Many U.S. online poker players have been leery of depositing and playing at unregulated sites since Black Friday four years ago.
A handful of U.S.-friendly poker rooms and networks remain, servicing most states outside of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey until regulation spreads (hopefully). Or until U.S. authorities reckon that it’s high time to implement Black Friday II, which may or may not happen but is always a possibility.
Among the networks still catering to U.S. players is the Winning Poker Network. Anchored by Americas Cardroom and Black Chip Poker, WPN is the second-most popular unregulated online poker destination for U.S. players behind Bodog/Bovada and its anonymous player format .
2015 Traffic Surge
Buoyed by two tournaments this year that each guaranteed a $1 million prize pool, weekly qualifiers that will send 50 winning players to the WSOP Main Event, and speedy cashouts that are of utmost importance to nervous Americans fearful of the aforementioned possible second coming of Black Friday, WPN has managed to increase player traffic at its cash tables by 75% since 2015 began.
More recently, WPN made a move to further solidify its standing in the unregulated market by introducing Jackpot Poker. The lottery-style Sit ‘n Gos played in hyper-turbo fashion were debuted first by Winamax and later copied by PokerStars. The industry giant has since created several millionaires from its Spin & Go offering.
Congratulations to "ringer3" for winning the first JackPot PLO game taking $800, also "hornershouse12" and "flipflopz" took $600 on the deal— BlackChipPoker (@BlackChipPoker) April 24, 2015
U.S. players won’t become millionaires at WPN’s Jackpot Poker, but some will win $25,000 on a $5 entry fee. That possibility has perhaps prompted Americans who had been on the rail since Black Friday to find their way back to online poker.
PokerScout.com reported that over 80% of all Sit ‘n Go action at WPN was at the network’s Jackpot Poker tables on the first day of operation. The traffic-tracking website further informed that “that share has not declined significantly in the days since.”
Players Want Lottery-Style Sit ‘n Gos
Typically, new games introduced on Sit ‘n Go tables attract cash game players whose curiosity is piqued, lowering ring game traffic. That has not been the case at WPN, prompting PokerScout to surmise that “Jackpot Poker may have provided just enough incentive for some of these [fearful since Black Friday] players to abandon their trepidations and get back in the game.”
Though games like Jackpot Poker take some of the skill element out of poker, it is obvious by the early success at WPN and the popularity of Spin & Go over a greater sample size at PokerStars that players want such games. And giving players what they want is a crucial step in allowing the industry to thrive.
It is quite possible that poker rooms in the regulated states have taken notice. Might we soon see the poker sites in New Jersey also roll out some form of Jackpot Poker, perhaps in an effort to get a jump on the rumored upcoming arrival of PokerStars in NJ?