GGPoker regains the top spot in Ontario in the cash game traffic rankings, pushing PokerStars back into second position.
The new stalwart in the Ontario online poker industry is currently averaging close to 200 concurrent cash game seats in Canada’s largest province, leading over former number one PokerStars Ontario by about 35 seats, according to numbers compiled by Game Intel, an independent monitor that ranks networks by average cash game traffic and exclusively available on the Poker Industry PRO platform.
The latest change in the rankings comes just weeks after GGPoker embarked on rebranding WSOP Ontario with its own branding to “better align” the site with GG poker players worldwide.
In March, GG’s parent company NSUS Limited requested Ontario regulators to change the registered domain of WSOP Ontario from wsop.ca to ggpoker.ca. The Ontario room is now accessible only under GGPoker branding, and the WSOP domain gets redirected to GG’s site.
The site has also shed the “WSOP Powered by GGPoker” moniker — replacing it with “WSOP @ GGPoker” — from both the website and the poker platform. The changes have also been made on their social media account on Twitter.
“I can confirm that some changes have been made to better align WSOP.ca online poker players with the rest of the GGPoker community worldwide,” a GGPoker source told Poker Industry PRO in an exclusive last month.
The source further added that the changes will “make it even clearer that [players] are playing the same poker games and features and enjoying the same experience wherever possible as everyone else using GGPoker software.”
However, nothing has changed for the players in terms of gameplay. The site still runs through a partnership with the World Series of Poker brand and offers the same features it has been running since its launch.
GG’s Rise in Rankings at the Expense of PokerStars
Ever since the rebranding, GGPoker Ontario has taken the top spot in the province. While it may appear that its strategy to give the GG branding more prominence is paying off, a closer look at the cash game traffic graph available only on the Poker Industry PRO platform suggests it is PokerStars’ decline rather than GGPoker’s rise that has caused the switch in their position.
The Red Spade giant has seen a drop of around 100 concurrent cash game seats since its high on April 28, averaging 275 seats, representing a fall of almost 40%. The drop in traffic is expected, as online poker traffic traditionally experiences a seasonal decline as it heads to the summer months.
While GGPoker has also seen a decline in traffic, the drop is not as prominent as PokerStars Ontario’s, which has allowed the former to climb on the rankings.
In fact, these two rooms have been in lockstep ever since both went live in the market and have traded places multiple times in the past. For most of the autumn, WSOP/GGPoker stayed at the top position and even peaked at over 400 seats — a level not held by any other room in the province. However, PokerStars fought back hard and remained unchallenged for most of 2023 until now.
This increased competition is a boon for both players and the province. Even the third-place BetMGM Poker Network — comprising BetMGM itself, partypoker, and bwin — remains in contention.
Though, currently, the network has lost a sizeable traffic — down to 140 concurrent seats, BetMGM Poker Ontario was leading the market in the first half of April with double the traffic and peaking at nearly 300 seats. Meanwhile, 888Poker, the first entrant to the market, remains an underdog with less than 40 seats.
The Ontario online poker market averages approximately 545 cash game seats, one of the largest in the regulated North American region.
It will be interesting to see how the traffic holds up in the peak of the summer months, which will probably see reduced activity if going by history. However, GGPoker, in partnership with WSOP, is expected to run an Ontario online bracelet series, which will probably spill over into cash game activity and help maintain its lead in the province.