Real money cash games are finally coming back online across the PokerStars USA network following an unheard-of period of downtime that lasted four days.
However, scheduled tournaments were still not listed in the client — it seems likely that these will be reintroduced on Tuesday morning, local time, though the operator has not yet stated its plan for the full resumption of service.
Strangely, all cash games are still offline at PokerStars NJ.
The problems started last Friday when customers began to report that games were unavailable. The company soon posted on social media that it was undergoing “unscheduled maintenance.” The operator’s online US sportsbook FOX Bet was also affected at the same time.
Later that day, PokerStars took the unprecedented step of suspending all MTTs for the entire weekend — with a plan to resume the normal schedule on Monday, 10 am EST. This was the first suggestion that the operator was facing a serious maintenance issue that it could not solve with a quick fix.
PokerStars US Outage: Key Facts
- PokerStars Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania online poker rooms and casinos were affected by the four-day outage.
- FOX Bet in those three states, plus Colorado also went offline. Other Flutter sites, like FanDuel, were not impacted.
- Player accounts and player data remain safe and unaffected.
- The clients went down early on Friday.
- Target of service resumption on Monday, 10 am EST was missed.
- PA and MI online poker rooms, casinos, and sportsbooks quietly came back online late on Monday.
- PokerStars New Jersey remains offline.
- MTTs are also still not available.
The company was quick to assure customers that their personal data and balances remained safe.
“Our sites are currently down to an unscheduled maintenance issue and our tech team is working hard to get it all back up and running ASAP,” a FOX Bet representative said in a press statement issued to pokerfuse and other media outlets on Monday.
During the downtime, players could still log in and access the cashier.
“We do not anticipate any impacts to customer account balances — this is not a data breach,” the statement went on to say. “We thank customers for their patience and apologize for this inconvenience.”
BetMGM, WSOP Benefit As Biggest Leading Operator Forced Offline
While unplanned downtime is not uncommon in online poker, an outage lasting some four days is exceedingly rare. Luckily for the company, it was a fairly quiet weekend for sports — next weekend, with The Superbowl, would be orders of magnitude worse — but any weekend downtime in online poker is bad, particularly during the high season.
As PRO reported exclusively on Monday, online poker sites in PA enjoyed big spikes in their traffic: WSOP PA was up 30% and BetMGM Poker PA was up 38%. There was a similar affect in the Michigan online poker market as well. PokerStars’ single competitor BetMGM Poker MI was up 27% during the same period.
PokerStars is Cautiously Bringing Full Service Back to Players
Meanwhile, it looks like PokerStars is taking a careful approach in bringing their service back online. There have been no announcements on social media that games are back online and no follow-up press statement as of yet. As previously noted, MTTs have not been relisted in the client, and PokerStars NJ remains entirely offline.
Still, in the client, there is a full list of cash games, with many tables running. The FOX Bet sportsbook and PokerStars Casino are also accessible and apparently fully active as well. There were two freerolls on Monday for PokerStars staff to test out the server, which appear to have run successfully.
Now that PokerStars is coming back online, this growth spike at competing sites will likely be short-lived, as most players will presumably switch back to their first online card room of choice once full service has resumed. However, it is a prime opportunity for other sites to retain some of these new players. We could see some promotional efforts across the board to keep new players entertained.
PokerStars US is also likely to offer something to players as an apology for the disruption. In the past, it has run freerolls following unplanned maintenance as a show of appreciation. Last August, when sites weathered an outage that spanned two days mid-week, it ran a freeroll in each of the three states giving away 100 $10 seats to the Sunday Storm.
With this spanning a long weekend — a time when many players would have already bought tickets for Sunday Majors — there could well be a significantly more generous giveaway in the works.