Decline Graph

PokerScout Report: End of PokerStars’ Milestone Promo Creates Steep Drop in Traffic

Online poker cash game tracking super site released its Weekly Online Poker Traffic Update earlier this week and provided more evidence, as if it was really needed, that as PokerStars goes, so goes the entire market. PokerStars traffic plunged 13 percent last week, sucking the entire market down 7 percent. On the bright side, that also means the rest of the online poker sites collectively didn’t do all that badly.

Really, it is not as bad as it might look. PokerStars is currently in the midst of the December Festival promotion and its traffic was artificially boosted in the beginning of the month because of the milestone promotion. It was essentially one of PokerStars famous milestone promos, just bundled within a larger package. Every millionth hand awarded cash prizes to those who were dealt cards in that hand, with much larger prizes for the 300th milestone hand. Additionally everyone playing at the exact same stakes and game type as the 300th milestone hand won money. Naturally, people flocked to the cash game tables during this promotion, giving a huge jolt to ring game traffic.

That promo has since ended, however, and now that the rest of the promotions in the December festival are tournament-related (aside from a minor Zoom Poker promotion), there is not the featured incentive to play cash games. Thus, traffic has gone back to normal. But since it had been elevated so much, it looks like PokerStars had a terrible week.  pokerstars-spade-logo

PokerStars is still the ultra-dominant player in the industry, with a current seven-day average of 19,500 cash game players. Barring a shutdown in key markets (and hey, with that raid of the Amaya Gaming offices the other day, I suppose you never know), nobody is coming close to PokerStars any time soon. I mean, PokerStars couldn’t even be dethroned after Black Friday, when it lost the entire United States market. That is not to say that PokerStars’ traffic will not even drop or the also-rans won’t see their traffic rise steeply at some point, it is just that the gulf is so wide that it will essentially take a totally disappearance for PokerStars to relinquish the top spot.

Look at the difference between PokerStars and the field. It as large as the next EIGHTEEN poker sites COMBINED. Yeah, good luck to everyone. 888poker is a distant second with 2,400 cash game players, while the iPoker Network, home to such sites as Paddy Power, Everest Poker, William Hill, and Titan Poker, is third with 2,100. PartyPoker and Bodog had climbed to fourth and fifth place, respectively, at the beginning of the week, but are now in a three-way tie with Full Tilt Poker with 1,450 cash game players. PokerStars’ Italian site, is in seventh with 1,400, French site is eight with 1,200 cash game players, and (Spain) is ninth with 1,100.

Then there is the tenth place site, Adjarabet, with 1,050 cash game players. Adjarabet had been riding high on the back of a string of promotions that boosted its traffic as high as fourth in the industry at one point. But its momentum has slowed significantly and after a couple weeks of gigantic growth, PokerScout reports that Adjarabet’s traffic was down 14 percent last week.

As I have written before, the genius behind Adjarabet’s promotions and the reason why they have attracted so many players is that they are appealing to everybody, not just high stakes players or hard-core grinders, as is often the case in online poker. Make no mistake, it still benefits customers to play a lot to have the best chance to win, but extreme multi-table grinding has not been at all necessary in this promotions. The current one is likely losing steam for a couple of reasons. First it is not particularly exciting or lucrative. One part is called the Magic Hand, which is a milestone hand promo like PokerStars had, but on a much smaller scale. Prizes are awarded every 5,000th hand and those prizes are worth less than $30. The other part is the Flush Bonus in which, again, fairly small prizes are given out to players who flop straight or royal flushes. The odds of anyone hitting those are miniscule and prizes are not really worth worrying about. The second reason for the slowdown may be simply that the promotion has been going on almost a month already and will be going for probably another month at the very least. The promos are already unexciting as it is; their duration might be causing players to lose interest.


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