Earlier this month, I stated that average cash game traffic on WSOP NV would creep up towards and ultimately eclipse the 100 barrier. To that effect, I was right.
But since peaking at 102 on September 5th, volume on Nevada’s leading regulated iPoker site has fallen precipitously. Even worse, Nevada’s iPoker market has vastly underperformed the global industry – which has stood relatively pat.
So much for my theory that WSOP NV would enjoy a prolonged upswing.
A good trait of any analyst is the ability to reevaluate his or her predictions based on variables that may not have been considered. In the case of Nevada’s online poker climate, several factors that I had previously failed to account for clearly distinguish it from the rest of the iPoker marketplace.
Taken together, the variables could explain why Nevada’s iPoker landscape has continued to struggle thus far in September.
Why Nevada is different
Predicting traffic trends on Nevada-based sites can be an arduous process, if only because the Silver State has several, and by several I mean a ton of, unique facets that differentiate it from the rest of the world.
Just to name a few:
- Due to Nevada’s oppressively hot summers and more pleasant springs and falls, the state’s iPoker industry is not susceptible to the same seasonal trends as the rest of the online poker world.
- Each year, Las Vegas hosts the world’s biggest poker gathering. This June’s live WSOP at the Rio prompted a 60% traffic surge on WSOP NV during a month when global traffic typically falls to its annual low point.
- Although Las Vegas’ peak tourism season is essentially the entire year, most of the fall’s major live poker events take place outside of Sin City.
- Because Nevada’s iPoker market is one of the smallest in the world, it is subject to increased volatility.
- Nevada’s iPoker industry is barely one-year old, rendering it nearly impossible to predict yearly trends based on historical data alone.
Combine these oddities of Nevada’s poker market with the fact that the bulk of the online poker spotlight is currently on New Jersey, and it starts to make sense why the Silver State’s iPoker industry is in the midst of a downswing. This, despite WSOP.com’s best promotional efforts.
Cash game traffic reaches four month low
Volume as of September 16th:
Over the course of the past two weeks traffic on WSOP NV has fallen an alarming 14 percent. During the same time frame, volume on Ultimate Poker has held steady.
As a mode of comparison, the global market has experienced a 1.1 percent gain since September 3rd.
Real Gaming has still yet to accumulate any measurable traffic. 24-hour peaks are down 50% to 3 from their previous high point of 6.
Given how things are going, and with an 888 branded site that shares liquidity with WSOP NV set to launch sometime in the next several months, Real Gaming might want to consider packing it in after its $100,000 Giveaway promo concludes. Just a thought.
Tournament turnouts nothing to write home about
Looking at things from a glass is half-full perspective, at least major tournament traffic on WSOP NV stayed strong.
And on an even brighter note, the first two events of Ultimate Poker’s Big 25 mini-tournament series were quite the rousing success, both smashing their $2,500 guarantees by at least 16 percent.
Here’s a quick look at how last weekend’s majors fared compared to the week before:
- WSOP $55 R&A Weekend Warm-up $5,000 Guarantee: This weeks iteration featured a small $131.50 overlay, but still drew $180 more worth of buy-ins than last week’s tournament.
- WSOP $15,000 Guarantee: WSOP’s biggest weekly MTT scraped by its guarantee by $725, underperforming last week’s version by just one buy-in ($185)
- Ultimate Poker $10,000 Sunday: In what’s become a recurring theme, UP’s Sunday Major featured a substantial overlay ($2,247). That was still significantly better than the $3,266 the site laid out on September 7th.
For a full rundown check out PocketFives weekly tournament review.
WSOP celebrates its first birthday in grand fashion
Although I’m about as hesitant as Ultimate Poker should be to make a guarantee, I’d be hard pressed to believe that traffic on WSOP NV will falter much further, if only because the site is about to roll out a slew of new promos in celebration of its one year anniversary in Nevada.
Here’s a sneak peak at what players can expect to see on the network beginning September 19th:
- A September reload bonus of 100% up to $400. Begins on Sept. 19th and runs through the 28th.
- A 50% discount on all tournament entry fees starting at 9:19 am on 9/19 and running for the next 24 hours. The timing is not coincidental.
- The September 21st iteration of WSOP’s flagship MTT will feature a $25,000 guarantee – $10,000 more than usual.
- Each day from the 19th to the 27th, 19 random players will be selected to receive 919 player loyalty points (APP). In addition, during the same time frame all players will earn double points.
- The festivities will conclude with a $70,000 guaranteed tournament series spread out over nine events.
WSOP’s celebratory efforts are reminiscent of its cross-promotional forays during the live Series, and speak volumes towards its commitment to growing its Nevada brand.
But in a state where predicting trends is about as hard as laying down the nut flush on a paired board, who knows what kind of effect the site’s promotional blast will have on cash game averages.