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Who’s Thriving One Year after Black Friday?
Despite the loss of the US market one year ago, a handful of online poker rooms are still thriving.
In 2010 an estimated 1.8 million Americans played online poker and wagered roughly $16 billion mostly on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, according to PokerScout.com.
On April 15, 2011 those 1.8 million players were removed from the online poker ecosystem.
And although they’ve remained locked out over the intervening 12 months we’ve seen new players and markets emerge around the world.
In addition to PokerStars who managed to weather the Black Friday storm, sites like 888 and Party who had pulled out of the US in 2006 have actually benefitted this past year.
PokerStars Unfazed By Black Friday
Since deciding to continue catering to US players when the UIGEA was passed in 2006, PokerStars has dominated the online poker industry.
They've dealt more than 72 billion hands, set the record for the largest tournament field ever at 200,000 players and currently averages about seven times as many players as the iPoker network, the next biggest player base.
On Black Friday PokerStars lost roughly 40 per cent of their players, going from a daily average of about 33,000 players on April 1, 2011 to 20,000 on April 30.
But since Full Tilt Poker, their biggest competitor, was completely shut down as a result of Black Friday, many of FTP's non-US customers made the switch to PokerStars.
And now, with the introduction of Zoom Poker, PokerStars is even more appealing to former Full Tilt players.
One year after Black Friday, PokerStars is averaging 24,200 players per day.
It's become the new home of high-stakes poker online and just hosted an $11 tournament this weekend with more than 136,000 players.
The Spring Championship of Online Poker is kicking off in just a few weeks and we’re offering a 100% signup bonus for all new players.
Better than Business as Usual for iPoker, Party and 888
Since none of these rooms catered to US players since the UIGEA was introduced, they had nothing to fear from the Department of Justice.
Before 2006 Party Poker was the biggest online poker room in the world. At its peak the site’s parent company PartyGaming, was valued at more than $12 billion on the London Stock Exchange.
Party lost roughly 60 per cent of its player base when it decided to pull out of the US market, and ended up striking a $105 million deal with the DOJ.
Party Poker co-founder Anurag Dikshit personally paid $300 million to square things with the Department of Justice.
But that was the price of security, as Party Poker continues to grow as a result of their 2011 merger with Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG.
Although performing below expectations, Party Poker posted a 20 per cent increase in their player base since Black Friday.
In terms of size Party Poker is neck and neck with the iPoker Network, both averaging well over 6,000 players per day.
William Hill is the official sponsor of England's national football team and because of its prominent sports book, many of the players on the site are inexperienced at poker.
William Hill also offers more than $16 million in guaranteed events every month.
888Poker sits in fourth place, averaging 2,350 daily players this week but offers players unique value.
Overall 888Poker has seen a 50 per cent increase in their player base since Black Friday.
As the poker arm of the world’s biggest online casino 888Poker boasts some of the loosest, fishiest poker players on the Internet.