For the eighth week in a row, industry-wide online poker traffic spiraled downward, resulting in a market decline of 14% from last year’s end of April totals.
Player numbers dropped 3% last week, with only one poker room in the top ten showing better results than the week before. That site was Full Tilt Poker, which managed to regain second place in PokerScout’s worldwide rankings following a third place showing the previous week. Full Tilt picked up 8% more cash game action and has a seven-day average of 3,000 players. The iPoker Network slipped back to third place, averaging 2,600 ring game players throughout the week.
PokerStars.fr managed to creep into the top ten and MPN also moved up one slot to ninth place, as Bodog fell to 11th place. However, the exclusively anonymous poker room continues to hold down first place among sites and networks that accept U.S. players. Bodog is averaging 1,120 cash game players in a seven-day span.
Second place among U.S.-facing sites belongs to the Revolution Gaming Network as of this writing. But recent issues concerning denied cashout requests to Lock Poker players involved in large player-to-player cash transfers has many in that network concerned about the safety of their funds. Coupled with a new skill level segregation policy, Revolution ring game traffic is off by 25%. The decline has allowed Merge to pick up steam, gaining 9% more players in the past two weeks and making a run for second place in the category of U.S.-friendly rooms.
All eyes are now fixed on the U.S. market, as Ultimate Poker made its historic debut as the first legal online poker room in Nevada. Additional sites are expected to follow suit in the coming months in the Silver State. However, with Nevada’s population of roughly only 2.7 million, the effect on industry-wide player traffic will likely be minimal at best. Overall traffic numbers may begin to edge upward once Delaware, New Jersey and other states that are considering online poker legislation eventually join the mix.