Full Tilt Poker bolted into second place in cash game online player traffic rankings over the past week, pushing both the iPoker Network and 888Poker aside to land behind sister site PokerStars in the global rankings.
FTP now boasts a seven-day average of 2,700 players, while third and fourth place iPoker and 888Poker clock in at 2,600 and 2,300, respectively. The Big Bonus promotion at Full Tilt appears to be the reason for this surge in cash game action, with today being the last day for players to avail themselves of their personalized bonuses.
The industry leader in player traffic, PokerStars, saw cash action boost by 5% last week. The rise is likely attributable to a November Missions promo that permits players to name a mission and then go about accomplishing it. Those who do so earn a freeroll entry that correlates directly with the mission’s level of difficulty.
One mission that PokerStars itself may fall short of is gaining a foothold in the newly-regulated U.S. market in New Jersey. Rumors persist that New Jersey gaming officials will not be approving PokerStars’ application for a license in conjunction with a partnership agreement with Resorts Casino Hotel.
Though PokerStars can seemingly do no wrong throughout the rest of the world, the welcome mat may not yet be out in the U.S. The latest setback may be due to site founder Isai Scheinberg and his status as a fugitive in the Black Friday allegations. More will be known Friday when the Division of Gaming Enforcement announce additional preliminary license approvals (or denials).
PartyPoker rounds out the top five, with PokerScout reporting a 2% player increase for the week. Apparently, players at the bwin.party site have been in forgive and forget mode with regards to the “Protected Table” policy that almost caused a massive player sit-out before PartyPoker honchos stepped in to scrap the format and smooth over the lack of communication issue.
Among the rest of the top ten in the worldwide rankings, Winamax edged up a notch to seventh place. That bumped PokerStars’ Spain offering to eighth place, landing there softly after being buoyed in late October by its one billionth hand promotion that saw traffic rise 40% at one point.
PokerStars.es was the only top ten poker room to lose traffic last week. The industry overall saw a huge gain of 5%, the third consecutive week to show an increase. On the downside, the global market is off 18% from the pace set last year at this time.
Also on the decline is history’s first regulated U.S. poker room. Ultimate Poker is feeling the stress of going up against the powerful WSOP brand name as WSOP.com’s lead over the first legal launcher is widening. The seven-day cash game player average finds 130 players favoring WSOP.com, while 110 are trying to win money at UP during the same span of time.