Since Black Friday the online poker industry has undergone a complete makeover, the likes of which have not been seen since a number of online poker rooms, led by Party Poker, left the US market in the wake of UIGEA legislation being signed into law in 2006; while new players have emerged, and a few longtime behemoths have been rocked, there has been one constant in the world of online poker: PokerStars.
Despite being one of the three sites “taken-down” by the US Department of Justice –the other two Full Tilt Poker and UB/Absolute Poker are basically non-entities at the present time—PokerStars has managed to maintain its #1 spot in terms of overall traffic. Actually, PokerStars has pulled farther ahead of its nearest competitor, Party Poker, than it ever was able to when Full Tilt Poker was the former holder of the #2 spot.
PokerStars has always been considered the model for all online poker rooms to aspire to, and now, despite being squarely in the middle of the most adverse conditions the online poker industry has ever faced, PokerStars is proving that a sound business model and following the rules will pay off big time in the long-run –even if that means slightly less return on the front-end.
The cash-grab practices that were always known to exist at UB/Absolute Poker, and are now coming to light as having been part of Full Tilt Poker, have been exposed as the wrong way to run an online poker site. On the other hand, PokerStars policies of segregating player accounts and having a crack customer support team have allowed the company to not only weather the storm, but to actually come out in a stronger position than before Black Friday.
A new report issued by pokerscout.comshows how the online poker sites have fared since the shutdown of Full Tilt Poker after the AGCC pulled their license:
- PokerStars +17%
- iPoker Network +24%
- 888Poker +20%
- Microgaming Network +7%
- Merge Gaming Network +0.1%
- Entraction Network +2%
- International Poker Network (IPN) +14%
- Everest Poker +46%
- Cake Poker Network +40%
Not only has the loss of Full Tilt Poker changed the current landscape –who knows what will happen when, and if, Full Tilt reenters the market—but longtime stagnant sites and networks are now seizing the opportunity presented and offering new and innovative promotions to lure wayward players: Party Poker has been running rake-free tournaments, and iPoker’s Titan Poker has just announced a 50% cut in cash-game rake collection –what were once considered sacred cows to the online poker sites now seem to be on the table as sites jockey for position behind PokerStars.