Interstate WSOP.com Network Launches as New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware Share Liquidity
The state of online poker in the United States is still, as our Dear Leader would so eloquently put it, “SAD!” but on Tuesday, May 1st, things got just a little bit better as New Jersey finally began sharing player liquidity with Nevada and Delaware, uniting the only three states that have active, legal online poker industries.
The states are now linked via the WSOP.com /888 Poker online poker platform, so while players from all three states can now play together, those in New Jersey cannot do so via PokerStars or the Party Borgata Network. That’s because those sites don’t have counterparts in Nevada or Delaware. It’s actually quite an interesting situation. The three states are now connected, but right now there is only one path for players to compete on tables with shared liquidity: WSOP.com/888. WSOP.com is the only poker site in Nevada, while the three casino/racetrack sites in Delaware all use 888’s software (which also powers WSOP.com). Thus, if a New Jerseyite wants to play at the same tables as players in Nevada and Delaware, he will have to hop into WSOP.com NJ.
“It’s a monumental day for online poker in the United States,” said WSOP.com’s Head of Online Poker, Bill Rini, in a press release. “This is truly a game-changer for players and we hope is the model blueprint for additional states to join the fray.”
Honestly, I find it pretty depressing that it is considered a “monumental” day that there are now a grand total of three states joined in an interstate online poker network. Hooray? At least Pennsylvania will be coming online relatively soon and then maybe we’ll have a four-state network. Fun!
For those who haven’t done so already, players in Nevada and Delaware will have to download a new software package and create new accounts. Previous account balances, tournament tickets, and loyalty points will all transfer over. The reason this is necessary is because the servers for the interstate network are located in New Jersey (players will notice New Jersey townships are used for table names). New Jerseyites do not have to do anything and can continue playing on their accounts.
To celebrate the shared liquidity era, WSOP.com is going to host a new tournament series called the “Coast to Coast Classic,” running May 11th through May 20th. The Main Event will have a $200,001 guaranteed prize pool. That’s not a typo – that extra dollar puts it over the top as the largest guarantee for a U.S. regulated online poker site. Total guarantees will be more than $1 million and tournament buy-ins will range from $11 to $1,000.
WSOP.com reminds players – and rightfully so – that they should be aware of start times, as players in both the Pacific and Eastern time zones are now playing in the same tournaments. Times will be in the evening for players in the east and in the afternoon to early evening for players out west.
It will be very interesting to see how the new network affects player traffic. Separately, the sites weren’t all that much to write home about; Nevada and Delaware, which have been united since 2015, average about 140 cash-game players or so over a seven-day period, according to PokerScout.com, while WSOP.com New Jersey had a seven-day average a bit over 100. So let’s say about 250 cash-game players combined, which is what one should logically expect the new network to have at the outset, considering there is no overlap between player pools.
The boon that could result, though, is that with higher player traffic in both cash games and tournaments, the WSOP/888 network will now look more attractive to new players. Some prospective players may not have felt like depositing when weekly traffic was just 120 players, but double that and those players may give it a try.
Additionally – and this could be fantastic for WSOP.com and 888 – New Jerseyites who have been playing on the Party Borgata Network and PokerStars may decide to give WSOP.com a shot. More traffic means more available cash games, larger tournament prize pools, and more fish in the sea. Don’t expect the network to get gigantic, as it can only go so high with just three states (and when none of them are California), but even without Pennsylvania, it should be a network that gives players a solid bit of poker action.
The possible addition of Pennsylvania down the road (WSOP.com/888 will certainly have a site there and one would think the Commonwealth will join the network at some point) will really get things jumping. Because of Pennsylvania’s size, it is possible that a four-state network could become big enough to rank in the top 15 in the world.