WSOP.com, 888Poker to Pool Some New Jersey Players
Two real-money online poker sites authorized to serve New Jersey players have announced that they will begin a partial pooling of their players, beginning today. The two sites, WSOP.com and 888Poker, are both operated under Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s New Jersey interactive gaming license.
Both WSOP.com and 888Poker are specifically approved under the Caesars-owned license that was issued to the Bally’s Atlantic City casino, and are the two of the five NJ online sites operating under the Bally’s license that generate significant poker traffic. The other three Bally’s Park Place sites — www.HarrahsCasino.com, us.888.com and us.888casino.com — do not offer player-vs.-player poker services at this time.
According to an AP wire service report, the boost in player liquidity is seen as a key element of the move, which will take place at least in part under the auspices of the previously-announced All American Poker Network (AAPN). The AP reports included a quote from AAPN CEO David Licht, indicating that the network entity would be involved.
“Shared liquidity will help create a better player experience that we hope will attract a diversity of players and begin to bring poker to a broader audience once again,” said Licht. The All American Poker Network itself is a joint venture between 888 Holdings and Avenue Capital, and is only indirectly under Caesars’ Interactive control.
The AAPN has previously announced its plans to launch, also early in 2015, a small network in Nevada. Those plans call for the Nevada version of WSOP.com and a new Nevada-only 888 site to be joined with a new offering under the Treasure Island brand name. At some point, the Nevada AAPN network is planned to include the three Deleware racinos who also offer online-poker, which would bring to fruition the first regulated multi-state player pooling within the US.
New Jersey has also expressed interest in pooling players with Nevada, New Jersey and, down the road, with other poker-authorizing US states, but has yet to reach any agreements along those lines.
In the meantime, the intrastate player-sharing deal between WSOP.com and 888Poker.com begins. Details on what will be included in the player-pooling arrangement have only begun to emerge, and neither WSOP.com nor 888Poker has issued an official release as of this report.
Nonetheless, what is known is that the two sites will pool a handful of the nightly and weekly multi-table tournaments. The weekend AP wire reports listed only $130,000 in shared MTTs each week, but an OPR update obtained via WSOP,com spokesman Bill Rini details the shared offerings a bit further:
- A nightly $5,000 guaranteed tourney;
- A nightly $10,000 guaranteed tourney;
- Special Sunday guaranteed events in addition to the above with $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 guarantees.
In addition, the Rini update via OPR states that some low-buy in cash games and sit-n-goes will also see shared player liquidity. The small-stakes SNGs included are $5 and lower, and for cash games, NLHE tables up to $0.25/0.50 and FLHE tables up to $0.50/$1.00 are part of the player-sharing enactment.
Caesars and 888 hope that the player-pooling deal will help move the New Jersey market forward on the pat toward long-term profitability. Overall online-gaming revenue has generated only a tenth of what was initially estimated for the market niche by government officials, even though many of the projections were wildly optimistic.
However, online-poker is certainly capable of significant growth in New Jersey. That segment accounts for only one-fourth of the regulated New jersey online gambling market, according to DGE numbers published last week, with the lack of player-pooling and overall liquidity cited as a primary culprit.