Online poker in New Jersey suffered a bit last week, and so did much of the state for that matter.
The nor’easter that hit the East Coast left about 170,000 residents in New Jersey without power. Around 100,000 were without power for more than 24 hours and it may be mid-week before all power is returned. And another, more powerful storm is scheduled to hit the area.
It’s impossible to say whether the power outages affected poker traffic, but the poker rooms were a little slower this week.
The cash games posted a decrease of 3% and peak traffic numbers were off 6.8% compared to last week.
The tournament scene also saw a decrease. There were about 10% fewer entries into the Sunday Majors this week.
To be fair, the drop in tournament registrations wasn’t unexpected as the New Jersey Poker Classic II ended the week prior, and the New Jersey Turbo Series didn’t seem to translate into cash game traffic.
A look at the last two years of traffic data does show a spike in traffic towards the end of March and into April.
The upcoming schedule has some promising entries to hopefully help keep a spring traffic bump a yearly trend.
From March 9-19, live and online poker collide when the World Series of Poker Circuit lands in Atlantic City.
It’s always exciting when live and online poker get together, but it’s even more true with this integration. Recently, it was announced that New Jersey will host its first-ever Online Circuit Ring Event on March 18, to coincide with WSOPC stop in the Garden State.
Satellites are running now on WSOP.com for the online event and will begin on March 11 for the WSOPC Atlantic City Main Event.
It will be fun to watch how the traffic shapes up over the next few weeks.
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 4, 2018.
New Jersey’s online poker operators
New Jersey has seven online poker sites operating on four separate networks.
During the week of Feb. 26 – March 4, New Jersey online poker sites averaged 254 cash game players, a decrease of 3.3% from the previous week’s number of 262.
Peak traffic numbers came in at 657 players, a decrease of 6.8% from the previous week’s number of 607. The busiest night of the week was Thursday, March 2 with 718 players hitting the tables.
Here’s how those players are distributed across the four online poker networks.
- Platform provider: partypoker
- Sites in network: BorgataPoker.com – NJ.PartyPoker.com – Poker.NJ.PlayMGM.com
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for partypoker was 183 cash game players. That’s an 8.7% increase compared to last week’s number of 168.
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for WSOP/888 was 220 cash game players. Compared to last week’s number of 181, WSOP/888 saw a significant 21.4% increase in traffic.
The seven-day rolling peak traffic average for PokerStars was 253 cash game players. Compared to the 253 players that the site averaged last week, PokerStars saw a minimal 1.2% decrease in traffic.
- Platform provider: Pala
- Sites in network: PalaPoker.com
Cash game traffic and tournament entry data was unavailable for Pala Poker at the time the data was collected for this article.
*Cash game traffic data provided by PokerScout.com. Collected March 5, 2018.
Evaluating cash game traffic trends
What WSOP/888 lost in traffic a week earlier, they gained back this past week, posting a 21.7% increase in cash game traffic. partypoker also gained some ground posting an increase of 8.7%, while PokerStars remained relatively flat.
With the online casino revenue hitting records in New Jersey this past month, it has to be disappointing that the poker rooms aren’t following suit.
It feels like a positive growth trend is waiting to happen, but it has yet to materialize. With a few weeks left in the first quarter of 2018, there has been a 7.5% increase in online poker traffic from this time last quarter.
Before you get too excited, the year over year numbers are dismal, posting 21.3% decrease in the traffic from the same time period last year.
WSOP/888 had the best week in terms of growth, while PokerStars maintains its leader of the pack status in terms of numbers and market share.
Looking forward, as mentioned earlier, The World Series of Poker Circuit will be making a stop at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City from March 8-19.
The schedule includes the first Online Ring Event in New Jersey. Additionally, satellites to the Main Event will be running from March 11-16.
We’ll have to wait and see if the land-based integration of a major tournament series with online poker will post some positive numbers.
Another traffic driver may come by way of satellites to the World Series of Poker in Nevada. The next round of satellites should be announced soon.
Tournament Report: A look at the Sunday Majors
Each week, the four online poker networks host a signature Sunday tournament. This week the major tournaments were:
- The Borgata/partypoker/MGM online poker network hosted a $40,000 guaranteed tournament with a $215 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, but the information was not available during the writing of this article.
Additionally, while the guarantees are much lower than their signature tournament, PokerStars also hosted The Turbo Series New Jersey this past week. The tournament series ended on March 4, 2017.
Major tournament results for March 1, 2018
All online poker operators returned to their regularly scheduled Sunday major tournaments this past week.
While Pala Poker’s numbers were unavailable at the time of this writing, the remaining three sites posted a 10% decrease in registrations.
The decrease in registrations was expected since the New Jersey Poker Classic II ended the week prior.
PokerStars continued to host The Turbo Series New Jersey through Sunday, March 4. It didn’t seem to help boost registrations, though. For the second week in a row, PokerStars had an overlay on its Sunday Major.
There is a bright light on the schedule that will hopefully turn things around.
We are looking forward to The World Series of Poker Circuit stopping in Atlantic City. There is hope it will bring a boost to both cash game traffic and tournament registrations.
Awarding the first ever online circuit ring on March 18 should translate to big numbers for WSOP/888.
A boost in numbers may come as early as this week thanks to satellites for the online event. Additionally, WSOPC Atlantic City main event satellites will be running on WSOP.com beginning March 11.
And with that, 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: