I’ve been tracking the numbers of the online poker rooms ever since Neteller bolted on the US. Below is a graph of the peak cash game player numbers from Jan 1 – Pres. Of interesting note is that all US facing poker rooms have a negative slope.

peak-players

Source PokerSiteScout

Stars seems to be bumping around the 12,000 player mark and FTP is having trouble gaining any traction above the 6000 player level.

I did some analysis of the market size of the online poker industry in terms of these 6 players. Obviously the market is larger than these six so my analysis may be flawed but it shows a 20.62% increase in market size from Sept 1, 2006 – Feb 28, 2007.

However from Sept 1 – Feb 28 Stars has increased 40.03%, Party is down 8.41%, Tilt is up 67.99%, Everest is up 157.59%, UB up 15.82%, and Bodog is up 52.84%. With the exception of Party, who walked away from 70% of their player base, all rooms show an increase from Sept 1 numbers.

Unfortunately, the numbers don’t look so good when you look at the graph above. Though Party’s players migrated to other US facing sites post Oct 13 those sites are obviously having difficulties holding onto the players. At the beginning of 2007 Stars was averaging about 16,000 cash game players at peak and two months later they’re having a hard time cracking 12,000.

Since Jan 1, 2007 Stars is off 24%, Tilt down 11%, UB down 23% and Bodog down 30%. Meanwhile Everest (non-US) and Party are up 70 – 75% each.

While it’s impossible to draw accurate conclusions without much better data points it does seem that once the rush of players left behind by Party were absorbed that the US market has been shrinking. If you were to take the peak numbers for Party, Stars, Tilt, UB and Bodog on Sept 1 the number of players was 29358. Now if you look at the Feb 28 numbers for all of the previously mentioned but exclude Party there are only 23332. I know that’s not an accurate way to look at it but to get a more accurate picture you have to somehow eliminate Party’s post Oct 13th non-US growth.

Ship It Holla Ballas!

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Bill Rini has been working in the online poker industry since 2004. He was a product manager for poker at Full Tilt and was the poker room manager at PartyPoker. Currently, Bill is the Head of Online Poker for WSOP.   Bill has been blogging about online poker since 2003 and is considered one of the leading authorities on the online poker industry.   "I like What Bill Rini said in his blog" - Doyle Brunson   "In other news, we had Bill Rini write an absolutely home run blog." Daniel Negreanu   "Industry insider Bill Rini has one of the most popular blogs in poker, with thousands of subscribers and fans regularly coming back for his universally respected insight into the industry" - Barry Carter (News editor for PokerStrategy, Co-Author: The Mental Game of Poker)

(0) Readers Comments

  1. Interesting!

  2. I really wonder about this, it appears that most recreational US players are finding it a hassle to fund their accounts online. With Neteller not there as an option anymore, lesser sites caterring to the US market, I feel that the growth of online poker might just slow to a halt.

    Tribeca pulled out of the US market recently, there’s only a few sites that US players can actually play the game that they love so much. I wonder which online poker room will be the next to bow to the pressure and cut off from their US player base.

    It looks pretty bleak if you ask me. Of course, it will never completely die off, but with lesser recreational players, the semi-serious players will either get slaughtered by the sharks, or move on to improve and become one of the 8 tabling sharks themselves.

  3. Hey F-Train,

    Mostly because I consider flat to be negative. :-)

    I say that only in half jest though. This is an industry that has experienced nothing but growth. The flatening out of the curve looks good because it seems as if things are stabilizing but my concern is that they’re merely holding their ground. If something doesn’t turn around in a major way they’re likely to see additional drops.

    Bill

  4. Seems to me that the numbers are pretty steady for the last 5 weeks (Jan 24-Feb 28). There’s no gain, but no loss either. So while it is accurate to say that Stars is off 24% since Jan 1, it’s slightly misleading.

    Obviously, a lack of growth doesn’t bode well for the industry, but I find it curious that you didn’t address the flatness of the slope in the last 5 weeks, preferring instead to characterize it as a negative slope across the full 8 weeks.