Topline Findings

The latest in our continuing series of studies was conducted in Feb 2009.

The Topline Findings shown below are examples from an earlier study conducted in January 2007 which was based, as are all our surveys, on a representative sample of over 13,000 regular poker players playing at least once a month across the U.S., Canada and Western Europe.

OVERALL

  • 40 million people play poker regularly (6.8% of the adult population)
  • 23 million of these regular players are in the U.S. (10.1% of the U.S. adult pop.)

  • 15 million in total play online for real money (2.6% of the adult pop.)
  • 7 million play online for real money at least once a month (1.4%)

  • 5 million play for real money at least once a month in “Home Games” (1.1%)
  • 2 million play for real money at least once a month in “Private Clubs” (0.4%)

  • 10 million have played in a casino in the last year (1.6%)

  • Of the 15 million online money players, 76% are male
  • Of the 15 million online money players, 58% are under 35 years of age

ONLINE POKER FOR REAL MONEY

  • 2.6% of all adults play online poker for real money

  • 3.8% of all adults in the U.S. play online poker for real money
  • 3.2% of all adults in Canada play online poker for real money

  • 3.2% of all adults in U.K. play online poker for real money
  • 6.2% of all adults in Scandinavia play online poker for real money

  • 1.3% of all adults in France play online poker for real money
  • 1.2% of all adults in Germany play online poker for real money

  • 4.0% of all adult males play online poker for real money
  • 1.2% of all adult females play online poker for real money

  • 5.0% of all adults aged 18-34 play online poker for real money
  • 7.2% of all males aged 18-34 play online poker for real money

  • Since the U.S. legislation that restricted online money play, 23% of online money players have stopped playing

  • However, 9% have started playing. Therefore, there are 14% fewer players (within this geographic universe)

  • In the U.S. 29% have stopped playing and 8 % have started, therefore there are 21% fewer players
  • Within the U.S. a further 11% say they may stop playing.  29% however, say they plan to start playing (again) within the next six months
  • In the U.S. only 5% say that legislation has made them play less

  • The biggest effect has been/will be on players switching sites.  38% of those still playing in the U.S. say they have switched or will switch sites

  • 88% of online money players play for stakes that mean they usually win or lose less than $100 a day
  • Only 2% play for stakes that mean they win or lose over $1000 a day

  • Online money players play predominantly on one site. Less than 10% of players say they currently play regularly on more than one site
  • Most players, however, have tried many sites before finding their “home”.  Only 13% say they have only ever played on one site; 44% say they have played on four or more and 13% on seven or more
  • Less than 10% of players thought it probable that they would change their main site in the foreseeable future.  Already tough, 25% of players have changed their main site within the last six months (even outside the U.S.)

  • Recommendation/referral by friends is still the most important reason to join a new site. Offers of good bonuses is one of the most important reasons to switch sites, but one of the least important for staying. This suggests sign-up bonuses are much more effective than loyalty bonuses
  • 34% of players report having tried to join sites but have then been frustrated and finally given up.  They put this failure down to difficulties in setting up their account (this problem was very much higher on some specific major sites)

  • Players’ greatest concern about fairness is that they might be playing against bots (computers) (41%).  This is followed by worries about collusion amongst other players (33%)
  • Players’ biggest complaint is against slow play (34%) (especially slow play from players who are playing multi-tables)

  • 15% of players are still bothered by regular disconnection problems (although, once again, this is much higher at some specific major sites)
  • Only 8% report ever having problems cashing in or out

  • For online money players the split between cash games and tournaments (including sit and goes) is about 50/50.  However, the more frequent players are more likely to be playing tournaments
  • Tournaments are much more popular amongst younger players
  • More than half of players often play both cash games and tournaments

  • Most regular online money players think that online and “real world” poker are very different games.  They say that they believe there is much more skill in “real world” poker

  • Poker players who play online for money at least once a month are more than three times as likely to bet on other things online (43.1%), than poker players who do not play online for money (12.8%)
    These players typically bet on a number of different other activities online.  Sports betting is the most popular

CASINO PLAY 

  • 25% of regular poker players have played in a casino in the last year


  • 9% of regular poker players have played in Vegas in the last year
  • 12% of U.S. regular poker players have played in Vegas in the last year

  • 6% of U.K. regular poker players have played in Vegas in the last year
  • 4% of Scandinavian regular poker players have played in Vegas in the last year

  • 20% of all online money players have played in Vegas in the last year
  • In Vegas, within the last year, the number of people who have played at the new poker room at “Caesars Palace” is higher than anywhere else (even though “Bellagio” still has by far the most players at any one point in time)

  • Most poker players visiting Vegas have played in at least two different poker rooms
  • The most highly rated poker rooms in Vegas are “Venetian”, “Bellagio” and “Wynn”

  • 60% of those visiting a casino also play online for real money
  • Players generally play for considerably higher stakes in casinos than they do online

  • 90% of poker players visiting a casino also gamble in the casino on other things. Most of these gamble on at least two other things

  • 80% usually go to the casino accompanied by other people. 95% of these people gamble in the casino on things other than poker

MEDIA

  • 68% of poker players watch poker on TV at least occasionally.   21% watch “most weeks”

  • Recordings of the “World Series” and the “World Poker Tour” remain the most enjoyed programmes (even outside of the U.S.)
  • 50% of viewers say that poker on TV would be more exciting if it were live

  • 35% say that “it doesn’t matter if it’s recorded as long as you don’t know the result”
  • 15% say “it doesn’t matter even if you do know the result”


  • Only 7% of poker players look at poker magazines even occasionally and only 1.2% of players look at poker magazines at least “most weeks”
  • Only 6% of poker players look at poker websites (other than the gambling sites) even occasionally and only 1.3% look “most weeks”

  • Obviously, those who read poker magazines (either online or “paper” copies) correlate very strongly with the high frequency players
  • Amongst the poker magazines, Card Player and Poker Player remain the most read.  However, there are now more than ten other poker magazines with significant market share


  • Poker players voted Daniel Negreanu as the player they believed to be (currently) “The Best Player in the World” (narrowly ahead of Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson)
  • The players voted as being “The Most Enjoyable to Watch” were, in many cases, at very different positions in that ranking when compared to their positions in “The Best Player in the World” ranking.  A significant number of players appeared in only one of the rankings