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PokerScout Sold, Now Has New Look and Feel

PokerScout Logo

One of the stalwarts of the online poker industry, the traffic tracking site PokerScout, has been acquired by Catena Media. The old setup of the website has been retired, and it now sports a different presentation and layout that has left most visitors disappointed.

About the Changes

Beginning Feb. 22, visitors to pokerscout.com now see something similar to the following page:

Screenshot of the New PokerScout

This is quite different from the way the site used to look as shown below:

Screenshot of the Old PokerScout
Image of PokerScout.com Homepage from Feb. 22, Courtesy of InternetArch8ive.org

The old format was able to contain more rows of data within a given screen size, and it had a distinctive brown, white, and gray color scheme. By contrast, the new PokerScout employs a generic black, white, and red design, and the text seems bloated somehow so that less information can be seen on the screen. The fact that there are three prominent poker room afflinks near the top of the page doesn't help matters either.

The old PokerScout had a number of cool features, like play money traffic numbers and a checkmark showing U.S.-friendly poker rooms on the main page, which the new site lacks. Clicking on an individual network within the list used to bring up a page containing extensive data about that operator, such as the software it ran and the sites housed on that network. Currently, readers who select a particular poker organization merely get to see the peak player counts for the last 14 days.

New Focus of PokerScout

Magnifying Glass

The new owners of PokerScout appear to be pushing a philosophy centered around regulated markets. This may be why there's no indication on the main page of which offshore sites accept American players. Even selecting “USA” from the “Countries” menu at the top merely brings up data on the licensed New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware poker rooms along with text about the history and legality of online poker in the United States.

In keeping with its focus on government-supervised internet poker, the site is even geo-serving specialized pages to those from various jurisdictions. Many individuals in the United States, for instance, are being redirected to a NJ page, which only shows player volume information for four state-licensed New Jersey online poker rooms.

Background on Catena

Clipboard

Catena Media, which now owns PokerScout.com, is a huge media conglomerate that has been acquiring gambling-related websites left and right. It's based in Malta and traded on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange under the ticker symbol CTM. Some of the prominent Catena properties are AskGamblers.com, CasinoUK.com, and USPoker.com.

The overwhelming bulk of the websites operated by Catena Media work according to an affiliate model. That is, they attempt to drive traffic to their partner real money gaming brands, and they get a cut of the revenues. PokerScout now appears to be heading in this same direction: quite a difference from the time when it was a largely unbiased informational portal.

About the Deal

Info Button - Blue

The purchase of PokerScout actually occurred some months ago in November 2017. The selling price was $350,000.

There were clues that something was amiss at PokerScout between November 2017 and the launch of the updated website in February. There were periods when the links to news articles on the right-hand side of the home page were not updated for several days in a row. Furthermore, some of the numerical traffic info was a few weeks out of date at times.

History of PokerScout

Books

Daniel Stewart launched his online poker traffic tracking site in April 2006, and it was originally called PokerSiteScout. In its first incarnation, PokerSiteScout presented statistics on cash games at just nine internet poker rooms. It changed name to PokerScout in 2007. There were a number of organizations providing similar services, like PokerPulse.com and NHBRA.com, but PokerScout quickly surpassed them in popularity, and both competing sites are now defunct.

Screenshot of PokerSiteScout
Screenshot of PokerSiteScout.com, Ancestor of PokerScout, From July 2006, Courtesy of InternetArchive.org

From its simple beginnings, PokerScout has grown over the years. By the end of 2017, it provided coverage of more than 60 real money online poker providers, including tournament data for some of them, along with a small section devoted to play money sites. Supplementing its poker liquidity stats, PokerScout rounded out its content with a news section, user reviews of poker rooms, and reports on industry trends that were available for purchase.

The GameIntel Connection

GameIntel Logo

The previous owner of PokerScout is continuing to compile the relevant game-related data as part of GameIntel.com. This is the company that the new PokerScout is sourcing its player traffic information from. Thus, the accuracy and quality of the reported numbers should still be the same as it was before.

However, what Catena Media decides to do with these detailed numbers is entirely up to them. We could see a lot of the figures either ignored or presented in ways that further the agenda of Catena. For example, it's not out of the realm of possibility that all “gray market” operators might be left off of the PokerScout lists entirely in the not-too-distant future.

In theory, someone else could purchase the game reports from GameIntel and start up a competitor to PokerScout. However, GameIntel states that “Our reports are strictly for private use by the purchaser, not for republication or distribution.” Anyone wishing to use the data for other than private use needs to get the approval of GameIntel. Given the ongoing arrangements between Catena and GameIntel, such permission is not likely to be forthcoming for any would-be replacement of PokerScout.

PokerScout and the Future

Future Arrow

We're not exactly sure if there are further alterations to come for PokerScout now that it's in the hands of Catena Media. For the moment, it's possible to view traffic numbers for the biggest U.S.A. online poker sites in the market, which are Ignition Casino and the Winning Poker Network, although they're not clearly identified at PokerScout as accepting American customers. You can learn more about these entities with our thorough Ignition Casino Poker review and our fact-filled Americas Cardroom review. For constantly updated info on all the reputable sites for players in the United States, check out our guide to U.S. online poker, which is full of material concerning the legal situation for internet poker, the top sites for Americans, and more.