Partypoker, WSOP Among Challengers to PokerStars’ Online Poker Monopoly in PA

Pennsylvania online poker players will be happy to know they will soon have multiple top-notch poker sites from which to choose.

Experienced poker players know that sometimes you have to be very patient when waiting for the right cards to come. Online poker players in Pennsylvania are going to have be patient a little longer to see when the next online poker room launches.

Since November 2019, PokerStars PA has been the lone online poker option for players in the Keystone State. The site has enjoyed its monopoly thus far, but the race to see which online poker room will be its first challenger continues in earnest.

Who might join PokerStars PA next? A couple of candidates stand out from the pack at present, although both are going to have to wait a bit before launching.

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partypoker and ROAR

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) had its most recent monthly meeting on Aug. 5. It was thought that meeting might produce news that partypoker had moved one step closer to launching an online poker room in PA.

But no such news came from the PGCB. That means another month (at least) before any new online poker sites come to PA.

GVC Holdings owns the partypoker platform. Along with MGM, GVC jointly owns ROAR Digital, operator of the partypoker NJ site.

During the July meeting of the PGCB, the board’s Chief Entertainment Counsel Cyrus Pitre had indicated ROAR might have its licensed approved in August.

But while Unibet and Evolution Gaming received permanent licenses at the meeting, ROAR — including partypoker — continues to wait.

WSOP and Harrah’s Philadelphia

With no live World Series of Poker this summer, the WSOP recently completed the first part of its WSOP Online bracelet series on WSOP.com.

Players from New Jersey and Nevada were able to compete for 31 bracelets and over $26 million prizes during July. But alas, Pennsylvanians had to wait on the virtual rail.

In late May, WSOP officials told USPoker they were working toward obtaining regulatory approval to launch in Pennsylvania, and Doug Harbach of the PGCB confirmed that Caesars’ online poker application was pending.

But there was no talk of WSOP.com PA or Harrah’s at the regulators’ August meeting.

Others potentially seeking seats at PA online poker table

Five other Pennsylvania casinos are licensed to operate online poker rooms in PA, pending regulators’ approval. They are:

  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Parx Casino and Racing
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse)
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands Casino Resort)

Pennsylvania online poker players will surely welcome any new options with open arms.

Brick-and-mortar poker rooms in PA closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus. Since then, the state’s 12 casinos have all reopened with limited capacity. However, their poker rooms have remained shuttered per safety guidelines of health officials and the PGCB.

PokerStars PA has been a popular option during the interim, including most recently during the just-completed Bounty Builder series in which players won nearly $2 million.

But a second online poker room — and perhaps a third and fourth — will bring needed variety and some healthy competition to the nascent PA online poker market.

PokerStars PA Has Meteoric Rise To Record April Revenue, Biggest Prize Pool Yet

A look at the rise of PokerStars PA since its November launch and factors contributing to record March and April revenue for the lone PA online poker operator.

Another month, and another record broken.

In March, PA online gambling smashed through to record revenues. In particular, online poker soared to new heights, boasting a 71% month-over-month increase to the tune of $3.13 million in revenue.

The surge only continued in April. The lone PA poker operator, PokerStars PA, posted $5.25 million in revenue, with the state profiting $837,550. That was a 68% increase over the previous record, set in April.

The Keystone State ordered a forced shutdown of its brick-and-mortar casinos in mid-March as part of efforts contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and housebound players have looked for other means of entertainment.

Primarily, PA online casinos have reaped the benefits of people staying home. PA iGaming was up 73% in revenue compared to March, which was the previous best for the industry. April saw online gaming revenue in PA shoot up to $41.3 million, which added up to $18.3 million in tax revenue for state and local entities.

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Looking back at PokerStars PA revenue since launch

Certainly, the lone online poker operator for the Keystone State has gone from strength to strength since its launch.

Even during its debut month in November 2019, PokerStars PA posted revenue numbers of close to $2 million. With a 16% tax rate (state and local combined), PA profited by $314,479.

PokerStars PA did see the traditional drop in revenue during the months of January and February, but this seems to also hold true when comparing New Jersey’s yearly numbers.

Since the closure of live gambling venues, online numbers have continued to climb.

MonthRevenue
Nov. 2019$1,965,494
Dec. 2019$2,473,137
Jan. 2020$2,157,266
Feb. 2020$1,830,356
March 2020$3,133,019
April 2020$5,253,304

First PASCOOP smashes guarantees by $1.2 million

A big bolster for the PA online poker revenue numbers in April was the successful completion of the inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP).

PASCOOP consisted of 50 poker events made up of “High” and “Low” buy-ins. In total, 100 tournaments with an overall guaranteed prize pool of $2 million played out.

The increase in player traffic ultimately shattered the guaranteed prize pool to the tune of $3.2 million. Only four tournaments didn’t meet the guarantees, and the overlays added up to a measly $4,741.50.

PokerStars PA Ambassador Jennifer Shahade won Event No. 28-H, known as the Sunday Special. With an entry fee of $200, Shahade won $11,527 for her efforts while streaming her first Twitch session. For more about “JenShahadePA,” read the PlayPennsylvania interview.

Bright future ahead for PokerStars PA

For the foreseeable future, it appears that PokerStars PA will continue its meteoric rise, especially since brick-and-mortar casinos still remain closed.

In fact, it just offered up Pennsyl-MANIA, which ran May 17–18. For a buy-in of $200, the event posted the largest prize pool guarantee in the site’s history.

True to its word, Pennsyl-MANIA received double the entries needed to hit the guarantee. The tournament topped out at an official 2,774 total entries. The guarantee didn’t just meet the $250,000 mark, it hit a staggering $515,964 prize pool — the biggest yet in PA poker.

Even when casinos do reopen in PA, it’s likely that live poker rooms won’t reopen until some time later. With that being the case, and with the popularity of online poker in PA peaking, the record numbers are likely to be sustained for weeks to come.

PokerStars PA Keeps Home Games Alive & Hosts $250K Pennsyl-MANIA

Online poker players in Pennsylvania can host their own home games at PokerStars PA and play in a $250K guaranteed tournament this weekend.

As stay-at-home orders remain in effect across Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA continues to provide some welcome entertainment. And best of all, you don’t even have to play for real money if you don’t want to.

PokerStars’ Home Games feature allows online poker enthusiasts a chance to continue sitting at the tables and connecting with friends — without violating social distancing rules.

PokerStars is also offering its biggest tournament to date, coming up on Sunday, May 17.

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PokerStars PA Pennsyl-MANIA guarantees $250K prize pool

To compete in Pennsyl-MANIA, online poker players in PA just need to pony up a $200 buy-in. The tournament begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, with Day Two starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

The tournament comes with a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000 — the biggest yet. For those who bust out in the first five hours of play, there are five re-entries allowed before the close of registration.

PokerStars Home Games offer a private way to play with friends

Poker players who miss the social aspect of private poker games with friends can create their own Home Games at PokerStars PA. Home Games are private games in either cash or tournament format that require an invitation.

Also, friends don’t need to be physically present in Pennsylvania, but they have to be set up for play money.

How to set up your own Home Game on PokerStars PA

Ready to set up your own Home Game on PokerStars PA? Well, the good news is it’s easy as pie.

First, after logging in, look at the bottom right of the lobby. Here, you will see shortcuts. There are three dots located at the bottom, and once you click that button, the “Home Games” option pops up.

The next steps are pretty intuitive and easy to follow:

  • Create your own “Poker Club.”
  • Invite your friends and other players to join the Home Game.
  • Manage and create your own tournaments and cash games.

Players who received an invitation need your poker Club ID, which is a seven-digit number, and the Invitation Code, which is the password.

The complete social poker experience

One of the major highlights of playing online private poker with friends is that PokerStars PA offers a multitude of options, especially some of the lesser-known poker formats.

Want to play Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw or 8-game mix? Why not try it with friends for plenty of laughter and fun?

Truly, the most terrific part of playing private online poker games with friends is the social aspect. PokerStars PA makes the whole experience of private Home Games even better by allowing the use of webcams.

Please note: This does not mean that you can use webcams in regular tournaments or cash games, as it may violate the Terms of Service.

However, PokerStars PA customer support confirmed:

“We have no restrictions on players having a webcam on while playing on our platforms. You can be connected to other players or friends while playing Home Games.”

In these socially distant times, any means of staying in touch and socializing with friends while remaining apart is truly wonderful.

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.