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Online Poker Player Traffic Update - February 11, 2014

Online poker players are logging on at a pace that’s 13% behind numbers seen during mid-February 2013.

It’s no secret that online play has faltered in recent years and a recent comment that “poker is dying” by 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem has players at every level weighing in with opinions on how to improve the game both live and online to attract more players. With regard to online play, it’s quite conceivable that player participation will continue to be less than that of previous years as long as a majority of the U.S. remains unregulated.

Online poker player traffic did manage to gain 1% last week over the previous week, the first positive showing in a month, PokerScout reported. Among the top ten poker sites and networks, PartyPoker regained sole possession of fifth place after last week’s report saw them sharing the slot with Further down in the top ten, Winamax grabbed eighth place and booted Bodog/Bovada into ninth.

Full Tilt is hoping that its recent rollout of a Rush Poker application designed for mobile devices will persuade players on the go who enjoy fast-paced poker action to log on there. Mobile online gambling is expected to grow considerably in the future as technological advancements continue to improve. Full Tilt sits in fourth place in worldwide rankings with an eye toward overtaking iPoker and 888poker, who hold down third and second place, respectively.

While Full Tilt attempts to pump up its Rush Poker player pool, sister site PokerStars is using the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia to promote national pride among its loyal following. Players are invited to proudly display their country’s flag as their avatar during the month of February. Notably absent among the colorful avatars are the stars and stripes of the U.S., as American online poker players remain shut out from action at the world’s top poker site for almost three years.

PokerStars will attempt to break its own world record for the largest poker tournament on February 23. Capping the field at 230,000 on a $1 buy-in, an overlay of $70,000 is available, as the prize pool is guaranteed at $300,000. PokerStars hold the current Guinness World Record of 225,000 set last year.

In the U.S. regulated market, there are indications that the New Jersey player pool has begun to reach the level at which it may likely remain. Growth has begun to tail off and, like Nevada, the Garden State may have reached its point of saturation.

Ultimate Poker is hoping to grab a greater share of those saturated market numbers with the advent of a new Texas Hold’em variant. Two Street Hold’em will make its online debut at the UP Nevada site on Valentines Day. The goal is for players to fall in love with the new game that requires players to ante up and permits only two rounds of wagering – pre-flop and post-flop.

Two Street Hold’em will be rolled out slowly, four hours each day on Feb. 14, 15 and 16. It’s likely that the trial launch will be analyzed and scrutinized before further decisions will be made with regard to the new game becoming a mainstay at UP.



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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.