The wait is finally over. The World Series of Poker launches its online poker client in Pennsylvania on Monday, July 12.
It will be the fourth operator and third network to go live in the Keystone State. A public soft-launch trial takes place throughout the next few days, so it will not be until Thursday at the earliest that the site will fully open its doors. But, from July 12, poker enthusiasts will be able to take advantage of 888poker’s new Poker 8 client.
It is yet another step forward in the long-standing cooperation between the WSOP and 888 as they enter the third regulated US state together. Real-money wagers will be accepted as of July 12 and US players can take advantage of the new and innovative software platform for the first time.
WSOP currently also operates online poker in Nevada and New Jersey, in which the previous software version of the 888 desktop and mobile apps are used. Poker 8 represents a considerable improvement in terms of layout and functionality to enhance the playing experience.
WSOP Pennsylvania: Launch Details
- Soft launch July 12 – 15 with limited hours to test the software
- Full launch from Friday, July 16 if all goes smoothly
- $75k guaranteed Big Sunday on July 18
- Huge welcome bonus of $1000 deposit match, $50 in free funds, and tickets to freerolls expected
- Segregated from the main network for now
- Ring-fenced to players in Pennsylvania
- New Poker 8 software on desktop and mobile
- Omaha is now available on mobile clients
- New software can run PKO tournaments, plus multi-day and multi-flight tournaments
- Biometric login on mobile
WSOP PA: Key Launch Dates
The new online poker client is regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and state authorities will conduct public testing during the soft-launch period. From July 12 to 15, players can take part in real-money activities during limited hours.
Soft-launch trial periods (time in EST):
- July 12 – 2 PM – 10 PM
- July 13 – 12 PM – 10 PM
- July 14 – 12 PM – 12 AM
- July 15 – TBD
After this period, if everything goes smoothly they should get the green light from the regulator and be able to open 24 hours a day, starting Friday, July 16.
Welcome Offers on WSOP PA
WSOP has the most generous welcome bonus of any online poker operator in the United States, and pokerfuse expects this to be extended to players in PA when they launch there on Monday.
This will mean players can take advantage of a $50 Free Play on the first deposit as well as a generous 100% deposit match bonus up to a huge $1,000.
If that weren’t enough, once the first deposit of at least $10 is made, all eligible players will receive tickets to seven $100 freerolls exclusive for new players. These Welcome Freerolls take place daily at varying times and the tickets expire after seven days.
On Sunday, July 18, PA online poker players can also take part in the new $75k GTD Big Sunday as well. The weekly flagship tournament costs $215 to enter and allows a late registration and re-entries for two hours and 55 minutes.
Other exclusive launch promotions are expected to be announced shortly.
WSOP PA Games Available at Launch
Based on the screenshots seen by pokerfuse, WSOP PA players will also have access to BLAST, the operator’s lottery-style Sit and go format, as well as the traditional sit and go games. This matches the games offered by competitors; PokerStars PA recently introduced Spin and Go after its competitor BetMGM PA launched with its own Spins.
BLAST is expected to be offered in four different buy-ins: 10c, $1, $5, and $20. The top prize pool ranges from $1000 to $200,000.
MTTs will start at $1 and go up to $215. They will be offered in various different formats, including the popular PKOs.
SNGs will start at 25 cents and go up to $10. They are structured as Turbo 6-handed.
SNAP—the operator’s fast-forward variant—is not expected to be available at the time of launch.
All-New Software Platform
It will be the first time that 888’s innovative Poker 8 platform becomes available to US poker players. The global rollout of the poker client was continued throughout late 2020 and celebrated by the operator with the extensive Made to Play campaign.
What makes the new poker client such an improvement compared to the current platform? First and foremost, the visual interface on the desktop and mobile client has been completely overhauled to bring it in line with other major competitors.
Navigation is far more intuitive and players have plenty of table themes to pick from. The slick design in the lobby separates all game variants nicely. However, the visually pleasing appearance is not the only major advantage.
Poker 8 can run Progressive Knockout (PKO) tournaments, which have become very popular in the online poker industry. Likewise, multi-day and multi-flight competitions are now also available to WSOP.com customers as well.
WSOP PA is the first site to receive the Poker 8 upgrade but 888 plans to roll out the software client to other regulated states going forward as well.
No Shared Liquidity nor WSOP Bracelet Events Yet
Upon launch, the WSOP PA client will be ring-fenced and only players physically located within the state borders can take part in the action. The only states in which the brand currently shares cash games and tournaments are Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. It is the only network across different states to unite their player pool in regulated US online poker so far.
Other states are welcome to join the fray but would have to sign the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Regulators in Pennsylvania and Michigan have already reiterated viable steps with regards to an interstate compact but some uncertainty remains. Coincidentally, Michigan is slated to be the next state considered for expansion by 888 after the successful launch in Pennsylvania.
Since the action on WSOP PA will remain ring-fenced for the near future, it will be impossible for players to participate in the ongoing domestic WSOP Online Bracelet Events. These can only be accessed while physically located in Nevada and New Jersey.
Indeed, players in PA will have to create a new account—WSOP does not support players logging in with existing NJ and NV accounts in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, players will not be able to transfer funds from their PA account to NJ or NV, pokerfuse understands.
WSOP has expanded the WSOP Online Circuit schedule during the current year—*it seems very likely that it run a separate competition in Pennsylvania*. Likewise, dedicated satellites for the in-person 2021 WSOP in Las Vegas may also be on the horizon.
Four-Horse Race in Pennsylvania
As of July 12, Pennsylvania online poker players in the Keystone State will be able to pick between four different operators and three different networks.
One and a half years later, BetMGM Poker PA and Borgata Poker PA entered the fray and launched in April 2021. They share the same player pool powered by the partypoker US Network and run on the partypoker software platform.
Software provider 888 could potentially take advantage of the same scenario as well once WSOP PA has gained some momentum. So far, they only operate the own branded software platform in New Jersey.
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