A report by independent online poker site showed that there was a 9.8% increase in online poker traffic last week, Out of the top 10 poker site all but one showed an increase. PokerStars.fr was the only site to report traffic losses due to a strike among high-volume players over its new VIP system and rake calculation model.

There is no denying that the strike is hitting PokerStars.fr hard as it fell 10% for the week. In contrast their competitors Winamax.fr and PartyPoker.fr reported a 10% or more gain. PokerStars.com which is a sister site seems also to be affected by the strike as unlike their competitors  they only managed to record a 5% gain which is significantly less than the other top sites.

For the first time PokerStars.fr was taken over by Winamax.fr who now hold the title of the largest online poker site in France. One of the main movers was PartyPoker who reported an impressive 29% increase in traffic .This sharp increase can be attributed to their VIP rake race promotion that started on January 2 and runs until month’s end.

Thanks to the solid weeks performance, Party has taken second place ahead of its rival iPoker Network which despite having a respectable 12% increase, could not match up to Party. The main benefactor of the rise in global online poker traffic was Italy. Just in the last two weeks alone, the largest Italian sites reported an increase of over 30%. Italy’s licensed poker rooms have become so successful that there are estimated that the y account for no less than a 10 of the global market.

Despite the eported gains, overall the total global online poker market has been affected by the global economic crisis. According to PokerScout’s ACES indicator, there has been a global decrease of 31% in online poker traffic.

In year over year statistics the top three sites reported the following results.

1 .PokerStars – were down 18%

2 .PartPoker- was up 21%

3 .iPoker Network- was 9% up.

Some of the sites which produced huge gains in year to year results were:

1. Merge Gaming Network – Up 91%

2 .888poker – Up 79%

3. Bodog- Up 60%

On the other hand the sites in decline for the year over year were Full Tilt Online Poker with a 100% decline ,Cereus Network with a 99% decline, Entraction Network with a 52% decline and International Poker Network which declined by 45%.

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