Online poker finally arrived in Pennsylvania with testing and a soft-launch of PokerStars and PokerStars Casino scheduled to launch at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

Play should last until 10 p.m., then resume on Tuesday at 2 p.m.and run until midnight again. If everything shakes out, full play should begin on Nov. 6.

FOX Bet President Matt Primeaux said:

We’re excited to launch PokerStars as the first and currently the only online poker option available to players in Pennsylvania. Including today’s launch of our highly rated casino product, which is now available in the FOX Bet and PokerStars apps, we’re proud to say we’re currently the only online provider offering all three forms of regulated gaming in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Today is a big day in PA. The online casino for PokerKings also launched and  DraftKings Sportbook is also launching.

Word came of poker’s advent last Wednesday during a meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Spokesman Doug Harbach outlined the details:

We have staff prepared to initiate and oversee a test launch this Monday of another online casino gaming site, this one licensed under Mount Airy Casino and their suite of casino-type games. At this juncture, it would include the testing of a poker game.

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Resembles PokerStars’s NJ site, but goodies and branding

For now, the best way to get to the site as long as you are in PA appears to be:

www. pokerstarsmtairycasino.com/

It will redirect if you are outside the borders of PA. If you have trouble getting the right version of PokerStars to download, try opening the URL in an incognito window.

There’s a resemblance to the established PokerStars site in New Jersey, but with branding for the new site’s brick-and-mortar partner, Mount Airy Casino Resort, Pocono, as Pennsylvania gaming guidelines require.

For now, it is a stripped-down version of what’s available in New Jersey. Around 200 to 300 people were playing during the after. Most were playing no-limit hold’em cash games.

The site promises online poker cash games, tournaments and larger Sunday tournaments with sizeable prizes and guarantees.

Opening goodies included:

  • Daily $1,000 welcome freerolls from Nov. 7 to 16
  • $20,000 welcome freeroll on Nov. 17
  • First deposit bonus offer of $30 free play 
  • 100% deposit bonus up to $600

More poker sites could be in the wings

PCBG Executive Director Kevin O’Toole has also said last week he expects additional online sites to roll out in the coming weeks. Some should provide poker as well as casino and sportsbook offerings.

The others in line to eventually offer poker next are:

PA online sites went live without poker

For anxious would-be PA poker players, its been a long wait.

Parx and Hollywood debuted online casino games July 15, but with very limited titles and no poker.  SugarHouse jumped in three days later, but again with no poker.

Rumors spoke to a September starting date for poker. However, nothing happened until PokerStars went through the vetting process with the PGCB.

PokerStars is the biggest online operator in the world. The company has a solid reputation. PokerStars also arguably has the most advanced poker software in the industry.

Details to sign-up and play

For now, all players must be located in PA, which is determined by geolocation.

While there is room under the 2017 gaming expansion law for a compact agreement that could eventually allow pooled games with players in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware wagering against PA players, regulators are holding off.

That’s likely because of the adverse Wire Act opinion issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this year. Even with no enforcement yet, until there is a clarifying legal opinion, compacting is on hold.

An appeal of the underlying case involving the New Hampshire Lottery is not expected until well into 2020.

Like other forms of wagering in PA besides the Lottery, players must be at least 21-years-old.

Required information

In order to sign up for an account, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Last four digits of your Social Security Number