On January 1, 2023, players of PokerStars in Michigan and New Jersey will finally be able to sit at the same online poker tables together. [Image: PokerStars.com]
At long last, share the cash
As the calendar page turns to New Year’s Eve next weekend, a new page will finally appear in the US online poker industry. On Friday, PokerStars announced that it will bring together the Michigan and New Jersey player pools on January 1, 2023. It will be the first online poker operator to launch joint liquidity between these two states.
We hope more will follow this fine example.”
“Our community will experience a greater scope and depth of games, more tournaments with bigger prizes to win, extensive upgrades, and more choices,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director of PokerStars US in the announcement. “To start, we are offering generous guarantees in our first multi-state tournaments, which will no doubt provide a lot of value to those who will sit at the tables. We have worked closely with the organizers in New Jersey and Michigan, and hope more will follow this fine example.”
PokerStars suspended its games in both states for over 24 hours on December 12 and 13 as it performed server maintenance to prepare for the two groups of players to join. Since operations resumed, players in both Michigan and New Jersey have seen identical private tournaments in the two states’ poker lobbies, suggesting that interstate testing may be in the works.
Bigger and better tournaments
As Severin Rasset mentioned, PokerStars is celebrating the multi-state merger with two special tournaments on New Year’s Day, which feature a total of $150,000 in guaranteed prize pools.
The inaugural Michigan-New Jersey online poker tournament will begin at 6 PM ET on January 1, 2023. This $100 buy-in event will win $100,000 in collateral. The second, which starts in just half an hour, has a guaranteed $50,000 prize pool and a low $10 buy-in. Players can start registering for tournaments on Tuesday, December 27th.
Since PokerStars is known for its huge selection of multi-table tournaments, a robust and complete tournament schedule is expected to appear on each site soon, with regular daily and weekly tournaments. With a larger player pool — PokerStars New Jersey has a seven-day average of 65 players cash a game and Michigan has 170, according to PokerScout — the site should be able to offer guarantees of a prize pool that outshines its competitors, at least in Michigan.
Online American poker is still small in size
Although online poker has been legal and regulated for nearly a decade in the United States, this is the second interstate online poker network in the country. The other is the WSOP.com/888poker network, which brings together 888 platforms in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. PokerStars has no presence in either Delaware or Nevada, hence the reason those states are not included in the New Year’s Federation.
Michigan joined MSIGA in May
The above three states have been part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) for years, allowing them to share pools of players and increase poker traffic. Michigan joined MSIGA in May, but the poker sites have yet to achieve joint liquidity. WSOP.com exists in Michigan, but WSOP/888 has not yet integrated it with other states.
BetMGM has poker rooms in Michigan and New Jersey, which also includes the partypoker brand, but has not created an online poker network of its own. It has been upgrading its poker software, though, according to reports, in anticipation of merging pools of players at some point in the future.
Then there is Pennsylvania. WSOP.com, BetMGM, and PokerStars all have sites in the Commonwealth, but since Pennsylvania is not part of MSIGA, these poker rooms remain fenced off from their counterparts in other states.