Some good news coming in for poker players residing in New Jersey.
In wake of the recent ruling by a New Hampshire Federal Court ruling in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC), World Series of Poker (WSOP) organizers have confirmed that its Nevada player pool will continue to share liquidity with its New Jersey player pool.
This means that the WSOP online gold bracelet events and the Online Championships series events that were scheduled to take place beyond the June 14 deadline set by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will now be open to both New Jersey and Nevada players.
All the remaining online bracelet and Championships events are in the the WSOP.com poker client and players residing in the Garden State can register for those events.
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“[B]arring something unforeseen, we plan on continuing with shared liquidity between Nevada and New Jersey for the remaining 8 WSOP USA gold bracelet events between now and July 14,” said Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communications for the WSOP, to pokerfuse when asked whether New Jersey players will be able to participate in these events.
Earlier this year, the DOJ under the Trump Administration revised its 2011 opinion of the Wire Act as it applies to interstate online gambling. Its new stance contends that the Wire Act applies to all online gambling and not just sports betting. This latest opinion which was revealed in January had the potential to end interstate gaming and hamper the business of WSOP/888 network operating under the All American Poker Network (AAPN)—currently the only network in the US with cross-border shared liquidity.
Despite the Wire Act concerns, WSOP announced a record nine online bracelet events this year—making up more than 10% of the WSOP schedule. The organizers at the time stated that eligibility for New Jersey players had yet to be determined. As a result, none of these events carried guarantees.
Last month, WSOP confirmed to pokerfuse that New Jersey players will be able to play the first two of the nine online bracelet events scheduled ahead of the looming deadline.
However, in the latest development in what appears to be a win for the parties impacted by the revised Wire Act opinion, US District Court Judge Paul Baradoro ruled in favor of the lottery commission.
The DOJ is expected to appeal, but apparently the ruling which is limited to the operations of the NHLC and its vendor NeoPollard, gave the WSOP enough comfort to continue with its interstate operations for the time being.
WSOP 2019 Off to a Great Start
Meanwhile, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the 50th Anniversary of the world’s richest live tournament series is off to a flying start with the Big 50 event setting new records.
The $500 buy-in rake free event (only re-entries were raked) broke many records including the WSOP’s own record for the largest number of entries to a live event. With total entries of 28,371 (17,970 unique participants and 10,401 re-entries) across four starting flights, the Big 50 smashed its $5 million guarantee by amassing a prize pool of $13.5 million—the largest ever for at a $500 price point.
The event also exceeded the record for the biggest turnout set in 2015 by nearly 27% when the $565 buy-in Colossus event drew 22,374 total entries. The event is also set to pay 4258 places—the most ever for any WSOP event.
“What a way to kick things off for our 50th,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “It’s a testament to the love of the game of poker so many of us have, and we’re so thankful for the players who came out to usher in our 50th iteration.
“From humble beginnings 50 years ago with a half dozen players, to creating a $13 million+ prize pool for a $500 buy-in – unheard of — and truly shows the modern day poker scene is alive and well and ready to cater to a new generation,” Stewart added.
In the online world, the first of the nine online bracelet events with a modest buy-in of $400 drew a massive 1965 players and additional 860 rebuys to build a prize pool of over $1 million. Phil Hellmuth, who is eyeing his 16th bracelet, reached the final table but finished in the 5th place.
The next online bracelet event is scheduled on June 9. The event will be played in a Pot Limit Omaha format for a buy-in of $600. These online events will continue for another month until July 14.
Besides, the online bracelet events, WSOP is also hosting $3.5 million guaranteed Online Championships series which is being heralded as the largest online tournament series in the US regulated online poker market. The highlight of the series is the $525 buy-in Players Appreciation tournament boasting a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool scheduled to run on June 9. The series runs until July 3.
Now that it has been confirmed that New Jersey online poker players are allowed to play with Nevada, expect this year to repeat last year’s record-breaking performance with the possibility of seeing another record turnout in these online bracelet events.