Is Suffering the Post-WSOP Blues

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, PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are gaining back some lost ground.

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

  • 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 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 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’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., 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 to lose some. 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 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 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.