players.

Nor did those same grinders care much for the decision to do away with heads-up and high stakes offerings, as Full Tilt practically swiped the rent money away from online pros and forced them to find fish at another poker room. But such is life in the ever-changing world of online poker.

If Black Friday taught us anything, we learned that next week’s online poker profits are never guaranteed. Perhaps not so much due to losing or a run of bad cards, but more so because the poker site we have come to know and love may be gone or may have implemented changes that make winning more difficult.

When Will the Changes Attract More Players?

It is difficult to predict when Full Tilt will begin to experience the benefits related to catering more to recreational players. Keep in mind that the entire industry has been heading in that direction for some time now. Full Tilt just took it to another level, a la Bodog and its Recreational Player Model and anonymous tables.

It is also noteworthy to point out that online poker, if not fixed or reshaped in the manner proposed by Full Tilt, will continue to experience declining player traffic numbers due to a lack of recreational players. When the game is no longer enjoyable and offers not even some winning sessions for casual players, they will not return and the tables will be populated only by pros and those with high or above average skill levels.

A shift in power toward the lesser-skilled players actually benefits grinders as well, as the recs are sorely needed to create a balance that will allow online poker to endure and prosper. Of course, the regs will naturally be resistant to such change, and taking the action of fleeing to new poker rooms by some is par for the course. Hence, the temporary decrease in cash game player traffic at Full Tilt over the past week or so.

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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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