The independent online poker monitor Pokerscout reports that the second boycott of Pokerstars by players aggrieved at changes to the operator’s loyalty program has potentially been as unsuccessful as the first.
Our readers will recall that high stakes players on 2+2, WeArePokerPlayers.com and Tiltbook made a second attempt to persuade Pokerstars to relent early in January, but found themselves swimming against the current of a post-holiday season surge in business, boosted by attractive promotions.
Pokerscout stats suggest that the targeted high stakes games on Pokerstars in fact produced the best results in months over the boycott period, accounting for 1.3 percent of all cash games played on the site.
Among the conclusions reached by Pokerscout is the interesting idea that, emboldened by the absence of high stakes “shark” players, middle-stakes players may have temporarily jumped on the high stakes tables.
Whatever the causes, cash game liquidity on Pokerstars over the contested period was well up, with cash game averages for the first six days of January up 2.6 percent over December, compared with an average gain of 1.4 percent over equivalent comparison points for the past four years.
Seven-day cash game averages on PokerStars are currently up 7 percent since the New Year, Pokerscout additionally observes.
However, there are other statistical interpretations that are not as positive for Pokerstars, among them the fact that the online poker cash game vertical as a whole has shown growth of 8 percent so far this year…a percentage point higher than Pokerstars…and increases in liquidity at some of the other top operator sites have outperformed that at Pokerstars.
For example Playtech’s iPoker is up 17 percent this year, and the Microgaming Poker Network has soared 26 percent vs. the 7 percent at Pokerstars despite a reported $2.5 million invested in promos by the market leader.
Whatever the truth is regarding the efficacy of the boycotts, there are rumblings in the player community of yet a third boycott initiative, this one tentatively planned for February 2 to 11. Perhaps more alarmingly for Pokerstars, the WeArePokerPlayers.com site is pushing for a month-long boycott and has already signed up 767 players for this out of a target number of 5,000 possible players.