In less than 30 days since launching as the first licensed online poker room in Portugal, the new PokerStars.pt platform has achieved several notable milestones.
Per data compiled by the PokerScout online poker traffic tracking site on December 9, PokerStars.pt was averaging 2,000 players across its cash game tables. The figure more than doubled the cash game traffic observed on PokerStars’ sites in Italy (900) and Spain (800), and more than tripled that of PokerStars France (650).
In fact, PokerStars.pt climbed to second in the overall cash game average rankings, trailing only the primary PokerStars platform, and passing global operator 888 Poker in the process.
A wide gap in population size exists between Portugal – home to 10.46 million people – and its European neighbors, as Italy (59.83 million), Spain (46.77 million) and France (66.03 million) all have a significantly larger base of potential players.
With that said, industry outlets like Online Poker Report have commented on the traffic disparity and its likely causes, pointing to exclusivity with PokerStars being the proverbial only game in town at this point. As the only licensed operator in Portugal, PokerStars is benefiting from the country’s own version of the “poker boom,” with players flocking to the first legal platform where poker can be played for real money.
Furthermore, PokerStars.pt is offering generous promotions to attract new players during the site’s rollout phase, which serves to bring more new players on board than normal. The country also allows anybody aged 18 or older to gamble, which further expands the pool of prospective players. Finally, without the popular Spin & Go lottery-style tournaments on the menu to this point, Portuguese poker fans have few options aside from the cash game menu.
Interestingly enough, PokerStars.pt is also dwarfing its regional counterpart in New Jersey, with PokerStars.nj averaging only 300 cash game players on December 9. While some poker prognosticators believed that gulf to be merely a fluke, a second look 12 days later confirms the trend.
On December 21, the seven-day average for cash game volume on PokerStars.pt stood at 1,700 – as opposed to 950 in Italy, 800 in Spain, 700 in France, and just 130 in New Jersey. In terms of overall cash game traffic, Portugal now ranks third behind 888 Poker (2000) and PokerStars proper (14,000). So far anyway, the initial surge of traffic widely believed to be fueling up Portugal’s cash game fever has yet to taper off.
The PokerStars.nj brand, the first PokerStars-operated platform to return to America since “Black Friday” forced the industry leader to exit the U.S. marketplace on April 15, 2011, is experiencing the opposite end of the spectrum.
The site launched on March 21 of this year to great fanfare, and within one week’s time it had already claimed the cash game average crown from competitors like the 888 Poker-powered WSOP.com and the Borgata / Party Poker platform. But operating within a segmented market has halted any momentum PokerStars.nj generated during its rollout, and today its traffic numbers have stagnated.
PokerStars.nj is still the state’s cash game leader, however – even with such a low seven-day average – with WSOP/888 (120) and Borgata / PartyPoker (70) bringing up the rear.