Note: Data for this report was collected from PokerScout.com on April 16, 2018.
New Jersey online poker cash games posted a decline for the third week in a row, but tournament traffic made some significant gains.
Both average cash game traffic and peak cash game traffic posted a decline, 4.1 percent, and 2.2 percent respectively. The busiest night of the week switched from Monday to Tuesday with 641 players showing up to play on the virtual felt.
Thanks to the NJSCOOP on PokerStars and The Show Me Series on WSOP.com/888 Poker, tournament entries across all three platforms jumped from 578 entries last week to 735 this week. For the first time in many weeks, all three of the major operators posted an increase in tournament entries and exceeded their guarantee.
Pala Poker tournament data was unavailable.
New Jersey cash game and tournament traffic highlights for the week ending April 15
- After looking at its tournament numbers, PokerStars is probably fine with a 2.7 decline in cash game traffic compared to last week. This week’s major tournament was NSCOOP Event #4 $300 NLH with a $75,000 guarantee. New Jersey players love the bigger buy-in tournaments and they showed up in support. There were 284 entries this week compared to just 203 last week. PokerStars has been struggling to meet its guarantees of late but they exceeded this week’s guarantee by $4,520.
- Partypoker posted 18.6 percent decline in cash game traffic compared to last week, the largest of the bunch. It made up some ground on the tournament front posting a 23 percent increase in tournament entries. Even though partypoker didn’t host a tournament series this week, it obviously benefitted from the other operators’ series.
- WSOP/888 is the only operator to post both cash game traffic and tournament numbers in positive territory. Average cash game traffic rose 15.8 percent from 183 players last week to 211 players this week. WSOP/888 did post the smallest increase in tournament entries at 18 percent. That number says the Spring Show Me series may not be having as much of an impact as initially hopes.
With that said, let’s take a detailed look back at the cash game and tournament trends in the New Jersey online poker market for the week ending April 15, 2018.
New Jersey’s online poker operators
New Jersey has seven online poker sites operating on four separate networks.
During the week of April 9-15, 2018, New Jersey online poker sites averaged 231 cash game players, a decrease of 4.1 percent from the previous week’s number of 240.
Peak traffic numbers came in at an average of 598 players, a decrease of 2.2 percent from the previous week’s figure of 612.
The busiest day of the week returned to Tuesday this week with the peak number of players reaching 641.
Here’s how those players are distributed across the four online poker networks.
- Platform provider: partypoker
- Sites in the network: BorgataPoker.com – NJ.PartyPoker.com – Poker.NJ.PlayMGM.com
Partypoker traffic lost all of its gains from last week and then some. Its average cash game traffic declined 18.6 percent when compared to last week. The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for partypoker was 150 cash game players compared to last week’s number of 184.
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for WSOP/888 was 211 cash game players compared to last week’s number of 183, up 15.8 percent. WSOP/888 is finally in positive territory, and the only operator to do so, after a few weeks of being in the basement.
- Platform provider: PokerStars
- Sites in the network: PokerStarsNJ.com
PokerStars continues to lead in terms of the number of players but can’t quite move into first place in terms of growth. The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for PokerStars was 226 cash game players compared to the 232 players that the site averaged last week, for 2.7 percent decline.
- Platform provider: Pala
- Sites in the network: PalaPoker.com
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for Pala Poker was 11 cash game players, which is a 13.3 percent decline compared to last week’s traffic number of 13 players.
Evaluating cash game traffic trends
It’s the third week of declining traffic for New Jersey’s online poker cash games. Players seem to be waiting for the historical bump in traffic that happens in mid-April.
Even so, there was much celebration with the announcement that Nevada and New Jersey will soon be combining player pools. New Jersey poker can use all the good news it can get.
Typically, a big tournament series has a positive effect on cash game traffic, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this week. NJSCOOP started on Saturday, April 14 on PokerStars and The Show Me Series began on WSOP.com on Sunday, April 15.
Is it too much to ask for positive numbers across the board? Apparently, so. While tournament entries saw significant gains, cash game traffic was left behind.
This week, online poker rooms welcomed on average 231 cash game players. Last week’s average was 241, with a 4.1 percent decrease in average traffic among the four regulated online poker rooms. Peak cash game traffic also saw a decline from 612 players last week to 598 players this week, good for 2.2 percent drop.
WSOP/888 was the only operator that found itself posting an increase in traffic. While a 15.8 percent increase is solid, it barely makes up for the declines of 4.1 percent and 21.8 percent over the past two weeks.
PokerStars was relatively flat posting a 2.7 percent decline, while partypoker took the biggest hit with 18.6 declines in traffic. Pala Poker also saw a decrease in average traffic of one player for a 13.3 percent drop compared to last week.
NJ online casinos revenues were released last week and as expected they remained in record territory. Poker, however, continues to struggle to find its way. Player pooling might just be the light at the end of the tunnel that the operators are looking for.
NJSCOOP and the WSOP Show Me Series continue this week. The series started over the weekend, so we can expect some better numbers in next week’s report.
Tournament Report: A look at the Sunday Majors
PokerStars is in the midst of NJSCOOP and WSOP/888 is hosting the Spring Show Me Series. The Spring Show Me Series consists of low buy-ins so it won’t be featured in the report, but it’s worth mentioning as a possible draw for tournament players.
The major tournaments this week were:
- The Borgata/partypoker/MGM online poker network hosted the $215 Sunday $40,000 guaranteed.
- The WSOP.com and 888 networks hosted the $215 Ultimate Warrior $40,000 guaranteed tournament, also with a $215 buy-in.
- PokerStars NJ hosted NJSCOOP Event #4 $300 NLH with a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000.
- Pala Poker usually hosts the $1,000 Guaranteed Pala Mega Rebuy with a buy-in of $30. The data for this tournament wasn’t available at the time the data for tournament play was collected.
Major tournament results for April 15, 2018
There were 735 tournament entries this week and all three operators posted an increase in players. Compared to last week’s entries of 578, tournament entries increased by 27.2 percent.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a growth that impressive. Add to that, the fact that all three operators posted an increase and exceeded their guarantees and it was a good weekend for tournament players.
As expected, PokerStars posted the greatest number of entries at 284. Compared to last week’s entries of 203, entries increased by a massive 40 percent. It also exceeded its $75,000 by $4,520. A solid number considering the online poker site has been struggling to meet its more modest $45,000 guarantee.
Both WSOP/888 and partypoker also posted increases, 18 percent, and 23 percent respectively. Both operators also exceed their guarantees by $5,200 and $5,000 respectively with only one entry separating them.
Once again, we were unable to access Pala Poker’s tournament data for Sunday.
Look for PokerStars to post another huge number next Sunday when it hosts another big buy-in (NJSCOOP Event #21) with an $80,000 guarantee. And expect WSOP/888 and partypoker to continue to ride on PokerStars’ coattails.
And with that, here’s a look at the total number of entries for the largest tournament held on each of the three main online poker networks in New Jersey: