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Online Poker Player Traffic Update - April 15, 2014

Online poker cash game player traffic decreased 1% last week, extending the losing streak to nine weeks in a row.

Another noteworthy statistic revealed by PokerScout indicates that all poker rooms and networks within the top ten saw player traffic fall. That’s somewhat of a rarity and shows that even the globe’s most popular poker sites are feeling the effects of an industry on the decline.

The smart money says that all ten won’t be losers in next week’s report, however, considering that Full Tilt Poker has unveiled another Build Your Bonus promotion. The qualifying week of the promo kicked off yesterday and allows players to earn up to $400 in bonus cash after the bonus clearing period expires on May 3.

Build Your Bonus deals have attracted a good number of players to the sister site of PokerStars in the past and the latest offer will likely deliver similar results. As of this writing, the promo is already paying off, as FTP has climbed into a third place tie with both PartyPoker and the iPoker Network.

Other movement within the top ten shows Bodog/Bovada back in seventh place after finding itself in an eighth place tie with at this time last week. PokerStars’ offering in Spain now sits alone in eighth place while Winamax fell two notches from seventh to ninth.

Like Full Tilt, Bovada also began a new promo yesterday. But players won’t be building any bonuses at the top U.S.-friendly poker room. They will instead be vying for $42,000 in bonus cash through May 11 that includes daily drawings with rewards of either $500 or $100 and one grand prize winner who will claim a WSOP Main Event seat worth $12,000.

That may increase traffic at Bovada, but the downside is that players have no control over the bonus as all prizes will be determined by the luck of the draw. However, the more points earned, the greater are the chances of having your name selected as a winner. Though Bodog/Bovada stress anonymity on the poker tables, that anonymity will be gone when the lucky prize winner sits down to play at the Main Event adorned in Team Bovada patches.

Elsewhere in player traffic news, the Merge Gaming Network saw cash action increase a whopping 75% from just one week ago. It was quite a tumultuous week for Merge that began when Poker Host officially left to join the Equity Poker Network (EPN). While a defection of that significance typically results in declining player numbers, Merge took immediate action to stave off such a tumble.

That action included instituting a network-wide no-rake Bad Beat Jackpot (BBJ) that will be funded 100% by Merge. Also, the network desegregated the player pools of Jazette and Carbon Poker that were separate since last May. Merge merged all the skins and the newly-formed unity, as well as the no-rake BBJ, has allowed the network to shoot into second place in the U.S.-friendly market.

EPN, meanwhile, gained a modest 5% of ring game traffic with the addition of Poker Host. Many expected the increase to be larger, but the numbers indicate the likelihood that a good portion of Poker Host players chose instead to play on a different skin on Merge rather than join EPN.

In the regulated U.S. market, the Party Borgata Network reached a milestone last week when the 30 millionth hand was dealt. While $10,000 went to the winner of the hand, the promo did not achieve the same fanfare as does PokerStars during its milestone hand promotions mainly because of the restricted market.

Today marks the third anniversary of Black Friday, a day that will forever be looked upon with disdain and regret by most players. The inability of U.S. players to play at sites such as PokerStars and PartyPoker has had a considerable negative effect on online poker player traffic. That effect is still felt to this day and will likely continue until online poker legislation spreads throughout the U.S.



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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.