Tuesday, November 8, 2011 : Impressive 12.5 percent boost to traffic last week, reports independent monitor
 
Online poker traffic took off last week, gaining a remarkable 12.5 percent as all top 10 sites and networks saw increases in player counts, reports the independent internet poker monitor Pokerscout.
 
"The PokerStars 70 billionth hand promotion generated a majority of the increase," the monitor notes, adding that the number of players online ramped up sharply as the final hand approached.
 
"A peak of 72,868 cash game players was recorded around the time of the milestone, but the true number was likely closer to 100,000," Pokerscout reports, revealing that PokerStars gained 22 percent over the week, further enhancing the previous week's 6 percent gain.
 
Traffic was good elsewhere, too. Merge continued to climb by another 2 percent, but one of the biggest gainers was GTechG2's International Poker Network (IPN), which achieved a 19 percent increase in traffic, probably due to a growing jackpot of over half-a-million euros.
 
Party Poker was the nearest rival to the all-dominant Pokerstars, with Playtech's iPoker chasing, as has been the case for the past seven weeks.
 
The French Pokerstars site overtook its Italian dedicated counterpart, but Bodog, PeoplesNetwork.it, Svenska Spel, Everest Poker and EverestPoker.fr, each gained traffic but fell two places in the overall rankings, ending up 15th, 16th, 17th, 19th and 20th, respectively, and dropping Cake Poker to the 21st spot.
 
The year-on-year numbers, which have been reflecting around a 34 percent decline in internet poker traffic following the Black Friday debacle in the USA, looked a little better thanks to the big surge last week. The decline is now 24 percent.
 
Pokerscout's gainers list for the year shows 888Poker up 83 percent; Merge up 71 percent; and Bodog up 57 percent.
 
Notable decliners are listed as:
 
Full Tilt Poker  100 percent
 
Cereus Network  99 percent
 
Ongame.fr  36 percent
 
EverestPoker.fr  35 percent
 
International Poker Network (IPN)  34 percent
 
Ongame Network  23 percent
 
Cake Poker Network  22 percent