The onset of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas has inspired a sizable traffic spike on WSOP Nevada since 2014.
So far, this summer in Nevada has proven no exception to the rule. In fact, cash game and tournament traffic are creeping up at an expedited pace relative to last year.
Forward march for WSOP online traffic
According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout.com, seven-day average cash game traffic on WSOP NV rose 25.5 percent from May 23 (exactly one week before the live Series began) to June 6. Over equivalent spans in 2015 and 2016, liquidity climbed at more incremental rates — 20.1 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively.
While that sounds like good news for WSOP NV, it’s important to note that liquidity was starting from a much lower point in 2017. Despite the accelerated gains, current traffic levels are only on par with last year’s figures. They are down ten percent compared to 2015.
Also, it’s not exactly fair to compare this year’s traffic trajectory to that of years prior. The reason: WSOP NV has already hosted the first of its three scheduled online bracelet events (Event #8: $333 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em).
In previous years, the site only supported one bracelet event, which ran toward the end of the live series.
This is significant because historically, online bracelet events have proven massive drivers of cash game liquidity. The running of one early in the Series neatly explains why this year’s uptick was more pronounced.
Speaking of the WSOP online bracelet
WSOP NV celebrated a big win with the running of this year’s first online bracelet event. The low buy-in MTT may not have broken the record for biggest prize pool (that record was set by last year’s online bracelet event), but it did draw more entries (2,509) than any other paid buy-in event in US regulated online poker history.
Not to mention, it also blew away its cheeky $333,333 guarantee by well over 100 percent, generating a total prize pool of $752,700 and a first place prize of more than $122,000. That’s quite the accomplishment for an online tournament with a high rake (10 percent) for its price point.
Other highlights at WSOP NV
In concurrence with the live series, WSOP NV is also hosting its annual WSOP.com Online Championships.
Thus far, the performance of the championships has been solid, yet hardly extraordinary. The biggest event run so far — Event No. 25 $50,000 GTD No Limit Hold’em — generated a healthy $61,644 prize pool.
This result would be cause for celebration if an equivalent event last summer hadn’t brought in more than $75k worth of buy-ins.
Most other OC events are coasting by — and occasionally crushing — their guarantees.
And on another positive note, the sites numerous qualifiers into live Series events — especially those into the main event — appear to be performing admirably. These satellites, as well as the Online Championship events, will continue to run throughout June and into early July.
What’s the immediate outlook WSOP NV?
WSOP NV will in all likelihood soon enjoy its strongest player counts of the season.
In both of the past two years, site liquidity enjoyed a secondary surge as the Main Event approached, ultimately reaching its annual peak early in July.
- In 2015, the highest 7-day cash game average came on July 6, when WSOP NV averaged 223 concurrent players.
- Last year’s peak came on July 9 (210 concurrent players), just one day after the record-breaking online bracelet event, and in parallel with Day 1a of the main event.
There’s reason to believe this year’s spike will be nearly as substantial and will occur roughly during the same interval:
- On July 8, WSOP NV will host the 25 Seat Scramble, which is effectively the mother of all satellites into the Main Event. Prior Scrambles easily coasted past their lofty $250,000 guarantees and precipitated a windfall of cash game traffic.
- Also on July 8, the Main Event will kick off. The onset of the main event represents the high point of poker tourism in Las Vegas, and by extension, the peak of poker playing activity, both live and online.
- The day prior, July 7, will see the running of the third annual $1,000 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em Championship. This event has also proven a winner for WSOP NV, in both its ability to drive tournament and cash game traffic.
All this said, it does seem unlikely that WSOP NV will hit a new high-water mark for cash-game traffic this summer. But a new precedent for its top-flight tournament events doesn’t appear out of the question, especially with the number of satellites running.