Online poker traffic received a major jolt from the return of Full Tilt Poker last week, jumping 10% with Full Tilt contributing traffic on five of the seven days. Among the top 10 sites and networks, decliners led advancers 6-4.
Full Tilt launched last Tuesday, vaulting immediately back into second place as predicted. So far the site has averaged some 8500 cash game players, nearly triple the traffic of iPoker Network or PartyPoker.
Interestingly, a majority of Full Tilt's players do not appear to have been poached from competitors. While all of the other top five sites did see their traffic decline, the drop was only 5% on average, for a combined total of around 2000 players lost from the daily average player counts. That's less than a quarter of Full Tilt's traffic. The inevitable conclusion is that a large majority of Full Tilt's players are coming back to online poker from a 16-month absence. We estimate Full Tilt's return to the market has reactivated over 400,000 unique online poker players.
The novelty factor undoubtedly drew in many curiosity-seekers and inflated the initial numbers somewhat. Full Tilt saw its average player count fall from 8900 on the first full day of play to around 8000 on Sunday, a 10% decline. If the player counts hold at 8000, however, that would compare quite favorably to a pre-shutdown average of about 9000 players. To lose only 11% after an absence of more than a year is a surprising and impressive achievement.
iPoker's French network continues to benefit from the acquisition of EverestPoker.fr. Traffic at iPoker.fr has grown by 2000% since the merger, putting the network just ahead of PartyPoker.fr and into third place in France.
Cake Entertainment, the founder of the former Cake Poker Network, launched a new platform called the League Network near the end of October. PokerScout is tracking the network with the assistance of Cake. While small, the network has proved more successful than many new launches, with peak traffic in excess of 500 cash game players. League Network, which does not accept US players, currently sits in 34th place in the worldwide rankings.
IGT Poker saw its already diminished traffic cut in half last week. The network continues to lose sites to other networks as it approaches shutdown by the end of the year.
Top 20 Movers
- Full Tilt Poker vaulted into second place after the relaunch. As a result, 15 sites and networks, from iPoker Network (formerly in second place) down to Merge Gaming Network (formerly in 16th) slipped down a notch.
- iPoker.fr made its top 20 debut in 18th place after the Everest merger.
- PartyPoker.fr and International.it each dropped two spots to 19th and 20th, respectively.
- PeoplesNetwork.it and IPN, formerly in 19th and 20th place, respectively, fell out of the top 20.
Year Over Year
The relaunch of Full Tilt Poker has brought many players back into the online poker market. Nevertheless, the total worldwide 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 increased by 3% 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 28%
Revolution Gaming (formerly Cake Poker Network) 59%
IGT Poker 90%
International Poker Network (IPN) 48%
Merge Gaming Network 46%
Ongame Network 20%
Small but interesting:
Winning Poker Network (formerly Yatahay) 200%+
Everleaf Gaming Network 53%