By Nathan Carroll, Rakeback.com Staff Writer
As king of the charts, PokerStars put up a seven day average of 27,400 players. The annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) tournament series undoubtably played a big role in the increase. This year, the WCOOP features 62 events with buyins ranging from $109 to $25,500. A $215 NLHEe vent on the first day of the series attracted over 12,000 entrants, and two others have also crossed the five figure mark. It's also worth noting that the number of registrations has held constant or slightly increased when comparing completed 2010 events with their counterparts from 2009. For example, NLHE events with buyins of $1,050 and $10,300 that drew 1558 and 299 entrants, respectively, in 2009, have been topped by 2010 registrations of 1612 and 313.
Over at second-ranked Full Tilt Poker, the weekly average comes in at 17,400, and impressive 16% gain. Much of that boost can be explained by the return of the popular Fast $50 promotion, which gives players who have made a real money deposit on FTP at any point, a chance to earn a $50 bonus. It's also likely that FTP is seeing a small spillover effect from the WCOOP, as legions of multitabling tournament grinders register for big FTP events to play alongside their WCOOP tables.
Rounding out the top four are PartyPoker and iPoker. Although neither allows players from the U.S., both managed to put up decent numbers, with 3700 and 3450, respectively.
The weekly report also continued to expand coverage and analysis of the freshly spawned, state regulated French poker networks. Like it's worldwide counterpart, Pokerstars.fr sits at the top of the rankings, with a seven day average of 1520. Winamax.fr, Everest.fr, OnGame.fr, and PartyPoker.fr are also looking strong, with weekly averages all falling in the range of 730 to 1340, while FullTiltPoker.fr lags behind at 375 and iPoker.fr is on life support at 24.
In Italy, Pokerstars.it tops the charts again with a healthy seven day average of 4494 players, well ahead of PeoplesNetwork.it's 3197.
It will be interesting to see how the tightly controlled markets of France and Italy develop, as legislators in other countries as well as several U.S. states look to the isolated network model as a fair compromise in the contentious debate over online gambling.
The report concludes by examining the big picture, year-to-year growth of the online poker industry. In spite of continuing uncertainty regarding the legal status of online poker in many parts of the world, not to mention global fears regarding the economy, Pokerscout's analysis indicates that the overall market is expanding at the rate of 1% per year.
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