NJ Online Gaming Scoop: Cash Game And Tournament Traffic For The Week Of Jan. 15

January 23, 2018
NJ Online Gaming Scoop: Cash Game And Tournament Traffic For The Week Of Jan. 15


New Jersey online poker cash game traffic fell for the second week in a row—not a great sign for the year ahead, but not necessarily unusual for this time of year.

Cash game traffic is notoriously volatile on short time scales, vulnerable to the competing demands of sports fixtures or popular dramas on television.

Big tournament series can also drag players away from the cash game tables, and the week ended with the Main Event for the Winter Series on PokerStars. This was the year’s first online New Jersey tournament with a $100,000 guarantee.

After comfortably exceeding the guarantee on the Winter Series 2 which replaced last weekend’s Sunday Major, PokerStars repeated the success with the Winter Series 11 Main Event. The re-entry format finally produced a prize pool of over $112,000, an early marker for other series to live up to.

The WSOP/888 partnership had a dreary week at both cash game tables and in their Sunday Major. Peak traffic numbers declined by over 50% in cash games, dragging the 24/7 average down from 92 occupied seats at the start of the week to just 65 by close of play on Monday.

WSOP/888 also stood out by failing to hit its guaranteed prize pool for the Sunday Ultimate Warrior. The $40,000 guarantee saw a substantial miss as the 118 entrants racked up only $35,800 worth of entry fees and rebuys.

WSOP/888 aren’t taking this lying down. The network will shortly be running its own tournament series offering $800,000 in guaranteed prize money. The New Jersey Poker Classic (NJPC) will begin on Feb. 9 and run over 57 events, culminating in a $100,000 guaranteed Main Event on Feb. 25.

The PokerStars $100,000 guaranteed last weekend beat its guarantee with the buy-in set at $400. WSOP/888 have set their NJPC Main Event buy-in at $500, an interesting balancing exercise in getting the price point and the guarantee set to an optimal level.

Below you’ll find US Poker’s detailed 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 16 – January 22, New Jersey online poker sites averaged 259 cash game players, a loss of 8.9 percent over the previous week.

Peak traffic numbers were around 557 players, a significant drop of 20.1 percent from 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 23, 2018.


Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 185 cash game players – down 7.7 percent compared to the previous seven days


Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 120 cash game players –down 51.9 percent compared to the previous seven days

PokerStars NJ

Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average: 240 cash game players – up 1.5 percent compared to the previous seven days

Pala Poker

  • Platform provider: Pala
  • Sites in network: PalaPoker

Seven-day rolling cash game traffic data:

  • Seven-day rolling peak traffic average data is not available this week. Last week Pala’s peak traffic averaged 12.8 cash game players.

Evaluating cash game traffic trends

Last week WSOP/888 produced the standout performance in the competition for cash game traffic. At peak times it even managed to exceed PokerStars on four days of the week. This week has seen a different story.

Traffic held up for the first few days but then went into a precipitous decline. The combined cash game tracker graph above shows the impact of WSOP/888’s numbers on the whole market.

Even though the week’s average of cash game traffic for WSOP/888 only showed a small fall, the impact of not securing big numbers during the critical peak playing period is evident.

WSOP/888 didn’t fail to attract players to their table outside peak hours it was the peak hour performance which dropped. This can’t be blamed on sports fixtures or popular drama series competing for player attention this week.

PokerStars and Borgata/partypoker both managed to keep their peak traffic numbers and their average 24/7 numbers fairly stable – PokerStars managed to lift its average by 1.5 percent while partypoker’s numbers dropped by a 7.7 percent.

Full cash game statistics from Pala Poker were not available for this week, however, its average traffic over the week was stable at one occupied seat, slightly down on the average it recorded last week.

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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 has 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 21, 2018

As noted above, PokerStars replaced its standard Sunday Major with its $45,000 guarantee, with the Main Event of the Winter Series which came with a full $100,000 guarantee.

PokerStars secured a field of 299 players prepared to pay the $400 buy-in, and with the re-entries allowed by the format happily sailed past the 100k mark to reach a prize pool of $112,125.

Next Sunday should see all three major operators back on their regular Sunday schedule, with the next major online tournament series not due to start until Feb. 9.

The Borgata/partypoker regular Sunday $40k guaranteed event safely amassed a prize pool of $43,800 so the overlay at the WSOP/888 Ultimate Warrior event definitely went against the trend.

WSOP/888 run the Warrior series as part of its regular schedule. There are events at every popular price point and satellites run for the $200 buy-in event. Every weekend the Warrior Series guarantees a total of $100,000 in prize money and there seems no reason why it should not perform as well as PokerStars and partypoker.

As the winter continues, tournament fields should be growing to the seasonal high which typically comes in mid-February. The guarantees currently on offer from the main operators are probably secure at least until then, but as Spring approaches, guarantees are likely to come down as traffic declines.

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:

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

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