The Initial Surge Has Subsided, But PokerStars MI is Still the Largest Online Poker Room in the US

While cash game traffic has dipped slightly from its first-month highs, the first ever Michigan online poker site, PokerStars MI, has seen its traffic stabilize at around 450 concurrent cash game seats, more than enough to make it by far the largest online poker room anywhere in the United States.

PokerStars Michigan launched in late January and almost immediately shot to the top of the rankings for US regulated sites, reporting north of 400 concurrent cash games after its first week and rising steadily to over 500, according to data tracked by independent industry monitor GameIntel and available on Poker Industry PRO’s data platform.

The network hit a peak on February 21, when its seven-day moving average reached 540 players. This coincided with its first huge weekend of MTT action, with the first events of the inaugural MICOOP smashing guarantees.

It resulted in the operator quickly increasing guarantees across a swath of scheduled tournaments.

Naturally traffic has dipped a bit after this initial huge surge. But traffic has remained surprisingly high, stabilizing at around 450 concurrent cash game seats for the last few days. This is enough to easily put it well above any other online poker room across the United States.

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To put this figure in perspective, its sibling site PokerStars PA launched with around 400 concurrent cash game seats and hovered around this mark for the first couple of months. Traffic increased in January, but never exceeded 500 seats.

There was another massive spike last spring during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but by July this has subsided to around 400 seats. Over the last year, PokerStars Pennsylvania has consistently held this cash game level.

Given Michigan’s smaller population, it should thus be seen as an excellent start for the poker room.

The only other network close to this level is the combined WSOP/888 US Network, which uniquely shares liquidity across Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, with six separate brands all pooling their liquidity together.

Its traffic usually sits at around 200 to 250 seats. Although there are often spikes, particularly around summer when it spreads official WSOP bracelet events, the network’s all time high is 501 cash game seats.

Network State Cash game traffic
PokerStars MI Michigan 455
PokerStars PA Pennsylvania 355
WSOP/888 NJ, NV and DE 220
Partypoker US Network NJ 85
PokerStars NJ New Jersey 60

In both MI and PA, PokerStars has enjoyed a de facto monopoly since going live, as no other operator has yet launched online poker in the market.

However, that is expected to change imminently. BetMGM is known to be readying an online poker launch.

Pokerfuse understands that the operator was initially targeting a February debut, but this has been slightly delayed. An early March launch was then anticipated, and while this date has now slipped, pokerfuse believes that the launch is still inching closer to launch.

With that in mind, it will be fascinating to see how the market transforms. BetMGM and the Partypoker US Network have shown that it can compete in New Jersey, and was the surprise success story in the bustling market last year. Can it repeat this in Michigan?

PokerStars will naturally respond aggressively, likely launching its first big cash game promotion while also gearing up with another big tournament series. This will likely be announced by the end of this month and events could start as early as the first weeks of April, pokerfuse estimates.