PokerStars has seen a strong start in the interstate online poker game after assembling its players in Michigan and New Jersey. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
PokerStars’ move to bring together groups of players in New Jersey and Michigan has proven successful so far. The online poker brand owned by Flutter Entertainment launched the network on New Year’s Day, marking the brand’s first cross-border co-liquidity network outside of Europe.
Occupy more than 400 simultaneous seats
Early reports are encouraging, with more than 400 simultaneous seats filled on the network. If accurate, this would make it the network with the best liquidity in the US market at the moment.
There wasn’t much hype or fanfare seen with the launch of the new network. Players have access to a full range of tournaments, sit and air, and cash tables. There is now also a larger table of tournaments and the guaranteed prizes are much larger.
The first of its kind
PokerStars obtained approval from the relevant regulators in Michigan and New Jersey in the days leading up to Christmas to move forward with the network. It is the first time that the operator of a poker site has brought together players between New Jersey and Michigan. This is a welcome move, as there is a large pool of players in Michigan.
The idea behind sharing liquidity between different jurisdictions is to attract larger numbers of players and increase competition across the board.
The only online poker site operator with a combined liquidity network in the US is WSOP through its partnership with 888. This network connects players in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Popular poker site operators such as the WSOP and BetMGM must still obtain regulatory approval to share the cash between their Michigan offerings with other states.
It grows slowly but surely
Online poker is currently played in five states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. It’s legal in West Virginia and Connecticut, but there are actually no online poker rooms. Pennsylvania is the only significant state that does not share any liquidity with others.
The question remains as to whether or not other countries will start embracing online poker. More than 30 states have legalized sports betting in recent years, and online casinos are available in many states. These types of platforms often prove to be good drivers of revenue for state governments through licensing fees and taxes. Online poker is different though, as it tends to produce lower revenues, and the player versus player dynamic often leads to more technological and regulatory hurdles.