888Poker has come a long way in recent years, now ranked as the second largest online poker site in the world behind PokerStars. Much of its progression can be attributed to the exponential growth of its tournament schedule which, starting this weekend, will include the new $25k GTD event known as The Octopus.
On Saturday, September 5, 2015, 888Poker will host the first of its new weekly tournament endeavors. The Octopus is an 8-max event that carries a $215 buy-in with $25,000 guaranteed, making it the operator’s largest Saturday guarantee.
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The integration of The Octopus is just another part of 888Poker’s recent commitment to bolster its online poker tournament schedule. Just last month, the operator increased its overall monthly guarantees by more than $100,000.
The boosted prize pools included the Sunday Breeze and the Tuesday Crocodile, each rising from $15k to $20k GTD, The Quarterback jumping from $25k to $30k, and five other events increasing anywhere from $200 to $1,000.
“The Octopus will be our first eight-handed tournament and will have a very deep structure with 10,000 starting chips and 25-minute blind levels,” detailed a rep from 888poker. Late registration has been elongated to give players a four-hour window to get in on the action after the tournament’s scheduled start time of 3:00pm GMT.
At that time, 888Poker stated that the bolstered payouts were a way of signifying “the improved performance” of its software during tournaments, as well as a drive to bring more players onto the virtual felt as fall approaches. The performance of the platform has come under fire for months now as 888Poker has suffered from frequent disconnects since late last year.
Online Poker Traffic Ups and Downs
As the software continues to recuperate from disconnect issues, suspected to be derived from DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, 888Poker is obviously taking great strides to solidify its current position as the world’s second largest online poker site. With a 7-day average of 2,100 active cash game players, its nearest rivals are Bodog with 1,700 and the iPoker Network with 1,300.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 888Poker has virtually no hope of catching up to sole superior, PokerStars. According to the traffic-tracking services of PokerScout, the world’s largest internet poker room is currently home to a whopping 15,500 average players. 888Poker would have to increase its traffic more than 7-fold to overtake PokerStars, and there’s simply no brand with the reputation, software or tournament schedule strong enough to do that.
However, it’s also worth noting that the level of participation at PokerStars has plummeted rather dramatically in the last 6 months, from an average of about 20,000 to the current 15,500; a near 25% drop in just half a year’s time. Then again, 888Poker’s numbers have fallen as well, having sunk from more than 2,500 in April to 2,100 in August; a decline of about 16%.
The diminishing traffic has been felt across the boards, mostly attributed to the global drop-off in activity that tends to occur in the summer months. As fall approaches, online poker traffic is expected to continue increasing for all major operators.