Online poker sites in Delaware have now been sharing cash game players with WSOP.com in Nevada for over a week, and it is only now that analysts can begin to start evaluating the immediate effects of the pooling.
And while there hasn’t been a massive influx of new players quite yet, there is some evidence that the merger is doing exactly what it was meant to do: attract players who might have been staying away because of the lack of games, particularly in Delaware.
The Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement went into effect on March 24, allowing Delaware poker players to compete with their Nevada counterparts in most games (WSOP.com does restrict some WSOP-specific promotions and satellites to players on their site).
Before the player pool sharing, Nevada’s online poker scene was small but stable, while Delaware’s appeared to be all but dead, with the average cash game traffic on the state’s network sitting in the single digits.
Delaware Sites Desperately Needed Liquidity
That was a major problem for the Delaware sites, as it likely meant that many people who might have been interested in playing were likely staying away.
Poker sites need a critical mass of players to keep games running, and when they can’t achieve those numbers, the results are often disastrous: casual and recreational players stop trying to get games started, which in turn may turn more serious players away, resulting in a downward spiral for traffic.
Once the interstate compact went live, it was clear that Delaware’s traffic numbers would increase.
After all, PokerScout.com had been reporting that WSOP.com in Nevada was averaging around 150 players, meaning it would be the first time since the early months of Delaware’s Internet gambling launch that players in the state could compete in meaningful cash games at a variety of stakes.
But while that was nice for the players, the real test was whether or not any new players would join in the games now that the player pools had been combined. And in this case, it does seem like the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, even if only by a little bit.
Player Numbers Appear to be Up Slightly Since Merger
Simply by adding together the average traffic from WSOP.com and Nevada’s network, one would expect that the newly combined sites would have average traffic of perhaps 160 players.
But a little over a week later, that number has already gone up: WSOP in Nevada is averaging around 170 players now, suggesting there has been a slight bump in just the opening days of the shared liquidity agreement.
Ten extra players isn’t something groundbreaking for either state, and it isn’t certain where exactly those players are coming from. But it is a good start for a program designed to increase the attractiveness of sites in both states, especially if those new players are coming back on Delaware’s end.
As the sites continue to hold reasonably solid traffic numbers, new players in Delaware should be easier to retain: rather than seeing a ghost town as they would have last month, a new player will now see a variety of games and tournaments to choose from.
Many analysts believe that Delaware’s online poker market has significant room to grow, if players can be convinced to participate.
While Nevada’s traffic levels are considered normal given the state’s population, Delaware’s traffic is far lower than it “should” be. This is generally attributed to the state’s small population not being able to support an Internet poker room on its own.