PokerStars' 90 billionth hand promotion enabled the world's leading online poker site to gain 11% in player traffic last week and was also responsible for a 3% increase industry-wide.
PokerScout reported that 93,168 cash game players were drawn to the site last Thursday when hand no. 90 billion in PokerStars history was dealt at a six-handed $1/$2 No-limit Hold'em table. The fortunate winner of the hand was "m1sspiggy," who took down the main pot of $1,220 with two pair and had another $66,380 credited to her account for winning the promotion. The other five players at the table split $162,150, with each receiving at least $14,000.
Following the promotion, player traffic at 'Stars returned to a normal level, so its more than likely that next week's traffic numbers report will show a decrease. PokerScout projects the 95th billion hand to be dealt in early March next year and the bonanza 100 billionth hand sometime in June.
While PokerStars enjoyed increased traffic, sister site Full Tilt saw another 19% drop in cash game action. Since the high-water mark following its Nov. 6 relaunch, Full Tilt traffic has tilted 55%. There are indications, though, that player traffic has bottomed out and the almost 20% declines may be over. The last few days, Full Tilt cash players have been steadily numbered at about 4,800 - 4,900, which is still good for a solid second place in international rankings.
Full Tilt is currently hosting FTOPS XXI, its popular tournament series that began on Dec. 2 and will conclude following the 35th event on Dec. 16. The guaranteed prize pools of the first few events have been eclipsed by large margins with no overlays in sight. However, the quarterly series has typically never been a factor in cash game traffic.
One year ago, Bodog attempted to level the playing field for recreational players by implementing a scheme of anonymous tables at all stake levels. While that decision was met with both disdain and admiration and predictions of either doom or boom, neither extreme was achieved. PokerScout found that after a 10% decline, traffic numbers at Bovada/Bodog maintained a level only 7% lower than prior to the institution of player anonymity. And that 7% decline is similar to the overall market picture.