Online poker traffic rose 1.9% last week as the seasonal upswing continued. Among the top 10 sites and networks, advancers led decliners 7-3.
PartyPoker led the charge to the upside with an 11% gain. Traffic got a boost from a merchandise giveaway promotion called Tony G's House, which ran September 3-7.
Also, last year at this time is when Party started consistently outperforming rival iPoker Network. The pattern held true last week with Party gaining 11% and iPoker up 3%. Last year Party was able to move up into second place by the end of September and hold the position for several weeks. That will be a tougher challenge this year as Party trails iPoker by 18%.
Some of the French and Italian sites also had a strong week, along with Microgaming Network which saw its second straight week of double-digit gains.
iPoker Network underwent a transformation last week as it split a large portion of its games into two separate networks. The move was widely anticipated, but the final implementation was not quite as expected. Predictions were that the upper tier or "iPoker 2" sites would have some ring-fenced games but would also share all of the games of the lower tier sites ("iPoker 1"). Instead, the network neatly divided iPoker 1 and iPoker 2, with neither side able to see the other side's ring-fenced games.
Pokerfuse wrote up an excellent summary of the changes. Here are some highlights:
- The sites known to be on iPoker 2 are Titan, William Hill, Paddy Power, Bet365 and Poker770.
- The split only affects no limit hold'em cash games up to NL100 (full ring) or NL200 (6-max). All other cash game tables are shared.
- The split reportedly also includes low-stakes no limit hold'em sit-and-gos.
- iPoker 2 has more casual players and more low-stakes tables running than iPoker 1.
PokerScout receives its iPoker data directly from the network. iPoker has confirmed that the data includes all traffic on the network. Both iPoker 1 and iPoker 2 are included in the total player count.
Top 20 Movers
- Microgaming Network moved up two notches to sixth, trading places with Ongame Network which slipped to eighth.
- iPoker.it climbed from 16th to 15th.
- PeoplesNetwork.it gained two spots, landing in 16th.
- EverestPoker.fr scaled back from 15th to 17th.
- PartyPoker.fr rose from 19th to 18th.
- IGT slipped two notches to 19th.
- Ongame.it climbed to 20th place, knocking Everest Poker out of the top 20.
Year Over Year
The total worldwide online poker market continues to feel the effects of a tough regulatory environment and a global stagnation in poker's popularity. The introduction of fast-fold poker in the last 12 months has also had the effect of decreasing player counts for the same amount of play volume. According to PokerScout's ACES indicator, online poker traffic has decreased by 14% 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 30%
Revolution Gaming (formerly Cake Poker Network) 71%
International Poker Network (IPN) 51%
IGT Poker 50%
Everest Poker 39%
Ongame Network 23%
Merge Gaming Network 21%
Small but interesting:
Winning Poker Network (formerly Yatahay) 186%