Published on September 3rd, 2008 7:14 am EST

growth of online poker - computer mouse - arrow going up - word poker in 3dPokerscout (link below) recently released their Weekly Online Poker Traffic Update. In their report, Pokerscout included data of the Year over Year change in traffic for the major poker networks.

First off, according to their report, the worldwide online poker market has grown 25% in the past year. Rooms such as Pokerstars have been placing a clear emphasis on growing their international customer base, and it definitely seems to be paying off. Players from 118 different countries and territories participated in the World Series of Poker this year, a clear testament to the fact that poker is becoming a global phenomenon.

Over the past year, the 800 pound gorilla of the industry, Pokerstars, has only grown larger. According to Pokerscout, Pokerstars has grown 72% from this time last year. They are investing heavily in expanding their global reach, but they are also still benefiting from remaining in the United States post-UIGEA. Much of their competition (namely, Party Poker) decided to pull out of the US, leaving Pokerstars to swell in size. People play where the action is, and Pokerstars has more action than any other site in the industry.

Second on the list - Full Tilt Poker. According to Pokerscout, they have grown 54% over the past year. The reasons are the same - poker is growing internationally, and US-based players are flocking to Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. Full Tilt is especially aggressive when it comes to marketing to American players, and this has definitely paid off for them in the months following the passage of the UIGEA. Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker are the two leaders in the industry right now, followed by the iPoker Network.

The iPoker Network has had a great year as well. They are currently the third largest poker network in the world (ahead of Party Poker), having grown an additional 53% from this time last year. There are a number of well-known skins on the iPoker Network, and I would imagine that they will continue their rapid growth.

The Cakepoker Network has grown 89% in size over the past year. They are currently the tenth largest network in the world, just behind Ultimatebet.

The biggest two losers, according to Pokerscout, are Party Poker and Absolute Poker. Party Poker has been stumbling ever since they decided to withdraw from the United States. Many non-US players decided to leave the site in favor of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. Party Poker used to be by far the largest poker room in the industry (pre-UIGEA), and now they are the fourth largest. Sure, they lost a big chunk of their user base after closing the accounts of their American customers, but they have still seen other non-US networks post large gains in customers over the past year or two. Party Poker will apparently be releasing a major revamp of their software over the coming months - it will be interesting to see whether or not this reverses the tide. They have dropped 29% in the past year.

Absolute Poker has also dropped 29% in the past year. Much of their drop can likely be attributed to the "superuser" scandal that took place last year. Many players abandoned the site after that transpired, and haven't come back.

Bodog is also included on the list, having dropped a total of 28% in the past year. They have been battling severe payout issues for a while now, and this has certainly helped to whittle down their poker client base. Full Tilt and Pokerstars have also had payout issues, but Bodog's have seemed to be particularly bad.

Bodog accepts US players, but they are running into the same problem that other rooms are facing - people want to play on the sites that have the highest number of active players, and those are Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.

Overall, the online poker industry seems to be healthy and poised for more growth. Pokerstars continues to put distance between itself and the rest of the competition, at the expense of Party Poker, Bodog and others.



Filed Under: Online Poker Rooms

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