Online poker traffic stayed steady last week with a miniscule increase of less than 0.1%. Still, that was enough to qualify as the third straight weekly rise in traffic. Among the top 10 sites and networks, advancers and decliners were evenly matched at 5-5.
Rumors circulated last week that the buyout of Full Tilt Poker by PokerStars had fallen through. PokerStars immediately denied the rumors, but the industry still waits for hard news on the acquisition. A PokerStars source stated that a settlement with the US Department of Justice could cost the site up to $1.5 billion in total, with the possibility of jail time for executives Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate. PokerStars traffic is down 12% in the last year, slightly better than the industry average.
Lock Poker players have expressed growing frustration over problems depositing funds on the site in a possible sign of growing pains for Lock after taking over Revolution Gaming. Despite some players calling for a boycott, there was no obvious impact on Revolution's traffic. The network gained 2% for the week, although rival Merge Gaming Network did manage to gain a little ground with a 3% increase. Revolution still leads Merge by a few percent.
Now that Black Friday and the subsequent shutdown of Full Tilt Poker are more than a year in the past, the organic growth rate of the online poker market is starting to become apparent. Overall, traffic declined by 16% in the last year (ex-Italy) despite the addition of players from a newly opened Spanish market. Player counts have come down in nearly every segment, including France, Italy and dot-com, indicating that online poker has likely peaked in popularity.
The only exception is the remnant of the US-facing market, which has grown by some 16%. This growth rate in the face of numerous obstacles is a sign of the enormous untapped potential of the US market.
Top 20 Movers
- Merge Gaming Network edged out Microgaming Network to take 10th place.
- PeoplesNetwork.it moved up two spots to 16th, trading places with IGT Poker which fell to 18th.
Year Over Year
The total worldwide online poker market is feeling the effects of what appears to be a global stagnation in poker's popularity. According to PokerScout's ACES indicator, online poker traffic (ex-Italy) has decreased by 16% in the last year.
Year-over-year changes for some individual sites and networks are given below. Results are for the main (.com) sites and networks unless stated otherwise.
iPoker Network 35%
Revolution Gaming (formerly Cake Poker Network) 48%
International Poker Network (IPN) 53%
Everest Poker 48%
IGT Poker 46%
Ongame Network 22%
Merge Gaming Network 10%
Small but interesting:
Chico Poker Network (formerly Action Poker Network) 151%
Winning Poker Network (formerly Yatahay) 300%+
*PokerStars yearly comparison affected by the introduction of Zoom Poker in March 2012.