An unprecedented number of players flocked to PokerStars’ new US market to make PokerStars PA the largest site in the US regulated market on its very first day.
According to PokerStars’ own numbers, over $450,000 was awarded in tournaments after five full days of play and over 15,000 Sit & Gos ran the first week, with over half a million dollars awarded.
However, not all games that one would typically find in PokerStars’ other markets were available to Pennsylvania players. Just as we speculated ahead of the launch of PokerStars in Pennsylvania, the hugely popular Spin & Go game format was missing from the main lobby.
PokerStars New Jersey does offer Spin & Go and they have been available right from its launch four years ago in March. Currently, the format is available on PokerStars NJ at five different buy-ins: $1, $2, $5, $10, $25 with prizes ranging from $1000 to $25,000.
But Why Hasn’t PokerStars Launched Spin & Go in Pennsylvania?
While there were expectations that PokerStars would also spread its ultra-popular Spin & Go in Pennsylvania as soon as it went live, unfortunately for the players, that was not the case.
The most likely reason for the game’s absence is that the operator is still waiting for the green light from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Spin & Gos are lottery-style three-handed fast-structured, winner-take-all Sit & Gos where the prize pool is determined randomly at the start of the game. The top prize usually ranges from 2 to 12,000 times the buy-in.
The format has proved to be phenomenally successful despite involving a higher element of luck. Today, Spins are offered by almost all online poker rooms and are available in most markets. Portugal and the Czech Republic are the two regulated markets that have disallowed the game.
A PokerStars representative was not available to comment on when Spin & Gos would be offered on PokerStars PA. However, based on our sleuthing, we have reasons to believe that the game could make its debut in Pennsylvania soon. They are likely to be available at buy-ins ranging from $1 to $25.
What About Zoom Cash Games?
Notably, Zoom games (PokerStars’ fast-fold cash game) is also missing from the lobby. Its absence is not really surprising despite its popularity in the dot-com market. The nature of the format requires more liquidity for it to be run successfully, than say regular ring cash games which run even with just two players.
In Zoom, and other fast-fold games, players are seated at a new table as soon as they fold their hand or win or lose at showdown. This dynamic requires a sizable player pool to have the game run successfully.
PokerStars did try its luck with Zoom in New Jersey three months after its launch, but the format failed to generate any sort of interest. Soon after, the format was removed from the game lobby.
Not just PokerStars, but other poker rooms too had a tough time running the format in Garden State. PartypokerNJ does offer FastForward, but those games hardly run.
Maybe down the line, we may see Zoom cash games offered in Pennsylvania once traffic ramps up or if the operator is able to join its player pool with that of New Jersey’s.
PokerStars PA Gearing Up for PACOOP
All eyes are on November 30, when PokerStars runs its first-ever Pennsylvania Online Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) in the Keystone State.
The inaugural PACOOP promises $1 million in guaranteed prize pools spread over 50 tournaments. Highlights of the series include a 2-day $100 buy-in Main Event boasting $100,000 in guaranteed prize money. A $750 buy-in NLHE High Roller is scheduled to run on December 4 guaranteeing $40,000.
Notably, a Zoom tournament has also been scheduled for a buy-in of $75 and guaranteeing $12,000. Unlike cash games that require constant liquidity to run, Zoom MTTs require a certain number of players to start which is not so hard for the operator, particularly during an online tournament series.
The series will run over the two-week period from November 30 to December 16.