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U.S. online poker players who play at unregulated sites have taken a shine to the Winning Poker Network (WPN) in 2015, as player traffic has skyrocketed 58% since the new year arrived.

Cash game action at WPN sat at 300 in a seven-day average at the turn of the year, and has now jumped to 475 players, reported. Led by top skin Americas Cardroom and another player favorite, Black Chip Poker, WPN has moved into a third place tie with the Chico Poker Network in the unregulated U.S. online poker market.

This year’s success follows massive growth in 2014 at Americas Cardroom, according to a recent press release.

“Month over month, our traffic increased dramatically in 2014, even during months when online poker tends to take a backseat to live poker,” said Michael Harris, an Americas Cardroom representative.

Promos and VIP program

The reasons for the surge in player traffic are attributed to “The Beast” leaderboard race and a player loyalty program that is worth thousands to top players. Add some other promotions not directly tied to ring game action such as the “Online Super Series” and the “Sit & Crush” leaderboard race for tourney players and Americas Cardroom believes they have found a recipe for success.

We’ve done everything we can to make Americas Cardroom the only place worth playing at in the United States in 2014,” Harris added. “This year, we’re just getting started with plans that will blow everyone’s mind.”

A centerpiece of those plans is the upcoming Winning Millions poker tournament on February 22 that has a guarantee of $200,000 to the winner and $800,000 more to other top finishers in the field. As many will recall, the first attempt at hosting the Winning Millions in December was thwarted by DDoS attacks that forced a cancellation. WPN had no choice but to return the $540 buy-in to participants.

Hopefully, round 2 will go off without a hitch next month, which would make the Winning Millions the first $1 million guaranteed event available to U.S. players since before Black Friday. Another DDoS attack during the tournament would hurt not only Americas Cardroom and WPN, but online poker in general.

OSS kicks off in 2 weeks

Also on tap at WPN next month is the “Online Super Series IV Rematch” that features 63 events during 10 days of action with a combined $2 million in guaranteed prize money. The Main Event of OSS will be the Winning Millions on Feb. 22.

Another promo often talked about is “The Cage” contest that features a $5,100 buy-in and four hours of cash game action with escalating blinds. Mid-stakes “The Cage” matches with a $525 entry fee have been added due to player requests.

“Given the number of incentives on the table daily, we can’t wait to treat players right in 2015 and beyond,” Harris stated.

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.