When Full Tilt Poker reopened its doors to much of the world on Nov. 6, 2012, it immediately reclaimed its position as the No. 2 online poker room in the world. The site, now owned by the same company that owns the world's largest online poker room, PokerStars, quickly vaulted past PartyPoker and the iPoker Network — the two sites that had been jockeying for the No. 2 position since FTP lost its operating license in 2011.
But according to online poker traffic information site PokerScout.com, Full Tilt Poker has dropped to fourth place in real-money cash-game traffic, trailing the aforementioned PartyPoker and iPoker by a slim margin as of Tuesday. FTP boasted an average of 6,700 real-money players just two weeks after it relaunched in November; that number has plummeted to 3,050 this week. PartyPoker has climbed back into the No. 2 position, with iPoker not far behind.
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There are several reasons that could be used to explain the shift in the rankings. Foremost, though, is that both PartyPoker and iPoker have expanded their rooms in recent months, thereby adding liquidity to their respective player pools. PartyGaming completed its merger with bwin last December, and all of bwin's players were moved to PartyPoker, which received an instant traffic jolt. Immediately following the merger with bwin, PartyPoker had more than 6,000 real-money cash-game players and even passed Full Tilt Poker for a very brief period.
Meanwhile, iPoker has been adding numerous new skins to its network of late. The site announced in January that it would be adding Betfair to its list of poker rooms that already includes Bet365, Everest Poker, Paddy Power, Poker770, Titan Poker, William Hill and Winner Poker. And earlier this month, Ladbrokes announced that it would be moving its poker offering to the iPoker Network "in due course." While no timetable has been set for the transition, Ladbrokes' departure from MPN seems imminent.
Regardless of the overall traffic numbers, Full Tilt Poker remains the hot spot for nosebleed action. The site's trio of high-stakes pros, dubbed "The Professionals," have been igniting the action — most notably Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, who has been taking all challengers this year despite admittedly being an underdog in some of the games. Full Tilt Poker's high-stakes games have seen tens of millions of dollars passed around already in 2013, and there doesn't seem to be a lull coming any time soon.
For a complete look at the online poker traffic rankings, check out PokerScout.com.