Last week, the Merge Gaming Network received a shot in the arm, as Players Only and Sportsbook.com moved over from the Cake Poker Network. As a result, the tournament player volume on Carbon Poker doubled.
Network-wide, cash game traffic on Merge nearly tripled overnight on April 14th. On that date, the Merge Gaming Network sported a 24-hour peak of 381 real money ring game players. On April 15th, that number had jumped to 996. Although the volume slid slightly by April 20th to 813 cash game players, it still represents a 213% increase in just five days. Poker News Daily sat down with Carbon Poker’s Marketing Director, Ian Williams, to discuss the site’s growth.
Poker News Daily: Tell us how Carbon Poker’s customer traffic has trended since the move of Players Only and Sportsbook.com to the Merge Gaming Network.
Ian Williams: It has blown us away. I was conservatively predicting a rise of around 20%. In fact, we are seeing increases of over 100% in daily ring rake and almost 200% in tournament traffic. We have made some significant changes to our guaranteed schedule that have provided stimulus to the growth there, so we are seeing some big overlays, but these are starting to recede as players get used to the new schedule.
PND: Do you believe the traffic increase to be a temporary spike or is it sustainable over time?
Ian Williams: I believe we will continue to grow at a healthy rate. Obviously, we won’t see the spike that we have seen in the last week; however, we have great promotions and good retention of players. In the next week, we will be announcing details of a huge rake chase that I believe will have players pretty excited. I think we could grow another 100% over the next few months.
The more action we have, the easier it is to retain players on the site. One of the biggest challenges about operating a poker brand is having liquidity to excite and keep players. No one wants to play against the same guys every day, so now that we have managed to overcome that obstacle, our players are very happy.
PND: What has been the response from Carbon Poker members?
Ian Williams: Our existing customers seem to be very pleased with the new traffic and love the new tournament schedule. Our base is very loyal and has been with us for a number of years. I am glad they have the traffic that the quality of the software deserves. A lot of players use us a second or third room. However, I am seeing more and more players moving their balance over to us. We are running a promotion in April in which we are exchanging Cake Poker Network VIP Points for Carbon VIP Points. This seems to be a hit with some players along with us upping the rakeback by 5%.
PND: Do you foresee other online poker rooms migrating to the Merge Gaming Network?
Ian Williams: I certainly hope so. I think a few people are waiting in the wings to see how the network handled the Sportsbook.com migration. It has been a huge success and the guys over there tell me they are very impressed with the Merge team. I understand there are a couple of new brands going live in the next week or so such as Lock Poker, which will give the network traffic a further boost. Poker Host also moved from Cake a couple of weeks ago.