Online poker traffic fell another 4% last week as the wind-down of major promotions continued to take a toll. Among the top 10 sites and networks, advancers and decliners were evenly split at 5-5. Overall, the market is down 7% from this time last year, despite the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker and the opening of the Spanish market.
A major shift occurred in the top 10 as Full Tilt Poker fell from second place to fourth. PartyPoker moved up into the number two spot, while iPoker Network took over the third position vacated by Party. Lower down the list, French market leader Winamax.fr moved up a notch to sixth, displacing PokerStars.it.
Full Tilt Poker launched two new games last week, Irish Poker and 5 Card Stud. The latter game, a well-known variant which has been around for decades, has drawn relatively few players since the launch.
On the other hand, Irish Poker, in which players are dealt four cards but must discard two after the flop, has proven to be quite popular, especially for such a little-known game. After a few days' delay, PokerScout is now tracking Irish Poker, and the game appears to make up more than 3% of Full Tilt's player counts. With those players added back in, it is likely that Full Tilt will soon pass iPoker to take third place, but a move back into second is not in the cards at this point.
Revolution Gaming Network has taken a hit since implementing its Fair Play technology, which segregates players by skill level. Although the ranking criteria are not entirely clear, players in the top third are essentially unable to play ring games with players in the bottom third. Such an obvious loss of liquidity and profit potential has upset the winning players, and they are voting with their feet. Total ring game traffic is down more than 10% since Fair Play was implemented.
PartyPoker also recently implemented segregation by ability, but in a less obvious way. Party actually made up some of the ground it lost last week, indicating that the move is not creating a huge drag for the site.
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