Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Is the iPoker Network in Terminal Decline?

There have been many ‘changes of the guard’ as far as the popular poker sites go over the years. As I mentioned in my Poker Inflection Points post recently, changes are happening again. I have always been a fan of the iPoker Network (for their soft games more than anything!), though have noticed a decline there recently… I’m now starting to wonder whether this is terminal!

What is Happening at iPoker?

The short answer is not a lot!

iPoker In Decline?The longer answer is more complex. The traffic numbers are certainly declining, not massively, though noticeably. There are some new contenders at the top of the rankings (the GG Network notable), though the iPoker network, which were 3rd only recently are now in 10th spot according to Poker Scout.

More than this, the promotions have really started to go quiet. It has been ages since we saw an ‘iPOPS’, while rivals like 888 Poker and Party ramp up their own events. There is a distinct lack of WSOP qualifier action too, or *cough* ‘Vegas Vacations’ as they are known these days.

After a burst of innovation which saw the first lottery SNGs here and the entertaining 6-holdem, there is nothing new on the tables either…

I’m going to make a prediction.

The major sportsbook brands which are the backbone of this network will start to look elsewhere. MicroGaming are going strong these days… could be a place they are heading. I'll revisit this page early next year - if 1 major book makes the move, thats half a point to me!

iPoker are not dead yet, and the games are still soft. I’m just not convinced poker is a priority for PlayTech any more, and when stagnation starts… well, we have seen the result many times before.

Which Sites are on the Up?

I’ll set aside PokerStars and 888 Poker for the moment – both are doing fine, though the more interesting action is in ‘mid-table’.

Party Poker have really reaped the benefits of their refocus on recreational players. They took away the highest stakes a couple of years ago, and introduced missions. I was a little alarmed recently to see rakeback return there. This does encourage grinders who tend to suffocate the games. Having checked the numbers, this is not a big enough reward for pros – and might well produce a bankroll boost which keeps some of the recreational players in the games longer. The PowerFest tournaments are also going really well here. I’d be surprised if Party do not extend their lead over iPoker this year.

MicroGaming have been around for a long time, and are moving steadily upwards in player numbers. I was surprised to see this network remove full ring SNGs, though again, this does discourage grinders and is all part of the recreational player resurgence. MPN look like they will overtake iPoker soon. Unibet, who are a very ‘fun’ focused site are also gaining a lot of new players.

US Movement?

The Winning Poker Network is riding high, and is now within 50 players (based on 7 day cash game averages) of the number #1 spot currently held by Ignition Poker. I’m a fan of what America’s Cardroom are doing, their tournament focus appeals to a lot of players and they are the only US site offering Lottery Sit N Go tournaments too. You can also check out their random prize pool full-ring SNGs, known as ‘Sit and Go 2.0’ games. I downloaded the latest software update over the weekend, and you now have avatars which can change mood, plus the ability to gamble your wins as you leave the table.

As for Ignition, the take over of the site and players from Bovada went very smoothly – now it is time to innovate, market and let this site live up to it’s full potential.

The latest, and all the other US poker links on my main US poker rooms page

Wrap-Up – Changes to My Course

I have been recommending Titan Poker for a couple of years now as part of my Sit n Go blueprint course. I’m no longer convinced this is the best place to start building that bankroll.

As the (poker) world changes, I have to change too. I’ll focus on playing Sit N Goes over the next couple of weeks at the different sites, and update you on which are the softest games at the start of June.

GL at the tables,


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