Interstate Poker Pool Launches at PokerStars Michigan and New Jersey Jan 1

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
02/01/2023/
News
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Highlights

  • Online poker players in Michigan and New Jersey can now compete as PokerStars introduces combined pools.
  • Shared pools to go live in both states on January 1, 2023, after agreement signed in May 2022.
  • Interstate online poker shared liquidity will offer huge special tournaments to players in both states.

2023 starts on a celebratory note for Michigan online poker players. Starting from the 1st of January, players in the Wolverine State will be allowed to compete with their counterparts in New Jersey. In a move championed by PokerStars, Michigan and New Jersey players can expect merged pools and tournaments with shared liquidity.

This long-anticipated move started in May 2022 when the Michigan Gaming Control Board penned an agreement to permit interstate poker activities. As it stands, PokerStars is the only site offering merged player pools in Michigan for now. But just as with every innovative move in the industry, we can soon expect other brands to follow suit.

Michigan players were allowed to play online poker for the first time in the early months of 2021. Since then, gambling sites and regulators have made far reaching attempts to bring interstate poker plays to the state. However, the first sign of real success would not come until December 2022 when PokerStars hinted at the introduction of shared pools for its players in Michigan and New Jersey.

In what appears to be a culmination of all the efforts, players in both states will enjoy merged pools from Jan. 1, 2023. This exciting project holds a lot of promise for both gamblers and brands in the state. Speaking about what players can expect with the recent development, the Managing Director of PokerStars US, Severin Rasset revealed that:

“Michigan and New Jersey joining forces is great news for our players in these two states, and poker, more generally, as it promises a better experience and even more value, all with the confidence provided by a trusted, licensed operator. Our community will experience more breadth and depth of games, more tournaments with bigger prizes to win, amped-up promotions, and more choice.”

In keeping with this promise, PokerStars Michigan launched two tournaments that will offer rewards based on shared liquidity. The first tournament requires a $100 buy-in and offers $100K guaranteed rewards while the second requires a $10 buy-in with $50K guaranteed. Players can register to both series starting from the 27th of December.

Many more massive tournaments will follow this development. But that’s only one side to the story. It is expected that there would be an increase of up to 50% in player traffic as well as better prospects of state expansion.

Software Updates Heralded Player Pools Among Top Online Poker Sites

PokerStars announced that it was upgrading its software for Michigan and New Jersey players in mid-December. This news came with several speculations pointing to a preparation for shared liquidity. Now that merged pools have come shortly after, it may appear that software upgrades are the missing link to activating shared liquidity.

BetMGM Poke also rolled out updates for its Michigan players a few weeks before PokerStars and similarly upgraded its client software for New Jersey. So, the mobile app and desktop versions of BetMGM’s sites are running on a similar capacity in both states. This seems like the perfect preparation for shared liquidity by the poker site.

Although WSOP Michigan also operates upgraded software in Michigan and Pennsylvania, it may yet have to wait a while to begin interstate poker operations. This is because Pennsylvania is not a part of the MSIGA and doesn’t have updated software anywhere else.

If all three major poker operators in Michigan begin shared pool play, the results will be largely divergent, due to the market share and traffic split unequally among the operators. It is projected that WSOP can potentially leverage its brand popularity in Michigan and market dominance in New Jersey to attract the most players and liquidity.

Prospective Dates for Interstate Shared Online Poker Pools on Other Sites

Despite being the first to implement interstate poker play in Nevada and New Jersey markets, WSOP.com seems to lag in Michigan. It needs to update its software in New Jersey to stay up to speed with its competitors and offer its players in Michigan a chance at the merged pool feature.  

There was a seven-month difference between its announcement and the actual implementation of the merged pool feature back in 2017-18. Judging by the same timeline, we may not see shared pool or liquidity in time for the 2023 World Series of Poker. However, it is uncertain if the site has work ongoing in the background. If it has, we may see an implementation in record time, thanks to PokerStars Michigan that has paved the way for software infrastructure.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments