Pennsylvania Online Poker Options Triple With BetMGM Poker And Borgata PA Launches

Both BetMGM and Borgata online poker sites are now live for testing in Pennsylvania, set to go fully operational April 29.

The wait is over, Pennsylvania poker players! Borgata Poker and BetMGM Poker PA sites are now live for testing as of April 27.

The PGCB confirmed to PlayPennsylvania that both sites will undergo a two-day testing period starting Tuesday. Assuming all goes as planned, BetMGM and Borgata poker will be fully operational in PA beginning April 29.

After nearly 1.5 years with a single online poker operator, there are now three.

BetMGM and Borgata poker apps operate on the same platform in the partypoker US network. They also share player pools but operate under different iGaming licenses in PA, meaning players can take advantage of sign-up bonuses on both sites when they’re fully live.

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BetMGM Poker and Borgata PA give players more options

BetMGM poker launched under the Hollywood Casino Grantville iGaming license, just as BetMGM online casino did in PA. Borgata online casino and poker room are partnered with Rivers Casino Philadelphia. But that isn’t stopping the sites from sharing players.

As PGCB spokesperson Doug Harbach told PlayPennsylvania:

“Players can enter via either provider and be combined into one when it comes to playing cash or tournament games.”

The combined pools should help the newest poker operators compete with PokerStars PA, which got a sizable head start in the market. BetMGM is also live in New Jersey and Michigan, while the Borgata skin is also live in NJ.

In Michigan’s nascent online poker market, PokerStars also got about a two-month head start over BetMGM. PokerStars’ opening series in MI performed much better than BetMGM’s, but that was largely thanks to a disparity in scheduling.

PokerStars set out with an ambitious MI Championship of Online Poker series with 60 tournaments and $1 million guaranteed. BetMGM’s first Michigan series promised $300,000 over 10 events. Ultimately, both bested their guarantees. The recent BetMGM Online Series paid out over $360,000 while PokerStars MICOOP topped $2.2 million in prize pools.

Tournaments and games on offer at BetMGM and Borgata Poker PA

The new PA poker rooms stick to the familiar top three popular games, for now:

  • No-limit Texas hold’em
  • Fixed limit hold’em
  • Pot Limit Omaha (Hi and Hi-Lo)

Using the tabs atop the app, players can choose from cash games, sit & go tournaments, multi-table tournaments (“Tourneys”), Fast Forward (fast fold cash games), and Spin & Go (short-handed jackpot style SNGs). NLH and PLO cash games run from stakes of $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50, while the fixed-limit hold’em games go from $0.02/$0.04 to $30/$60.

PA players can expect similar tournament series as those BetMGM and Borgata run in other states, but guarantees may be a bit bigger. To start, it looks as though PA players will get:

  • Daily $10Ks, $109 buy-in
  • Mega Tuesday $535 buy-in $12K GTD
  • Thursday $320 buy-in PKO Bounty (progressive knockout), $10K GTD
  • Sunday $40K, $215 buy-in
  • Dozens of other daily tournaments
  • Keystone Grind promo: Earn up to $6,500 in a month via poker credits (iRPs) earned for real-money cash games and tournaments

These partypoker US network sites will also likely host an opening series soon for PA players.

BetMGM poker, casino, and sportsbook are all integrated on one app. If a Borgata Sportsbook launches in PA, it would also integrate with Borgata poker and casino online.

How to download Borgata and BetMGM Poker apps in PA

Looking for Borgata Poker in PA? It is in the app store. Put Borgata poker in search bar. Although it says “play from anywhere in NJ,” it is for PA users. You can login with Borgata online casino credentials or create a new user ID.

Getting started on BetMGM and Borgata poker PA:

  • Download and install each app or client
  • Create an account and pick a username
  • Deposit funds easily with a range of options
  • Try out play money games to get comfortable before playing for real money if you want

Why the lag?

Poker players in PA rejoiced when PokerStars launched Nov. 4, 2019 and understandably, they expected more sites to follow soon after. But a cocktail of factors caused delays and made the PA poker market less appealing.

Concerns over a 2018 DOJ Wire Act Opinion led PA regulators to raise requirements for operators. That included requiring separate PA servers for each site, even ones already live in New Jersey. Additionally, shared liquidity or the sharing of player pools across states, seemed unlikely in the near term.

However, a court decision in January 2021 overturned the Opinion which claimed the Wire Act applied not just to sports betting across state lines but all forms of interstate online gambling. The latest decision clears the way for PA and other states like Michigan to join interstate compacts like the one that already exists between NJ, Nevada, and Delaware. The addition of MI and PA to these existing joint player pools will drive up tournament guarantees, poker action, and of course, operator revenue.

PokerStars has done well in PA, but its revenue pales in comparison to what PA online casinos are bringing in. In March, PokerStars poker site accounted for $2.4 million in revenue, while PokerStars/Fox Bet online casino made $4.8 million. PA online casinos combined brought in a record $95.3 million in March.

Relatively low revenue combined with a relatively high tax rate (16%) for online poker is thus another likely reason operators weren’t clamoring to launch poker sites in Pennsylvania. However, the tides seem to be turning much more favorable for poker’s growth in Pennsylvania and in the US more generally.

What Will US Online Poker Look Like When PA And MI Join Shared Player Pools

The future of PA online poker seems bright, but when will Pennsylvania get more operators and join the shared liquidity market?

Pennsylvania poker players continue to wait and watch for a second online poker site to launch. Since November 2019, PokerStars PA has been the lone online poker option in PA.

When will PokerStars’ Pennsylvania monopoly end? It’s a question PA poker players have been wondering about for some time.

Once other online poker sites finally emerge to compete with PokerStars in Pennsylvania, those same players will have other questions, too.

When will PA online poker players get to play against players in other US states with legal and regulated sites? And what will that new online poker landscape look like?

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BetMGM Poker, WSOP soon taking seats at PA online poker table

More than six months ago came whispers that one and perhaps two new online poker sites would soon launch in PA. Those whispers became slightly louder in the fall when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) began approving licenses that would pave the way for the new sites.

In late October, the PGCB approved BetMGM for licensure as iGaming operators. Entain, formerly GVC Holdings, owns the partypoker platform. Along with MGM, Entain jointly owns BetMGM (formerly ROAR Digital). BetMGM operates the partypoker US network that is presently up and running in New Jersey.

In December, BetMGM launched an online casino and an online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Expectations are that a BetMGM Poker site could launch in Pennsylvania soon as well.

It was back in October the PGCB approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for 888 Holdings, the online poker partner of Caesars who own the WSOP.

Soon after players in PA began receiving emails intimating WSOP.com PA was coming soon. However, a Caesars representative made clear that wouldn’t happen until 2021. A January announcement of the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series hinted that WSOP.com could be launching soon “in a newly regulated market,” with Pennsylvania seeming a likely candidate.

But still PA players wait.

What needs to happen for PA to join a multi-state agreement?

That WSOP Online Circuit Series takes advantage of WSOP’s ability to share player pools in multiple states. Players on both WSOP Nevada and WSOP New Jersey can play in WSOP-branded events, including online bracelet events.

In addition, the WSOP/888 network pools players from three states, NY, NJ, and Delaware. Currently no other U.S. online poker sites have been able to follow suit and join player pools.

PokerStars (for example), has sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and now Michigan (since late January). But in each case the sites are “ring-fenced” meaning players can only compete against others within the same state.

In order for Pennsylvania players to be able to play against those in other states, two things need to happen.

First, an online poker site must launch in PA that also operates a site in another state with which it could form a network. So far PokerStars is the only candidate with its NJ and MI sites.

Second, the PGCB will have to approve entering a multi-state internet gaming agreement with other states in order to permit sites in multiple states to combine player pools.

Favorable Wire Act ruling should lessen PA regulators’ concerns

Most observers believe Pennsylvania had been previously hesitant to pursue joining such an agreement thanks to a revised Department of Justice‘s Office of Legal Counsel opinion regarding the Wire Act.

In January 2019, the DOJ office issued an opinion dated a couple of months before stating that the Wire Act did not just apply to sports betting, but to all forms of gambling (including online) conducted across state lines. That position reversed an earlier DOJ opinion from 2011 that the Wire Act applied to sports betting only.

In response, the PGCB issued a letter to online gaming licensees in the state recommending strongly that they comply with the new opinion and be particularly diligent about disallowing any wagering to occur across state lines.

The PGCB’s stance didn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of joining a multi-state agreement for online poker. However, it was clear the new DOJ opinion had halted any momentum in that direction. The PGCB would not be pursuing the idea, at least not in the near term.

Meanwhile the New Hampshire Lottery filed a lawsuit against the DOJ objecting to the new opinion. In June 2020, NH received a favorable ruling, thereby vacating the new DOJ opinion. The DOJ appealed, and in January 2021 that appeal was denied by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

The January ruling should be regarded as good news for Pennsylvania poker players. The PGCB has not indicated its plans going forward. However, the Wire Act and the DOJ should no longer present an obstacle should PA regulators choose to enter into a multi-state agreement.

Multiple sites…and multiple networks for PA?

Among the states with whom Pennsylvania could begin sharing player pools, New Jersey would be a likely first candidate. Michigan could come later, perhaps by the end of the year or early 2022.

Delaware, a much smaller state, would be less of a priority. Meanwhile West Virginia has also legalized online poker, although has yet to launch any sites.

Such combined player pools will obviously be a game-changer for US online poker generally and Pennsylvania poker in particular.

If and when PA does join a multi-state agreement, Pennsylvania may well have both BetMGM and WSOP.com sites up and running.

In other words, the near future could well see multiple online poker sites become available for PA players. Then a little farther down the road, PA players might even have multiple multi-state networks from which to choose as well.

Lead image via Dreamstime.com

When Will WSOP.com Stop Hinting and Start Dealing in PA?

WSOP teased an impending launch in a new market with their recent Online Circuit Series announcement. Could it mean good news for PA poker players?

It’s a new year. Much as was the case throughout the last one, online poker players in Pennsylvania continue to watch for the arrival of WSOP.com to the Keystone State.

Neither the WSOP nor the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) have shared anything new during the first two weeks of 2021 regarding the launch of WSOP PA.

However, there have been hints, including one this week suggesting WSOP.com could be coming sooner than later.

Wait continues for WSOP in PA

The last we heard on the matter was in October 2020 when a Caesars representative noted it would be at least 2021 before WSOP.com would launch in PA.

By then the PGCB had already approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for Caesars‘ online poker partner 888 Holdings. Indeed, some Pennsylvanians began to receive promotional emails at the time suggesting a WSOP.com PA launch was imminent.

Among other clues being parsed then were changes to the WSOP.com website. Those included the addition of a Harrah’s Philadelphia logo and a PA-specific “House Rules” page.

Such co-branding of Harrah’s Philadelphia resurfaced on a promo page in recent days, although it has since vanished. That said, this week’s announcement of a new 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series includes an even more tantalizing suggestion.

WSOP Online Circuit announcement teases new WSOP.com site launch

The year-long series actually involves multiple tournament series of 12 or 18 events each. The schedule somewhat follows the one used by the WSOP Circuit live tour. Such live events have understandably been postponed for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently only players on WSOP New Jersey and WSOP Nevada can participate in the events. Each awards a WSOP gold ring to the winner. There is also an ongoing leaderboard with a championship tournament scheduled at the end of December.

There are 12 series overall, one for each month in 2021. However, the announcement mentions “An additional 13th online circuit event is earmarked pending launch of the WSOP.COM service in a newly regulated market” (emphasis added).

With no other discussion, such a reference sounds as though it might indicate an additional WSOP Online Circuit “stop” could take place on WSOP.com PA soon after it launches.

Making moves in Michigan, online sites soon to launch

Then again, the reference could mean something else.

Stepping back to survey the national picture, Michigan is on the precipice of launching its first online casinos, likely in the coming days. Online poker may be part of the picture there as well, although perhaps not at the very start.

On Tuesday the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) had its first public meeting of 2021. One consequence of that meeting was regulators giving the go-ahead to approved operators to launch their sites when ready. According to Online Poker Report, the first sites should go live by early next week.

That includes online poker, although “testing requirements” will likely delay the opening of the first online poker room (or rooms) in Michigan by “four or five days.”

WSOP.com is not among sites in the running to launch a poker room in MI at the start. Meanwhile PokerStars, still the only online poker room operator in Pennsylvania, appears poised to do so via its partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

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Prospects for multi-state agreements, shared liquidity

Of relevance to Pennsylvanians is the fact that earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bill allowing interstate compacts for online gambling. That means the MGCB can permit operators in MI with online poker to enter multi-state agreements with sites in other states that also permit such compacts, thereby allowing shared player pools.

Michigan online poker rooms will not be sharing liquidity with other states for a while yet, however. According to OPR, any sharing of Michigan player pools with those from other states will not happen until late 2021 at the soonest.

New Jersey could be Michigan’s first choice for such an agreement. MGCB staff are presently in discussions about an interstate compact with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Pennsylvania would likely be less quick to enter a multi-state compact, given the caution PA regulators have shown to this point regarding uncertainties surrounding the US Department of Justice‘s interpretation of the Wire Act.

In any case, stay tuned here to find out if and when WSOP.com PA stops hinting and starts dealing.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

PA Online Casinos Boost Overall Gaming Revenue with Record $60 Million October

PA gaming revenue jumped nearly 13% year over year, thanks in large part to a record $59.8 million October for online casinos and poker combined.

In Pennsylvania, online casinos continued a rocketing revenue run with a record in October of nearly $59.8 million.

That’s a healthy increase from the former record of $57 million set just a month before, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures.

Total gaming — retail casino slots and table games, online casinos, retail and online sportsbooks, poker, VGTs and fantasy contests — generated combined revenue of more than $320.2 million. That’s up 12.87% compared to revenue generated in October 2019.

The total tax revenue generated through all forms of gaming was more than $130.1 million during October 2020. Of that, $24.9 million came from iGaming.

Online table game revenue really jumps

In October, interactive slots took in nearly $40.4 million, online table games nearly $17 million and poker more than $2.4 million.

In September, online slots had accounted for more than $39.9 million in revenue, with an additional $14.7 million from online table games.

Also in October, total wagers on table games topped $1 billion — a first.

Online poker steady, VGT revenue up

With just one operator, PokerStars PA via Mount Airy Resort, online poker generated more than $2.4 million in October. That continues a trend down from $2.7 million in revenue in August.

Truck stop video gaming terminals generated nearly as much revenue as online poker — more than $2.4 million. There are now four operators with machines in 37 locations; each location has five machines.

Sports wagering handle hits new highs

In October, sports betting was up significantly over the previous year, with a total handle of more than $525.8 million. That’s more than double the handle a year ago, when it was nearly $241.2 million.

Additionally, the taxable sports wagering revenue figure of $36.8 million for October 2020 set a record, eclipsing the previous monthly revenue high of more than $22.8 million in January of this year.

Nov. 17 marks two years since the very first legal sportsbook opened in Pennsylvania.

Casino-based games down

Casino-based slots and table games, with COVID-19 capacity restrictions, were down 17.22% and 13.43%, respectively, but online gaming channels have made up the difference and then some.

A year ago, there were 23,786 slots on the casino floors, but there were just 16,611 in operation this October.

October online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of October revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$16.6 million$14.1 million$2.5 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$11.0 million$5.1 million$6.0 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$10.0 million$5.0 million$5.0 million
Parx Casino$5.9 million$5.1 million$793,000
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$4.5 million$2.9 million$1.6 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.5 million$4.2 million$269,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.6 million$2.1 million$492,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$774,000$628,000$146,000
Wind Creek Casino$596,000$534,000$62,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$485,000$375,000$110,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia $278,000$248,000$30,000
Totals:$57.3 million$40.3 million$17.0 million

Casino operators by the numbers

Five operators had total online casino revenue above $5 million.

  • Rivers Philly, which combines SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped $16.6 million, with more than $14 million in revenue from slots.
  • Penn National/DraftKings topped $11 million in online revenue, with more than half from table games.
  • Valley Forge/FanDuel hit more than $10 million in online revenue, with table games accounting for more than half.
  • Mount Airy, which includes PokerStars and Fox Bet, brought in more than $9.4 million when online table games, online slots and online poker are combined.
  • And Parx had nearly $6 million in iGaming revenue.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is still new, trailed everyone with just $278,463 in total online revenue in its third full month in operation.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

When Can Live Poker Return to Pennsylvania? PA Casinos Submit Reopening Plans

PA poker players will soon have many more options, as casinos are submitting plans for reopening live poker rooms and more online sites are on the way.

Nearly seven months have passed since the last hands of poker were dealt in Pennsylvania card rooms. But live poker games may be returning soon, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

Some PA casinos submit plans to reopen poker rooms

In mid-March, all of the state’s casinos and their poker rooms were forced to close as part of the effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Casinos began to reopen in June to limited capacity. By mid-July, all 12 casinos were welcoming back guests.

But while the slots and other areas of the casinos were up and running, the poker rooms remained shut down.

Recommendations from both CDC and the PA Department of Health made it impractical to allow players to sit in close proximity to one another while handling and exchanging chips and cards. Thus did the PGCB withhold authorization to reopen poker rooms when issuing its COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols in mid-May.

Regarding poker rooms, the PGCB’s protocols included a provision to reexamine poker room operations as health officials’ guidelines evolved.

A spokesperson for the PGCB recently confirmed that at least some of the state’s casinos have submitted their plans for reopening their poker rooms.

Pandemic poker: Short-handed games, plexiglass, masks, temperature checks

Such reopening plans include outlining safety protocols the poker rooms will follow. What those plans specifically entail is unknown, although will likely involve limiting the number of players per table.

Also uncertain is the date when the first Pennsylvania poker rooms will reopen. It appears highly unlikely any will reopen immediately, especially while casinos continue to operate at limited capacity.

Just over 90% of the United States’ almost 1,000 casinos have now reopened after every single one closed in the spring. Most that have reopened are operating at limited capacity, and in many cases, poker rooms have been kept closed, as they are in PA.

Live poker rooms remain closed in neighboring New Jersey. However, rooms in Nevada (see lead image), California and several other states have opened back up.

Some poker rooms that have are employing plexiglass dividers at the tables. Most are dealing short-handed games and requiring masks and often temperature checks for all players.

PokerStars still only online option, other PA sites move closer to launching

With the brick-and-mortar rooms closed, PA poker players have at least had online poker as an option, albeit with only one choice available.

PokerStars PA remains the lone online poker room up and running in the Keystone State, as has been the case since it first launched in November 2019.

There, the just-completed Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker awarded just over $2 million in prize money, well clear of the $1.5M in guarantees.

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More online poker competition on the way in PA

Competition in the virtual poker space is coming, however.

Last week, the PGCB approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for 888 Holdings, partner of Caesars Interactive Entertainment. That brings WSOP.com closer to launching in Pennsylvania, although no date has been announced yet.

When WSOP PA does go live, the next question will be whether it will be able to enter interstate compacts and share player pools with the other WSOP.com sites in New Jersey and Nevada, and with 888 poker in NJ and Delaware.

Also eagerly waiting on the virtual rail is partypoker.

GVC Holdings owns the partypoker platform and, with MGM, co-owns ROAR Digital, which powers the partypoker US Network. There have been various indications over recent months that the PGCB will approve ROAR’s license to operate in PA. However, ROAR’s application status is still pending.

PACOOP 2020 Boosts Guarantees to $1.5 Million for PokerStars PA Players

The 2020 edition of the PACOOP (Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker) at PokerStars PA offers 50 events totaling $1.5 million in guarantees.

PokerStars PA continues to offer Pennsylvania online poker players a healthy supply of cash games and tournaments as the only operator in the state to date. Many will recall the first big series the site ran, back in November-December last year, shortly after debuting in PA.

The Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker — PACOOP — was a success then and should be even more so this time around. PokerStars upped the guaranteed in that one to $1.25 million, and then surpassed it. The upcoming PACOOP, running Sept. 19-Oct. 5, guarantees $1.5 million in prize pools.

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PACOOP Main Event on Sunday, Oct. 4

PACOOP kicks off Saturday, Sept. 19, with two warm-up events: a $100 buy-in $50K GTD at 6 p.m. and a $50 buy-in $30K GTD 8-max at 8 p.m.

One of the final and most anticipated events is the $300 buy-in PACOOP Main Event, which guarantees a prize pool of at least $200,000. The tournament begins Sunday, Oct. 4, and will wrap up on Monday, Oct. 5.

The winner of the first PACOOP Main Event, “Gyea08,” collected $31,335.64 for outlasting a field of 640. The event attracted 420 players and 220 re-entries to create a prize pool of north of $179K.

PACOOP 2020 schedule highlights

While most of the events are no-limit hold’em, PokerStars does offer some non-hold’em varieties for those who like to dabble. Players will find events including PLO 6-max (Sunday, Sept. 20), pot limit 5-card draw (Thursday, Sept. 24), 8-Game (Friday, Sept. 25) and Stud Hi/Lo (Wed., Sept. 30).

Other highlights on the 2020 PACOOP schedule include:

  • Sundays, Sept. 20 and 27: $100 buy-in Sunday Special $100K GTD
  • Wed., Sept. 23: $500 6-max High Roller $50K GTD
  • Thurs., Oct. 1: $250 Thursday Thrill Progressive KO $40K GTD
  • Sunday, Oct. 4: $50 Mini Main Event $40K GTD
Event #DateTime (EST)Event (Gtd.)Buy-In
1Sept. 19 (Sa)6:00 p.m.NLHE (Nightly Stars - PACOOP Warm-Up), $50K Gtd$100
2Sept. 19 (Sa)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, PACOOP - Warm-Up), $30K Gtd$50
3Sept. 20 (Su)1:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Deepstack), $35K Gtd$100
4Sept. 20 (Su)2:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $20K Gtd$50
5Sept. 20 (Su)3:30 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$150
6Sept. 20 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday Special SE), $100K Gtd$100
7Sept. 20 (Su)7:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max), $15K Gtd$100
8Sept. 20 (Su)10:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Sunday SuperSonic SE), $10K Gtd$50
9Sept. 21 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Battle Royale SE Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$50
10Sept. 21 (M)8:00 p.m.PLO8 (8-Max), $12K Gtd$75
11Sept. 22 (Tu)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Super Tuesday SE), $40K Gtd$200
12Sept. 22 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Mini Super Tuesday SE), $15K Gtd$20
13Sept. 22 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max), $15K Gtd$150
14Sept. 23 (W)8:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, High Roller), $50K Gtd$500
15Sept. 23 (W)9:00 p.m.NLHE, $15K Gtd$150
16Sept. 24 (Th)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill SE), $40K Gtd$200
17Sept. 24 (Th)7:30 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Mini Thrill), $20K Gtd$20
18Sept. 24 (Th)8:00 p.m.PL 5-Card Draw (8-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
19Sept. 25 (F)7:30 p.m.8-Game, $15K Gtd$200
20Sept. 25 (F)9:30 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $20K Gtd$150
21Sept. 26 (Sa)5:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Deepstack), $35K Gtd$100
22Sept. 26 (Sa)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Saturday Speedway SE), $15K Gtd$50
23Sept. 27 (Su)1:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Marathon), $35K Gtd$100
24Sept. 27 (Su)2:00 p.m.PLO (8-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
25Sept. 27 (Su)3:30 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $25K Gtd$150
26Sept. 27 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday Special SE), $100K Gtd$100
27Sept. 27 (Su)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO), $35K Gtd$200
28Sept. 27 (Su)9:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday SuperSonic SE), $12K Gtd$75
29Sept. 28 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (4-Max), $25K Gtd$200
30Sept. 28 (M)8:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max, High-Roller), $25K Gtd$500
31Sept. 29 (Tu)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Hyper-Turbo, Super Tuesday), $40K Gtd$250
32Sept. 29 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLO8 (8-Max), $10K Gtd$100
33Sept. 30 (W)7:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $20K Gtd$30
34Sept. 30 (W)8:00 p.m.NLHE, $30K Gtd$200
35Sept. 30 (W)9:00 p.m.Stud Hi/Lo, $10K Gtd$100
36Oct. 1 (Th)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill), $40K Gtd$250
37Oct. 1 (Th)9:00 p.m.NLHE, $20K Gtd$150
38Oct. 2 (F)7:00 p.m.FLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$200
39Oct. 2 (F)9:00 p.m.NLHE (Hyper-Turbo), $15K Gtd$200
40Oct. 3 (Sa)6:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $40K Gtd$300
41Oct. 3 (Sa)9:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $20K Gtd$75
42Oct. 4 (Su)2:00 p.m.NLHE (Turbo, Progressive KO, Deepstack), $25K Gtd$100
43Oct. 4 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Main Event), $200K Gtd$300
44Oct. 4 (Su)6:00 p.m.NLHE (Mini Main Event), $40K Gtd$50
45Oct. 4 (Su)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$100
46Oct. 4 (Su)9:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
47Oct. 4 (Su)10:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday SuperSonic SE), $10K Gtd$75
48Oct. 5 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Nightly Stars SE - PACOOP Wrap-Up), $35K Gtd$100
49Oct. 5 (M)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Phase 2), $50K Gtd$50
50Oct. 5 (M)9:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Deep Hyper Turbo), $15K Gtd$100

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.