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

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 expects to post huge numbers for its remaining online bracelet events.

There are three more chances to earn some new jewelry in June on

  • $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 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 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. 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, 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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.