PokerStars first of several in Pennsylvania
PokerStars went live in Pennsylvania on Monday, November 4, becoming the first online poker room to launch in the state.
The news of the long-anticipated launch date was announced last week at a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting. PokerStars was not mentioned by name, but Mount Airy Casino, PokerStars’ brick-and-mortar casino partner, was. Stars later confirmed Monday as the go-live date.
PGCB’s executive director Kevin O’Toole added that he expects more online poker rooms to launch in four to six weeks.
Soft launch before full roll-out
Monday and Tuesday represent the initial “soft launch” of PokerStars in the Keystone State.
PokerStars is not offering all game types during the soft launch period. Cash games are limited to six- and nine-handed No-Limit Hold’em, six-handed Fixed-Limit Hold’em, and six-handed Pot-Limit Omaha. Stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $50/$100, depending on the game. Also active are $1 to $100 buy-in six-handed Turbo Sit-and-Go and $1 to $500 heads-up Sit-and-Go.
Some smaller buy-in multi-table No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments are also running. The very first was a $5 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo tournament that kicked off at 3pm on Monday and attracted 140 players. SugarDaddyPA had the honor of being the first tournament winner in Pennsylvania’s online poker history, banking $121.
What to expect going forward
Once PokerStars goes fully live, additional game types such as Triple Draw and Stud may be added, although that might depend on how much traffic the site gets. The tournament schedule will be expanded, and cash game players should see more options for Hold’em and Omaha.
tournament schedule will be expanded, and cash game players should see more options
Spin & Go and Zoom Poker, two of PokerStars’ most popular offerings, will not be available to play yet, as the site is still waiting for state regulators to approve the games.
PokerStars Pennsylvania can be downloaded at PokerStarsMtAiryCasino.com, and players must be at least 21 years old and located within state borders. Customers do not have to be Pennsylvania residents. Those who have PokerStars New Jersey accounts will need to create a new one for Pennsylvania.
For now, the PokerStars Pennsylvania tables will be filled with just players from within the Commonwealth. It is expected that Pennsylvania will join an interstate compact with New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada eventually, but there is no indication of when that might be.
Poker has traveled a long road
Online gambling was made legal in Pennsylvania two years ago. A launch date of July 15 for online poker and casino sites was announced this spring, with two online casinos – Parx and Hollywood – going live at the time. Sugarhouse activated its casino site a few days later.
There are also five internet sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. These include Fox Bet, PokerStars’ collaboration with Fox Sports. The Stars Group, PokerStars’ parent company, also launched PokerStars Casino on Monday.
Stars Group president Matt Primeaux said: “we’re proud to say we’re currently the only online provider offering all three forms of regulated gaming in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”