As per the latest figures, tracked by independent monitor GameIntel and available exclusively on the Poker Industry PRO platform, the WSOP/888 US network boasts 413 average players, a five-month high and the second-largest excluding the COVID 2020 peak.
This has helped it outstrip PokerStars’ newly launched shared liquidity network that had been riding high after the merger of its New Jersey & Michigan player pools.
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PokerStars launched the multi-state shared network on the first day of the new year, becoming only the second operator to take advantage of the multi-state online poker compact in the country. Immediately after the pools were combined, its traffic rose to over 350 concurrent cash game seats, enough to take it to the pole position.
It held the lead for a month, but on February 4, WSOP/888 network snatched the crown from PokerStars. Since then, WSOP’s traffic has leaped to over 400 cash game seats, seeing an uptick of 37% in just two weeks.
Meanwhile, PokerStars US’ network has seen a slight drop from its peak in the first week of January but has stabilized at around 300 seats. The gap between the two networks has grown to 34%.
Before the launch of PokerStars’ shared liquidity network in the US, the WSOP/888 network had been jostling for the number one position with PokerStars PA on multiple occasions.
What led to WSOP’s sudden traffic spurt is unknown — the operator is not running any out-of-the-blue or ambitious promotion. The sudden spike could be due to a seasonal high, as January is usually the month online poker traffic peaks.
However, when compared year-over-year, the network is up by nearly 60%. The network often sees short spikes but struggles to maintain the growth.
BetMGM NJ, another competitor in the market, is sitting quietly at the third position, averaging close to 100 concurrent cash game seats. It is the only major operator in the state that has yet to launch multi-state online poker.
New PokerStars US Network Enjoying Honeymoon Period
A busy schedule at PokerStars also gave the operator a boost in January.
PokerStars held two special tournaments on New Year’s Day to help celebrate the merger of its Michigan and New Jersey player pools. Both events exceeded their guarantees.
The operator followed its hot opening action by announcing its largest-ever online tournament series in the US, the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) Online series, from January 13 through January 30.
Stiff Competition Ahead
The team at the PokerStars US Network certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. As reported last week, the network has boosted its weekly tournament schedule to a record high $1 million, launched Zoom Week promotion and is preparing for its first shared SCOOP tournament series, expected to take place next month or April.
That should propel the network to retake the crown position but is likely to face stiffer competition this year as BetMGM is expected to merge their New Jersey & Michigan pools and WSOP, which would expand its multi-state network from three states to four once WSOP MI joins.
Until now, WSOP has been the only operator to take advantage of MSIGA. The WSOP/888 US Network has a combined player pool across three of the four states in the compact — Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.
PokerStars MI was the first online poker operator in Michigan to receive approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to launch multi-state online poker. There’s currently no update on when BetMGM Poker MI or WSOP MI plan to combine their Michigan player pools with their counterparts in New Jersey.