December 13,2011 : Is it the switch to ‘anonymous tables, or is there a deeper reason for last week's decline in traffic?
 
The independent online poker monitor Pokerscout's latest weekly statistics showcase a more buoyant week, with traffic overall up 3.8 percent, and Pokerstars soaring 9.3 percent, making the 9.5 percent decline in Bodog Poker traffic all the more noticeable.
 
The sudden decline in Bodog's fortunes – down from 11th in the rankings to 14th – immediately became the subject of speculation on whether it was a lasting stayaway in protest at the introduction of ‘anonymous' tables  or something deeper.
 
Pokerscout opined: "Bodog traffic dropped 9.5 percent as players reacted negatively to the decision to make all tables anonymous. The site may also have been hurt by reports of security issues and cashout delays, as well as the revelation that the anonymous tables weren't really anonymous."
 
The latter comment refers to the HHSmithy reports that it was able to hack the site's security on player account numbers.
 
Time, and presumably remedial measures and incentives from the operator, will no doubt tell how lasting the stayaway may be.
 
Pokerstars' remarkable performance was influenced by its continuing tenth anniversary and 72 billionth hand celebrations, which saw the cash game player count peaking at more than 84,000, nearly double the usual. The 10th anniversary celebration culminates next weekend in a $10 million Sunday Million tournament, maintaining the pressure.
 
GTechG2 International Poker Network's Euro 620,000 and growing bad beat jackpot failed to produce the anticipated boost to traffic; IPN traffic actually declined by 1.6 percent, one of the few major networks to do so this week.
 
Pokerscout's main movers list included
 
• Winamax.fr up a notch to eighth place, overtaking the Microgaming Poker Network.
 
• PeoplesNetwork.it up into 11th place, ousting Bodog Poker.
 
• iPoker.it gained three spots, making it to 12th.
 
• International.it rose from 17th to 15th.
 
• Everest Poker climbed from 19th to 16th.
 
• Despite its lower traffic, IPN gained a notch, moving up to 17th.
 
• Svenska Spel lost ground, dropping from 16th to 18th.
 
• EverestPoker.fr plunged five spots, from 14th to 19th.
 
Looking at the year-on-year situation, Pokerscouts reports that overall, online poker traffic is now down 26 percent on the same period last year, with 888 Poker (up 76 percent); Merge Gaming Network (up 67 percent) and Bodog (up 54 percent) leading the pack.
 
Full Tilt and Cereus continue to be the biggest decliners, with Entraction coming into the loser stakes down 50 percent, but still doing better than IPN (down 41 percent).