Does it matter how many players are on a site at a given time?

Torneio Poker Player
Image by ducamendes via Flickr

The short answer may be yes and no. I would say that it all depends on what is happening at a specific day and time.

For US players, the largest amount of players may be found at PokerStars (PS) and FullTilitPoker (FT) with PS having almost a two to one count.

This week PS is running the World Championship of Online Poker series of Tourneys. Buy-ins range from $109 to $25,500 with the bulk being at least $215 per event.

This event is geared to the professional or semi-pro or those wanting to take a shot at the largest prizes available. Because of this event, there are more people logged in at PokerStars than usual. This can have an effect on the other sites. The effect might depend:  smaller sites might gain some followers due to the slowing effect of large volumes on the bigger sites. The larger sites can siphon off some players who find games going on the larger sites that don’t normally have any tables available but do now because of the greater number of players at the site.

During the Spring Championship of Online Poker, I noticed a larger amount of players than usual. At that time I was playing a 2 to 7 triple draw game and usually had to wait for a seat. During the SCOOP, more tables were open and seats were readily available. Once the events had completed, the tables emptied and the waiting list lines grew again to pre-event levels.. I believe that FT had less players than usual as many players like myself have accounts at more than one site and go where the action is at the time.

I frequent many different sites, looking for the best and most profitable site to play at. I am still looking. I know I need to improve my skills in both playing and table selection.  I have just started to record the number of players at these sites. For about two weeks I will track the number of players at seven of the eleven sites that I have accounts with. I will record those numbers about every two hours.  I generally don’t play from 10 pm to 7am, but I will record those when I wake up during the night. Perhaps I will keep my netbook under my pillow?

For example, this morning at about 7am ET, I recorded the following:

8,337 players at Absolute Poker (Ultimate Bet), same poker network, different lobby
N/A at Bodog (they said they are working on adding this feature)
1,819 players at Carbon Poker
1,688 players at Dolyes Room (Players Only, PokerHost), same poker network, different lobby
291 players at Full Rush Poker
34,191 players at Full Tilt Poker
91, 595 players at Poker Stars
413 players at True Poker

I am not really sure what the data will tell me?  I do not know how I will use this information. Hopefully, it will be useful.

Do you have any thoughts on what the data might mean? Does it really matter? Do sites with less players have better or worse than average players? Do better players avoid the larger sites?

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