Two online poker sites in New Jersey have seen their player pools increase dramatically in the past week, thanks to a liquidity sharing agreement that went into effect just days earlier.
The new agreement sees WSOP.com and 888poker.com share players for most low-stakes cash games and some selected tournaments, and has bumped both sites to the top of New Jersey’s online poker market.
According to numbers provided by PokerScout.com, WSOP.com in New Jersey is now the largest site in the state in terms of cash game traffic.
Over the past seven days, the site has averaged about 190 players at its cash game tables, or nearly a 50 percent increase over the traffic on the site before the player pool sharing began.
The change has been even more dramatic on the All American Poker Network, also known as 888poker.com.
There, traffic is up more than 75 percent over the past week, with the site now averaging about 170 players at its cash game tables.
This means that both WSOP.com and 888poker.com have surpassed the Borgata/partypoker network in terms of traffic.
Both Sites Use Same Software Package, But Remain Independent
The merger was made possible by the fact that both sites use software provided by 888 Holdings. At the moment, higher-stakes cash games and many tournaments are still segregated between the two sites.
However, some have speculated that this partial liquidity sharing agreement could be a precursor to a complete networking of the two sites.
Until that happens, though, the two sites are still technically independent.
That means that the PokerScout traffic numbers for the two sites may be a bit bloated, as players at low-stakes games will appear to be on both sites at the same time.
Still, it’s clear that the WSOP/888 partnership has more total players than partypoker/Borgata, at least in terms of their cash game traffic.
Liquidity Necessary to Sustain Poker Sites
While the number of players on an Internet gambling site may not seem noteworthy, it can actually be crucial to the success of online poker rooms.
Unlike other games like slot machines or blackjack, poker requires players to compete against each other.
That means that without a critical mass of players to keep games running, it can be hard to attract people to the tables.
In addition, larger player pools mean bigger prizes in tournaments, which can in turn attract more players, starting a positive feedback cycle for sites.
Should the bump in traffic persist, it could help spark a recovery in New Jersey’s online poker market.
There has been a steady downward trend since Internet gambling was first introduced in the state in late 2013; while online poker sites were bringing in $3 million or more each month early in 2014, that total had dropped below $2 million in October.
There are positive signs, however.
In December, monthly revenues increased for the first time in four months, bouncing back above the $2 million mark.
Both partypoker and 888poker.com have also been using aggressive promotions in order to attract new players, and the Borgata Winter Poker Open should bring in more out-of-state throughout the rest of January.
Perhaps most exciting of all, there is talk that PokerStars could be approved for an online gambling license as soon as March, and many hope that the online poker giant would bring in recreational players who are familiar with the PokerStars brand.