Four-day soft launch
UPDATE 2pm ET: WSOP.com has gone live in Pennsylvania.
Poker players in Pennsylvania have another outlet for their pastime, as WSOP.com is launching in the state. The World Series of Poker’s official online poker room goes live Monday, giving the state a trio of poker sites.
The exact time that WSOP.com plans to flip the switch Monday has yet to be announced, but what is known as of the time of this writing is that it will be a four-day “soft launch” this week. From July 12 to July 15, WSOP.com will be available for “limited hours” so that all systems can be tested in real-life conditions. Assuming everything goes well, the shackles will be removed Friday.
$50 in free play upon a player’s initial deposit
WSOP.com is giving new Pennsylvania players a few basic incentives to sign up. Like many sites, it is offering a deposit bonus, this one a generous 100% on up to $1,000. Of course, it will come with playthrough requirements, but it is better than no bonus. Everyone who deposits at least $10 will get tickets to seven daily $100 freerolls. And perhaps the nicest goodie is $50 in free play upon a player’s initial deposit. The $50 cannot be withdrawn, but any winnings generated from it can be.
More competition for PokerStars
Despite the rapid growth in online gambling – particularly sports betting – in the United States over the last couple years, online poker lags way behind. It has been eight years since Ultimate Poker became the first legal, regulated site in the country and the only states with online poker rooms up and running are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
PokerStars became the first site to launch in Pennsylvania in November 2019 and enjoyed a monopoly in the Keystone State for about a year and a half. It finally got some competition in late April of this year when the duo of BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker went live (we’ll consider them one site, since they operate on the same network).
It appears that PokerStars’ first-mover advantage (and perhaps its brand) is holding up, as it is still the dominant player in the state. According to PokerScout.com, PokerStars has a seven-day moving average of 260 cash game players, compared to just 35 for BetMGM/Borgata.
Pennsylvanians still waiting for interstate play
With the WSOP Online currently underway and the traditional World Series of Poker coming up this fall, Pennsylvania poker players may naturally be excited to be able to get in on the action with WSOP.com. The problem is, though, that Pennsylvania is not currently in an interstate liquidity agreement with any other states, thus limiting Pennsylvanians to playing at tables only with people located within state borders.
Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are all parties to the Multi-State Internet Gambling Agreement (MSIGA), which allows poker rooms in each state to combine their players pools. WSOP.com and its sister sites using 888poker’s platform are the only sites with a presence in those three states, so they are the only ones that are linked up in an interstate network.
Pennsylvania law does permit interstate compacts, but the state is simply not part of one yet.
Pennsylvania law does permit interstate compacts, but the state is simply not part of one yet. As such, it does not look like players on WSOP.com will be able to participate in WSOP Online or other network-wide events. They will, however, be able to compete in satellites to earn seats in live World Series of Poker events, as the Pennsylvania site will have its own qualifiers.