Cash game player traffic tumbled 4% last week, a significant decrease that PokerScout attributed to summertime and the fact that warm weather prompts players to forsake online action in favor of outdoor action.
But 4% is mild in comparison to year-on-year numbers that find ring game traffic 29% off the pace of mid-June 2013. One year ago, players were logging on to PokerStars in droves for the 100 billionth hand promo that saw more than $1 million in bonus cash land in player accounts outside of the U.S.
Players within the U.S. may someday be included in future PokerStars milestone hand promotions considering that the industry giant has been sold to the Amaya Gaming Group for $4.9 billion. The transaction affords PokerStars a likely easier path to entering the regulated U.S. market where its bad actor status may no longer be in play under new ownership.
The deal is expected to affect online poker player traffic in the future in a most positive fashion in terms of industry growth. But stay tuned because the bickering is likely far from over in California where a coalition of Indian tribes may not yet be weaving a welcome mat with regard to the Morongo/PokerStars partnership that includes the state’s three largest card clubs.
PokerStars lost another 1,000 ring game players, falling to 18,000 in a seven-day average. That makes two weeks in a row of four-digit declines. The industry behemoth can shrug off such losses with nary a concern as its lead over no. 2 ranked 888poker remains almost 9.5 times greater.
Also suffering a loss last week was PokerStars’ offering in Italy. Ring game action at PokerStars.it decreased 12%, resulting in the site dropping two notches to eighth place worldwide. The beneficiaries were PokerStars.es (sixth) and Bodog/Bovada (seventh), who both gained a position.
Rounding out the top ten poker rooms and networks are Winamax.fr (ninth) and a tenth place tie between Adjarabet and PokerStars.fr. Just outside of slot no. 10 is The Hive Network, which created a buzz by adding Terminal Poker as an available skin over the past week.
The pros in Las Vegas since May 27 for the WSOP are not logging on to play online poker as much as in past weeks. The seven-day average at WSOP.com dipped from 150 to 140. In the regulated U.S. market, New Jersey‘s Party Borgata Network and Nevada‘s WSOP.com are now in a dead heat in terms of cash game popularity.
Aiming to become more popular is Ultimate Poker in New Jersey, who recently announced a 100% cash game rakeback promotion that will run through July. UP-NJ hopes to grab some market share by permitting Green-tiered players to play rake-free for six weeks. Players eligible for the promo will not receive rakeback in the form of cash, but rather in U$, the currency used at UP to enter MTTs and SNGs.
An 80% rakeback promotion that ran for four months at the All American Poker Network in New Jersey proved extremely popular earlier this year. But grinders left the site in rather large numbers once the promo expired, leaving AAPN with a seven-day average of 60 ring game players.
In the realm of social online poker, Zynga Poker announced a new promotion called Zynga Poker Leagues that will launch on June 23 and run for eight weeks. Available to free-play players will be “thousands of real-world prizes” that may include a brand new Ford Shelby GT500 provided that enough players participate to “unlock” the grand prize.
Zynga Poker leads the social Internet poker player traffic race with more than double the players of its nearest competitor, PokerStars. The press release issued by Amaya following the announcement of the acquisition of PokerStars promised a greater focus on growth in social gaming.
Converting play-money poker players into those who wager for real-money remains a trick where the rabbit has failed to come out of the hat. Recent studies show that there is no correlation between social gaming and betting for real dollars. But promotions such as those announced by Zynga certainly cannot hurt in attempting to convert the recreational crowd into becoming real-money depositors.