The Winning Poker Network has made great strides in 2017 to gain more traffic and encourage players to make one of the network's great skins their new home. These efforts have not been ignored by players, but some are still missing out on the great value to be had.
Winning Poker Network, with leading skins Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, PokerHost, True Poker and Ya Poker, has been trying to gain more players through promotions, tournaments, and incorporating player feedback into their decisions and new offerings. While many sites claim to do this, Winning Poker Network has taken it to a new level by changing, tweaking and trying new things in pretty much every aspect of their business. An example of this is the software update implemented in May, which added a new tournament tickets system and the ability to broadcast the table action to spectators through the web. Players have responded favorably by playing at the site at some of the highest rates ever seen, and that’s not just on big Sundays but during the rest of the week as well.
Game Intel, which provides player traffic tracking numbers for pretty much every online room, has Winning Poker Network at 850 average users, but the network has seen peaks of close to 2,000 users on weekdays. Its heavy focus on Americans has undoubtedly led to this situation where the peak traffic hours (U.S. evening time) boast player numbers that are higher than you would expect. The Winning Poker Network has been clawing its way to the top of the charts, and it's now in the #2 spot among U.S.A. online poker rooms, just behind the PaiWangLuo Network. Actually, it has overtaken PWL for brief periods during the past year, possibly a harbinger of things to come in the future.
Poker sites in the past couple of years have been moving to something called a “recreational” player model. Essentially this model of player acquisition and retention focuses on offering promotions to frequently depositing players while attempting to freeze out high-volume players, like winning regs. While there has been endless debate about the merits of this kind of scheme, it is clear that sites think it is the best way to go as more and more sites make small, or sometimes large, switches to this method of thinking and operating. Many times, this leaves more serious players with a low level of rewards and a shrinking supplemental win rate.
Winning Poker Network has gone in the opposite direction, though, as it's doing pretty much everything possible to encourage the volume grinders to play on the network. Their two largest continuous promotions are “The Beast” and “Sit n’ Crush.” The Beast is a rake race for cash game players and SnC is the same but for Sit-n-go aficionados. These promotions ensure that players get rewarded the most by putting in long hours and playing lots of tables. This is in stark contrast to pretty much every other network right now. Even PokerStars, long the mainstay of hardcore poker professionals, has cut its rewards program to the consternation of dedicated pokerists everywhere. Speaking of 'Stars, the WPN Elite Benefits program resembles nothing so much as the old PokerStars VIP Club before all the advantageous aspects of the system were discontinued.
One of the strongest areas for the Winning Poker Network is its tournament lineup, which can lay a fair claim to being second to none in the U.S.-facing market. The network's Sunday Major event, called the Sunday Special, costs $200 + $15 to enter and has a guarantee of $150,000. This makes it the largest weekly tournament that residents of the United States can participate in. WPN also hosts the largest regularly scheduled PLO tournament for Americans, the Sunday Special PLO, which costs the same amount to enter and guarantees $35,000. There are plenty of other guaranteed tourneys throughout the rest of the week at buyins both affordable and pricey.
On top of the normal tournament selection, Winning also runs plenty of special events. It's right now hosting the OSS Cub3d, a tournament series that began Aug. 13 and is continuing through to Sept. 10. There are 141 events with total guaranteed prizes of $6.7 million. The last time the series ran, in spring of this year, it only guaranteed $5.7 million, so we can see that the organizers are optimistic that their site is growing and can support ever-increasing guarantees. As part of the series festivities, there will be a Million Dollar Sunday on Sept. 3, costing $500 + $40 to enter and sporting a prize pool of no less than $1 million. There have been about a dozen such seven-figure tournaments in the past few years, and while the first handful of them had sizeable overlays, recent MDS events have comfortably covered their guarantees.
Winning Poker Network has been taking some noteable steps to improve the network, and many of these improvements aren't coming at the expense of its longtime customers as is the case at some competing poker organizations. Through an aggressive promotions scheme and ever-improving tournament schedule, Winning Poker Network should continue to advance and get larger as the year continues. Besides just taking care of its existing user base, WPN also welcomes new visitors with outstanding promotional deals. The recommended WPN site for U.S. poker fans is Americas Cardroom. When you sign up for ACR, you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus, worth 20% rakeback, along with $50 in free tourney bucks to use in Jackpot Poker SNGs. To learn more about this room, click here for our Americas Cardroom Review.