The NJ Online Gaming Scoop: Cash Game And Tournament Traffic For The First Full Week of 2018

Joss Wood January 11, 2018 1008 Reads
NJ Online Gaming Traffic

The first full week of 2018 saw the year get off to a great start for New Jersey’s online poker providers.

Cash game traffic rose, which is only to be expected at this time of the year, but it rose more than is usual as poker sites benefited from the cold weather. Players stayed in rather than brave conditions that saw neighboring New York shut down all flights from JFK airport.

The seven day moving average of cash game traffic peaked at over 300 occupied seats, more than 50 percent above the all-time low of 198 seats which the market touched on November 16 less than two months ago.

The Sunday Majors at partypoker/Borgata, WSOP/888, and PokerStars all resumed their guarantees and normal schedule after the disruption caused by the New Year holiday. They also benefited from additional play and all of the operators managed to exceed their guaranteed prize pools.

New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) will shortly have the December revenue report out, so next week’s Gaming Scoop will be able to check whether the good traffic figures for December translated into better revenues.

And so to US Poker’s weekly look back at the cash game and tournament trends in the New Jersey online poker market.

New Jersey’s online poker operators

New Jersey has seven online poker sites operating on four separate networks.

During the week of January 2 – January 8, New Jersey online poker sites averaged 299 cash game players, a gain of 5.5 percent over the previous week.

Peak traffic numbers were around 697 players, 8 percent higher than the previous week.

Here’s how those players are distributed across the four online poker networks.

*Cash game traffic data provided by PokerScout.com. Collected on January 8, 2018.

Borgata/MGM/partypoker

Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 198 cash game players – up 12.6 percent compared to the previous seven days

WSOP/888poker

Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 210 cash game players – up 7.7 percent compared to the previous seven days

PokerStars NJ

Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 276 cash game players – up 9.9 percent compared to the previous seven days

Pala Poker

Seven-day rolling average cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 12 cash game players – up 36.4 percent compared to the previous seven days.

Evaluating cash game traffic trends

As expected, the end of the week saw PokerStars continue its run as the most popular New Jersey online poker room. It registered an average of 120 occupied seats with peak traffic getting as high as 303 players on Friday, January 5.

888/WSOP has managed to keep a small gap between itself and partypoker to retain second place in the market with an average of 93 occupied seats and peak traffic hitting 244 players on January 2.

Partypoker still lags the others but has a viable average cash game traffic number with 89 occupied seats and a week peak of 230 seats again on January 5.

Pala Poker is still at the earliest possible position in its development, but it saw its average cash game traffic increase by a third, from 8 to 12 occupied seats. Peak traffic got as high as 18 players on January 4, but the market newcomer will want to quadruple that figure over the course of 2018.

Tournament Report: A look at the Sunday Majors

Three of the four online poker networks host a signature Sunday tournament:

  • The Borgata/partypoker/MGM online poker network offers a $40,000 guarantee tournament. The tournament has a $215 buy-in.
  • The WSOP.com and 888 network also host a $215 buy-in, $40,000 guaranteed tournament that it’s dubbed, “The Warrior.”
  • PokerStars NJ hosts the Sunday Special, a $200 buy-in with a guarantee of $45,000.

*Pala Poker doesn’t offer a signature Sunday tournament at this time.

Pala has introduced its largest guaranteed tournaments yet with a thrice-weekly $2,000 Guaranteed Pala Mega. The buy-in is $30, and the events run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday each week at 7.30 p.m.

Major tournament results for January 7, 2018

Despite their marketing value, overlays are not a pleasant surprise for online poker operators. All will be pleased that the new year got off to a flying start with the first normally scheduled Sunday Majors all beating their guarantees.

The partypoker/Borgata network exceeded the guarantee on its Sunday $40k by $5,200, creating a prize pool 13 percent larger than the guarantee.

PokerStars beat the guarantee on its Sunday Special by $4,848 which works out to 10.8 percent over the promised guarantee of $54,000. 888/WSOP was also in healthy territory with a $44,000 prize pool for its $40k Ultimate Warrior event – 10 percent over the guarantee.

Here’s a look at the total number of entries for the largest tournament held on each of the three main online poker networks in New Jersey events:

And here’s a look at the total prize-pool for each tournament: