Mike and Nick talk everything WSOP Online during this year’s World Series of Poker.

From the new shared liquidity pool based in Michigan and shared with players in Nevada and New Jersey to the new online poker software and its features and bugs, you’ll get all the details.

Of course, the WSOP Online bracelet events and Online Championships Series are also on the agenda, so no matter what state you are in, you won’t want to miss this comprehensive look at the new WSOP Online.


Full Transcript

Michael Gentile: Hello and welcome everybody to the PokerFuse podcast. I’m your host Mike Gentile along with my co-host Nick Jones. Today on the pod, it’s WSOP Online during the 55th Edition of the World Series of Poker. Hey, Nick, how you doing?

Nick Jones: Yes. Very good. Thanks for having me on our PokerFuse podcast.

Michael: Yes. So we figured that the best podcast we can produce this time around would be one of informational value for anyone looking to play WSOP Online or the World Series of Poker Online, however it’s being called. We did have a little bit of a change in the name of things, so we’ll discuss that in a little bit. Nick, tell us what was the lead-up to the WSOP this year with the online component?

Nick: Yes. Going into, I think, early May time, we started reporting that WSOP were preparing to combine their separate Michigan online player pools with New Jersey and Nevada ahead of the summer series with the goal to run online bracelet events under that one three-state network.

We saw that they were originally planning to run, I think, a circuit series in mid to late May. That leaked out, I think, on Twitter first, that there was a draft schedule put online for this three-state network. That date came and went, and they didn’t launch. It was definitely clear behind the scenes that they were working hard to try and get this live ahead of June, effectively, for when the— yes, May 30th, when the series really kicked off.

Finally, it all happened. We were watching. We leaked some information with the test clients that they were running and testing this three-state network. I think maybe, yes, it happened on— what’s our date? May 27th, Monday, May 27th, which is— was it Memorial Day or another vacation day in the US?

Michael: No, I believe— was it? Perhaps. I’m confused here.

Nick: I remember thinking they’re doing this over a three-day national holiday.

Michael: Yes. It was Memorial Day. You are correct.

Nick: Yes, and in the UK as well. It all culminated into almost, like, “Maybe this isn’t actually going to happen.” Then it did. Forty-eight hours ahead of time, they said, “We are going to do shared liquidity on the Monday, the evening of the Monday. If you like, you have 48 hours to pre-register.” It effectively happened. They did a lot.

I’ve jotted down six different things that they basically tried to execute over one weekend. That is where we are today. We have one three-state online poker network, combining Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey, and a separate one in Pennsylvania.

Today, as we record this, the first online bracelet events have run. Obviously, the WSOP live series has already completed its first week in Nevada. Yes. We’re going to get into some of the problems they faced and some of the issues that are still there. All told, they did complete what they set out to do just in the nick of time.

Michael: Okay. That’s a good sign for players. Before we continue on, give us a little bit of background on shared liquidity. What is this? What is it? What’s the state of it in the US? Why is it good? All that good stuff.

Nick: Yes. So it’s a term used to describe when states can— also operators in states can combine their regulated online poker player pools across state lines. The first time this happened was over a decade ago where we had— Well, let me get my timeline right. Was it Nevada and Delaware first that connected liquidity and then joined New Jersey?

Michael: I can’t remember exactly. I do remember that it was the WSOP first launched their shared— their big shared liquidity, I should say, that included New Jersey and Nevada right before the WSOP that year. Whether or not Delaware was connected first, I don’t exactly recall.

Nick: Yes, but so for many, many years, we just had those three states combined. The regulators of those states had joined a pact called the Multi-State iGaming Agreement or MSIGA that says that operators can apply for authorization to combine their player pools, which obviously is great. It means for poker players, you can play in much bigger tournaments, access much larger cash games, and is generally the lifeblood of online poker that you have a liquidity level that allows you to run games around the clock, offer a variety of games and tournaments, et cetera.

Then for the best part of a decade, that was it. There was only those three states connected. No other operator launched in Nevada. No other operator could launch in Delaware. Then when we had Pennsylvania come online and then Michigan come online, that’s happened in the last four years. Initially, neither site joined from day one the Multi-State iGaming Agreement. Sites launched in those states anticipating that it would happen. For a couple of years, it didn’t.

Then we had, oh, yes, so two years ago, January 2022. No. Two years ago, about now, so it was like June or July 2022 where Michigan did sign the Multi-State iGaming Agreement. Six months later, PokerStars took advantage of that and combined their New Jersey and Michigan player pools together. That’s the last thing that has happened that would affect players until effectively two weeks ago, ten days ago, when the WTP announced that they would now take advantage of this Michigan option and connect their existing Michigan player pool with Nevada and New Jersey.

Michael: Okay. We have the first three-state online poker player pool, which is comprised of New Jersey, Nevada, and Michigan. What about Pennsylvania?

Nick: Just on that, it was strange that when this all happened, in one of the press releases that Caesars issued, they said this is the first-ever three-state online poker network. They said the first operator to have a three-state online poker network, which then got picked up and repeated elsewhere as just the first-ever three-state online poker network, which is, of course, not true, because we did have Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey combined for many, many years.

Now, the way the PR was worded, it was sort of accurate, because WTP wasn’t an operator in Delaware. There was just a network that they were part of that spans in few markets. Anyway, that ended six months ago when Delaware went offline for reasons we probably won’t get into. It is today the only three-state online poker network. It is also the only one which Michigan has ever been a part of, so there’s certainly some firsts there.

Yes. Pennsylvania still stays on the sidelines. There are efforts to try and get Pennsylvania to join the Multi-State iGaming Agreement, which would obviously allow these online poker networks at PokerStars and WSOP to join Pennsylvania. At the time of recording this, that has not happened. There is hope that it will. There is a bill that is trying to effectively encourage the governor to sign an existing bill that’s already on his desk that would authorize the regulator to join the Multi-State iGaming agreement. It’s really only a signature away, but it’s been that case now for a couple of years, and there hasn’t been any progress.

Michael: Okay. As part of bringing shared liquidity to WSOP Michigan, WSOP had to introduce a software update. Tell us a little bit about that update, what new features came along with it.

Nick: Yes. This was the thing that, honestly, I think if we’d gone back six months, we would have predicted that perhaps BetMGM would have done this before WSOP because we knew that WSOP had this issue that their software in Nevada and New Jersey, that existing two-state network, which is all powered by 888’s online poker software, was on a much, much older version than what’s available in Michigan and Pennsylvania. 888 has a newer client that’s called Poker 8, which has actually been around for two or three years, and when Michigan and Pennsylvania first launched, they just launched straight onto this new platform.

One of the first steps we knew WSOP would have to take is upgrading the software in those two states to bring it up to parity with Michigan so that it could then connect. It’s both, from a user’s perspective, effectively entirely new software. It looks completely different. It has a different feature set, which we’ll get into. Presumably, also, the back end that powers it is also completely different. They just had two entirely incompatible systems. We’d expected for years that WSOP would upgrade Nevada and New Jersey as a first step towards this. Instead, what they just did is they just did it all in one go, upgraded that software, upgraded the mobile apps.

Effectively, everyone now plays on what was the Michigan network. They upgraded that software. Players who were on Michigan and Nevada had to create new accounts effectively on this new network, which was previously just the Michigan network, install entirely new software, and now access this three-state player pool. That all happened on the same day. Effectively, this new software rolled out. Everyone created new accounts and then joined this new network.

Michael: Okay. On the new network, or on the new software, I should say, there were— that brought along with it the introduction of new features. What kind of new features can players in WSOP on WSOP.com or WSOP Online, what can they expect to see with that new software?

Nick: Yes. If you are in Nevada or New Jersey and you have experienced the old WSOP app or the 888 New Jersey software, then, effectively, it’s just completely different. We’ll talk about the new things that there are, but if you have a vague memory of it or if you’ve never played on it or you’ve looked and thought, like, “This is not worth my time playing on,” because the software was extremely dated, it’s definitely worth reconsidering.

From the game offering’s perspective, the big ones are progressive knockout tournaments, which they wouldn’t— this shows how old this software is. This was a new thing six years ago and people getting the first time. Mystery bounty tournaments are obviously more modern, they only date back maybe two years, but that’s in the new software.

From a user experience perspective, the lobbies and the tables are pretty much completely different, the whole experience is different. There’s new— excuse me, there’s new promotion types. One thing they’ve launched with is Card Strike, which I think by the time this podcast goes out, we’re going to have a full guide on Card Strike and how to play that, but ultimately, the operator now just has access to a lot more tools that they didn’t have before to run things like Card Strike, loads of new game features. We’ve got Show Stack and Big Blind, brand new hand re-player, fun stuff, rabbit hunting, throwables, table stakes stuff like tournament re-entry. I don’t think they had before when you bust out, I think there’s now a pop-up you can quickly re-enter, things like that.

Ultimately, I think perhaps the bigger thing is just that this is the client that’s been getting updates for the last two or three years. The old stuff pretty much wasn’t touched and it was stable and fine. They haven’t, as I said, added updates for PK. It was basically unmaintained. This is going to be much more secure, much more modern, and is ultimately now just running with what 888 offers worldwide; Europe, UK, Ontario. Everything is now on this platform. This is actually the end of this old Poker 6 client, the closure of Delaware, them shutting themselves in New Jersey, and they upgraded of these platforms. It’s the final nail in the coffin of this very, very old software, which has served 888 well for 20 years, [chuckles] going back 20 years, I think, but it certainly was kind of time for an upgrade. Yes. Effectively, it’s all new.

Michael: I remember seeing conversations on social media about the rollout of the new software and there were some issues?

Nick: Yes. Ahead of this podcast, I jotted down the issues that they faced and I’ve categorized it into five sections, which we can touch on briefly. There were launch issues, there’s product choice issues, ongoing Poker 8 issues, and then, maybe, just a broad communication issues. How many categories was that? Four. We’ll go with four.

The launch issues, I think, are mostly resolved, although they’re still working through it. It’s like we said at the start, this was effectively very, very rushed for them to get this across the line with literally 48 hours to go over Memorial Weekend when they were putting the final touches on the live series. There was a huge amount of issues that, I think, to be fair to them, they fixed fast.

Over that 48-hour period, people had problems with the pre-registration. They had problems getting the right link to download the software. They had— there were geolocation issues for the first day, I think, which were booting people out, preventing them logging in, saying that they were out of state, all these things. There was just stuff 404s on the website when you click to find out about information. A lot of that stuff has been fixed.

We’ll talk about some of the communication issues. Still, now, the WSOP is still working through a lot of the things they want to do. They’ve launched this whole new brand called WSOP Online. That brand hasn’t really rolled out. It’s still WSOP.com. That logo is still everywhere. There’s a new rewards program. At the time that we record this, there seems to be no information about how this reward program works, to the best of my knowledge. They haven’t updated their website. When I’ve tried it, you either get 404s or you get old information.

I think potentially by the time this goes out and over the next couple of weeks, a lot of this can be fixed. My guess would be that they’re going to roll out a whole new WSOP Online.com website to house all this information. Then WSOP.com will become more for the live series. That would make a lot of sense.

Then we’ve got product choice issues or criticisms and then ongoing issues. I think there’s just been some decisions about the game types that are being offered that are different from the previous software. Just changing limits, changing table sizes. I know before they had full ring tables and now it’s just six max tables. I believe the new software supports full ring, but it’s a choice not to offer full ring tables. That’s probably not going to change.

I think full ring in international sites is pretty much gone. Everyone’s switched to six max tables, so I doubt that will change. I think there’s that friction from just old-hand players who’ve been playing on the old software who understandably don’t like change. Maybe they were a full-ring player. Those games are offered and I’m not going to say that doesn’t suck, but there’s been some kind of friction there and just— they’ve just made decisions to consolidate certain tables, certain stakes, that kind of stuff.

Then there’s just some ongoing Poker 8 issues. The Poker 8 software is significantly better for the vast majority of people as we understand than the previous software in many, many ways, in particular, in mobile. We didn’t actually touch on that before, but the WSOP mobile app before was extremely basic. It didn’t have multi tabling support at all. It didn’t have PLO. Now it’s much, much better. It has all these things. It’s basically a first-class client rather than a, I don’t know, something that was kind of half-baked before.

With that said, instability is definitely an ongoing issue for players playing multiple tables. This, I think, it’s fair to say it’s known that the Poker 8 client is not the most stable compared with perhaps Poker Stars. In rest of world, people who play six to eight tables do report some stability issues. That’s not a brand-new thing. It seems to either be worse in the US or just people multi-table or more vocal about it or perhaps they’re just noticing the difference between the old software, which as much as it had its problems, I think because it was perhaps so old and hadn’t been changed, it was quite fast and snappy for something that was built 15 years ago. This is a richer user interface and it slows down. With that said, some people are getting some pretty bad crashes. If you go up to six tables, games are freezing. That has been a problem.

Michael: Am I right in— so from what I’ve seen about complaints online about this particular issue is it seems to be those with a lot of tables, is it safe to say that someone playing four tables is not going to see much of a performance problem?

Nick: I think so. I would say definitely if you’re— the vast majority of people are probably only playing one, two, three tables. I think, yes, that’s not a problem. I think the software is effectively a resource hog and the more tables you add on, the more your computer slows down. Depending on the spec of your machine, some people say it’s absolutely fine playing 8+ tables and they’ve got a beefy desktop computer, maybe on lightweight laptops, I don’t want to hit a hard number and say four tables, you’re completely fine.

The other thing to note is in the last 24 hours, they’ve rolled out a major update to definitely, I think, to Michigan. I think it’s coming to Nevada and New Jersey, but not quite yet. At the same time, all of this has happened, Pennsylvania also got an update. As a reminder, Pennsylvania has always been on the Poker 8 platform, but it got an update to a new version of Poker 8, which has been live for the last six months or so. This just provided various new improvements, mostly visual. That now is rolling out to other— to the three-state network.

As I said, I think it’s live in Michigan and not quite the others yet. That might be a regulatory approval step that they require, but players seem to be reporting that it’s much improved. I’m not going to say it’s fixed stability issues for 8+ tables. We’re going on just reports from players on the ground, but it’s also fixed an issue. I think one of the biggest complaints I saw is that the text was fairly illegible with red text on black background. That has been changed. Lots of people saying various fixes, stability improvements.

Hopefully, by the time people are listening to this, this is rolled out in Nevada and New Jersey as well. The general experience is better. I will caveat that I think in the rest of the world, it is known that this isn’t the most robust of clients. Hopefully, now there’s even more eyes on this software. There’ll be further improvements to the optimization of the client, the resource usage of the client that it’ll become more stable over time.

Michael: It sounds everything is moving in the right direction. It sounds like Nevada and New Jersey saw the most improvement because they were on the oldest software. Are there any major issues that still exist that WSOP is still working to resolve?

Nick: I think that’s it. I think the one, as far as we’re aware, the geolocation issues seem to be at least as good as they were before. That’s not a problem. I think people are migrating their accounts over. That seems to be fine. I think, yes, there’s still complaints in terms of the games that are being offered. The end of fall ring was one of them.

I think Heads Up Rematch isn’t available in the new Poker Ace. There’s stuff like that, which I can understand people complains of. Broadly speaking, the fact that this has only been out just over a week right now, and they’re already on the second rollout of updates shows that they’re working on it and hoping to improve.

Again, the amount that they’ve managed to get across the line, given the timeframes they’ve been working to, is quite impressive. It should give everyone hope that this will continue to improve after many, many years of basically nothing. I think it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that this is the biggest thing that WSOP Online have maybe ever done. Certainly, one of the most ambitious projects that they’ve executed from our perspective, 90% successfully. I think, in a month’s time, I think they’ll be pretty much there just in terms of branding, website, promotions, these kinds of things.

Michael: One thing that I expected to see more complaints about, but from what I can tell has gone, has been pretty well accepted, is players needed to create a new account to play on the new software.

Nick: Yes.

Michael: Does that include new username. Correct?

Nick: That is correct. Yes. Players effectively, yes, what happened was you signed up to a new site, you signed up to WSOP Michigan. That was kind of what the experience was. You signed up to a new account, you got a new screen name, and then, there was, I guess, a manual offline migration of your account. Then your balance would then get transferred over.

That’s the process today. There was this super short 48-hour pre-registration window that if you’re around at the weekend just before, you could do this pre-registration. You got entry to a free roll and you could get your account migrated over in time for launch. Now, yes, it’s just running. If you have an old account and you haven’t done this migration, obviously, you still do it. There’s a bit of downtime, I think, as your account gets transferred over. There can be— we’ve seen some people reporting that you may need to go through account verification again, proof of ID, checks from scratch because you’re effectively signing up to a new poke site.

Some players have said they’ve had to do that. Others said they haven’t. It might be based on the individual or the state you’re in. It might be different between the two states. Yes. Also, if you’re an international player and you’ve previously had a WSOP Nevada account because you’ve flown— when you’ve flown over and you’ve played, you will go through this process as well.

Michael: Okay. It sounds like that’s all in hand. Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about all the good stuff that comes along with it. I think in terms— well, let’s even start from the foundation. You had mentioned earlier WSOP Online as opposed to WSOP.com. What’s the difference there that we know so far?

Nick: Just in terms of the brand or—?

Michael: Yes. It’s just the name. It’s just there’s a new logo here and there. Is anything else changing?

Nick: Yes. I mean it’s a new name, it’s a new logo. Again, this was one of the— this is one thing that surprised us, one thing that we didn’t know was going to happen. We had a fun weekend updating all our pages and that stuff. I don’t think— yes, it was in the original PR and otherwise it said they haven’t updated their own website, social media handles, so I think there’s a lot still to do there. It’s a rebranding that makes sense because before WSOP.com was just a bit weird.

Yes. It is now called WSOP Online. It’s fairly ambiguous because people might use that term to mean different things. WSOP Online is the new name for their online poker efforts in the United States. It includes WSOP Pennsylvania. This is where things get confusing. People might use it to mean that three-state online poker network, but it technically also covers— it covers all four poker rooms including Michigan, which is segregated.

Michael: Okay. Obviously, the biggest highlight of the summer when it comes to WSOP Online is the online bracelet events. I believe this is the biggest year ever for the online component of the bracelet events?

Nick: Yes. Just to frame it, because we’ll probably touch on all three of these things, but it can get very confusing is that we have running right now and concurrently online bracelet events, online circuit series, and the online championship series. There are three separate tournament series [chuckles] all running from now until late July, I think, all of them, mid to late July.

Yes. Online bracelets, obviously, they’re the most prestigious. They’re the ones where you win a real online bracelet. In terms of total number of bracelets, it is the most that we’ve had. Let me just get my numbers right. In the new three-state network, there’s 30 bracelets, and then there are seven in Pennsylvania. Last year, it was 20, and then six in Michigan and six in Pennsylvania. It was 32 last year and 37 this year. Obviously, for— depending on what state you’re in, the change will be quite dramatic. It’s interesting and even going back to the different experience.

If you’re in Nevada and New Jersey, the big change for you is the new software. Obviously, the addition of Michigan players is great, but Michigan, it— well, WSOP Michigan before was very, very small, one of the smallest online poker sites in the US. Now I think that’s going to change because it’s just a much better offer. Overnight, Nevada and New Jersey was already a big network. It’s now slightly bigger. Yes, before you had 20 bracelets. Now, you’ve got 30 to play. That’s nice.

From the Michigan perspective, sure your software hasn’t changed that much, but the entire online poker experience has. There are somewhere between 5 to 10 times more players than there were before. You went from a tiny once-every-Sunday six bracelet series to 30, and they run every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then there’s sometimes double Sundays and there’s sometimes a Friday throughout the next eight weeks, there’s an online bracelet.

Yes. The guarantees— well, I’m sorry, there aren’t guarantees on most of them, but the prize pools will be 5X larger than before, if not much bigger. The experience— and it’s a huge shakeup to the Michigan online poker market because it was dominated by PokerStars and WSOP was the smallest. Now it’s going to be super competitive because it’s an extremely compelling offer for players in Michigan to now be playing on the World Series of Poker. Yes. Anyway, online bracelets, they’re running now, we’ve already had the first Sunday and, yes, runs for the next, what? Six weeks, multiple times a week.

Michael: Okay. Circuit Series, I was a bit surprised that this came out at this time. I’ve always pictured the Circuit Series as being the off-season for WSOP, but apparently not.

Nick: Well, I wonder if this is because— they had planned to run this in May and that this is the whole— the first leak that we had, that they were planning to do shared liquidity is that Circuit Series was going to be under the shared liquidity network. Then it just didn’t happen, but they didn’t run a segregated one anyway. Rather than scrap it, they’ve just kept it. I’m just looking at my notes now. It’s actually only— I’ve got it written down here, May 30th to June 10th. It’s only— this is a much shorter series, but even that, and this is changing constantly.

The original guarantees on these tournaments was only 500,000. I think there’s a dozen events, something like that. It’s now close to a million dollars in guarantees. They haven’t increased the number of events, but they’ve almost doubled the guarantees, I think, in response to the turnout they’re seeing in the tournament table so far since they’ve connected. Yes. That is running now. These are ring events. I guess you win a ring. Right? You win a physical ring in these guys?

Michael: Yes. World Series of Poker ring. Yes.

Nick: I think the Pennsylvania Circuit Series did run a month ago when it normally does in the lead-up to this. This one has just been pushed to now. That’s running now. Then we have the Online Championship Series.

Michael: Yes. What is that?

Nick: This is, to my knowledge, not being publicized by WSOP at all. We’ve run articles on this. If you want all the details and the full schedule, look on PokerFuse. I think in the last 24 hours, we published another article where they’ve just added a whole week and another million dollars in guarantees kind of quietly, that we picked up on and reported. It could be expanded further.

This is the big concurrent series they run throughout the summer in addition to the online bracelet. You’re playing an online bracelet event. There’s a bunch of other tournaments running as well. It’s normally a massive deal and it’s huge this year. Our last count is over 200 tournaments, over six— I want to say $6 million guaranteed. It was five, now it’s six.

Yes. I think it’s the biggest event since— I think since the COVID 2020 massive mini poker boom. We’re approaching those levels of tournaments and guarantees. This is all in the three-state online poker network.

Michael: Wow. There’s a lot on offer for anyone looking to play online during the World Series of Poker. That’s for sure.

Nick: Yes. Anyone in Nevada has access to all of this. Obviously, anyone in New Jersey, and, yes, anyone in Michigan who, maybe a year ago, was playing, had access to a half dozen bracelets and a tiny tournament series now has something they would have never experienced before on a regulated online poker site. No one’s ever had access to anything like this. We’ve had a year now of PokerStars US COOP, which are big, but this is certainly taking it to the next level.

Michael: One of the things traditionally that the online component is famous for is providing an easy way for operators to offer satellites and qualifiers to their land-based events. I’m assuming that’s no different this year for the WSOP?

Nick: Yes. This is, again, something like we’re reporting regularly and trying to piece together the information. The last thing that we wrote about in the last day or two was that they now have online satellites on the WSOP online three-state network daily. They have, I think, at least two satellites with a seat guaranteed to the main event and two— what do they call them? The free rolls where you go all in every hand. I can’t remember what they call it in WSOP parlance

Michael: All-in free rolls.

Nick: All-in free rolls. [chuckles]

Michael: All-in or fold, I think, it’s called, yes? No, it depends on different format.

Nick: No. That’s a different thing. Yes. These are literally like-

Michael: Yes, [crosstalk]

Nick: -just a lottery. I think they have at least two of those things. Four seats guaranteed, being given away every day to the main event. In addition to that, they have the weekly stuff. Pennsylvania, they have weekly qualifiers. Obviously, there’s a bunch of international things, GGPoker running Road to Las Vegas. They’re promising to send more people than ever before, ClubGG, and then Winamax as well is in France and Spain, is an official partner and runs loads of stuff. The Canada Poker Network runs loads of stuff. Yes. This will certainly be another record for the most number of people sent to the main event. WSOP Online has not let the opportunity pass to be really cranking them out on the online platform daily.

Michael: We touched on bracelet events already. One thing that we didn’t talk on, and I’m not sure if it’s even been announced, is Ontario. Are there any online bracelet events happening in Ontario or is that happening after in the fall? I know they did some last year.

Nick: Yes. This happens after the summer series. It’s always really hard to remember. Also because of the COVID cancellation year and everything getting pushed back, it seems to me they now follow a policy of somewhere around August, September, they run online bracelets in the non-US markets. That will be Ontario and it will be GGPoker.

I think Ontario was a six, seven online bracelets type situation. That’s on— I think the official name is WSOP at GGPoker Ontario is the poker in there. Then on GGPoker International, yes, dozens, isn’t it? Like 20 or 30 online bracelets?

Michael: Something like that.

Nick: Yes. There’s no announcement of that yet. That normally comes during the series. Maybe by the end of June into July, we get that online bracelet schedule. Then I think it runs August. It’s always— I think it’s before they try and get it in before the WCOOP season, which is September onwards. Yes.

Michael: In terms of international players, those that are actually making the trek over to Las Vegas, can they play WSOP Online?

Nick: Yes. If you’re going to Nevada, then you can play WSOP Nevada. It warmly welcomes any international players. You just have to be on Nevadan soil to play. You should be able to— We have a guide on PokerFuse specifically for international players and how to do this process, because it’s not the most straightforward, but broadly, you can sign up to WSOP Nevada from your own home. You can download the software. You might be able to download the apps, but that might not be possible until you get in state just on your mobile phone, because it might not be in the app store.

You should be able to sign up. You should be able to verify your account. I think this is worth doing before you travel, because if you require utility bills, ID, that kind of stuff, you’re at home, you’ve got access to all this stuff, take photos and whatnot. If you can, it’s probably worth doing ahead of time.

You should then even be able to fund your account. I think this is going to depend on the country you’re in and what you have access to. In theory, we’ve been told that you can deposit with credit card from your country before traveling, so you can fund your account, so that when you fly, in theory, maybe you install the mobile app, you can, from the airport, you can play WSOP Online from Nevada.

Again, as mentioned, if you previously had WSOP Nevada account, you sign up again for the new WSOP Nevada. There’ll be an account migration process, I assume. Then if you can’t deposit ahead of time, then when you get to Nevada, you can deposit and withdraw at the cage in Caesars Properties.

Michael: One of the tips that I saw in— actually, it’s in our article, was that the main difference for international players is when it comes time for, let’s say, US players to register, they would put in their social security number. For international players, I believe they use their passport number.

Nick: Okay. Yes. I mean that would make sense.

Michael: Yes. Okay. Yes. That works out great for those coming to play the WSOP from outside of the country.

Nick: Yes, and you can— it’s worth adding. You can do the full welcome bonus for WSOP Online as well. Again, final plug to PokerFuse, but by far, we have the best breakdown of how the bonus works, what the best deposit amounts are to maximize your bonus.

WSOP Online has also changed their welcome bonus. This was another one of the half-dozen things they decided to do over one weekend. It’s a small change, but all the details are on our site. Yes. If you are an international player, again, if you previously had an account and you’re signing up for an effectively a new account, as far as we can tell, you will get the deposit bonus as if you were a new player. Yes. It’s a 100% bonus up to $1,000. You’ll get then $100 in free play on top based on your deposit amount. There are now free spins that you get, which is probably a bit better than the deal before, which was free rolls, which a lot of people probably don’t use.

Michael: That’s the meat of the promotions that WSOP has put on to celebrate this new launch?

Nick: Yes. You’ve got— That’s perhaps one thing that maybe we would have expected if they had launched a good month ahead of time, I would expect maybe slightly more of a promotion because the reality is they’ve got the welcome bonus, which is the biggest in the US. The clearance terms aren’t the fastest, so it’s a lot of play if you’re going to clear the bonus.

In fact, just a sidebar, if you’re just coming to play for a month, six weeks, it’s worth working out just how much of the bonus you’ll clear, not that it matters too much, it releases in chunks, but you’re probably not going to clear $1,000 unless you’re a really high-volume grinder and have a beefy computer [chuckles] to be playing those eight tables.

Yes. You’ve got the welcome bonus, which can be very valuable. Even if you’re a small depositor, that $100 free play is effectively, again, I’d double-check the details on our site, but it’s effectively an instant release bonus that you get to play with. It’s based on the amount that you deposit, but there’s a nice deposit level. If you deposit 50, you get up to $25 free play bonus and the $50 deposit match, which you’ll clear really quickly and the free spins. It’s a really nice first boost when you sign up. [crosstalk]

Michael: I saw something about a $100,000 free roll. Is that still going on?

Nick: Yes. I need to check that. This has been a very confusing thing because they had this pre-reg little window where you got a special deal. Yes. There is still a $100,000 free roll open to anyone, new or existing players. You just make a deposit, can be the minimum deposit, I believe, and you will get a ticket to a $100,000 free roll, which takes part in three weeks’ time. You have until June 24th to make that deposit.

Double-check in your state if there’s a bonus code. I think in Michigan, you have to use WSOP100 to trigger it. In the other two states, you don’t. You get entry into that free roll. That’s just basically a freebie. Yes. That’s nice to have. That’s really the only launch promo they’ve got. Then, ultimately, they’re just putting all their weight behind this triple tournament series running for the next six weeks. That’s probably the other big thing there they’re doing and they’re focusing on.

Michael: Yes. It’ll be interesting to see where they land with regards to the guarantees on the Championship Series.

Nick: Yes. It seems they’re responding quickly to volume. They don’t seem hesitant to increase schedules. They just added on a whole week onto that thing. Then on the circuit rings, they just almost doubled the guarantees across the board, so there’s—

It’s nice to see WSOP switched on and responding to these kinds of things and trying to do the most they can, because I think a fair criticism leveled at them in the past has just been maybe a little bit asleep at the wheel, that might be a little bit too harsh, but perhaps just coasting a bit.

Again, for 18 months wondering, “When are you going to do this? When are you going to do shared liquidity?” They’re a particularly secretive company. They don’t talk about these things at all until basically the weekend they’re doing them. It’s great to see them not just focus on the live series that they are doing this. Yes. I could definitely see them increasing guarantees, adding on more events. I think they will try and hit some really lofty goals to make a splash.

Michael: Yes. A year and a half ago when PokerStars combined their New Jersey and Michigan player pools, it seemed like they were pushing the envelope for online poker. With this move, WSOP has clearly taken it to another level.

Nick: Yes. I think once the dust has settled on the teething problems and hopefully, sorting out the stability issues, we’ll definitely look back on this as being one of the most important things in US online poker. This probably happened since Michigan launched regulated online poker. We’ve been doing this for 10 years now that we’ve had legal regulated online poker in the US. It is inch-by-inch improvements, minor improvements.

Everyone listening who’s not in the four states that we’ve been talking about, yes, it sucks. It’s a big deal, not just for WSOP and not just for players, particularly in Michigan. We talked about Pennsylvania right at the start. It’s things like this that will ultimately hopefully get the governor to notice and realize, like, “Hey, we’re getting left behind this growing US online poker business. These are the states that are doing more, they’re promoting more, their operators are providing more of a service, and we’re getting left on the sidelines. I need to get that bill signed.”

[unintelligible 00:42:00] has looked to being like, “Okay. Let’s expand into small states like West Virginia. Let’s grow online poker network.” It means for BetMGM, “We can’t get left behind. We need to do the same ourselves. We need to connect things up.” It means for sites like BetRivers, who we think are going to launch Run It Once poker on the— sorry, launch BetRivers Poker on the Run It Once software they purchased. “Let’s get this sorted out and launch our own online poker site. We need to be in there. We need to be competing.”

Yes. It’s great to see WSOP push this across the line because there were certainly moments in the last month where they thought this was not going to happen. I’m sure they did, too, internally. It’s great to see it happen. Hopefully, it’s just the start of a lot more positive developments in US online poker in the next year.

Michael: I agree. This is very good for US online poker in general. Players are going to get access to all these great events and 6 million in guarantees on the Championship Series. It offers a lot for those that get to play, but it also serves a purpose for those that are still waiting to play online poker in the US as well.

Okay. I think we’ve covered just about everything. If anything else does pop up, any major changes, if any more tournaments are added, tournament series, any major additions, who knows, maybe we’ll fire up the pot again and do a mid-WSOP update. For now, I think that everything that players need to know about WSOP online, we’ve basically covered or have referenced content on PokerFuse where they can get additional information.

Nick: Yes. I think we pretty much covered it.

Michael: Okay. Perfect. Well, thanks, Nick, for being the guest on this week’s podcast and getting all this important information out to the players. Until next time, I’m Mike Gentile and this, my co-host, is Nick Jones. We’ll see you soon.

Nick: Thanks very much.