PartyPoker is once again the number two poker room in the world. Party first lost the number two slot to iPoker in August last year. The gap widened as PartyPoker was slow to introduce a fast fold poker product.
iPoker’s network split, together with the launch of PartyPoker’s Fast Forward Poker and a successful September scratch card promotion has done just enough to enable Party to regain second place honors to market leader PokerStars.
According to the latest traffic report from independent industry monitor PokerScout, Both sites have seen their cash game traffic fall in the last year. iPoker has lost 38% and PartyPoker 33%, but the last six weeks have seen Party’s fall bottom out and start to recover while iPoker continues to slide.
iPoker’s Speed Poker accounts for approximately 40% of cash game hands and against 20% for Party’s FastForward. Party’s recovery started from the time it launched FastForward, these numbers imply that this has not been the only factor: a series of successful promotions helped stabilize site traffic, and the continued fall in iPoker’s numbers can also take responsibility.
iPoker’s strategy of splitting its player pools may have a positive impact on its numbers as sites become motivated to recruit the new players necessary to qualify for the larger pool. The demise of Entraction/IGT will also see iPoker pick up some new players from sites which migrate their players. These potential boosts are unlikely to show up in the numbers much before the end of the year.
Meanwhile PartyPoker will be helped by its sale of Ongame and subsequent transfer of bwin players to the main brand. Party’s new strategy will kick in shortly and by March 2013 a major software upgrade will refresh software that has begun to look tired.
If iPoker cannot halt the slide in its numbers, PartyPoker could well extend their lead over the course of 2013.