Like most pastimes, online poker is considered a seasonal activity in some regards. There will always be players on the virtual felt, but the height of their numbers tends to wax and wane with the change of the season. Early spring was a high point for the online poker market in New Jersey, while the approach of summer amputated the rate of participation. Likewise, fall was expected to bring players back into the computer-based gaming realm, and after taking quite bit longer than anticipated, the Garden State is finally reporting a notable growth of 8.7% at the cash game tables.
To what do we owe the imminent return of online poker players? The advent of autumn is now a month past; that clearly wasn’t enough to bring them back. Attractive land-based poker events in nearby state’s, like the Parx Big Stax VIII in Bensalem, Pennsylvania certainly didn’t contribute to a resurgence either. With that series now behind us, though, we can safely attribute the boost in New Jersey online poker traffic to the fresh marketing tactics of the state’s top operators.
One operator in particular really went all out in the month of October. WSOP.com started by enticing new players to make their first deposit (by Friday, Oct 31st) with a promotional drawing that will award a trip for two to Las Vegas. They also issued an APP leaderboard race, delivering $5k a week in cash prizes for the rest of the month. According to last week’s cash game traffic tracking data, by targeting both new and existing players, WSOP NJ was able to generate the largest increase in traffic, up 14.3% from 112 to 128 players on a 7-day average.
Despite enjoying the most impressive increase in online poker players, WSOP NJ has yet to usurp the role of #1 brand in the Garden State. That title has belonged to the Party Borgata network, operator of Party Poker NJ and Borgata Poker, since the market first went live last November. The state’s leading online poker network experienced a 6% increase in the average number of cash game players over the same time period, with the hosting of a double-value $100k GTD tournament taking most of the credit. However, it should be noted that the traditional $50k GTD hasn’t been drawing enough support to meet its guaranteed prize pool of late, and regardless of the twofold guarantee that drew 512 players – twice that of the prior week’s event – it still fell short. Party Borgata was forced to splash the pool with just over $5,000 to meet the $100k GTD mark.
Although the rise in traffic at 888Poker NJ was comparably negligible, growing 3.3% from 60 to 62, it’s still worth mentioning in this context. 888’s big promotion of the season is a twice daily $1,000 freeroll that new and existing players can earn tickets for, and considering the relatively low level of traffic cash games are drawing to begin with, it presents quite an opportunity for grinders to generate a profit. And that, in turn, is getting palpable results all across the New Jersey online poker market.