Cash game player traffic rose a huge 10% last week, attributable mostly to PokerStars’ December Festival that features a Milestone Hands bonanza in addition to other cash prizes up for grabs away from the ring game tables.
As is often the case, the PokerStars cash tables see a large number of players scurrying for seats when Milestone Hands approach. And faster than you can say Amaya, many of those same seats are emptied once the Milestone Hand has been played.
At present, PokerStars is averaging 20,500 ring game players, according to PokerScout. That total is actually down a bit after reaching 21,000 seven days ago. But we can expect it to rise and fall according to the Milestone Hand counter.
Top Ten Traffic Site Happenings
Amaya’s other top ten poker site, Full Tilt, managed to move up a notch in the rankings to fourth place. Full Tilt now averages 1,500 cash players, trailing 888Poker and the iPoker Network, who clock in at 2,400 and 2,000, respectively.
A tie for fifth place between PartyPoker and PokerStars.it finds both averaging 1,450 at the ring game tables, while Bodog/Bovada slipped one place to seventh. Roughly 1,350 anonymous players are typically found competing at any given time at Bodog.
Rounding out the top ten are Winamax, Adjarabet and PokerStars.es, with the latter two switching positions in the rankings. Adjarabet is capitalizing on its Magic Hand promo, gaining 20% more players after enjoying 10% more action the week before.
Poker Host Leaves EPN for WPN
Traffic in upcoming weeks may be affected by Poker Host migrating from the Equity Poker Network (EPN) to the Winning Poker Network (WPN) earlier this week. Poker Host has been rather transient the last few years, staying at EPN less than a year, and temporarily residing on the Merge Gaming Network prior to that.
The Cake Poker and Revolution Gaming Networks also got to know Poker Host as one of their skins. Hopefully, the well-traveled poker room can find long-term lodging at WPN. Its stay at EPN was troubled from the start when some “winning” player accounts were closed. Rumor has it that those winning players are once again welcome to return to Poker Host, fittingly, at the “Winning” Poker Network.
Lock Poker Decline Continues
Player traffic at one of the online poker industry’s arguably worst-ever poker sites — Lock Poker — fell for the third month in a row. The latest decrease was 7%, which, unfortunately, amounts to only two players.
Hundreds of Lock players continue to wait for their cashouts to be processed, and it’s not a stretch to believe that many wish that they never heard of (or deposited and played at) Lock Poker. It appears that slowly, but surely, players are coming around to realize that the best option is to avoid Lock.
Regulated U.S. Market
Over in New Jersey, player traffic rose 2%. The beneficiaries of the increase were the All American Poker Network (888) and WSOP.com, while Party Borgata experienced a mild dip in action on the cash tables.
Presently, Party Borgata still holds the crown of the most trafficked site among those that are regulated with a seven-day average of 160 players. But WSOP.com in Nevada is not far behind at 150. Of course, WSOP.com was able to grab players who were previously loyal to Ultimate Poker, which closed up shop one month ago.
Hopes continue that California will join the regulated U.S. online poker market in 2015. That would allow player traffic to shoot up considerably. A new bill was introduced earlier this month, but the general consensus is that the proposal (AB 9) offered by Assemblyman Mike Gatto is much of the same ol’ stuff.
Comparison to 2013
Globally, the online poker industry is down only 6% from mid-December 2013. These updates usually find that year-on-year comparison difference to be in double digit territory. The reasons for the lower percentage at this time are likely two-fold: the cold winter season and PokerStars December Festival.