Online Poker Industry Report July 1, 2008

I thought I would take a different angle as I always get a lot of feedback when I analyze the online poker industry. Some of that feedback is positive and some is negative (people hate bad news) but either way it does seem to be something I like looking at and want to share with readers.

So last week was another off week for the online poker industry. You had two major factors in play; the general summer doldrums and the Euro 2008 matches. Just looking at Sunday evening when the Euro 2008 finals were being played we see some pretty disappointing results for most of the major poker rooms.

Only half the companies in my Top 14 analysis that ended the week over week comparison in the black were Stars (+5.69%), Svenska Spel (+11.03%), UB (+0.59%), Cake (+12.78%), Microgaming (+10.76%), Pacific (+1.07%), and Bodog (+0.42%). That might look encouraging but one has to keep in mind that the gap between #1 site, Stars, and #14 site, Bodog, is pretty wide. After Stars the first company to report numbers in the black was #8.


Source PokerSiteScout

Absolute was the big loser this week down nearly 39% but a good deal of that can be attributed to the fact that they had higher than average results the week prior when their bad beat jackpot closed in on $1 million. Obviously, I’m not privy to Absolute’s financials but these large bad beat jackpots seem to be both a blessing and a curse. The numbers do go through the roof when the jackpots get large but a good number of people simply sit at the lowest stake tables and fold everything but AA – JJ hoping to get a piece of the jackpot. That means a drop in raked hands (no flop, no drop) and extremely tight players.

Overall, this week’s numbers were 1.31% lower than they were for the week prior. To be honest, I would have expected a much bigger hit as Germany is a fairly big market for all major poker rooms. Spain isn’t a major, major market but it’s no slouch either so combined, I was surprised the online poker market held up as well as it did.

The last several weeks have seen peak numbers getting crushed on the days when a major Euro 2008 match is being played. I apologize in advance for saying this but the only saving grace for the online poker rooms is that England didn’t qualify and Canada still is not in Europe (though it’s not for a lack of trying to be European).

However in terms of the big Sunday guarantees, other than Stars, the five key events that I monitor as an overall industry health indicator did horrible. Stars was able to exceed their $1 million guarantee by over $300K while Tilt, iPoker, Party, and UB offered a combined $181K in overlays. Excluding Stars the four remaining sites missed their guarantees by approx. 12%. A good week for players and a bad week for online poker rooms to be sure.

What else is going on in online poker? Well, we’ve got the iPoker $2.5K $2.5 million guarantee still going on which will go off on the 7th of Sept. Stars has finally announced their dates for the WCOOP. Stars will have $30 million up for grabs including one event with a $25K buyin. I’m not sure if it was intentional but Stars is running their $10,000 + $300, $2 million guaranteed the same day as iPoker’s $2.5 million guarantee. That should be an interesting day to watch with over $4.5 million up for grabs between the two sites.

Well, that’s the week in review for this week. Enjoy yourself at the tables and beware the donkeys.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

3 thoughts on “Online Poker Industry Report July 1, 2008”

  1. Hm… That’s nice. I never figured to look at it that way…missing their guarantees by 12%, that’s got to smart.
    The Euro games didn’t have a really big negative impact because people just watched them and played in the same time I guess…cause soccer’s like that: you need to do something while watchin or you’ll get bored out of your shorts.
    You’re right tho…twas good that England didn’t qualify. Lotsa poker going on there…

  2. Interesting post… I can’t believe AP goes down that much after a jackpot. That’s just nuts.

    Also, I think you mean the iPoker $2.5M guarantee, not $2.5K.

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