In the world of New Jersey online poker, any week that posts positive gains in both cash game and tournament traffic is a good week. It was a good week.
Both cash games and tournament saw increases in traffic when compared to last week — 22.6 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.
Peak traffic was also on the rise posting an average 4.2 percent increase. While reading, note the peak traffic number of 843 for Tuesday, March 21. It’s one of the highest peak numbers we have seen in some time.
New Jersey cash game and tournament traffic highlights
- The big winner for the week ending March 25 was Borgata and the partypoker platform. partypoker parlayed the GSSS Spring ’18 tournament series to a four percent increase in cash game traffic and a 24 percent increase in tournament entrants compared to last week. They were the only operator to post positive gains in both cash games and tournaments.
- On the flip side, PokerStars posted a moderate decline in both cash game (-3.4 percent) and tournament (-1 percent) traffic compared to last week. They once again found themselves in overlay territory for the Sunday Special, after last week’s reprieve.
- WSOP/888 landed somewhere in the middle. The network posted a strong 15 percent increase in cash game traffic and modest 3.4 decrease in tournament traffic. It also paid out the largest Sunday Major overlay ($1,200) of the week, which is disappointing after a few solid weeks in the tournament area.
- Pala Poker continues to fight for every player. Tournament data wasn’t available but it’s unlikely that it hit its guarantee and their cash game traffic suffered a bit. With the established platforms hosting big tournament series and satellites to major events, they continue to struggle for them to gain some ground.
With that said, let’s take a detailed look back at the cash game and tournament trends in the New Jersey online poker market for the week ending March 25, 2018.
New Jersey’s online poker operators
New Jersey has seven online poker sites operating on four separate networks.
During the week of March 19 – March 25, New Jersey online poker sites averaged 273 cash game players, an increase of 22.6 percent from the previous week’s number of 222.
Peak traffic numbers came in at 677 players, an increase of 4.2 percent from the previous week’s number of 650.
For the third week in a row, players picked Tuesday as their preferred day to play. March 21 saw a peak of 843 players across the four major networks, the highest number in quite a while and significant jump over last week’s highest peak traffic number of 691.
Here’s how those players are distributed across the four online poker networks.
- Platform provider: partypoker
- Sites in the network: BorgataPoker.com – NJ.PartyPoker.com – Poker.NJ.PlayMGM.com
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for partypoker was 176 cash game players. Compared to last week’s traffic average of 169, partypoker ended the week with a four percent increase in traffic.
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for WSOP/888 was 244 cash game players. Compared to last week’s adjusted number of 212, WSOP/888 posted a significant 15 percent increase in traffic.
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for PokerStars was 245 cash game players. Compared to the 254 players that the site averaged last week, PokerStars saw a small decrease of 3.4 percent in traffic.
- Platform provider: Pala
- Sites in the network: PalaPoker.com
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for Pala Poker was 11 cash game players. It is a 22.4 percent decrease compared to last week’s traffic number of 14 players.
*Cash game traffic data provided by PokerScout.com. Collected March 26, 2018.
Evaluating cash game traffic trends
There was much rejoicing as cash game traffic posted a double-digit gain this week. The 22.6% gain in average traffic numbers no doubt received a boost from the GSSS Spring ’18 tournament series.
This week, online poker welcomed on average 273 cash game players, a notable increase over last week’s number of 222.
Borgata and the partypoker platform came out on top, which might seem obvious as the host of the GSSS Spring ’18. What’s not always a given, especially in the New Jersey market is the translation of tournament traffic into cash game players. Well, this week there seemed to be a correlation.
partypoker’s cash game traffic posted a modest four percent increase in traffic compared to last week. Is it a coincidence that the busiest day for online poker coincided with the tournament that exceeded its guarantee by the greatest amount? Most likely not.
WSOP/888 saw the largest gain in cash games traffic for the week. In this market, a 15% increase over the prior week is nothing to sneeze at.
WSOP/888 is running satellites to the WSOP in Nevada, but those haven’t really transferred into cash game traffic in the past. So, while, partypoker hogged all the tournament players, WSOP/888 stood its ground on the cash game front.
Pala Poker and PokerStars, on the other hand, found themselves in negative territory this week. PokerStars posted a moderate 3.4 percent decline in traffic, while Pala’s decline is more significant at 22%. Of course, “significant” is relative, and with Pala’s paltry cash game traffic numbers, any drop registers as substantial.
Don’t expect PokerStars to stay in negative territory for long. They will be looking to change places with partypoker in a few weeks as the NJSCOOP gets underway mid-April.
Tournament Report: A look at the Sunday Majors
Each week, the four online poker networks host a signature Sunday tournament. This week, Borgata hosted the Garden State Super Series Spring ’18 and replaced its regular Sunday tournament with Event #15. All New Jersey operators will be on their regular Sunday schedule next week.
The major tournaments this week were:
- The Borgata/partypoker/MGM online poker network hosted the $100,000 guaranteed GSSS Spring ’18 Event #15 – Main Event with a $320 buy-in.
- The WSOP.com and 888 network hosted the $215 Ultimate Warrior $40,000 guaranteed tournament, also with a $215 buy-in.
- PokerStars NJ hosted the Sunday Special, a $200 buy-in with a guaranteed prize pool of $45,000.
- Pala Poker usually hosts the $1,000 Guaranteed Pala Mega Rebuy with a buy-in of $30. The data for this tournament wasn’t available when this article was written.
Major tournament results for March 25, 2018
The final day of the highly-anticipated GSSS Spring ’18 tournament series was on Sunday, and by all accounts it delivered. You can read a full recap of the GSSS Spring ’18 event here.
For now, here a few highlights:
- More tournaments met their guarantees than didn’t, 11 out of 18 to be exact
- Event #15 – $100k Guaranteed Main Event had 369 entrants, making it one of the biggest online New Jersey tournaments in a while
- The series as a whole surpassed its $365,000 guarantee by nearly $100,000
The success of the tournament series garnered a 7.5 percent increase in overall tournament traffic – all of it on the partypoker platform.
In fact, partypoker saw an increase of 24 percent in registrations compared to last week’s major tournament, while WSOP/888 and PokerStars both logged a decline in registrants.
Pala Poker tournament traffic data was unavailable, but they have yet to meet the guarantee for their Sunday major. It’s highly unlikely their numbers would have moved the needle one way or another.
Total entries for the three Sunday majors was 803, of which 46% came from the GSSS Spring ’18 Main Event.
Looking ahead, PokerStars just announced NJSCOOP 2018 tournament dates of April 14-30, 2018. On their blog, they call the series, “The Garden State’s richest tournament series.” With over $1.3 million in guarantees, you can expect a busy few weeks on PokerStars.
Additionally, the next round of satellites to the World Series of Poker should be released soon on WSOP.com and the 888poker platform. With just over two months until the doors are unlocked, you can expect the satellite schedule to be more aggressive and enticing.
And with that, here’s a look at the total number of entries for the largest tournament held on each of the three leading online poker networks in New Jersey: