As one might expect, cash game player traffic recorded its lowest numbers of 2013 on New Year’s Eve, as online poker players abandoned their desktops and laptops for a short spell to ring in the new year.
Summer weekends are typically among the slowest traffic days yearly, but Dec. 31 was 6% lower than those, according to PokerScout. Player traffic changed dramatically when the calendar turned to 2014, however, as action on the virtual felt last weekend was the highest in a couple weeks.
That busy weekend allowed traffic to improve 2% last week in the industry overall. The only change in positioning among the top ten saw Winamax take over seventh place, bumping PokerStars’ Spanish market offering to eighth.
The ability of Winamax to gain ground may be attributable to a new policy that allows players to change their screen names every six months. A site representative denied that the change was made to reduce bumhunting, saying instead that it was put into play in accordance with player requests.
Among the top five poker rooms and networks, second place 888poker gained 100 more cash players. Fourth place Full Tilt lost a couple hundred and now trails the iPoker Network’s third place ranking of 2,600 cash players in a seven-day average by 300. PartyPoker picked up 100 players from the previous week and continues to hold down fifth place, narrowing the gap between itself and FTP by 100.
Just outside of the top ten, MPN gained a bit of ground to pull into an 11th place tie with Adjarabet. MPN may have been buoyed by word spreading that the Bad Beat Jackpot was hit four times in one week.
From December 25-31, players at MPN who had opted in to the BBJ lost with quad dueces or better four times. A total of 47 players received BBJ bonus cash during the week, a nice stocking stuffer around the holidays.
MPN revamped its BBJ in March, reducing the qualifying hand and allowing players to receive 100% of the BBJ funds. The change was made primarily to create more winners more frequently. That sure happened last week, as it was the first time the BBJ popped four times in a week at MPN.
In the U.S.-facing market, SealsWithClubs righted the ship and is back on course. A few weeks ago, a security breach that necessitated a password change by all players saw traffic drop around 20%. Those players may have found their way back to the bitcoin-friendly site, as player traffic is similar to where it was before the hack job was discovered.
New Jersey has enjoyed a player traffic increase as of late and it reached a new plateau last Friday when an average of nearly 700 cash players could be found among the four poker sites operating. That was almost 11% higher than the old record set roughly three weeks ago.
The big gainer in the Garden State recently has been the All American Poker Network (AAPN). A traffic spike of 33% last week allowed AAPN to grab 19% of the market share. That trails the 47% of Party Borgata and 30% of WSOP.com, but is way ahead of the only 3% at Ultimate Poker’s New Jersey offering.
Ultimate Poker also trails in Nevada, but not by much. WSOP.com in Nevada leads the way with a seven-day average of 110 cash players as of this writing, while UP has 90 players over the same span of time.
Online poker player traffic worldwide is 11% less than it was on Jan. 7, 2013. Converting free-play poker players to real-money could put a dent in that 11% deficit from the same time last year. PokerStars averages almost as many social players (23,000) as those who play for cash (23,500). Zynga Poker has even more free-play players, an estimated 38,500.