Online Poker Traffic Avoids Harsh Holiday Snag

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Online Traffic Avoids Holiday Dip
PokerScout’s weekly online traffic report showed that cash game traffic took a small but expected hit over the holiday week. (Image: capped off another year of tracking online poker cash game traffic by releasing its weekly online poker traffic update for the final week of 2014.

As the holiday season rolls around, people tend to shy away from their computers and other distractions to spend time with family and friends.

Though the cold weather may keep some players inside their homes, one of the busiest shopping times of the year and the need to buy presents may prevent them from diving too deep into their bankroll.

It should come as no surprise then that PokerScout reported a traffic dip for online poker. Yet even with Christmas in full swing, the numbers didn’t take a too severe hit.

Top Ten Sites

Due to the holiday season, online poker traffic fell by a meager 1 percent. The top ten sites and networks listed by PokerScout found that advancers and decliners were tied at five to five. Bovada (formerly Bodog), the leading US-facing online poker room, slipped from fifth place to seventh averaging 1,350 cash game players.

This allowed PartyPoker to move up a spot to fifth with 1,500 players and to climb to sixth place with an average of 1,450 players.

Adjarabet managed to hold on to a spot in the top ten due to a number of promotions during the month to increase traffic. Its 1,150 cash game players closely matched Winamax and who rounded out eighth and ninth place with 1,200 players.

PokerStars’ flagship site stayed in its top stop just as it has for the past three years. The site’s 19,500 cash game players beat out every one else combined. 888poker took second with 2,500 players, the iPoker network in third with 2,000 players, Full Tilt Poker in fourth with 1,800 players and PartyPoker rounding out the top five with 1,500 players.

Trailing the Pack

While not making as big of an impact, a few networks had some notable traffic who operate in the US’ unregulated market. Merge with 575 players, Chico with 450 players, the Winning Poker Network with 300 players and the Equity Poker Network with 190 players made an offshore dent.

Networks using the increasingly popular Bitcoin as a funding method performed somewhat admirably. SealswithClubs had 110 players, Revolution Poker Network came close with 100 and Lock Poker made a tiny blip with 26 players. But for players outside of Nevada, New Jersey and Deleware, Bitcoin and unregulated sites are the only alternatives.

PokerScout’s report reflected on a less than stellar year for online poker overall. 2014 ended with 17 percent less cash game traffic than 2013. If the market is to show any significant improvement when 2015 comes to a close, more states will have to enter the regulated market. And as some expect, that possibility may exist for California, New York and Pennsylvania.

Holiday Lull

PokerScout made note that the holidays had their effect on online traffic. Hanukkah, which began on December 16, made little impact to numbers. On Christmas Eve (which was also the last night of Hanukkah) player counts took a more significant dip. December 24 saw traffic one-eighth lower than the previous Wednesday.

Christmas Day saw some recovery with traffic down only five percent from the previous week. Since many families tend to get together on the night of Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning, the figures make sense. However, PokerScout did expect New Year’s Eve to bring some of the lowest traffic of the year for many operators.

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