Nevada Traffic Report: The Power of a Promotion

Posted on October 17, 2014

Value. It’s what every smart grinder seeks.

VIP programs, welcome bonuses, rake limits: All of these static factors play a fundamental role in determining where someone who plays online poker for a living sets up shop.

But it’s the dynamic factors, namely promotions, that ultimately govern how much time grinders are willing to devote to a site on any given day.

They’re also instrumental in attracting flighty recreational players looking to capitalize on a good deal. It follows that the higher frequency of recs draws the sharks, resulting in higher overall volume, and a healthier poker ecology.

In short, promotions, or rather, well-thought out promotions, are paramount to the success of any iPoker room.

So where am I going with this?

Over the past two months, the power promotions wield over the poker community has been on full display in Nevada, where WSOP NV‘s traffic margins can be directly attributed to the strength of its promotional schedule.

My advice: run more promos.

US regulated poker is still in its infancy. By taking a financial hit now, Nevada’s sites will be able to sustain higher average liquidity. Higher liquidity leads to stronger brand, and more importantly, online poker awareness.

The sites running the most consistent promotional schedules will position themselves well for when the market expands, and that’s just plain ole simple good business.

Now that that’s taken care of, onto the effects Nevada’s latest promos are having on cash game liquidity.

WSOP’s October promos rule the day

According to data gathered from PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout, current 7-day cash game averages in Nevada (last week’s figures in parenthesis) are as follows:

Notice that Ultimate Poker slightly edged out WSOP in terms of percentage growth (6.7% vs 4.7%). However, since Saturday, volume on WSOP has swelled a healthy 9.8%.

Why? Two reasons. One, on Sunday WSOP kicked off three new promos.

Secondly, over the weekend the network released its long anticipated Android application.

WSOP’s October promotional schedule in many ways parallels last month’s; a worthy strategy considering September’s anniversary promos propelled volume upwards by about 15%. Expect similar gains in October, and for them to sustain throughout the next week-and-a-half.

Explaining why Ultimate Poker has gained any traction at all is a trickier matter. Perhaps it has something to do with the site’s cross-promotional ties to the Peppermill, which is poised to kickoff its Fall Challenge.

Maybe it’s the Ultimate Poker Live Series 2, which is gifting players the chance to play in a $10,000 GTD event at Green Valley Ranch.

Or it could just be a random anomaly. Stranger things have happened.

Fall Poker Festival rules, other MTTs, not so much

WSOP’s most lucrative October promo, October APP Dash, is more cash oriented, and thus, the network’s tournament volume did not experience the same week-over-week growth as its ring games.

With one exception. The network’s Fall Poker Festival promo, which is awarding $60,000 in guaranteed prize money over eight events (and a WSOP branded ring), has apparently driven the Silver State’s tournament grinders out of hibernation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the events played thus far:

  • Event #1: $20,000 GTD NLHE Re-entry: Drew 85 runners, 23 rebuys and 38 add-ons at $185 a piece en route to creating a $27,010 prize pool.
  • Event #2: $2,500 GTD NLHE KO: 112 ponied up $40 a pop, $18.50 of which was allocated to the prize pool, creating a $400+ overlay.
  • Event #3: $6,000 GTD NLHE R&A: 198 buys rendered Event #3 a massive success, as it crushes its guarantee by over $3,000.
  • Event #4: $2,500 GTD PLO R&A: Even PLO tournaments are catching on over in Nevada, proven by Event #4’s statistics- 52 buys, 29 rebuys and 37 add-ons, $3221.40 prize pool.

With so much attention focused on the Fall Poker Festival, the state’s other regularly scheduled tournaments did not fare quite as well.

Most notably, Ultimate Poker’s biggest Sunday Major – a $10,000 GTD NLHE event, came up $2,356 short of hitting its minimum benchmark. That’s an approximately $900 downgrade from last week.

Volume for WSOP’s smaller weekend majors also trended downward, although nominally so.

Interestingly enough, the total prize pool for Nevada’s version of the Fall Poker Festival parallels that of New Jersey’s. This indicates that the company places more stock in its Nevada brand, as New Jersey features a 3.2x larger population.

And rightfully so. WSOP NV is currently pulling in 80% of the volume as its East Coast counterpart, which means a Nevada resident is 2.56 times more likely to play online poker on WSOP.com, even more so when one considers that a portion of NJ’s online poker traffic comes from neighboring cities in New York and Pennsylvania.

Why that’s the case is another article for another day, but suffice it to say, that from here on out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nevada’s promotions continue to offer equivalent value to the Garden State’s.

And for those seeking consistent value, that’s good news.

Robert DellaFave Avatar
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Robert DellaFave

In addition to being the managing editor of OnlinePokerReport.com, New Jersey-based Robert contributes to a variety of online publications oriented toward legal U.S. online poker and casino markets. He is also a game designer. Find more from Robert by following @DivergentGames on Twitter.

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