April Promos Bring Big Bonuses To PA Online Casino Players

Check out the latest PA online casino promotions and sign-up bonuses for April, plus current games and progressive jackpot payouts.

April showers bring May flowers. April also brings some spring specials for new and existing players at PA  online casinos.

Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos have been closed since March 17 due to a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, residents of the Keystone State can still play.

PA is one of four states with legalized and regulated online casinos. In addition, playing online provides a way to play all the casino favorites, like slots, poker, baccarat, blackjack and roulette, while staying safe at home.

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FanDuel casino

Are you a new player? Then check out FanDuel’s risk-free new player sign-up bonus: 100% back on losses (up to $200) during your first 24 hours.

Also, FanDuel added 10 new slots games, expanding to 22 titles. The new ones are:

  • Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin
  • Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway
  • Red Hot Tamales
  • Triple Red Hot 7s
  • Treasures of Troy
  • Jumanji
  • Butterfly Staxx 2
  • Mercy of the Gods
  • Bloodsuckers 2
  • Guns N Roses

Progressive slots:

  • Divine Fortune’s Mega Jackpot was up to $120,274 on April 8.
  • Mercy of the Gods’ Jackpot was at $17,821 on April 8.

Table and card games:

For the closest thing to a brick-and-mortar casino, try the live casino games, including blackjack, baccarat and roulette. There are two types of blackjack (minimum $0.10 bet) and three types of roulette (minimum $0.10 bet). Plus, FanDuel offers Game King Video Poker.

BetRivers PA online casino

At present, BetRivers offers new players a first deposit matched bonus of 100% up to $250.

Additionally, the current promotion for all players  includes:

  • Race to Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: Get wheel spins that are based on earned loyalty points every day. Wheel spins translate to mile amounts or bonus money. If you earn a total of 2,193 miles (Rivers Pittsburgh to Las Vegas), you win the grand prize.

Check out BetRivers’ extensive library of 87 slot titles.

Progressive slot: Mercy of the Gods’ Jackpot is $120,020 as of April 10.

Table and card games: 

Play two types of blackjack (min $0.10), baccarat (min $1) and four types of roulette (min $0.10), along with Game King Video Poker (min $0.10).

PlaySugarHouse casino

PlaySugarHouse offers a first deposit match bonus up to 100% of $250. Also, new players get a chance to spin and win up to $250 for same-day play.

Here is the current promotion:

  • Race to Rivers Casino Philadelphia: Get wheel spins based on earned loyalty points every day. Wheel spins translate to mile amounts or bonus money. If you earn a total of 2,475 miles (Rivers Philadelphia to Las Vegas), you win the grand prize.

Currently, the slot library holds 87 titles.

Progressive slot: The Divine Fortune Mega Jackpot is currently over $45,000.

Table and card games: 

There are two types of blackjack (min. $0.10), baccarat ($1 min), four different types of roulette (min $0.10) and Game King Video Poker (min $0.10).

Unibet PA online casino

Presently, new players get $10 risk-free and a  100% matched deposit bonus up to $500.

Also, the current promotions for all players include:

  • 21k Blackjack Tournament: Try to top the leaderboard with Unibet’s 21k Blackjack Tournament. It runs daily from Monday 12:00 a.m. – Sunday 11:59 p.m. until May 3.
  • Weekly deposit reload bonus: 25% bonus (up to $50) on the first deposit on Thursdays.

Check out the extensive 76 slot titles.

Progressive slots:

  • Divine Fortune’s Mega Jackpot is currently over $65,386.
  • Jackpot Shores’ jackpot is up to $81,134 as of April 10.

Table and card games: 

Also, there are four types of video poker, two different blackjack games (min $0.50), six games of roulette (min $0.10) and baccarat (min $0.20).

Hollywood Online Casino

To begin with, new players get $25 risk-free with no deposit. Additionally, the 100% first deposit matched bonus is up to $500.

There are 89 slot titles and popular progressive slots like Divine Fortune and Mercy of the Gods.

Table and card games: 

Check out the two types of blackjack, baccarat and three different games of roulette along with Game King Video Poker.

Other PA online casinos and poker

More PA online casinos include:

For poker lovers, PokerStars PA holds the title of PA’s only online poker operator for now. And it is currently holding its largest US-based poker festival to date.

The inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker runs through April 20. With 100 tournaments and $2 million in prizes guaranteed, plenty of players flocked to participate to capture a portion of the prize pools in the first week of the series.

There is still plenty of poker action to get in on. Plus, there is currently a 100% matched deposit bonus up to $600, along with $30 in free play for new players.

Following Strong Weekend Launch, PokerStars PACOOP Ups Guarantees Twice In Three Days

The opening weekend of the PokerStars PACOOP tournament series was so popular, the online poker site has upped the guarantees twice this week.

Talk about pent up demand. PokerStars PA has upped their guaranteed prize pools for the PA Championship of Online Poker series twice since the tournament series started on Nov. 30.

The upwards resets came after a successful weekend round of tournaments which launched the tournament series.

Sweet smell of success for PACOOP

For instance, the opening $100 No-Limit Hold’em event had a guarantee of $20,000.  The turnout more than doubled that number though,  with a prize pool of more than $50,000. The third event, with a $15,000 guarantee, finished with a nearly $35,000 prize pool.

The most significant event of the opening weekend, a $200 buy-in Sunday Special, had a $50,000 guarantee, but the final prize pool was $63,426. The top player took home nearly $12,000.

Here is a look at the remaining events on the schedule and what guarantees have been bumped up from the original number:

EventDateTournamentNew GuaranteeNewer Guarantee
17Dec. 5$200 NL Hold'em [Thursday Thrill SE]$30,000$40,000
18Dec. 5$50+R NL Hold'em$15,000$20,000
19Dec. 5$100 NL Hold'em [BigStack Turbo]$15,000
20Dec. 6$300 Eight-Game [6-Max]$15,000
21Dec. 6$150 NL Hold'em [Turbo, 6-Max]$15,000
22Dec. 7$100 NL Hold'em [Deepstack, 8-Max]$20,000$30,000
23Dec. 7$150 NL Hold'em [Saturday Speedway SE]$15,000
24Dec. 8$100 NL Hold'em [Marathon]$25,000$30,000
25Dec. 8$100 PL Omaha [8-Max]$10,000$12,000
26Dec. 8$150 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Big Antes]$25,000$30,000
27Dec. 8$300 NL Hold'em [Sunday Special SE]$60,000
28Dec. 8$200 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO]$35,000
29Dec. 8$100 NL Hold'em [Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo]$12,000
30Dec. 9$300 NL Hold'em [4-Max]$30,000
31Dec. 9$500 PL Omaha [High-Roller, 6-max]$20,000$25,000
32Dec. 10$200 NL Hold'em [Super Tuesday SE]$50,000
33Dec. 10$100 No Limit Omaha Hi/Lo [8-Max]$8,000$10,000
34Dec. 11$30+R NL Holdem [6-Max]$10,000$15,000
35Dec. 11$200 NL Hold'em$20,000$25,000
36Dec. 11$100 Stud Hi/Lo$8,000$10,000
37Dec. 12$250 NL Hold'em [Thursday Thrill SE]$30,000$35,000
38Dec. 12$150 NL Hold'em [Turbo]$20,000
39Dec. 13$200 FL Holdem [6-Max]$10,000$12,000
40Dec. 13$200 NL Hold'em [Deep, Hyper-Turbo]$10,000$15,000
41Dec. 14$300 NL Hold'em [6-Max]$30,000
42Dec. 14$75 NL Hold'em [Zoom]$15,000
43Dec. 15$100 NL Hold'em [Big Antes]$15,000$20,000
44Dec. 15$300 NL Holdem [Main Event, 2-Day Event]$125,000
45Dec. 15$50 NL Hold'em [Main Event Structure]$25,000$35,000
46Dec. 15$100 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO]$20,000
47Dec. 15$100 PL Omaha [6-Max]$10,000$12,000
48Dec. 15$75 NL Hold'em [Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo]$10,000$12,000
49Dec. 16$150 NL Hold'em [Nightly Stars SE - PACOOP Wrap-Up]$25,000
50Dec. 16$100 NL Hold'em [Deep, Hyper-Turbo, 6-Max]$10,000$15,000

The COOP is part of the PokerStars brand

While this is the first COOP in PA, the COOP format is a signature brand for PokerStars in many jurisdictions. it is the first tournament series for the PA online poker site, which launched in PA just last month.

The recently launched poker site initially promised $1 million in guarantees across the 50 PACOOP events.

However, that changed Monday. PokerStars added $125,000 in guarantees. The Main Event, originally featured a $100,000 guarantee. Stars decided to bump that number up to $125,000.

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Guarantees now stand at $1.225 million

Then on Wednesday, PokerStars went all in, jacking up the guarantees again. The site added an additional $100,000 in guarantees, bringing the total to $1,225,000.

The second round of added money boosted the prize pool of the majority of the remaining events, though the Dec. 15 Main Event prize pool still stands at $125,000.

Final PACOOP day is Dec. 16

The PACOOP action started last weekend and continues through Monday, Dec. 16.

There are at least two tournaments to choose from daily and as many as six on one day. Buy-ins range from $50 to $500.

Heavy player traffic on PokerStars PA makes the added guarantees a less risky prospect for the site. Only one event required the company to make up the difference to hit a guarantee, and that fell short by only $200.

PokerStars Brings $1 Million Championship of Online Poker To PA

The PokerStars PA Championship of Online Poker will guarantee more than $1 million in prizes to Pennsylvania poker players.

Online poker in Pennsylvania is on a roll.

PokerStars and PokerStars Casino launched on the FOX Bet app in Pennsylvania earlier this month, making the world’s largest online poker site the first poker operator to go live in PA.

Now they have announced a championship with a $1 million guarantee beginning this month.

Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker – PACOOP

Known as the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) series, the 50-event series from PokerStars PA runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 16.

PACOOP will include a variety of tournaments with buy-ins from $30 to $750.

Satellite games start at just $1.

The $300 buy-in Main Event closes out the championship on Dec. 15 with a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool.

COOP events are a PokerStar signature

PokerStars markets the COOP series wherever they are in a market, including in nearby New Jersey.

Matt Primeaux, president of FOX Bet, explained:

The Championship of Online Poker, or COOP, is one of our most prestigious events and we’re proud to give Pennsylvania its own. Players in PA have already shown their excitement for PokerStars so we took things to the next level with a $1 million series guarantee and plenty of ways to get in on the action.

There are a variety of ways to get in on the action and find a set at the table beside the satellites.

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COOP  add-ons

  • Main Event Depositor Freeroll: This will award 25 Main Event tickets, worth a total of $7,500. That takes place on December 15 at 2 p.m. ET. See the PokerStars site for details.
  • Second Chance Freeroll: PACOOP players who get knocked out without making money still have a shot. Each freeroll will award $1,250 in satellite tickets and entries to PACOOP events, totaling $20,000. Freerolls run daily beginning at 6 p.m. ET from December 1 to 16, except on Sundays when they begin at 3 p.m. ET.

Strong opening for PokerStars

At several points during launch week, more players were online in PA than on the company’s established site in NJ.

PokerStars Ambassador Jennifer Shahade, who lives in PA, said:

I’m thrilled to see PokerStars’ COOP coming to Pennsylvania this December, giving PA players the chance to play in a world-renowned poker series and vie for titles. Having online poker in Pennsylvania has been amazing so far.

PokerStars Casino And Poker Now Available In Pennsylvania

The testing period is underway and PokerStars Pennsylvania is just two days away from fully launching into a 24/7 online casino site.

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

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

Nov. 4 A Big Day For PA With Launch Of DraftKings And PokerStars

It will be an incredibly busy Monday in Pennsylvania with the launch of PokerStars PA, Mount Airy Online Casino, and DraftKings set for Nov. 4.

Get your boots strapped in and giddy up!

After much anticipation, both DraftKings Sportsbook and PokerStars got the green light to launch in Pennsylvania on Monday, Nov. 4. Yesterday, PlayPennsylvania confirmed both impending launches. Until now, fans of PA online gambling have been champing at the bit for news of a launch.

Make way for the ‘king’

DraftKings gained conditional approval for a conditional sports wagering license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) during the Oct. 30 meeting. In August, DraftKings announced its intention to partner with Penn National Gaming. Notably, it counts as the Keystone State’s sixth online sportsbook.

DraftKings’ chief compliance officer Tim Dent shared with PlayPennsylvania the excitement surrounding the new license.

“DraftKings is excited to receive our sports wagering operator license, moving us one step closer to bringing our top-rated online and mobile sportsbook app to sports fans in Pennsylvania. Working in partnership with the outstanding team at Penn National Gaming, we expect the mandatory soft-play period to begin on Nov. 4 toward the goal of an official public launch a few days later.”

Penn National parts ways with William Hill

DraftKings will be The Meadow’s online sports wagering operator. The retail sportsbook is already open and accepting wagers.

With the new DraftKings’ partnership, Penn National parted ways with William Hill last week. As a result, the retail sportsbooks at Meadows and Hollywood Casino are now both powered by Kambi odds. In addition, Hollywood transferred back the shared services agreement to Penn Interactive as a more decisive and final disbandment with William Hill.

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Online poker coming on Nov. 4

PA poker players can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The much-awaited promise of online poker is almost finally a reality.  As expected, the first online poker room to launch on Monday is PokerStars.

Douglas Harbach, a PGCB spokesperson, substantiated the news to PlayPennsylvania at the Oct. 30 PGCB meeting.

“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. The caveat is always that if issues come up, then the beginning of the testing could slide.”

While all of Pennsylvania is excited about the beginning of online poker, we should caution that this is the dawn of a new gaming industry for the state. Therefore, there may be potential issues.

The PGCB is notorious for its rigorous testing standards. A test launch does not equate to an official launch. On the other hand, the regulation and extreme measures ensure the safety and security of poker players.

Each online site’s testing has completed without problems. However, the PGCB warns that the Monday testing could be delayed if everything is not in place and ready to go.

Until PA Online Poker Is A Reality, You Can Play PokerStars Virtual Reality

Pennsylvanians who love virtual reality and poker can earn they way onto PokerStar’s list of team pros now that the site is searching for ambassadors.

Does the idea of becoming a PokerStars Team Pro excite you?

Not only could you become a PokerStars Team Pro, but also you could become PokerStars’ first Virtual Reality (VR) Ambassador.

About PokerStars VR

PokerStars announced a search for their newest team member after recently launching its VR poker launch alongside the new Virtual Reality Poker Tour (VRPT).

Notably, the VRPT is a free-to-play tournament series that occurs entirely in a virtual reality world. In partnership with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PokerStars brings an innovative way to combine the best of live and online poker.

Although the first VRPT series already occurred this weekend aboard the Galaxy Space Station, fear not. The next virtual stop in space is Macau, sometime in October. Lastly, the virtual series concludes at a location yet to-be-determined in November.

Imagine this: shuffling chips, handling cards, reading other players and using various interactive objects, all from the comfort of your own home. In this visually stunning and interactive environment, a player can choose to play against friends, Team PokerStars Pros and Twitch streamers.

In fact, just check out this exciting PokerStars VR Developer vlog:

Easy ways to qualify and become the first PokerStars VR Ambassador

By all means, it appears PokerStars is pulling out all the stops for players to qualify. Significantly, once a player qualifies through one of these means, the player is entered into the Final 10. Currently, there are no further details on what happens after the Final 10 players are chosen.

  • Every hand played is an opportunity for a ticket into the Final 10.
  • Community Hero – The most helpful community members (judged by Lucky VR Devs/PokerStars) across all digital channels gain entry to the Final 10.
  • Most chips won in cash games
  • Leaderboard rings/Spinning tops draw – Each Leaderboard Ring Won counts as 1 entry. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • VRPT Player of the Year – Become the Season 1 VRPT POY winner and a Final 10 seat is yours.
  • Spin to win – Any player who hits the PokerStars VR Ambassador Slot on the lobby spin wheel.
  • Make a royal flush – But, make sure it gets to showdown and gain a Royal Flush finalist ticket draw. From there, PokerStars draws from those finalists for one ticket to the Final 10.
  • Spin & Go – Any player who wins the top chips prize on any stake Spin & Go will also win a ticket to a draw where one winner will advance to the Final 10. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • Discord Ninja – Be the top 5 most helpful and engaging members on for Discord.
  • Popular vote – The in-game voting system will allow any player to cast their vote for who they think should be the PokerStars VR Ambassador using their watch UI.

Notably, the contest runs from Sept. 27 12 pm EST until Feb. 3rd 12 pm EST and is open to PA players, as this is a free-to-play product available across the US.

Online poker in PA still awaiting launch

To emphasize, there still is no real-money online poker in Pennsylvania. On July 15, PA online casinos set up shop with plenty of fanfare but, without online poker.

However, it is widely expected that PokerStars, in partnership with Mount Airy Casino, will be the first to begin testing. In the meantime, PA poker players will just have to keep waiting or hit the virtual reality felt.

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Morgan Stanley Is Wary Of Poker Bots, But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be

Morgan Stanley downgraded the rating of a couple of online poker sites out of concerns over advancing poker AI from Carnegie Mellon.

This month, Morgan Stanley released future price of stocks for several large online poker sites.

Specifically, three major online poker companies inclusive of GVC Holdings (otherwise known as partypoker), Playtech (provider of the iPoker network’s software) and The Stars Group (PokerStars) were downgraded.

But why? According to the global juggernaut investment bank, artificial intelligence (AI) or “bots” is such a concern that online poker could become potentially unbeatable in the near future.

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Pluribus beats them all

For the first time in history, an AI poker program consistently beat some of the top poker professionals in the world in a variety of different formats.

Recently, Facebook teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create the AI botPluribus.

Pluribus is the pioneer AI poker bot to consistently beat professional opponents in a six-player format no-limit hold’em, according to the research article released in Science.

Astoundingly, Facebook and CMU took eight days, 512 GB of RAM, and $144 to create Pluribus.

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Ed Young, Pluribus is “stronger than human professionals” in the most popular form of poker. It “plays twice as fast as professional players and can be adapted for any poker variant.”

Therefore, the analysts reduced confidence in online poker. GVC and PlayTech faced reductions of 2% and 4%. Notably, The Stars Group only dropped to $17 from $18. However, Morgan Stanley did not mention 888 Holdings (888 Poker) by name. The downgrade also presumably affects them, too.

Well-founded fear for online poker

In 2017, Pluribus’ predecessor Libratus made waves in the poker community sparking fears of bots versus humans. Libratus beat out poker professionals in a no-limit hold’em format for more than 20 days. However, unlike Pluribus, Libratus required millions of dollars plus supercomputing power. As a result, fears that bots would run rampant in online poker diminished.

Then again, Pluribus’ economics of $144 and the short eight days of development comes with a serious pause to the integrity of online poker. With Pluribus, Morgan Stanley analysts noted that scientists refuse to release the code because of the “serious impact” on online poker.

Essentially, online poker consumers and investors may be spooked by the major online poker operators’ ability to kill bots.

The vigilance of poker operators

Online poker operators have long fought against bots and even third-party software tools. For example, Partypoker’s newsletter vigorously publishes poker bot kill rates in recent months.

Check out partypoker’s #FairPlay campaign:

In 2015, poker operators changed their rules and policies on third-party software. Software such as HUDs (heads-up displays), hotkey scripts that allows a user to act more quickly, and seat selection programs received the ax. Partypoker even took its rules a step further by disallowing a player to download hand histories.

In addition, poker sites have long used CAPTCHA during poker sessions in order to authenticate suspected bot accounts. Moreover, poker operators are quick to freeze cashouts or money transfer requests. It requires extensive additional documentation, even in video form, if operators suspect fraudulent activity of any kind.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, poker players themselves provide an important safeguard to the online poker economy. In 2015, a massive poker bot ring was uncovered by TwoPlusTwo user Schwein with the help of the poker community. The poker bots won an estimated $1.5 million. As a result of the investigation, PokerStars subsequently banned the accounts and issued refunds to customers.

It takes a village to keep play fair

On Aug. 15, 2018, PokerStars presented to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Obviously, game integrity is of utmost importance with online poker to PGCB and PokerStars.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the presentation:

  • PokerStars identifies 89.9% of collusion from proactive alerts.
  • It detects 88.96% of all bots.
  • It has 240+ security employees worldwide.
  • There are 65 game integrity employees to identify and prevent cheating.

Considering how important game integrity is to the poker operators and players, we doubt that anyone needs to fear playing online poker. Honestly, it appears that Morgan Stanley was quick to jump the gun over the success of Pluribus.

Online poker in PA soon, but not yet

Meanwhile, all of Pennsylvania is still holding its collective breath for when online poker launches. Online gambling went live in PA on July 15. PokerStars is likely to be the first online operator to launch in PA after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. However, as of now, the Keystone State is still in a holding pattern.

Picking An Online Poker Screen Name: Are You An ‘Acehole?’

There is more to picking an online poker screenname than you may think. What to consider and how to pick a winning poker handle.

What’s in a name? In the world of online poker, a screen name can mean many things.

Or sometimes, nothing at all.

What to consider with an online poker name

A persona is something to ponder while we await the launch of online poker in Pennsylvania.

A name could be a bluff or deflection, such as a girly name for a guy. For instance, Cindy34 might be a dude. Some male players have gone so far as to create an entire false female identity, hoping opponents will play them differently.

A name may be meant to intimidate, invoking a mythical figure of great power, such as Isildur from Lord of the Rings.

Or it might show a depth of knowledge about the game, or maybe it is just funny. Or both.

Humor can be a good online choice

How else to explain Acehole? It is at once self-deprecatingly funny and also “indicates you know a certain amount about how to play,” one poker veteran says.

Unless, of course, it is just a bluff.

Don’t give away too much online

While a handful of players use their real names or some variation, most of those who play online like the relative anonymity of selecting a screen name because a pseudonym doesn’t offer any tells.

As Mike, a veteran player online in New Jersey says, he keeps extensive notes on those he plays against, hoping for a psychological advantage about how his competition plays the game.

That’s fairly common with serious players.

That was harder to do a few years back when the pool online was huge and booming, says Mike.

But with a smaller number of players in the pool of poker players now, according to Mike, it’s difficult to remain unknown these days.

Notes on a player can be formidable tools, he explains, especially with the tracking stats compiled by what is known as a heads-up display, or HUD, which tracks a player’s hand history. HUDs are allowed on some sites, but not all.

Don’t include telling info with your handle

While many online players use numbers in their online handle, using a birth year which gives away clues about your age or generation or a clue about how long you have played poker might not be to your advantage, unless it is a red-herring or simply a lucky number, says Mike.

While you don’t want to give away that you are a clueless newcomer, there can be some advantages to hinting that you are still learning.

Mike likes the name Newbie, for instance, because other players may make assumptions and play differently against Newbie than they might against someone named ThortheDestroyer.

But innocuous and not memorable might be a good choice for names if your goal is to stay in the background. I mean, who is going to remember KCS1234?

Some online names jump out

On the other hand, some names do stand out:

  • PwnedUrAnus
  • UPay4MyWeed
  • The-Toilet
  • GameSlut
  • OJ Limpsin
  • PokeHer

Keep in mind, some opponents will ask about the origins of a nickname using the chat function. The players I spoke with say they sometimes answer questions usually with a cheeky story, but Mike turns off the chat when opponents go too far.

And, while you can actually find online poker name generators, Mike thinks that’s a bad idea.

Make it personal, just not too personal

“People put thought into the name they choose,” says Mike, whose own poker name comes from a lucky event in his life as a poker dealer in a live poker room.

He’d previously used a variation of his dog’s name as his online handle, but he likes the connection to luck, which comes with the name he uses now.

“Choose a name that has personal meaning to you. I think that’s what most people do,” he says.

PA Online Poker Will Definitely Be In On PokerStars PSPC Platinum Passes

With the return of the PokerStars Players Championship in 2020, you can bet some Platinum Passes will go to Pennsylvania online poker players.

Start packing your bags and get your passports ready!

PokerStars announced a new tournament on the calendar, the 2020 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).  Specifically, 2020’s PSPC will take place in Barcelona during the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival from Aug. 20-24, 2020.

PokerStars unveiled the exciting news at this year’s EPT Barcelona.

The massive PSPC prize pool

Before you think that the PSPC is just any old poker tournament, at the inaugural 2018 PSPC event in the Bahamas, Spain’s Ramon Colillas won $5.1 million.

What’s more? Amazingly, Colillas qualified to the PSPC in an online qualifier.

To date, the PSPC is the largest $25,000 buy-in high roller event.

Platinum Pass giveaway

Most importantly, PokerStars will give away free Platinum Passes for entry into the tournament. Each Platinum Pass includes free entry to the €22,500 buy-in (approx. $25,000) tournament as well as a six-night hotel stay, flights, transfer, and certain other expenses for the winner and a guest.

“The inaugural PSPC was an amazing success, and featured hundreds of Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Managing Director & Commercial Officer, Poker. “The PSPC demonstrates our commitment to cultivating and growing the game, not only by creating opportunities for poker fans of all levels to win life-changing sums of money but also by showcasing poker and the entertainment it provides.”

Qualifying for Platinum Pass in PA

So far, there is little information on the details surrounding the giveaways at the moment.

However, online poker is ready to launch shortly in the Keystone State. In particular, PokerStars readies to launch after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. Unfortunately, despite a rumor that PokerStars would launch last week, this was not the case. However, it remains the poker site most likely to launch first.

Although we don’t have the details yet, PokerStars previously ran Platinum Pass promotions in New Jersey. It is safe to assume similar promotions will run in PA after launch.

Platinum Pass tournaments should run throughout 2019 and up until the PSPC. Previously, there were four main ways to earn the coveted pass.

  • Online series – Main Event winners of major online series typically garner Platinum Passes as part of the prize pools. Playing in major online series may also earn entry to special freerolls that award passes.
  • Sunday major tournaments – Players who money in large weekly tournaments typically win entry to freerolls with Platinum Passes as prizes
  • Other special offers and challenges – Players who take part in special offers or challenges may earn Platinum Passes. Keep your eyes peeled for those Platinum Pass icons!
  • PokerStars rewards – Historically, Platinum Passes are available through the Stars Rewards program

It is exciting to think that anyone can win the PSPC trophy. With the impending launch of PA online poker, it could be that a Pennsylvania poker player could be crowned 2020 PSPC champion.

Don’t Expect Any Online Poker On July 15: Here’s Why

There are multiple online casinos launching in PA on July 15, but setbacks mean no online poker sites will be going live at that time.

Get set, get excited and play!

On July 15, at least two PA online casinos are ready for launch.

A new era of PA online gambling is officially dawning on Monday, July 15. At 11 a.m., Hollywood Online Casino opens its virtual doors. Then, at 5 p.m., Parx Online Casino will join it on the market. This includes desktop browser play and online casino apps for Android.

There will be plenty of new games for PA players to try. One thing will notably be absent though:

Online poker.

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No online poker yet

A multitude of games will be available, such as:

  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Video poker
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • Live dealer games

However sadly, online poker will not be offered yet. There are a couple of possible reasons for online poker’s delay.

New Jersey’s lackluster online poker revenue

Perhaps, online poker just is not a priority for PA operators. Certainly, casinos have examined other states such as New Jersey’s online poker revenue. It proves to be completely lackluster and sluggish when compared to sports betting and online casinos.

Accordingly, there is no reason why online poker revenue in PA would be any different.

Ongoing litigation of the Wire Act

While the issue of Wire Act violation is not coming up again any time soon, the issues surrounding the Wire Act did temper PA online casinos’ plans for launch.

Essentially, the DOJ stated in a revised opinion that all forms of online gambling violate the Wire Act. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission quickly filed suit. Then, US District Court Judge Barbadoro sided with the Lottery Commission.

After the ruling, the DOJ issued a memorandum delaying enforcement of the Wire Act until 2020 or final litigation of the NH Lottery case. An appeal by the DOJ against Barbadoro’s ruling is very likely coming soon.

In January, the PGCB requested that each casino that offers online gaming put together a plan for ensuring that these activities remain in Pennsylvania. In other words, the PGCB looked to ensure Wire Act compliance.

With online poker interstate compacting the biggest potential target of the new opinion, PA casinos probably backburnered poker plans, knowing without compacting, there was not much money to make with the venture.

Multiple casinos looking to launch poker

That is not to say sites are not working to launch online poker in the near future. Mount Airy, which is partnered with PokerStars, is rumored to be very close to launching. WSOP.com is likely rushing to get going in the Keystone STate as well.

In addition to Parx and Hollywood casinos, here is a list of other casinos with licenses to offer online poker:

With so many operators contending to offer online poker in PA, it seems unsustainable for the limited PA market. New Jersey has seven different online poker skins operating, but many, like 888 and WSOP.com share player pools.

Online poker’s potential popularity

Eventually, if PA were to share liquidity with other states that offer online poker such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, this could potentially drive a resurgence. The player pools of all the states would merge. This explains why many casinos filed for online poker licenses.

Also, the popularity of live poker surged upwards this year. This is evidenced by the World Series of Poker’s second-largest entries and prize pool in its history.