PokerStars US network has connected its New Jersey and Michigan player pools in a historic moment for regulated online poker in the United States.
The operator has yet to confirm the successful switch, but pokerfuse observes the same tournaments and tables in the apps in both Michigan and New Jersey. It looks like the connection happened around 10 am local time.
NJ & MI online poker players in both states can now access shared cash games and tournaments in a single network. It makes PokerStars only the second operator in the US to launch shared liquidity, after WSOP.
The move follows its approval by both Michigan and New Jersey state gaming regulators in late December. PokerStars made the announcement on social media on December 23 about its plans to launch shared liquidity involving PokerStars NJ & PokerStars MI networks on January 1, 2023.
Quietly and on schedule, PokerStars successfully connected the two networks.
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PokerStars has organized a big push to promote its new US network. It has deployed three special New Year’s Bash tournaments with combined guarantees of nearly $200,000. These events kick off starting at 18:00 ET carrying buy-ins of $10, $100 and $500.
There is also a new, optimized tournament schedule promising more tournaments and bigger guarantees.
The pooling of players between New Jersey and Michigan is the first of its kind for regulated online poker in the US. PokerStars is the first online poker room to do so.
WSOP and BetMGM also have a presence in the Great Lakes State but have yet to be authorized for shared liquidity, as per a statement published by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) last week.
The event marks a significant development for the US online poker industry, which has struggled recently with low liquidity. The pooling of two jurisdictions should boost the sector by attracting more players and increasing competition.
It will also hopefully produce a domino effect, with Michigan joining the US multi-state poker compact inducing other states, like Pennsylvania, to do the same.
PokerStars has now become only the second operator in the US to pool players between two states. It has certainly been a long wait: WSOP/888 had been the sole online poker app to enjoy the perks of the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), formulated nearly a decade ago.
WSOP.com, through its partner 888, connected its player pools between Nevada and Delaware back in March 2015. Three years later, in May 2018, New Jersey joined the NV-DE network to form the country’s first tri-state network. However, until now, there has been no further progress regarding the expansion of the compact, and no other operator has take advantage of the opportunity.
US Online Poker States and Launch Dates
|US State||Online Poker Launched||Joined Compact||Shared Player Pool Launch|
|Nevada||Apr 2013||Feb 2014||Mar 2015|
|Delaware||Nov 2013||Feb 2014||Mar 2015|
|New Jersey||Nov 2013||Oct 2017||May 2018|
|Michigan||Jan 2021||May 2022||Jan 2023|
The combined player pool should make the regulated offer more attractive — particularly to New Jersey players, as Michigan boasts a larger player pool. Currently, as per cash game traffic tracked by GameIntel and available exclusively on the PRO platform, the PokerStars MI app averages approximately 193 seats based on the seven-day moving average, while the PokerStars NJ app averages around 70 seats.
Combined, the new two-state network will average around 265 seats, enough to make it the clear leader in the regulated US online poker market.
WSOP/888 network, which already pools players between Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, averages around 230 seats. Its Michigan room is currently averaging just 30 seats. Even if WSOP MI merges with NJ-NV-DE to form a four-state network, it would not be enough to topple PokerStars’ new NJ-MI single network, at least, based on the current cash game traffic.