Overall online poker traffic dipped 3% last week, in large part due to the industry's top two sites each registering 10% less cash players than the week before.
The conclusion of the 90 billionth hand promotion at PokerStars saw traffic at the site decline 10%, but online poker's top dog still had 5% more traffic than it did three weeks ago prior to the start of the promotion, according to PokerScout.
Full Tilt cash game action continued to tumble, matching sister site PokerStars at a 10% dip. However, that decline is a bit better than the 19% reduction of players seen in previous weeks. Full Tilt has now lost 53% of players since its highest peak of traffic following the Nov. 6 relaunch.
Although cash players are apparently not returning to Full Tilt, the current running of FTOPS XXI has created excitement at the tournament tables. Of the first 21 of 35 events, only a couple have failed to reach the guaranteed prize pool, with several of the tourney guarantees doubling in prize amounts. But tournament play typically has no bearing on cash game traffic, PokerScout statistics reveal.
Full Tilt is still firmly entrenched in second place in worldwide cash game player traffic, recording a seven-day average of 4,300 players in comparison to the 2,750 of third-ranked iPoker Network as of this writing. But if traffic numbers at Full Tilt continue falling at double digit percentages, that number 2 slot in player traffic may be held by another poker room or network in the future.
One such poker room aiming to overtake Full Tilt is fourth-ranked PartyPoker, who enjoyed a 10% rise in player traffic last week thanks to the Advent Calendar promotion. The promo kicked off Dec. 1 and awards prizes of cash, freeroll entries and valuable merchandise to players everyday who open doors on the Advent calendar. PartyPoker's creative holiday-themed promotion will run until Christmas Eve.
PartyPoker will also soon experience an influx of players following the migration of the bwin skin on the Ongame Network to the PartyPoker platform. That added liquidity may allow PartyPoker to leapfrog both iPoker and Full Tilt in cash game traffic.
A big gainer in player traffic last week was MPN, which recently rebranded from the Microgaming Poker Network. The network enjoyed a 20% rise in player traffic, which offset a 17% decline in the last two weeks. PokerScout suggests that MPN players transitioned to PokerStars during the 90 billionth hand promotion, but came back to MPN following the milestone hand being dealt.
Another possible reason for that 17% decrease in player traffic at MPN in previous weeks were major connection problems that reportedly kept a large number of players from logging on. A player from Finland commented at PokerScout that peak action at the network was off about 25% from usual player traffic numbers and the failure to access MPN may have been more of a factor than the PokerStars promo.