PokerScout Report: French Market Declining
Online cash game traffic monitoring site PokerScout.com released its latest Weekly Online Poker Traffic Update earlier this week, reporting that traffic at the virtual tables dropped one percent, the second consecutive week in which volume declined.
There was some slight shuffling among the top ten poker rooms and networks, with Bodog moving up to sixth place, while PokerStars’ Italian site, PokerStars.it, fell to seventh. Two more of PokerStars’ European sites, PokerStars.es (Spain) and PokerStars.fr (France), moved up to ninth and tenth, respectively, booting Winamax.fr out of the top ten, down to the eleventh spot. The top ten poker sites and networks on the internet now look like this (seven-day average cash game players in parentheses):
UPDATE: At the time of writing, Winamax.fr had pulled back into a tie with PokerStars.fr.
Full Tilt Poker (1,450)
The decline in the French online poker market seems particularly troubling, as PokerScout reports that PokerStars.fr and Winamax.fr, the two leading French poker rooms, saw a 17 percent decrease in cash game traffic during the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year. ARJEL, France’s online gambling regulatory agency, has said that online poker revenue dropped 18 percent during that same time frame, virtually mirroring PokerScout’s numbers. One of the big surprises of the summer was not that online poker play slowed down, as it normally does that during the warmer months, but that it did not pick up after the World Cup.
If there is a bright side, it is that PokerScout reports that in the seven days leading up to its weekly update, traffic at Winamax was down just five percent and traffic at PokerStars.fr was actually up a tick.
In Nevada, cash game traffic at WSOP.com continues to fall after the migration of thousands of poker players to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker gave the site a temporary boost, making it the largest regulated online poker room in the United States for a brief while. WSOP.com’s average traffic had hit the upper-half of the 100’s, but is now down to exactly 100 cash game players. If you plug those numbers into your graphing calculator, you will see that is a huge percentage drop.
PokerScout believes that the Multi-Table Madness promotion, in particular, may have juiced the numbers at WSOP.com during the World Series. During the promotion, which began on May 26th and ran through July 14th, WSOP.com chose one random hand at one random table between the hours of 6:00pm and 11:00pm and awarded everyone who was dealt cards in the hand a cash prize. For No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables with stakes of $1/$2 or greater and Fixed-Limit tables with stakes of $2/$4 or greater, that prize was $100. For all stakes below those, the prize was $50. To encourage even more traffic, WSOP.com also awarded multiple prizes to the players in that hand if they were also participating in games at other tables. So, if someone at the winning table was playing at three other tables at the same time, he would win three more prizes ($100 or $50 each, depending on the stakes). During the entirety of the Multi-Table Madness promotion, WSOP.com gave away $110,250.
With WSOP.com’s decline in Nevada since the finish (until November) of the World Series of Poker, WSOP.com in New Jersey and Party Borgata in New Jersey have risen to a tie for the top spot in the U.S. market, both having a seven-day average of 130 cash game players. The All American Poker Network, which is looking to become the country’s first interstate poker network, has 70 cash game players. Ultimate Poker, which launched the first regulated online poker room in Nevada, looks to be dead in the water, based on PokerScout’s rankings. At the beginning of this week, WSOP.com’s New Jersey traffic had risen five percent from the previous week, while Party Borgata’s had fallen seven percent.
It will be interesting to see how their competition plays out, as Party Borgata had been the dominant network in the Garden State for quite some time. It is entirely possible that even though WSOP.com in Nevada was the site that benefitted significantly from the live World Series of Poker, WSOP.com in New Jersey is actually getting a boost from it as well. The exposure the annual poker festival brought to the site in general may have attracted poker fans sitting at home in New Jersey as well as earned evangelists who were playing on Nevada’s site while in Las Vegas and decided to spread the word about the brand upon returning to the east coast.