New Jersey Poker Posting Declining Traffic Trends Across The Board

Where in the world are the poker players? Apparently, not in New Jersey.

There was hope that legal sports betting and shared liquidity in the Garden State would give the poker market a much-needed boost. So far, it seems to be having the opposite effect.

Usually, when one site loses some cash game players, another gains them. This week, players just didn’t show up to the tables.

Here are the key stories from the U.S. regulated poker scene since our last report published on Aug. 14 are:

  • The report shows declining or relatively flat trends across the board for cash games and tournaments
  • WSOP.com continues to lose cash game players
  • The bump PokerStars NJ saw in the last report vanished
  • partypoker NJ is showing the only positive trend line in the report in tournament entries, but it is nothing to write home about

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending Aug. 26, 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

These past two weeks there were no tournament series on the schedule. Each of the operators held their regular scheduled Sunday Major tournaments, and the results are anything but newsworthy.

Tournament entries continue to decline. The only time an operator seems to get a good boost is when they hold a tournament series.

Even so, a good series doesn’t pack the punch it used to as evidenced by WSOP.com posting its first overlay since shared liquidity in our last report.

The only New Jersey online poker site to enjoy a combined player pool with Nevada and Delaware, WSop.com did garner enough entries to meet its guarantees both weeks. The prize pools are far-off from some of the highs it posted during the World Series of Poker, though.

PokerStars NJ just met its guarantee one week, and just missed it the other. partypoker NJ failed to meet its guarantees both weeks. That makes it only four times since shared liquidity launched on May 1 that the site did not have to write a check to the prize pool.

The bottom line is WSOP.com continues to show a sharply declining trend. However, PokerStars NJ and partypoker NJ are showing relatively flat trends.

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 294 $100,000 $132,000 $32,000
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 186 $35,000 $34,596 -$404
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 170 $35,000 $34,000 -$1,000

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 243 $100,000 $110,000 $10,000
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 191 $35,000 $35,526 $526
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 160 $35,000 $32,000 -$3,000

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

There is not a whole lot to say about cash games and peak traffic data from the past two weeks. All three operators are showing declining trends in both categories.

WSOP.com is showing the most severe trend line of the three. Looking at the past four to six weeks, it seems as if the online poker sites are settling into a new normal – and it is not good.

partypoker NJ was the only site not to lose cash game players in the past two weeks, but it didn’t gain any either. In our last report, it posted a seven-day rolling average of 50 cash game players, and in this report it holds steady.

WSOP.com and PokerStars NJ aren’t as lucky as partypoker NJ. WSOP.com shows a seven-day rolling average of 190 cash game players, while PokerStars NJ had 90. That is 50 and 10 fewer cash game players, respectively, when compared to our last report.

The peak traffic numbers, as they often do, follow the cash game trends. Not much else to say except there is a declining trend in peak traffic across the board.

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

This report is starting to sound a bit like a broken record. It is a troubling sign that players are leaving, not just a site, but the market. It is August, and historically, it is a slower time for New Jersey poker. Let’s hope that is all there is to it.

Hopefully, the exodus of cash-game players is a one-off event, and we’ll see the players start to come back in our next report.

Unfortunately for poker players, sports betting seems to be getting all the attention these days. It is especially true with football season just around the corner.

No one would argue that something drastic needs to happen to shake up the New Jersey online poker market. Will Pennsylvania joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement be the thing? One can hope.

For now, though, it would not be surprising to see a poker tournament hit one or more of the online poker rooms in the coming weeks.

We will keep our eyes on the New Jersey poker scene, and the complete U.S. regulated online poker landscape and report back here on Sept. 11.