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Online Poker Player Traffic Update - December 24, 2013

A Christmas gift came 888poker’s way when the poker room landed in second place in the worldwide rankings, according to the latest tabulations from PokerScout.

It marks the first time 888 has landed in the runner-up position, which was spurred by a 10% increase in cash game player action last week. 888poker now sits behind industry leader PokerStars and in front of third place iPoker Network.

iPoker trails 888 by 100 cash players in a seven-day average, but may make a run for the no. 2 position with the recent addition of Ladbrokes Poker on Dec. 21. Ladbrokes migrated from 10th-ranked MPN to join the industry’s top Internet poker network.

Full Tilt fell from second to fourth place last week, now averaging 2,400 players weekly. PokerStars’ sister site is looking up at 2,500 ring game players at iPoker and 2,600 at 888poker in a seven-day span.

Toward the bottom end of the top ten, Bodog/Bovada has taken sole possession of eighth place after finding itself in a three-way tie with Winamax and MPN last week. Winamax has settled in at no. 9, while MPN lost players and is now in a dead heat with for tenth place with 1,200 weekly cash players.

PokerStars’ French-facing offering actually enjoys more players during peak playing times than MPN. Coupled with the defection of Ladbrokes, MPN appears to be headed out of the top ten when next week’s results are in.

The winter months usually cause a spike in online poker player traffic as colder climates tend to keep people indoors. That allowed the industry to gain 9% from the previous week. In addition to the weather, a milestone hand promotion at PokerStars the entire week was also responsible for more action on the virtual felt.

As part of its December festival, PokerStars stuffed the Christmas stockings of players with $700,000 in bonus cash spread out over 300 milestone hands. PokerScout reported that almost 60,000 more ring game players were at the tables for the bonanza 300th hand that promised a $200k payout.

The December festival has now concluded, with cash game player increases of 19% seen during the milestone promo and 4% during Mission Week. Player numbers can now gravitate toward normal levels at PokerStars, with normal being 27,000 ring game players in a seven-day average coupled with a dizzying amount of guaranteed tournament action around the clock.

U.S.-facing poker rooms continue to be led by Bodog/Bovada by a large margin, with PokerScout estimating 1,450 cash players weekly. The Winning Poker Network, Merge and Chico are fighting for second among those sites servicing American players, with the 375 weekly ring game players at WPN outpacing the 325 found at each of the other two.

Party Borgata in New Jersey rounds out the top five in the U.S., landing in 30th place globally, as of this writing. That’s quite an impressive feat considering the small available market that’s restricted to players located within state borders. Party Borgata enjoys more than half of the Garden State market, outdistancing WSOP by some 100 players weekly.

In other U.S.-friendly poker room news, SealsWithClubs took a hit last week when its database was compromised, putting player passwords at risk. The bitcoin-only poker site informed all players that passwords needed to be changed following the breach. Player confidence eroded a bit at SealsWithClubs, causing a drop in player traffic.

The site had been on the rise in recent weeks, which coincided with a rise in the value of bitcoin. Late last month, the digital currency reached a peak of more than $1,240. But a decline in value as of late has seen one bitcoin fall to its current price of $657. Along with the security issues at SealsWithClubs, the virtual currency’s drop in value may also be a contributing factor to less action at the tables.

At this time last year, 2% more cash players were finding their way to online poker sites. The decline year-on-year may appear to be negligible, but industry growth is the goal. Advancing online poker legislation in the U.S. in 2014 may go a long way in showing positive player numbers from one year to the next.



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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.