Being of the mind that 888’s New Jersey poker site would have to do something momentous to reach or exceed the heights it enjoyed back in January, I suggested that anything short of a full VIP Rewards roll-out would result in a continued drop-off.
To my pleasant surprise, 888 is in the process of proving me wrong.
Over the course of the past week, the suddenly resurgent site has managed to recover some of its lost volume – not via a generous rakeback promo or ambitious marketing blitz – but by improving the functionality of its software.
These improvements, along with an analysis of Party Poker NJ’s mostly successful $100k guarantee, will occupy the majority of this week’s NJ iGaming Weekly segment.
If there was one lesson to be learned this week, it’s this: The long term success of a poker site hinges on its ability to deliver an exemplary poker playing experience to its patrons.
888poker has taken the first steps towards doing just that.
Last week, I received several emails from regulars on the site regarding a new software patch that virtually eliminated existing disconnect issues, particularly on Macs.
On one account, a player had logged nine consecutive hours on the site, not once experiencing a geolocation error. Compare this to weeks prior, when Mac users were lucky to stay online for more than 15 minutes at a clip.
I myself experienced a bevy of issues with the site, all of which have seemingly been eradicated by the latest patch.
Other factors, like the upcoming $88,888 promotional freeroll, could have also played a factor in 888’s reversal of fortunes.
The last time cash-game traffic on 888 posted a win, over a foot of snow adorned I-95.
Seven day averages and week-over-week change as follows:
The second point also insinuates that 888’s sudden revival is a result of its efforts and is not a fluke.
For the second time this month, Party / Borgata hosted a $100k guarantee. Similar to its record-breaking predecessor, Sunday’s six-figure foray featured the same buy-in, starting time, and blind structure.
That’s about where the similarities end and the differences begin, as this week’s $100k failed to reach the heights set by its forerunner in early March.
However, that’s not to say the March 30th iteration of the $100k should be deemed a failure. If anything, given the array of circumstances favoring the first $100k guarantee, Party / Borgata should feel satisfied with the 544 runner turnout and nearly $101,000 prize pool.
Allow me to elaborate.
The last point raises the question: Did Party / Borgata run an understated marketing campaign for Sunday’s $100k on purpose?
Thinking about it further, I believe this is quite possibly the case.
There is a growing subsection of the community calling for Party to replace the $50k with the $100k entirely. Last week could have served as a field trial for the site to determine if that were a viable option.
Given the turnout, it appears that the answer is tending towards “yes.”
Next time, we’ll deviate from the standard formula. Instead of the usual format, we’ll be conducting a side-by-side comparison of New Jersey’s poker sites versus popular unregulated sites such as Bovada.
In doing so, I’ll hope to answer some of the questions pertaining to why players from the Garden State are still attracted to these less secure, more problematic online poker providers.