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Online Poker Player Traffic Update - April 29, 2014

As we get set to close out the fourth month of the year, tumbling player traffic numbers reached 11 weeks in a row following a 2.6% decline in cash game action last week.

The latest statistics provided by PokerScout also show that 14 of the last 15 weeks have seen less player numbers than the week before. The upcoming summer months typically find more players enjoying the great outdoors and less logging onto online poker sites, so the streak of decreasing traffic has a good chance of continuing.

A factor that might boost traffic would be if California lawmakers can eventually pass online poker legislation. The matter was looked at a bit more closely last week during an informal poker hearing before a government committee. While results of the meeting were positive overall, progress may continue to be hindered by a newly-formed alliance between PokerStars, an Indian tribe, and three state card rooms.

Leading the country in population with 38 million, online poker regulation in California would be a big deal. But the virtual cards may remain undealt for quite a while longer as state officials and gaming interests address the issues that plague a solution that would satisfy all involved.

The cards are being dealt at the Equity Poker Network (EPN), but apparently not to “aggressive” players. A thread at 2 + 2 revealed that certain (winning) players received notice that their accounts were being suspended due to not meeting the criteria of being “recreational” players.

EPN recently welcomed PokerHost from the Merge Gaming Network and had been slowly climbing up the U.S.-friendly rankings. However, this latest policy of shunning winning players is highly troubling. Where is the “equity” in that arrangement? Network skins extoll the virtues of the VIP programs yet don’t allow players to reach and maintain the upper levels? Yet another practice that gives online poker a bad name.

There are other ways to manage the mix of players at a poker room in order to keep those who frequently withdraw from wanting to patronize the site. Let’s see whether traffic at EPN feels the brunt of this network policy that certainly calls proper business ethics into question.

After the desegregation of player pools at Merge about three weeks ago, traffic spiked around 75% for the first two weeks. But about half of that new cash action has since been lost, as Merge now clocks in with a seven-day average of 425 players.

Full Tilt Poker‘s Build Your Bonus promotion is now in the midst of its 10-day bonus clearing period and will expire on May 3. Players are already turning their attention to other poker sites as PokerStars’ sister site slipped into a fourth place tie with PartyPoker in the global rankings while the iPoker Network regained third place.

PartyPoker has had a string of unfortunate luck as of late, first losing player traffic considerably longer than any other sites when an Easter Sunday fire shut down power in Gibraltar. Now, a penalty imposed by Google for allegedly running afoul of proper link-building procedures has cost PartyPoker its previous high ranking for search terms related to “online poker.” That may have an effect on player traffic in coming weeks.

Of the top ten poker rooms and networks, nine saw less ring game traffic last week than the week before. Year-on-year totals show 9% less players in 2014 than at the end of April in 2013.

 

 

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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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