For the first time in more than two years, cash game traffic on 888poker has moved ahead of partypoker. July 2018 was the last time 888 held the lead over rival partypoker in the cash game sphere on a rolling seven-day average of cash game players observed over a 24-hour period.
The news comes on the heels of 888poker’s release of its 2020 financial data, which showed huge gains in revenue across the brand in 2020. While most of its revenue still comes from the casino arm, poker specifically saw an increase of nearly 50% over its 2019 numbers.
Once touted as the big three (along with PokerStars) in online poker, a new pecking order has emerged in recent years, as evidenced by iPoker surpassing 888 in November 2020 and overtaking partypoker earlier this month.
After dropping below iPoker on March 12, partypoker dropped another spot in the global cash game race on March 24 when a small surge from 888 pushed them above their rival. That leaves partypoker on the bottom of the pile when looking at the top five global cash game networks.
Fighting for Third
The global cash game market is dominated by industry giants GGPoker and PokerStars. PokerStars has owned the cash game market since October 2006, posting the highest traffic of any other online operator in the global space.
GGPoker has consistently held the second place position since mid-2020 with a surge around the COVID-19 lockdown and the global WSOP online events. They sneaked into second place in early 2019, alternating with partypoker for second over the next year or so.
Since mid-2020, GGPoker has surged into a clear second place, leaving the other three in their dust. While they are still significantly below industry leader PokerStars, recent trends show GG inching closer to PokerStars as its traffic stays stable while the the industry leader is seeing a decline in its traffic.
That leaves iPoker, 888, and partypoker in a battle for third place. Currently, iPoker is winning that battle, posting as much as 20% higher traffic than partypoker, and 15% more than 888 over the past couple weeks.
partypoker Traffic Drops
888poker saw its highest traffic of the year in early February when it neared an average of 1200 concurrent players. iPoker and partypoker both posted their best cash results in January with more than 1500 concurrent users for partypoker, and nearly 1300 concurrent users for iPoker.
Both iPoker and 888poker have held fairly steady with their traffic in 2021. iPoker has averaged between 1150 and 1300 cash players a day through this year, while 888poker has seen between 1000 and 1200 daily players.
While 888’s recent move up the ladder comes after modest gains in traffic on its network, the real reason for the positional change is down to dwindling numbers on partypoker. At its 2021 height early in the year, partypoker saw nearly 1600 concurrent cash game players a day with much of January spent above the 1500 mark.
Since then, however, partypoker has seen a steady drop in traffic, with the most recent numbers showing barely 1000 players per day, despite its recent announcement of a 50% revenue increase in 2020.
The decline in traffic over the past two months comes as party recently replaced its cash game leaderboards with randomized cash drops of up to 500 big blinds at its new Hot Tables.
This slide has allowed 888’s consistent numbers to jump ahead in recent days and take over the fourth place spot overall.
Not Much In It
The differences are small, however, and it remains to be seen whether these positions will hold. Both 888 and partypoker have work to do to catch iPoker, but they are both very close in terms of fourth and fifth place, and neither is that far from third place.
The most recent numbers show 888poker with 39 more daily players on March 29, but its total of 1046 is still marginally ahead of partypoker’s 1007. Both operators are below the third place iPoker with 1198 concurrent users, however.
First and second place in cash game traffic globally seem well established with PokerStars and GGPoker well above the rest of the field. While there may yet be a positional swap between the two behemoths, neither seem in danger of falling out of the top two any time soon.
The battle for third place is a different matter though. The three operators in third, fourth, and fifth are all quite close to each other, so the next few weeks could see even more changes in those positions.