Give WSOP NV a ton of credit. From May 21 through August 14, there wasn’t one day when the Silver State’s iPoker market share leader averaged less than 100 cash-game players.
Compare that to the two months prior, when 7 and 30 day averages frequently dipped below the century mark.
But it finally appears that the residual effects of WSOP NV’s cross-promotional efforts during the live Series have run their course. Traffic on the network experienced notable losses over the span of the past two weeks, largely due to a dearth of enticing promotions and decreased efforts to increase brand awareness.
The good news is, that at least in theory, late-August should mark the last time liquidity dips below triple digits in 2014.
Cash-game Traffic Hit Three Month Low
- WSOP NV: 96 (102)
- Ultimate Poker: 68 (70)
It should be noted that Nevada’s all-but-forgotten third iPoker site (Real Gaming) has been generating a smidgen of activity of late. These nominal gains can most likely be attributed to the network’s Real50 $100k Giveaway promo, which rewards its top raking players with monthly cash prizes totaling $7,000.
In addition, the top three annual earners will split $16,000. That’s a pretty generous deal considering Real Gaming has next to no cash-game liquidity. Figures from PokerScout indicate that peak 24-hour traffic stands at around 5, with 7-day averages hovering somewhere between 0 and 1.
Considering that the promo awards cash prizes to its top 50 earners, in theory players could deposit $50, play enough hands to clear the minimum loyalty score benchmark each month and collect free money.
And now back to reality.
WSOP saw its volume dip 5.9 % over the past seven days, and 12.7 in the past 14. Ultimate Poker would fare significantly better, forgoing only 2.8 % of its liquidity in the past week, and actually gaining an average of 6.3 % more liquidity since August 4.
The global market would outperform Nevada by a substantial margin, holding relatively steady since the 11th and surging ahead 1.3 % in the past two weeks. It may not seem like much, but given the market’s dismal performance over the spring and early-summer months, any forward progress is good progress.
Alright, so why did Ultimate Poker vastly outperform its closest rival? For one, outside of its somewhat confounding APP Rising Ranks promo, there’s really very little going on at WSOP.com that’s worth taking note of.
WSOP’s Turbo SNG Leaderboards, which only apply to 9-man single table tournaments – turned out to be a flop, its welcome promo fares unfavorably next to UP’s and that of the one the network offered during the live WSOP, and after rolling out tournament series after tournament series in May and June, there’s been little activity on that front since.
It’s not that Ultimate Poker is doing anything special either, but the introduction of the Ultimate Poker Live Series and tournament leaderboards proved just enough to facilitate minor growth.
Tournament Turnouts Tell Familiar Story
Not much changed this week on the online tournament front, with most weekend majors performing about as well as they did during the week’s prior.
Whereas some tournaments did experience week-over-week falloffs, they were offset by other tournaments that exhibited minor gains.
Here’s a look at how some of NV’s biggest weekly tournaments fared (August 9-10 figures in parenthesis):
- WSOP.com Weekend Warm-Up $55 R&A, $5,000 Guarantee: Drew 38 runners, 40 rebuys and 25 add-ons en route to a $5,150 prize pool. ($5,450)
- WSOP.com $15k Guarantee $215 buy-in: 86 entrants gathered to form a $17,200 prize pool. ($18,400)
- Ultimate Poker $10,000 Sunday: Despite attracting a fair amount of runners (97), UP’s weekly major failed to reach its guarantee by $1,173. ($536)
Where Does Volume Go From Here?
I mentioned previously that volume on WSOP likely won’t fall any lower. While I’ve been known to be wrong before (occasionally), several indicators reinforce my theory:
- Historically, the online poker market begins to rebound in September.
- It would be nearly impossible for WSOP’s September promotional schedule to be any more lackluster than the current roll-out.
- The launch of PokerStars in New Jersey will compel existing operators to up their game.
- Along the same lines, once PokerStars arrives WSOP NJ will likely lose slip to third position in the market. It may try extra hard to retain its number one status in Nevada.
- Liquidity is only about 5% above its yearly low point.
Given this particular set of circumstances I’d be hard-pressed to believe that come October 1st, average traffic on WSOP NV will be anything less than 100.
But with most things, time will tell.