To celebrate the milestone of PokerStars PA operating in the Pennsylvania online poker market for a full year, pokerfuse spoke with Luke Staudenmaier, Head of Poker Operations for PokerStars to see how the execs that run the company think the past 12 months have gone.
Staudenmaier sheds light on what players can expect moving forward and if Spin & Gos will be deployed on the site any time soon.
To say thank you to all their loyal players PokerStars PA put on a special First Anniversary Series that guaranteed $1 million.
What aspects of offering online poker in Pennsylvania have you found to be the most different from that of other jurisdictions?
There hasn’t really been too much in the way of surprises. Our operations in markets like New Jersey, India, and even Italy mean we have the experience when entering new markets and know what to expect.
In this case, we expected ring games to make up the majority of traffic and, so far, that has been the case. We’re trying to see how far we can push our tournament liquidity, but generally speaking it is our expectation that ring games will continue to be the dominant variant in Pennsylvania.
If the market were to grow or share liquidity with other jurisdictions, you’d likely see the balance shift in the direction of tournaments.
What can players expect from PokerStars PA in year 2 that they didn’t experience in year 1. For instance, are Spin & Gos coming to the market any time soon?
Players can expect continued improvements to the PokerStars software, ambitious tournaments, and entertaining new promotions. In addition, we’d like to foster more of a direct relationship with the community of players in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, though how that takes shape is still to be determined.
Of course, we would love to offer Spin & Go, but regardless of whether they are part of the offering, we think our community have a lot to look forward to in 2021.
How did COVID-19 impact your plans in PA for 2020?
COVID-19 has not impacted poker plans in Pennsylvania this year, besides the fact that we’re all managing the offering from home rather than the office. We only had a few months of operations under our belt before the pandemic hit, so our PA offering was still in a bit of a settlement period, meaning we weren’t yet sure what constitutes a baseline of liquidity.
We’re still focused on providing the best offering we can, given the liquidity we have.
With Pennsylvania and New Jersey being neighboring states, and their respective COOP events running at separate times, have you seen many players traveling across state lines to play these events?
Even if it is just a few players going from Philadelphia to Cherry Hill to play a couple of NJCOOP or PACOOP events, we’re happy to have them. No detailed analysis has been done on this front. It is just a tip of the hat to some of our most dedicated players.
How would you categorize your first year of operations in Pennsylvania? Is it what you expected?
As someone who has played a fair amount of live poker in Pittsburgh over the years, I’ve always been aware of the strong poker presence in Pennsylvania. Still, the response from the players has been fantastic. It is an absolute pleasure to see legal online poker alive and well in the Keystone State.
What is your long-term plan for growing PokerStars PA? Is having new competition potentially entering the market any day now changing your plans in the market? What are your plans to keep competitive?
We are going to continue to invest in the market whether or not we are facing competition. So long as we listen to and invest in our players and provide entertaining and rewarding experiences, we’re confident we’ll maintain a strong position in Pennsylvania.
We are seeing PokerStars dot-com really embrace Twitch, more so than ever before, what are your plans for streaming on Twitch in the Pennsylvania market?
We really value the poker community on Twitch and the ways the platform allows for engagement and interaction with our players. We’re always on the lookout for talented poker streamers who are sharing their poker journey and growing a community, and Pennsylvania is no exception. We are not picky about the locale of the next big poker streamer!