Wouldn’t it be a shame if WSOP NV’s stellar marketing efforts in June had no long-term effect on iPoker growth?
I bet that was the question on the minds of the Silver State’s gaming operators late last week, when average cash-game liquidity in Nevada plummeted to a two month low of 160 – a mere 7.5 % above what it was exactly two weeks before the Rio first welcomed the poker masses for the annual WSOP.
Luckily for them, the market would rebound over the weekend – an upward trend that would persist throughout the early portion of this week.
That’s good news, right? Not necessarily, as a quick glance at global volume trends reveals that Nevada’s recovery may be a reflection of the market as a whole, and not the result of WSOP’s campaign to spread brand awareness.
Cash-game traffic speaks volumes
Throughout the early and middle portions of last week, traffic in Nevada dipped nearly 10 %. WSOP.com would bear the brunt of the loss, while liquidity on Ultimate Poker only tapered off slightly.
Yet due to recent gains, both networks were able to offset most of the damage done during the week prior.
To illustrate, listed below are last Tuesday’s vs. this Tuesday’s 7-day cash-game averages.
- WSOP.com: August 5th – 111, July 29th – 111
- Ultimate Poker: August 5th – 65, July 29th – 63
Based purely on week-over-week numbers, you’d probably think it was a pretty uneventful week in Nevada iGaming history. But that was anything but the case, as traffic levels were just as volatile, if not more so, than they were in the tumultuous weeks leading up to the live WSOP.
Getting back to the numbers…
Since Friday alone, Nevada’s traffic levels surged 10.6 % – that was good enough for the market to recover over one-third of the volume it lost in the two weeks prior.
That’s the good news.
The bad news was that over the past week, the global market has experienced gains of more than 4 %; vastly superior to Nevada’s 1.1 % gains over an equivalent time period.
Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely bad news, because at least it means the market is finally pulling out of one of its worst seasonal downtrends, but it doesn’t bode well for the future growth of Nevada’s nascent iPoker industry.
But wait, there’s more good news.
Over the weekend, the growth exhibited in Nevada outpaced that of the global market’s. Whether this was just a short term fluke or not is yet to be determined.
Admittedly, sometimes predicting industry traffic trends is more futile than trying to figure out the NASDAQ. Perhaps tournament turnout figures will provide us with a better glimpse of how Nevada’s iPoker market is faring.
Tournament volume takes a hit
Amid rising cash-game liquidity, tournament volume has yet to reverse its downtrend.
Here’s a sneak peak at some of the number for the state’s biggest tournaments (last week’s prize pool in parenthesis):
- WSOP.com $15k guarantee: 93 runners created a $18,600 prize pool ($22,400)
- WSOP.com $5k guarantee (Weekend Warmup): 40 runners, 33 rebuys and 25 add-ons created a $100 overlay ($6,050)
- Ultimate Poker $10k guarantee: 97 runners, $1,173 overlay ($1,537 overlay)
What will be interesting to see is if tournament volume will also rebound in the coming weeks. This would provide a firmer indication that Nevada’s iPoker market is on the mend.
It comes as little surprise that July was a rather slow month on WSOP.com’s promotional front, as the network was undoubtedly in need of a little R&R. This month isn’t exactly shaping up to be all that exciting either, but at least there’s a couple of recently launched promotional events worth noting:
- Rising Ranks: This straightforward leaderboard promotion rewards players who accumulate the most loyalty points with cash prizes and upgraded loyalty tiers. Runs from now until August 30.
- Turbo SNG Leader Boards: They’re back, only this time they’re turbo-sized. Rewards players who fare well at nine-handed turbo SNGs with a share of $5,000 in weekly prize money. Also runs through the 30th.