A modest 1% decline in player traffic was felt throughout the online poker industry last week, tumbling from a 6% gain seen the week before.
Year-on-year numbers remain 11% off the pace of last year’s totals, as a considerable number of players who were accessing online poker sites at this time in 2013 have apparently turned their attention elsewhere. The reasons for the decline are likely numerous, but attracting more recreational players and seeing to it that their dollars last a bit longer at the tables could go a long way in offsetting that double digit decrease.
PartyPoker fell to sixth place worldwide for a short time last week, with PokerStars.it taking over fifth. That’s PartyPoker’s lowest ranking in over a decade, PokerScout reported. As of this writing, however, the two poker rooms are in a dead heat for fifth place in player numbers averaged over seven days. Bwin.party’s fall from the top five may be short-lived.
Another PokerStars offering moved up a notch last week as its French-facing poker room regained 10th place and shoved MPN back down to 11th. The January Supernova Blast promotion at PokerStars.fr seems to have attracted some additional cash action as intended.
Cash game player traffic may decline at the iPoker Network in coming weeks following the recent rollout of Twister Poker. Copying the successful formula of Expresso Poker at Winamax, Twister Poker employs a three-player turbo SitNGo winner-take-all format where random prize pools can escalate to 1,000 times a single buy-in. However, three of every four Twister Poker games will see the prize pool limited to two buy-ins despite three players seated.
Players looking for jackpot-type riches at a quick pace tend to favor this type of action. When Expresso Poker first launched in July, ring game handle was down around 17% for a few weeks. Curiosity may get the better of iPoker players and cause Twister tables to be quite popular for a spell, reducing cash game action at iPoker in the process.
Speaking of quick-paced poker action, Full Tilt’s Adrenaline Rush accounted for almost 10% of ring game play at the sister site of PokerStars for the first couple of days after the faster fast-fold variant’s introduction. Now at two weeks later, only 6% of Full Tilt’s average of 2,300 cash players can be found playing Adrenaline Rush. Expect those numbers to decrease further, as the lack of post-flop betting takes away some of poker’s intrigue and fun.
As most are already aware, New Jersey online gambling revenue numbers were released last week by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Revenue for the first full month did not match the annual projections of analysts, but it is much too early to draw conclusions from that. After a few more months of online poker play and additional marketing endeavors by the sites, New Jersey’s online poker and gambling regime may turn out to be right on the money with regard to revenue estimates.
Of greater concern to a larger number of U.S. players are recent comments made by American Gaming Association president and CEO Geoff Freeman. In a recent interview with the AGA honcho published at Online Poker Report, Freeman said that “we’re going to be coming after those entities that are participating in gaming in an unregulated manner.”
That could spell trouble for U.S. players who have been loyal patrons of unregulated poker rooms and networks such as Bovada, the Winning Poker Network, Merge, Revolution and SealsWithClubs. With state-by-state regulation moving at a glacial speed, U.S. players who want their online poker have no choice but to deposit and play at unregulated sites.
Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling is a real concern to many U.S. residents who are in favor of online poker. Now, apparently, poker players in the U.S. also have to worry about the AGA possibly coming down on offshore poker rooms that cater to Americans and are not regulated. Though the AGA’s goal of aiming to “protect the interests of consumers” is admirable, taking away the only Internet poker options available to U.S. players who are not in Nevada, New Jersey or Delaware is not the way to do it.