Online poker traffic fell 0.2% last week as seasonal weakness continued. This marked the sixth consecutive weekly decline. Among the top 10 sites and networks, advancers and decliners were evenly split at 5-5. Overall, on the second anniversary of Black Friday, the market is down 9% from this time last year.
Full Tilt Poker moved back up into second place on the strength of the Take 2 promotion. iPoker Network fell to third while PartyPoker was relegated to fourth. PokerStars.it also climbed a spot to fifth, knocking 888Poker down to sixth.
Full Tilt's Take 2 promotion, which ended Sunday, rewarded players for multi-tabling. Players responded, boosting ring game traffic by 7% and pushing the PokerStars-owned site temporarily back into second place. With Take 2 in the rear view mirror and no comparable promotion to take its place, Full Tilt may find it difficult to hold on to the number two spot for very long.
PokerStars.it surged 23% thanks to an ongoing 3.5 billionth hand promotion. PokerStars knows how to spur player interest in the run-up to milestone hands, and the only difference here may be in the length of the promotion. After six days of elevated traffic, the site has not yet reached hand 3.49 billion, indicating that there may be a few days left to go.
The insane gyrations of Bitcoin in recent days have put a spotlight on the digital currency, which is still accepted by only a few poker sites. Bitcoin-only site SealsWithClubs had been hitting all-time highs early in the week as the value of a single Bitcoin ran up to $266.
However, the bubble could not be sustained and the currency's value subsequently crashed by more than 60%. The extreme volatility, combined with the tapering off of publicity surrounding the denial of service attack on SealsWithClubs in March, caused the site's traffic to return to levels reached before the attack.
Although SealsWithClubs is still a minor player in the industry with fewer than 100 average ring game players, the site has grown six-fold in the last six months. Operators, especially those serving the US market and struggling with payment processing issues, can ill afford to ignore what looks to be a fast-growing segment of the market.
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