There is a new sheriff in town as rising GGPoker Network has taken over the top spot in the global cash game rankings according to a news article by industry website PokerindustryPRO. Long-time market leader PokerStars has dropped into second place after more than a decade on the throne as the GGPN continues to make headlines all over the world. As one of the major network skins and Asia’s leading online poker site, Natural8 has contributed to the success and shares almost all promotions.
GGPoker Network Ends Pokerstars 15-Year Cash Game Domination
The GGPN and PokerStars have already tangled throughout the last few years and went toe-to-toe in major online festivals since 2020. These clashes produced several online poker records, which have been aided by the influence of the ongoing global pandemic and widespread absence of live poker. However, there is no denying that the GGPN has enjoyed a consistent growth throughout the last few years to become one of the major contenders in the market.
As far as the poker cash game traffic is concerned, the figures are tracked by independent monitor GameIntel. The numbers are based on a rolling average of seated cash game players based on a specific time frame, which happens to be a 24-hour period. Essentially, it provides a good indication about the overall development of each brand without specifying the stakes.
As far as PokerStars was concerned, nobody was able to come remotely close to their cash game numbers since 2006. That has certainly changed in the last few months, during which the GGPN came within 10% already and eventually pulled ahead. The network, which was launched in 2014 and labeled as the Good Game Network, has rebranded the name two times since.
In January 2016, Natural8 was founded and joined the GGN to establish itself as one of the lead operators. While the focus of the network was mainly on the Asian market, the addition of Natural8 expanded the line-up and further operators increased the reach in the following years. Especially the European and South American markets grew further on the GGPN.
The GGPN and Natural8 Shows Consistent Growth Month on Month
A closer look at the numbers just one year ago in July 2020 reveals that PokerStars was at the top with just shy of 8,000 cash game players. They pulled above of that during the winter months but subsequently dropped below 5,000 in June 2021. In the meantime, the GGPN and Natural8 went from fewer than 3,000 concurrent cash game players to more than 5,000. The growth was consistent with some bumps along the way but the GGPN was able to keep most of the momentum whereas all other major operators lost a decent portion of their traffic.
As the summer months approach, online poker traffic usually takes a hit in general. With millions in recurring promotions and regular online poker festivals, the GGPN was able to establish itself as one of the major contenders. Where other operators have focused on either grinders or casual players, the fastest growing online poker network provides solutions for both. However, they also cater to the large Chinese and Russian poker scene whereas other contenders have taken a careful approach in grey area markets.
The consistent flow of promotions such as daily cash game leaderboards, bonuses for new players, jackpot Sit & Go and the cash drop feature in the fast-fold poker variants tell just one side of the story. Software improvement and innovation has likely played a pivotal role in the rise of the GGPN as well. Numerous new game types were introduced, some of which are currently not offered on any other online poker site.
Flip & Go and Battle Royale were launched in the current year while the built-in heads-up display was improved to give all players the access to vital information. External software to provide the same details is frowned upon during active play and the playing field is more even. The fact that everyone can see these numbers free of charge without heading to any tracking side is a huge plus.
Unique Tournament Staking Feature
On top of that, the software client also features a way for all players to sell a portion of their action as well. Be it in a regular MTT or for the final day of a multi-flight flagship event, poker enthusiasts can sweat the action and make a profit from clever investments. Likewise, those without a deep bankroll can take shots at larger buy-ins while risking a smaller portion of their available funds.
The GGPN has also established a partnership with the World Series of Poker in 2020. As part of the cooperation, WSOP Online Bracelet Events and Circuit Ring Events have taken place online. Joining these prestigious tournaments is the goal of many aspiring poker players from all over the world. Being able to do so from the comfort of the own home during the pandemic is another huge advantage.
Upcoming WSOP Online Bracelet Events on GGPN
During the summer of 2021, international WSOP Online Bracelet Events are slated to take place on the GGPN for the second time. This will ensure that the overall traffic, be it for cash games or tournaments, won’t plummet as much. And once poker’s most sought-after hardware has been distributed, exclusive satellites for the in-person 2021 WSOP $10,000 Main Event in Las Vegas will take place as well.
PokerStars has been the market leader for a long time because they were investing a lot of money in advertising. The Chris Moneymaker success story in 2003 certainly helped, as an online qualifier became the World Champion. An impressive roster of sponsored pros was built to represent the brand and they established their own live event series with the European Poker Tour.
The name PokerStars was as present as it could be in the eye of the public and that created a dominating force. With the GGPN, they are now facing their most serious contender that also invests a lot of efforts behind the scenes. This increased competition is in the best interest of poker players, as other competitors have to increase their promotions as well.
Future Outlook of Online Poker
In the foreseeable future, it may very well be a two-horse race for the spot of the market leader. And if the GGPN also enters the fray for live poker events, that would spice things up even further. Either way, poker fans are the winners because they have plenty of things to pick from.
The only dark clouds on the horizon is the online gambling regulation all over the world. Obtaining licenses and meeting the various requirements can be a costly mission. However, with more and more states in the US opening up, there is also a huge potential up ahead in the once promised land.
The GGPN has shown that they are willing to seize the opportunity to become the number one in the world of poker.