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Online Poker Player Traffic Update - December 17, 2013

Full Tilt Poker has jumped back into second place in the worldwide online poker player traffic rankings 13 months after its relaunch under Rational Group ownership, with the latest increase in traffic attributable to a Build Your Bonus promotion.

The current promo at FTP is a rerun whose first showing increased cash game player action by 14% during the first week, PokerScout reported. The results look similar this time around, with a 13% boost seen in six days of bonus building.

Sister site PokerStars also enjoyed a spike in ring game traffic last week thanks to its Mission Week promotion in which players selected points targets and then proceeded to accumulate the required VPPs. That marketing strategy that leans toward gamification allowed traffic to rise 4%.

Next up for the world’s leading poker site’s December Festival is a milestone hand promotion this week that will pay out bonuses to players who sit in on the next 300 hands that end in ‘000,000.’ Milestone hands are always popular at PokerStars and this week’s affair will not be an exception. The sum of $700,000 will be credited to the accounts of lucky players all week.

Along with Full Tilt’s ascent to second place, there has been some movement among the top ten poker rooms and networks. As of this writing, Bodog, Winamax and MPN are all tied for 8th place globally with 1,350 cash players in a seven-day average.

Bodog/Bovada remains under a microscope, as founder Calvin Ayre continues to be listed on the most wanted list of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. That, coupled with the November raid of Bodog offices in the Philippines by law enforcement, has sparked some fear among Bovada players as to the security of their accounts.

Posters at 2 + 2 have reported that cashout speeds have not been affected, with check requests typically arriving within 7-10 days. Bodog/Bovada remains the top U.S.-facing site for cash game player traffic, despite Ayre’s mug shot appearing below “Wanted for Illegal Gambling Business, Money Laundering” on the U.S. government website.

MPN is preparing for the defection of Ladbrokes and Unibet. The former will move to the iPoker Network on Dec. 21, while the latter will operate a standalone poker room beginning in Q1 of 2014. Traffic will likely dip at MPN as a result of the departures, with a bump out of the top ten not inconceivable.

The uncertainty of Bodog and the expected loss of liquidity at MPN could allow Winamax to grab sole possession of eighth place. The predominantly French-facing poker room leads that ring-fenced market over 11th place, who averages 150 less cash players weekly.

Over in New Jersey, there are no gaming site operators or founders on ‘most wanted’ posters in the state’s newly-regulated Internet gambling scheme. The Division of Gaming Enforcement made sure of that by suspending review of PokerStars’ online gambling license application for a two-year period primarily due to founder Isai Scheinberg’s status as a fugitive with regard to the Black Friday allegations.

Without the participation of PokerStars, player traffic at New Jersey poker sites catapulted 32% over the weekend. Nearly 600 cash players were logged in at one time, reaching a new high in the three-week-old market. Golden Nugget joined six other casinos in hard launch mode after taking some additional time to refine their online poker and gambling offerings.

The All American Poker Network (AAPN) was the big winner in New Jersey over the past week, siphoning market share from both WSOP and Party Borgata. AAPN saw player traffic shoot up 45%, which made the roughly 10% gains of their previously mentioned competitors look tame in comparison.

The online poker industry saw traffic rise 1% last week, marking two consecutive weeks of improvement. But a 13% decline from mid-December of last year likely means that there are less fish swimming among the sharks 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.