Poker News

PokerScout.com released its Weekly Online Poker Traffic Update on April 11th, reporting a slight 0.01% increase in traffic over the 35 different poker rooms from the previous week. The site, which monitors real money cash games and ranks the sites and networks according to seven-day averages, reported that seven of the top 10 recorded traffic losses for the week.

The top four sites kept their positions for the 14th consecutive week. PokerStars continued its stranglehold over the competition with an average of 29,400 cash game players on the site during the week. Full Tilt Poker stayed at #2, averaging 16,800 players, while Party Poker (4,700) and the iPoker Network (4,250) came in third and fourth, respectively. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the only two among the top four that allow U.S. players.

Full Tilt Poker logged a 7% gain in cash game traffic last week despite making multiple negative headlines in the United States. The world’s second largest online poker site is reportedly under investigation by a federal grand jury in New York over charges that include illegal gambling and money laundering. The site’s Irish-based management company, Pocket Kings, was also in the news, as it was hit with a lawsuit from the Commonwealth of Kentucky demanding the return of its residents’ gambling losses.

One can assume that the increase in Full Tilt Poker’s traffic was largely due to its Take 2 promotion, which rewarded players for opening at least two cash tables simultaneously or one Rush Poker table. The promotion ran from April 3rd to April 11th and gave players an opportunity to earn double Full Tilt Points and up to $25 in cash. With the popular promotion now over, it will be interesting to see how Full Tilt’s legal troubles affect the site’s traffic over the coming weeks.

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Ongame Network held strong at #5 last week, while the International Poker Network (IPN) climbed one spot to #6, pushing CEREUS Network down to seventh place in the traffic rankings. Rounding out the top 10 were Everest Poker, Microgaming, and Cake Poker, which will lose PlayersOnly from its network on April 15th. PlayersOnly will join the Merge Gaming Network, which came in at #20 in the PokerScout weekly rankings.

Everest Poker joined Full Tilt Poker in the news this month as its parent company, Ultra Internet Media, filed suit against Harrah’s alleging breach of contract. The suit centers on French television station RTL9, which violated rules of their contract by displaying logos of Full Tilt Poker during World Series of Poker (WSOP) broadcasts instead of Everest Poker. Everest is trying to pull out of a three-year sponsorship deal with the WSOP as a result. The site continues to grow in popularity in Europe, however, and was recently involved in a four-year sponsorship deal with Metropole 6 Group (M6), France’s second most watched television network.

Online poker traffic is increasing at an annual rate of 12% across the world according to PokerScout’s ACES indicator. The big gainers over the past year were Full Tilt Poker (42%), Betfair (35%), and PokerStars (27%). Those on the biggest decline were the iPoker Network (33%), Party Poker (22%), and the Microgaming Network (10%).

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