Tuesday, October 18, 2011 : Independent online poker monitor reports Merge traffic has soared over 7 percent in a week
 
The decision by Merge Poker Network to again take new US player sign-ups  appears to have been a sound one in traffic terms; the independent online poker monitoring site Pokerscout reports that the network's traffic soared over 7 percent in the past week.
 
"The much-anticipated move came mid-week, so the 7 percent weekly gain only captures part of the upswing," reports Pokerscout. "Day-by-day comparisons indicate that the true traffic increase has been closer to 15 percent so far. Merge has now moved back in front of Bodog to reclaim the title of the largest US-friendly player pool."
 
On a more sombre note, Pokerscout reports that overall the fall season continues to lag behind historical benchmarks. In 2010, traffic picked up 12 percent between mid-August and mid-October, with nearly every site and network seeing significant gains, including those that did not accept US players.
 
This year, total traffic has dropped 5 percent over the same time period and only a few sites have seen a notable increase in players. Poker scout notes: "This is a significant departure from historical patterns and may indicate at least a temporary downslide in poker's popularity worldwide."
 
The site's top 20 movers feature:
 
•Winamax.fr moved up a notch, taking over eighth place from Microgaming Network.
 
• Merge Gaming Network surged ahead of Bodog and into 12th place.
 
• Svenska Spel dropped two spots to 18th.
 
• Everest Poker moved up one to 16th.
 
• EverestPoker.fr climbed two spots to 17th.
 
PartyPoker.fr slipped down a notch to 19th.
 
Looking at the now customary year-over-year scenario, the monitor observes that the total worldwide online poker market continues to lag following Black Friday and a languid autumn season in the north. Traffic has decreased by 32 percent, excluding Italy.
 
Notable gainers remain 888poker, up 90 percent; and Merge and Bodog, both up 55 percent.
 
On the decline are Full Tilt Poker – down 100 percent; Cereus Network, down 99 percent; IPN down 36 percent; Entraction down 25 percent; Pokerstars down 20 percent, along with Cake Poker network.
 
For some weeks now Pokerscout has been highlighting two small but clearly rapidly growing networks, Action Poker, which is up 175 percent; and Yatahay which has soared 70 percent.