Last week another milestone in the online poker market was set when the combined market share of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker exceeded 60% for the first time. Online poker traffic is measured by Pokerscout.com.
Despite the stronghold on the market by the two giants, other sites got their share of the overall growth, though of course they had to settle for a significantly smaller piece of the cake. While PokerStars and FTP grew by 68% combined in the last year, the other sites increased their traffic by mere 12%. PartyPoker, Ongame Network, Everest Poker and Bodog are all among the gainers, and the most significant piece of news here is that the overall market is indeed still growing.
In the rivalry between the two leading sites, most of the combined growth is thanks to FTP for their strong showing in the second and third quarters of the year, but in the last three months the sites have increased their traffic at an equal pace.
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker took over the online poker market after the UIGEA was passed in 2006, but this trend will not last forever. Rumors on the merger talks between PartyPoker and Bwin are just the beginning in the expected consolidation in the online gaming sector. It also remains to be seen what will happen if and when the UIGEA is overturned and the US moves to a regulated market; when the licenses are dealt, the US authorities may not look too kindly on the sites that accept US customers now.
20 biggest sites or networks on Week 50 (hourly average in a 24 hour spell):
1. PokerStars 28,600
2. Full Tilt Poker 19,200
3. iPoker Network 5,100
4. PartyPoker 4,600
5. Ongame Network 2,900
6. Cereus Network 2,550
7. Everest Poker 2,400
8. IPN (Boss Media) 2,150
9. Microgaming (Total)* 2,050
10. CakePoker Network 2,000
11. Entraction Network (24h) 1,540
12. Svenska Spel 1,220
13. PacificPoker 1,120
14. Unibet/Ladbrokes exclusive 1,080
15. Microgaming Poker Network 890
16. PKR 860
17. Bodog 850
18. Betfair Poker 510
19. Merge Gaming Network 400
20. win2day 340
(35 biggest sites or networks, 79,575 players on average)