Some Online Poker Sites Troubled by Traffic Surges
It started in March. As casinos around the world began to shut their doors – mostly via the orders of government and/or health officials – poker players began to log on to poker websites. Online poker had always been available in some form in most locations, but many players prefer live poker, especially in the form of large tournament series. Those were being cancelled in droves.
By mid-March, there was nary a casino in any major North American, European, or Asia-Pacific country that remained open. Semi-pro and pro poker players had no choice but to seek out the best games online.
And with the vast majority of people in those parts of the world quarantined or under some type of stay-at-home order, some of them logged on to play some online poker, too.
Players rekindled their love (or love-hate) for online poker, and site operators smiled all the way to the bank. Life was good.
After 17 years of playing poker, I still get excited waking up on Sundays to grind tournaments 🙌
— Ralph Wong (@WhatsW0ngWithU) May 3, 2020
Major Tournament Series Go Online
When poker tours had to cancel their live tour stops around the world, those companies quickly partnered with online operators to take their tournaments online where possible.
The World Poker Tour announced its first-ever WPT Online Series with PartyPoker. While originally set to begin May 10, everyone was ready early, so they moved the start date up to May 3.
The World Series of Poker had to cancel its WSOP Circuit tours and even postpone the summer WSOP in Las Vegas, so it made a surprise connection with GGPoker. The two entities announced a massive 595-event series to run in May and start on May 3.
Americas Cardroom, having just wrapped its High Five Series, introduced May Millions. There would be three tournaments each Sunday of the month of May featuring $1M guarantees each. That would kick off on May 3.
Other series were running as well. Players in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada could play in the WSOP Online Championships Spring Series that wrapped this weekend. PokerStars started its global SCOOP series (Spring Championship of Online Poker) on April 30, and this was its first full weekend.
There was a lot of action online this weekend, and sites knew the traffic would surge as poker players logged on for a potentially lucrative weekend of online poker.
Ready or Not Ready?
Some sites were ready. They’d done this before and knew how to handle the influx of players. PokerStars had no issues with its tournaments. WSOP in the US market seemed fine as well.
Americas Cardroom is often plagued with issues on large tournament days, but May 3 seemed to go rather smoothly.
GGPoker had issues. As tournaments began, their servers had some trouble, and a few glitches turned into a reset that took an hour or so. However, some players still seemed to be awaiting their reimbursements hours later, but the WSOP and ambassadors like Daniel Negreanu were certainly going to make sure everyone was made right.
Servers were unstable due to record traffic surge and all games were paused. We will be back within 15 minutes. Please bear with us!
— GGPoker (@GGPoker) May 3, 2020
PartyPoker had major problems. Reports of server problems turned into a need to pause tournaments and restart the server. That didn’t solve the problems, though. Tournaments that kept pausing were ultimately cancelled, and PartyPoker said it would reimburse players within 48 hours as per their cancellation policy.
The affected tournaments have now been cancelled and will be settled within 48 hours according to our cancellations policy at https://t.co/Jm6lhKOtkX Many apologies for this and other problems tonight
— PartyPoker (@partypoker) May 3, 2020
PartyPoker is a very trusted site and will reimburse players as soon as possible. This poker operator has been extremely forthright, honest, and apologetic when necessary, doing everything to maintain positive relationships with its customers.
GGPoker is not exactly new to online poker, but it is new to the type of traffic its new series likely pulled in. It seems that the site overcame the issue in less than a few hours and moved everything forward. And, hopefully, there won’t be any future problems. The site set an ambitious 595-tournament series and is now on a very public stage with Negreanu front and center. It needs to get it right.