Full Tilt sees a significant hit to their traffic after going live with recreational player focused changes. In politics, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak has decided to run for New Jersey governor.

We’ve got these stories and more covered in Sunday’s edition of the Hit and Run.

Full Tilt Traffic on the Decline

Full Tilt cash game traffic is down more than 10% since changes at the top 10 poker site went live last week. The changes were part of a wide effort to improve the playing experience of recreational players.

As part of the changes, Full Tilt changed their lobby by removing a player’s ability to observe or select tables. They also removed heads-up, higher stake games and lower popularity games such as Stud, Draw and Mixed games). They also increased rake at certain tables including microstakes and cash games with blinds of $5/$10-$10/$20.

Over the next several weeks, Full Tilt Poker will make significant changes to the rewards program, which Full Tilt hopes will be more appealing to new and recreational players. The industry, which has historically rewarded higher volume players more, is increasingly realizing that grinders aren’t what is sustaining poker rooms. Instead, it’s the new money coming into poker rooms from recreational players, which Full Tilt Managing Director Dominic Mansour says accounts for 9% of the players at thier site.

Mansour acknowledged the significance of the changes. “It’s going to be fundamentally different from anything you’ve seen before and will go to the heart of what Full Tilt stands for: playing for the love of the game”

Lesniak to Run for New Jersey Governor

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak’s decision to run for governor could be good for the future of U.S. online gambling, says Online Poker Report. Lesniak was the main proponent of online gaming legislation that lead to games going live in November 2013.

Lesniak already has a high profile on gambling issues, showing a commitment to the online gambling movement. He has also been vocal in efforts to court other states and countries to join New Jersey’s online gambling market, even introducing a bill to offer international online gambling licenses. OPR also states that as governor, Lesniak could have New Jersey join the Multi State Internet Gambling association, which Delaware and Nevada — the two other states to regulate in the US — have already signed.

Quick Hitters

– The World Series of Poker is now a distant memory — at last until the Main Event final table reconvenes this November — and as expected traffic for WSOP.com has been down sharply with traffic shedding about 21% since July 7th highs.

— Phil Ivey, Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Dan “Jungleman” Cates have been spotted at $2,500/$5,000/$10,000 cash games in Manilla, the site of the PokerStars Asia-Pacific Poker Tour Manilla event.

– The World Series of Poker Hall of Fame is open for nominations and fans are encouraged to participate by submitting a name and your reasons why. The top 10 nominations will be considered with one or two finalists announced at the November 9 in Las Vegas.

– Have or haven’t they? That is a question circulating regarding confusion whether Russia has chosen to regulate online poker or not. One source in the report says that if Russia decides to regulate “that all servers containing Russian poker player data would need to be stored within Russia.” Russia had passed regulations last year that are slated to go into affect in September.