NJ Traffic Report: PokerStars Continues to Gain While WSOP.com Trends Down

NJ poker

Poker seems to be taking a backseat to the sports betting conversation these days. DraftKings has been dominating headlines since launching the first mobile sports betting app in New Jersey, and The Stars Group made waves last week when it announced a partnership with Mount Airy Casino in Pennsylvania, setting the company up to offer a comprehensive gambling suite in PA.

PokerStars moving into Pennsylvania is the news poker players have been waiting for. While the timeline is unknown, PokerStars will be offering a full complement of online gaming products including sports betting, casino games and, of course, poker.

For now, though, poker continues to limp along until more states, like Pennsylvania, join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement to create a robust player pool.

There is some good news. The DDoS attacks that plagued the global poker platforms over the past week did not affect the New Jersey clients.

The key stories from the U.S. regulated poker scene since our last report published on July 31 are:

  • WSOP.com tried to keep some its momentum from the World Series of Poker by launching the Coast to Coast Classic II tournament series
  • WSOP.com failed to meet its Sunday guarantee for the first time since the launch of shared liquidity
  • PokerStars NJ continues to gain ground in online poker cash games
  • Overall, partypoker NJ is holding steady in both cash games and tournament entries

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending Aug. 12, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

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Major online poker tournaments summary

Tournaments used to be the driving force behind a thriving online poker site. A big tournament series practically guaranteed a high turnout and substantial revenue for online poker sites.

That is not so much the case anymore. Tournament entries remained relatively flat across the board, even with WSOP.com’s Coast to Coast Classic II on the schedule.

On Aug. 5, PokerStars NJ raised its Sunday major guarantee from $30,000 to $35,000. The increase came after incrementally lowering it from $40,000 starting back in June.

A successful NJ Summer Series most likely prompted the action as the online poker site smashed its guarantees for a few weeks in a row. Unfortunately, the move didn’t attract players, and PokerStars NJ posted an overlay on both Sundays.

partypoker NJ barely covered its guarantee on the first Sunday in this report. Covering its guarantee is something partypoker NJ has only done three other times since the beginning of May.

What’s really noteworthy is all three operators failed to meet their guarantees on Sunday, Aug. 12, even WSOP.com. It is the first time since shared liquidity launched in May, that WSOP.com was unable to reach its major Sunday tournament guarantee.

The WSOP.com $500 Coast 2 Coast II #33: $250,000 Main Event reported 445 entries which resulted in a massive $42,185 overlay.

Online poker tournament trends

Looking at the trend lines from the past eight weeks, WSOP.com is showing a definite decline. It’s not surprising after the initial excitement around combining player pools between Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.Things appear to be settling down into a new standard post-WSOP in Las Vegas — whatever that means.

PokerStars NJ and partypoker NJ, however, are both showing upticks in their trend lines. This fact is most likely because players are back home from the Nevada desert and getting back into their regular Sunday grind.

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP WSOP.com $320 Coast 2 Coast II #9: $100,000 Sunday Special 382 $100,000 $114,600 $14,600
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 171 $35,000 31,806 -3,194
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 176 $35,000 $35,200 $200

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP WSOP.com $500 Coast 2 Coast II #33: $250,000 Main Event 445 $250,000 $207,815 -$42,185
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 161 $35,000 $29,946 -$5,054
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 144 $35,000 $28,800 -$6,200

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

In our last report, PokerStars NJ was the clear winner in the battle for cash game players. In this week’s report, the site remains king of the hill.

PokerStars NJ continues to accumulate cash game players posting a seven-day rolling average of 100. That number represents 15 more players than its pre-liquidity average at a time when PokerStars NJ dominated the New Jersey poker landscape.

Those players seem to be jumping ship from partypoker NJ as its average declined over the past few weeks. It shows in partypoker NJ’s flat trend line which is somewhat disappointing after posting a positive one in the last report.

WSOP.com’s sharply declining trend line is alarming. The good news is it hasn’t lost any additional ground in the past two weeks. It maintains a seven-day rolling average of around 240, the same number previously reported.

Last week, we anticipated a move to correct the declining trend. Enter, the Coast to Coast Classic II. It does say something that a big tournament series on the schedule didn’t help draw more players to its cash games and what it means isn’t good.

The peak traffic numbers put an exclamation point on the cash game trends. Compared to last week, both WSOP.com and partypoker NJ are showing sharper declines. PokerStars NJ, however, shows a strong positive trend.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

It is an interesting time in the online gaming industry when what will affect poker has very little to do with poker.

The most significant factor affecting poker will be the launch of online poker in Pennsylvania. We’ve been talking about the potential since the beginning of the year. Lately, the process appears to be moving at a frantic speed.

An operator can apply for separate licenses for online poker, casino games, and mobile sports betting. Most, including PokerStars NJ’s partner Mount Airy, applied for all three.

With football season around the corner, the push is definitely behind the launch of sports betting in the Keystone State, but that doesn’t mean poker gets left behind. The opposite, in fact, is true.

PokerStars’ global brand is likely to expand into all three online gaming markets (poker, casino, sports betting)  as soon as it is approved to do so. The only question that remains is, “When?”

We will keep our eyes on this developing story, and the complete U.S. regulated online poker landscape and report back here on Aug. 28.

WSOP.com Is Suffering the Post-WSOP Blues

WSOP.com

For the first time in a few months, there isn’t big news in the online poker world. The World Series of Poker has ended, and things are returning back to normal – or at least trying to.

The three major online poker sites never had the chance to settle into a new normal once shared liquidity launched on May 1. Now they do.

After seven weeks of taking a back seat to WSOP.com, PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are gaining back some lost ground.

The key stories since our last report published on July 17 are:

  • WSOP.com is seeing declining trend lines across the board
  • PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are seeing positive trend lines
  • PokerStarsNJ is seeing its highest seven-day rolling average of cash game players since the launch of shared liquidity
  • Now that the World Series of Poker has ended, tournament entries are leveling out, and WSOP.com has lost some of its advantage

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending July 29, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

Now that the WSOP has closed up shop and the dust is settling, it seems as if WSOP.com’s advantage is diminishing. It posted the fewest tournament entries since it combined player pools between Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.

Many of those entries found their way to PokerStarsNJ. From July 22 – 29, PokerStarsNJ ran its popular Summer Series. We already know online poker players love a good tournament series. The series, smartly positioned at the tail end of the WSOP paid off for the struggling online poker site.

The Summer Series had two Sunday events, one with a $50,000 guarantee and another with an $80,000 guarantee. PokerStarsNJ exceeded both guarantees handily, something it has been unable to do in the recent past. The goal now is to see if PokerStarsNJ can hold onto its gains.

Both PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are posting positive trend lines when looking at tournament entries for the six weeks. WSOP.com, however, is showing a sharply declining trend, no doubt because most of its captive crowd in Nevada left for home.

The last six weeks are showing some positive news on the tournament front. Going back to the launch of shared liquidity, however, all three operators are showing a declining trend line.

There was a lot of hope that the combining of player pools would help lift the struggling New Jersey online poker market. Shared liquidity does not seem to be living up to its end of the bargain, though.

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 284 $100,000 $117,300 $17,300
PokerStarsNJ NJ Summer Series 2: $200 NL Hold’em $50,000 Guaranteed 278 $50,000 $51,708 $1,708
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 184 $35,000 36,800 1,800

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, July 29, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 296 $100,000 $121,800 $21,800
PokerStarsNJ NJ Summer Series 11: $400 NL Hold’em Main Event 247 $80,000 $92,625 $12,625
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 161 $35,000 $32,200 -$2,800

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

The big news this week is there is a clear winner and a clear loser when it comes to online poker cash games. Based on our last report on July 17, all three operators were maintaining their ground.

Well, that has changed.

The big winner this week is PokerStarsNJ. When we last reported, the online poker room was hovering around a seven-day rolling average of 80 cash game players. That number was five short of its pre-liquidity figure.

This week PokerStarsNJ took a step forward. It is now posting a seven-day rolling average of 90 cash game players. No doubt, the WSOP closing up shop and its recent Summer Series played a role in the surge of cash game players.

partypokerNJ held its own this week. It is showing a seven-day rolling average of 55 cash game players. That figure represents five more players than its pre-liquidity number of 50, and it is precisely where it was when we last reported.

With PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ gaining ground, that leaves WSOP.com to lose some. WSOP.com is showing a seven-day rolling average of 240 cash game players. That is 40 fewer players than when we last reported and the most significant two-week change in the last three months.

At the beginning of the summer, we were unsure how the WSOP would affect the numbers. Looking at the first set of data post-WSOP indicates it played a major role in bringing players to WSOP.com. WSOP.com is showing two significant declining trends in this report; it will be interesting to see what it has up its sleeve to correct it.

Peak traffic numbers are following a similar trend as the average cash game players. PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are showing positive trend lines, and WSOP.com is showing a declining trend, although it is only a slight decline in this case.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

The first few weeks of data post-WSOP may be an indication of things to come. It might also be a sign that players will jump ship and play wherever the best tournaments are.

Either way, the online poker site that begins to develop brand loyalty is the one that will win. That means stop lowering tournament guarantees, reward players better than the competition, and work harder and getting more players online.

The site that can do all that will be positioned to capitalize on the market surge that will inevitably happen when Pennsylvania launches online poker in the near future.

We will keep our eyes on the U.S. regulated online poker landscape and report back here on Aug. 14.

Cash Game Traffic Is On the Rise For All Three New Jersey Online Poker Platforms

NJ Online Poker

On July 12, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released its latest online gaming revenue numbers for New Jersey.  It probably comes as no surprise that online poker continues to struggle while its casino counterpart continues to thrive.

Overall, online poker brought in $1,757,839 for June 2018. That figure represents a decrease of 5.9 percent from May 2018 when normalized for the extra day in the month.

Also not a surprise is WSOP.com posting huge growth thanks to shared liquidity, while PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ continue to show declines.

The silver lining in the report came with a 1.3 percent increase in revenue when compared to June 2017. Any growth at this point is a positive sign for the fledgling New Jersey online poker market.

There is also some good news to report from the past two weeks. Cash game traffic is on the rise for all three online poker operators. This is the first time since shared liquidity that we’ve seen positive trend lines across the board.

The key stories since our last report published on July 3 are:

  • WSOP.com continued to lead the pack but gave up some ground to PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ
  • Tournaments continue to post lack-luster results
  • Peak cash game traffic and the seven-day rolling average are trending upwards for all three operators for the first time since shared liquidity
  • For the third time in six weeks, PokerStarsNJ lowered the guarantee of its major Sunday tournament

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending July 15, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

The excitement of the four online bracelet events is but a distant memory. WSOP.com set out to capitalize from a captive World Series of Poker audience still in Nevada. To do that, it added a $525 WSOP.com $300,000 Guaranteed Player Appreciation Tournament to the schedule on Sunday, July 8.

The tournament logged 572 entries and posted a massive prize pool of $406,500, which shattered the guarantee. This tournament is really the only bright spot in the tournament summary this week.

On that same Sunday, both PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ again failed to meet the guarantees of their Sunday tournament by $7,100 and $8,800, respectively.

The following Sunday, July 15, came with the news that PokerStarsNJ lowered its Sunday guarantee to $30,000. It was the third time since shared liquidity launched and it has reduced its guarantee from $45,000 to $30,000 during that time. PokerStarsNJ now hosts the Sunday major tournament with the lowest guarantee on the schedule.

PokerStarsNJ did exceed its guarantee by $2,700. It’s too early to tell if this is the sweet spot for the online poker platform or not. The last time it lowered its guarantee it also exceeded it, but then it went right back to posting an overlay in the following weeks.

WSOP.com posted numbers consistent with its normal Sunday Major tournaments. It exceeded the $100,000 guarantee by $46,700.

partypokerNJ, however, failed to meet its guarantee by $1,000. That is the best of the overlays for the online poker site that consistently comes in third. In fact, partypokerNJ has only met its guarantee twice since the launch of shared liquidity on May 1.

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $525 WSOP.com $300,000 Guaranteed Player Appreciation Tournament 572 $300,000 $406,500 $106,500
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 150 $35,000 27,900 -7,100
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 131 $35,000 26,200 -8,800

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 489 100,000 146,700 46,700
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $30,000 Guaranteed 176 30,000 32,700 2,700
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 170 $35,000 34,000 -1,000

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Typically, the tournaments are where the action is. For this report, though, the action is with the cash games. The news is good for all three poker platforms for a change.

When we reported last on July 3, WSOP.com posted a seven-day rolling average of 280 cash game players, and it maintained that number as of July 17. That figure is the site’s highest average, and it helped boost its overall trend line. It appears WSOP.com is settling into its new norm.

Peak traffic numbers are also showing a positive trend line for the online poker site. On July 11, it posted its highest number of 589. Overall, it was a solid two weeks.

Surprisingly, PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ gained some ground in the number of average cash game players.

When we reported, last PokerStarsNJ has a seven-day rolling average of 70 cash game players. It is now posting an average of 80, just five players from its pre-liquidity number of 85.

partypokerNJ reported 45 on the last report and is now showing 55, five more players than its pre-liquidity number of 50.

It is too early to celebrate, but the cash game traffic from the last few weeks is welcomed at the two sites just trying to keep up with WSOP.com.

Peak traffic numbers for PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ also saw some of the highest numbers since shared liquidity.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

With the WSOP coming to a close and no big tournament series on the schedule, a clear picture of the state of regulated online poker in the U.S. since shared liquidity will begin to emerge.

It seems as if PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ were just trying to stay afloat while the WSOP ran its course. Look for new promotions and possibly a tournament series to try and lure some players back to the Sunday grind.

We will keep our eyes on the U.S. regulated online poker landscape and report back here on July 31.

WSOP.com Hosts Three More Bracelet Events, Continues To Lead U.S. Online Poker Traffic

Poker players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are two months into shared liquidity, and the news mixed.

Not surprising, the benefit of WSOP.com being the only operator in Nevada and Delaware is an advantage to the online poker site. Its lead is growing, and it is at the expense of PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ.

The key stories since our last report published on June 19:

  • Three more gold bracelet events ran on WSOP.com, and the first bracelet went to a player outside of Nevada
  • PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ lower their Sunday guarantees as tournament entries continue to decline
  • The seven-day rolling average for cash game players grows for WSOP.com while declining for PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ.

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending July 1, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

The big tournament news from the last two weeks is golden. Three more online bracelet events took place, and there was more history in the making for WSOP.com.

As expected, the final three online bracelet events did not disappoint with entries, prize pools, and some history-making headlines for WSOP.com.

WSOP.com awards three online bracelets

The first PLO bracelet played out on the virtual felt, and the bracelet went to a New Jersey player while playing in New Jersey.

Event #47: $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed generated a total of 1,223 total entries. There were 657 unique players and 566 re-entries which created a prize pool of $635,950.

Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez from Sicklerville, NJ, earned the top prize of $135,077 after battling it out for over 15 hours from his home in New Jersey. He then packed up the family and headed to Las Vegas to collect his first gold bracelet in person.

Event #61: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship registered 1180 unique players. Those players re-entered 455 times for a total 1635 entries.

Ryan ‘Toosick’ Tosoc collected all the chips and took home his share of the $1,553,250 prize pool. It’s the first gold bracelet for Tosoc, and the first-place prize of $238,778 puts Tosoc at over $3.7 million in live earnings.

Event #63: $3,200 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em High Roller saw a 13% increase in entries over last year with 480. There were 356 players and 124 re-entries that generated a prize pool of $1,459,200.

Chance “BingShui” Kornuth collected his second gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $341,598. It was his sixth cash of the WSOP, and he is nearing $6 million in lifetime earnings.

The expanded online bracelet event schedule was a success. Compared to the technical glitches from the first event, the three events ran rather smoothly.

Of course, there was the occasional player that failed to create a new account on WSOP.com. That was a requirement following the launch of shared liquidity. WSOP.com worked to get players online and playing as fast as they could.

Pennsylvania is likely to be online by the 2019 World Series of Poker. It already indicated it would join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.

It would not be surprising to see more online bracelet tournaments and more history-making events when poker players convene in the Nevada desert next summer – both in person and virtually.

PokerstarsNJ and partypokerNJ lower their guarantees

The second big tournament poker story from the last two weeks is PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ lowered their Sunday major tournament guarantees to $35,000.

It is the second time since the launch of shared liquidity that PokerStarsNJ lowered its guarantee hoping to find the sweet spot. It reduced it for the first time on June 3 and again on June 24. Even so, it barely squeaked by, only exceeding the guarantee by $526.00. On July 1, it was another story as the online poker site posted an overlay of $7,844.

On July 1, partypokerNJ also lowered its guarantee. The site has not met its guarantee for the last six weeks, and the overlays seem to be getting larger. Even after the reduction, it posted a hefty overlay of $10,800. partypokerNJ

Looking at the trend lines for Sunday tournament entries and PokerStarsNJ and the picture isn’t rosy. It is hard to say for sure if this a bonafide trend or if it is a symptom of a big online weekend for WSOP.com.

It will be another few weeks before the WSOP closes down summer camp. The picture is likely to become more clear after that. Overall, the news is not good for the two online poker operators not named WSOP.com.

Major Sunday online poker tournament data

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 394 $100,000 $173,100.00 $73,100.00
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 191 $35,000 $35,526.00 $526.00
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 158 $40,000.00 $31,600.00 -$8,400.00

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP OC #122 $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 472 $100,000.00 $141,600.00 $41,600.00
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 146 $35,000 27,156 -7,844
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 121 $35,000 24,200 -10,800

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Average cash game and peak traffic summary

The cash game picture isn’t much better than the tournament one, but it’s a bit brighter for WSOP.com than PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ.

WSOP.com barely managed a positive trend line last week, but as of July 1 is has a more solid footing.

When we reported last, WSOP.com posted a seven-day rolling average of 260 cash game players. That number was down from 240 for the two-weeks prior. The all-time high was about 280 upon the launch of shared liquidity.

As of July 1, WSOP.com is posting 280 average cash game players on its site. It looks like all that online gold bracelet action helped propel the cash game traffic to some post-liquidity highs giving their rolling average a nice bump.

All that traffic on WSOP.com is taking away from the average cash game traffic on PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ. There is no denying that shared liquidity is impacting their traffic even though the declines leveled off a bit over the last week.

As of July 1, PokerStarsNJ has a seven-day rolling average of 70 cash game players, down from its pre-liquidity number of 85. partypokerNJ has 45, down from 50. You can see the more significant drop-off for PokerStars reflected in its trend line.

Peak traffic numbers are reporting similar trend lines to that of the average cash game players. All three online poker sites are trending down.

It is concerning that WSOP.com’s trend line is slightly in negative territory especially during the height of activity on the site.

As mentioned earlier, it is just too hard to tell what this means in an environment that is conflated with online bracelet events, live tournaments, and little to talk about outside of the WSOP.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

WSOP.com’s dominance of the online poker landscape will continue. We will be watching how the market settles down as the World Series of Poker marks the beginning of the end with the Main Event starting this week.

Expect more activity from PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ as they start to woo players back to their platforms. It would not be surprising to see healthy promotions or maybe a big tournament series to attract players.

We will be watching the U.S. regulated online poker landscape and reporting back here on July 17.

WSOP.com Online Bracelet Events Bright Spot In U.S. Poker Report

WSOP.com

The launch of U.S. shared online poker liquidity at the beginning of May was an exciting time for the U.S. regulated online poker community. There was hope that it would provide a much-needed boost to the number of cash game players and tournament entries.

And while the initial numbers looked good, it seems as if the excitement is beginning to fade. This week’s report is anything but glowing, although there are a few bright spots.

One of those bright spots is the fact the WSOP.com expects to post huge numbers for its remaining online bracelet events.

There are three more chances to earn some new jewelry in June on WSOP.com:

  • $565 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Handed on June 22 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 29 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $3,200 High Roller on June 30 at 3:30 p.m.

The key stories since our last report published on June 5 are:

  • Tournament players are keeping an eye on WSOP.com and the three upcoming online bracelet events
  • Tournament entries over the last six weeks are showing a declining trend for all three operators
  • PokerStarsNJ is trending down in tournament entries and peak traffic numbers, while average cash game players remain flat
  • partypokerNJ sees a glimmer of hope with a slightly upward trend line in peak cash game traffic while the rest of its outlook looks dismal

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending June 17, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

The major tournament poker story from the last two weeks is there really is no story. It seems players aren’t showing up online without a significant online tournament series or online bracelet event to lure them.

WSOP.com continues to top the $100,000 guarantee for its weekly Sunday tournament. In fact, the prize pool nearly doubled the guarantee on June 10. The overall trend line is heading in the wrong direction, however, excluding the online bracelet event on June 3.

On June 17, WSOP.com posted the lowest number of entries (by 100) since the launch of shared liquidity. This is concerning because there was really nothing major keeping players from playing online. It was Seniors weekend at the WSOP and Electric Daisy Carnival already passed through town which is the usual explanation for low turn out this time of year.

While WSOP.com continues to exceed its guarantees, PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are not so lucky.

The other major Sunday tournaments

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ failed to meet their guarantees in each of the past two weeks. For PokerStarsNJ, this is troubling because they just recently lowered their guarantee from $45,000 to $40,000. For partypokerNJ, they posted the largest overlay ($13,600) players have seen in quite awhile.

The question remains, where are all the poker players going? The apparent answer might be Nevada. The problem is it’s just not true.

Players can play online and live at the same time. Players also show up when a shiny gold prize is on the line.

Expect WSOP.com to once again to post huge tournament numbers as three online bracelet events will take place during the next two weeks.

As mentioned in our last report, there were technical glitches that kept most international players from registering. According to Bill Rini, head of online poker at WSOP.com for Caesars Entertainment those issues were identified and resolved.

Look for the upcoming online bracelet events to post record numbers as players vie for their chance at a coveted WSOP gold bracelet.

Tournament data for Sunday, June 10, 2018

WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 652 $100,000 $195,600 $95,600
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $40,000 Guaranteed 204 $40,000 37,944 -2,056
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 160 $40,000 32,000 -8,000

Tournament data for Sunday, June 17, 2018

WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 345 $100,000 $144,300 $44,300
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $40,000 Guaranteed 174 $40,000 32,364 -7,636
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 132 $40,000 26,400 -13,600

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Cash games also appear to be losing steam six weeks after the launch of shared liquidity. Technically, WSOP.com is still showing a positive trend line because it got off to a great start, but the last few weeks have been anything but positive.

In our last report, WSOP.com posted a seven-day rolling average of 260. At the conclusion of this two-week period, it is posting an average of 240. While still ahead of the pre-player pool merge average of 210, that is a pretty significant drop.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are seeing a similar drop in cash game players.

PokerStarsNJ is showing a flat trend, but still posted a loss of an average of 10 cash game players compared to the previous two-week period. After losing an average of 5 cash game players, partypokerNJ is showing a negative trend.

Peak traffic numbers also struggled to find some momentum over the last two weeks. partypokerNJ is the only online poker operator to show a positive trend line for the last month.

The slight rebound the three operators saw in our last report was all but erased in this one.

As mentioned, this past weekend was Seniors weekend at the WSOP. It was also Father’s Day and a good weekend for many players to take a mid-WSOP break and fly home. It’s hard to say if that impacted numbers but it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

The biggest story will continue to be WSOP.com and specifically, the three remaining online bracelet events. Also, watch for online satellites to just about every live and online WSOP event.

PokerStarsNJ or partypokerNJ will continue to tread water as the WSOP continues to dominate the poker scene.

U.S. online poker continues to try to build a solid foundation, but it’s not easy with only three states in the mix. Until more states come online, these reports will continue to be a mixed bag of news.

With legalized sports betting just launching in New Jersey, it is too early to tell if it will negatively impact the online poker scene. Expect mobile sports betting to launch sometime mid-July. Will gamblers turn to sports betting to get their online gambling fix? It is something to keep an eye on.

We will talk about those stories and more in our next U.S. regulated online poker report which will publish on July 3.

WSOP.com Host Largest Poker Tournament in Regulated US History

sink overflowing

As month one of shared liquidity between Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware comes to an end, players are celebrating:

  • Larger tournaments
  • Bigger guarantees
  • More cash game players

As month two begins, expect huge tournaments on WSOP.com. Thousands of poker players from around the world are now in the Nevada desert ready to play live and online tournament poker with the goal of winning a gold bracelet.

Didn’t win a gold bracelet in last weekend’s online event? There are three more chances to earn some new jewelry in June on WSOP.com:

  • $565 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed June 22 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em June 29 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $3,200 High Roller June 30 at 3:30 p.m.

The key stories since our last report on May 29:

  • WSOP.com awarded the first of four bracelets in the largest online tournament in Nevada history
  • Peak cash game traffic numbers remained relatively flat
  • PokerStarsNJ lowered their weekly major tournament guarantee to $40,000
  • partypokerNJ continues to struggle to make their weekly major tournament guarantee

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending June 3, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and playMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

There is one major poker story from the last two weeks, and it is WSOP.com’s online bracelet event. Poker players from around the world showed up in droves for their chance at poker glory.

WSOP Event #10 – The $365 Online NLH Bracelet Event

The first of the four online events took place during the opening weekend of the World Series of Poker. On the live tournament schedule was the $550 buy-in The Colossus, which didn’t seem to keep players away and may have even helped boost entries.

If looking purely at the numbers, the tournament was a huge success. Compared to last year’s tournament, there were more players (2,123), more entries (2,972), and a larger prize pool ($974,816). With that number of entries, it also earned the honor of the largest-field tournament ever in regulated US online poker history.

But there was a kink in the armor.

Some players had trouble getting into the tournament. Rumor is it mostly affected international players. With only 19 out of the 2,123 players flying a foreign flag, there seems to be some basis of truth to the rumor.

And then there is the starting time. New Jersey poker players were eligible to play in the tournament for the first time from the comfort of their own home. The starting time of 3:00 p.m. (PT) / 6:00 p.m. (ET) is late for East Coasters who might have to work in the morning.

The tournament lasted until nearly 7:00 a.m. (ET). At the end of a very long night of poker, it was William ‘twooopair’ Reymond who sported a new bracelet and $154,995.74 for his efforts.

Technical glitches and start time aside, it was a great day for online poker and shared liquidity.

The other major Sunday tournaments

A week prior to the online bracelet event, WSOP.com shattered the $100,000 guarantee for its regular weekly tournament by $38,000.

partypokerNJ, on the other hand, posted an overlay of about $6,000 both weeks. PokerStarsNJ also failed to meet its guarantee on May 28. They would have also failed to meet it on June 3 if they didn’t lower the weekly guarantee by $5,000.

It might sound as if WSOP.com is taking tournament poker players away from the other two sites, but that is not the case. The reality is without shared liquidity, the weekly majors struggled to consistently meet its guarantees.

After watching the last month play out, it is likely PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are anxiously awaiting the launch of online poker in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has already indicated it will join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Compact. It stands to give PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ a boost to their bottom line much like WSOP.com is seeing now.

Tournament data for Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 460 $100,000.00 $138,000.00 $38,000.00
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 210 $45,000.00 $39,060.00 -$5,940.00
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 170 $40,000.00 $34,000.00 -$6,000.00

Tournament data for Sunday, June 3, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP WSOP Event #10 – The $365 Online NLH Bracelet Event 2,972 $974,816.00
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 244 $40,000 $45,384.00 $5,384.00
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 168 $40,000.00 $33,600.00 -$6,400.00

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

It is the rolling seven-day cash game average that a combined player pool seems to be benefitting WSOP.com the most, while the other two sites remain relatively flat.

Before the merging of player pools, WSOP.com in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware averaged 210 cash game players independently.

Currently, the combined player pool is posting a seven-day rolling average of 260. An additional 50 cash game players since the launch and 20 more than what was reported two weeks ago.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ remained flat post-liquidity with a seven-day rolling average of 85 and 50 cash game players, respectively.

PokerStarsNJ posted a decline of about five players, while partypokerNJ posted a decrease of 10. Both sites are settling into those numbers as they remain unchanged compared to two weeks ago.

Shared liquidity might be having a significant impact on tournaments on WSOP.com, but it has only a small effect on the peak traffic numbers.

After a two-week period of a declining peak traffic trend, all three sites rebounded. Mostly the three sites are relatively flat. WSOP.com is showing a slight upward trend and PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNH showing a slight declining trend.

The peak traffic numbers from all three sites were affected by a slow Memorial Day weekend. Not only is it the unofficial start to summer, but it is also the weekend most poker players traveled to Las Vegas.

Factors that will likely impact U.S. online poker in the coming weeks

The biggest story in the coming weeks for U.S. online poker will continue to be WSOP.com and specifically, the three remaining online bracelet events. Also, watch for online satellites to just about every live WSOP event.

PokerStarsNJ or partypokerNJ will undoubtedly look for ways to piggyback on the success of WSOP.com. A perfect example was the half-priced sale PokerStarsNJ held a few weeks back.

We will be reporting again on the U.S. online poker landscape on June 19. There will not be any online bracelet events for the next few weeks. Even so, players can expect WSOP.com’s Sunday major to continue to shatter guarantees.

WSOP.com And PokerStarsNJ Setting Online Poker Records

old vinyl records

The dust is settling, and poker players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are settling into their seats.

It has been three weeks since New Jersey joined Nevada and Delaware in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. The combined player pool is beginning to show its power.

The key stories from the last two weeks:

  • WSOP.com hosted the tournament with the largest prize pool in regulated U.S. poker history
  • PokerStarsNJ hosted the tournament with the most entries – even surpassing WSOP.com’s marquee event in the Coast to Coast Classic
  • Cash game traffic is soaring on WSOP.com and showing only a slight decline on PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ
  • Peak cash game traffic is showing a declining trend across the board

Now that you’ve been briefed let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending May 20, 2018.

U.S. Regulated online poker operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

WSOP.com hosted the Coast 2 Coast Classic from May 11 – 20. Holding a big tournament series following the combining of player pools was a smart move by WSOP.com. It encouraged poker players that hadn’t done so to create their new accounts and get online.

The series came with over $1,000,000 in guarantees and included 32 events. All but one of the events made their guarantees. This is something even the most popular series over the recent past have failed to do.

The big story, though, is the Coast 2 Coast Main Event. Its $200,001 guarantee was the largest guarantee in regulated U.S. poker – by $1. What’s more impressive is that it shattered the historic guarantee by posting a massive prize pool of $245,642.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ both held their regular $45,000 and $40,000 guaranteed Sunday tournaments, respectively.

PokerStarsNJ switched things up by hosting a half-off version on Sunday, May 20. The tournament drew 583 entries for the largest tournament of the two week period.

WSOP.com met its guarantees for both weeks, while PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ did not meet them on May 13. Both sites rebounded and exceeded their guarantees on Sunday, May 20.

Tournament data for Sunday, May 13.

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Overlay
WSOP $320 Coast 2 Coast Event #7 – $100,000 NLH 502 $100,000 $150,600 N/A
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 216 $45,000 $38,200 $6,800
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 175 $40,000 $35,000 $5,000

Tournament data for Sunday, May 20.

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $500 Coast 2 Coast Event #29 – $200,001 NLH Main Event 526 $200,001 $245,642 $45,641
PokerStarsNJ $100 Half-Price Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 583 $45,000 $53,519 $8,519
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 214 $40,000 $42,800 $2,800

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Shared liquidity has only had a small impact on the cash game seven-day rolling average traffic numbers.

Before the merging of player pools, WSOP.com in Nevada and Delaware averaged 135 cash game players. New Jersey averaged 75 on the network. Since the launch, the combined number is 240. That number equals about 30 additional players on average logging into the site.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ have remained relatively flat post-liquidity with a seven-day rolling average of 85 and 50 cash game players, respectively. PokerStarsNJ posted a decline of about five players, while partypokerNJ posted a decrease of 10.

The big question at the beginning of the month was how a combined player pool on WSOP.com would affect PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ. Well, it seems like it is business as usual.

Peak traffic seems to be struggling a bit more than the average traffic numbers. There is a declining trend among all three operators following the merging of player pools.

WSOP.com’s negative trend line is most likely due to low peak numbers on May 18 and 19.

Nevada hosted Electric Daisy Carnival which historically draws players away from the tables. Additionally, the Las Vegas Knights were busy fighting for their spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. These events can easily explain the significant drop in peak traffic for those days.

Surprisingly, partypokerNJ had the best trend line of the bunch. Of course, it is a hollow victory with two outlier days for WSOP.com and two missing days of data for PokerStarsNJ.

Factors that will likely impact U.S. online poker in the coming weeks

In one week, crowds of poker players from around the world will descend on the Las Vegas desert for the 2018 World Series of Poker.

Four online bracelet events, online satellites, and the ability to play live and online at the same time will likely drive online traffic numbers higher for WSOP.com over the coming months.

Expect business as usual for PokerStarsNJ or partypokerNJ. It is unlikely for the sites to try and compete with WSOP.com during this time.

We will be reporting again on the U.S. online poker landscape on June 5.

The first online bracelet will be awarded to a combined player pool, and the WSOP will have a week’s worth tournaments under its belt.

WSOP.com Traffic Soars During First Weekend Of Player Pooling

airplane taking off

Shared liquidity entered the New Jersey online poker market on May 1. WSOP.com and 888poker in New Jersey combined with four WSOP.com and 888poker sites in Nevada and Delaware to form one player pool.

The three-state, six-site online poker network is the first of its kind since Black Friday. For online poker players, it is the first hopeful sign of legalized online poker returning to the whole United States.

While it is too early to provide a thorough analysis of the impact of shared liquidity, the first week’s data from the combined player network is positive.

Average cash game and peak traffic

On Sunday, the combined network saw a seven-day rolling average of 200 cash game players. Pre-launch the numbers from Nevada and New Jersey combined into a seven-day rolling average of 200-210 players.

The current rolling average includes one day of data pre-launch which slightly lowers the average. That’s excellent news as the number of average cash game players will most likely continue to grow.

As with any launch, there were technical glitches, and Nevada and Delaware players were required to create and validate new accounts. Those issues most certainly affected the numbers at the beginning of the week.

Peak cash game traffic is showing a similar story. The first day after the launch of the combined network, peak cash game traffic was about 100 players fewer than the combined number for the same period the week prior.

The numbers continued stayed relatively flat until the weekend. The weekend tells a different story.

Saturday had a peak of 572 players and Sunday had 552. Compare that to the week prior where New Jersey posted peak numbers in the low 200’s, and it is fair to say peak traffic is benefitting from the new interstate network.

PokerStars and partypoker posted cash game traffic and peak traffic numbers in line with their previous week’s figures.

For now, it seems as if it is business as usual. Except that New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware players make for one bigger pool of players instead of two smaller ones.

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Numbers from the Sunday main tournaments

Before the combined player pool, WSOP/888 in New Jersey offered a weekly guarantee of $40,000, and Nevada hosted a $20,000 guarantee.

In anticipation of a substantial turnout thanks to the combined player pool, WSOP/888 increased its weekly tournament guarantee above the combined guarantee of the two sites. The $100,000 guaranteed Sunday tournament is now the gold standard and will likely continue to grow.

The huge guarantee was not just wishful thinking. History shows players love to show up to play big tournaments with big guarantees. And show up they did. At the close of registration, the tournament counted 522 entries for a prize pool of $156,600.

It doesn’t appear that the combined player pool or huge guarantee negatively impacted the entries to PokerStars and partypoker Sunday majors.

Both sites met their guarantees which they have not done consistently over the past few months. PokerStars saw 251 entries and partypoker had 223 entries, which are in line with their regular weekly entry numbers.

What can online poker players expect going forward

It is reasonable to expect a continued positive trend in cash game traffic and tournament entries for WSOP/888. It’s an exciting time for legalized poker, and that excitement will attract more players. And more players means more excitement. And so on.

How the interstate player network will impact the other New Jersey online poker sites remains to be seen. The week one data is certainly showing positive signs, though.

That must be a big relief for PokerStars and partypoker and gives both sites more reason to look ahead to Pennsylvania joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association late this year or early next. Eric Hollreiser, Vice President, Corporate Communications for The Stars Group said as much in a statement to PokerScout.

“Shared liquidity in online poker has proven to be the most successful way to ensure player protections in a licensed market, promote competition and innovation among operators and creates a stronger economic market. We welcome the movement toward shared liquidity in the U.S just as we welcome the similar movement in Southern Europe. We expect to compete in the Pennsylvania online gaming market and believe that market would likewise benefit from the greater player pools when poker players are shared.”

Even with the technical hiccups and other challenges, week one of the new interstate online poker network was a success. Legalized online poker throughout the U.S. moved one step closer to becoming a reality.

The bottom line is the week one numbers are good – in fact, they are better than good. Even if they weren’t though, the importance of interstate play and larger player pools is really the story here. And it is a story worth celebrating.