While certainly better than the recent 11 consecutive weeks of declining ring game action, the online poker industry enjoyed a negligible gain of just 0.1% in player traffic last week.
That’s two positive weeks in a row. However, it is likely that gains may be short-lived considering that online poker players tend to find other activities during the upcoming summer months.
As traffic remained somewhat stable last week, fourth place PartyPoker hopes to once again bring stability to its ranking in Google searches. A recent penalty imposed by Google for shady link-building practices has been lifted, allowing bwin.party to get back in the company’s good graces.
PokerStars managed to get in the good graces of a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A patent has been issued to parent company Rational Group for fast-fold poker, which Full Tilt created and launched with Rush Poker in 2010.
The patent is enforceable only in the U.S. regulated market at this time, leaving the fast-fold variants of international poker sites free to continue offering their products to players who don’t like to wait. The USPTO decision may have a bearing on U.S. player traffic in the future when more states presumably enact online poker legislation and may be precluded from offering the quick-paced game.
One of those states may be Pennsylvania, as an online gambling study released by Keystone State officials last week found that Internet gambling does not cannibalize casino revenue. Projected revenue numbers of a potential online gambling regime were part of the report, but PokerScout warns not to take those numbers to heart considering that initial revenue estimates in New Jersey fell way off the mark.
Also falling in New Jersey last week was cash game player traffic. The All American Poker Network dropped 19%, while Party Borgata experienced a decline of 8%. WSOP.com bucked the trend and managed to remain stable.
WSOP saw a 12% traffic increase on its Nevada site on the strength of a rake race promo. The jump in traffic has permitted the Silver State poker room to grab 2/3 of the market share, leaving Ultimate Poker with the other 1/3. The state’s third regulated site, Real Gaming, continues with its soft launch that may extend until August.
What has not been extended is the Equity Poker Network‘s gradual ascent up the player traffic ladder among U.S.-friendly poker rooms. EPN lost 10% of ring game traffic recently, likely due to bad press associated with banning the play of “aggressive” or winning players.
One room that has been climbing up the rankings ladder is TonyBetPoker.com. The first site dedicated exclusively to Open Face Chinese Poker is slowly gaining popularity as more and more players become familiar with the game.
Among the top ten poker rooms and networks, the only change from the previous week was Bodog/Bovada inching into a tie for 6th place with PokerStars.it. A “Road to Vegas 2014” promo at Bovada that awards Main Event packages worth $12,000 to the WSOP later this month may be responsible for the slight increase.