It has barely been two weeks that online gaming and poker in Michigan has been live. In that short time, however, the state has rocketed to the top of the U. S. industry, bypassing other more established states. The reason for the influx of players is up for debate, however.
Numbers Never Lie
PokerStars MI is the only operation in action in the Wolverine State and they are taking full advantage of that opportunity. Only two weeks after opening the doors to their online poker room, PokerStars MI has been able to become not only the biggest site in the state (naturally) but also has become the biggest online poker site in the States of America. A quick look at the charts demonstrates this fact.
According to PokerScout, PokerStars MI is now the 15th largest online poker room IN THE WORLD. The site is pulling in a seven-day average of 500 cash game players, the industry standard for measuring online poker traffic. This is better than much more well-established outlets in the States.
PokerStars PA, which itself just celebrated its first anniversary, is currently the #2 site in the U. S., bringing in 400 players on average. These two operations are embarrassing the three-state compact between the WSOP operations in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, which can only muster 240 players on average. The other operations in New Jersey, PokerStars NJ and PartyPoker NJ, pull up the rear of the field with 130 and 100 players on average, respectively.
What Explains the Numbers?
Some might think that the newness of the online gaming scene in Michigan is driving the superb numbers, and that would be logical. Normally whenever a new business opens, it sees an immediate influx of popularity followed by a gradual decline as people “get used” to the new option being in business. But the “newness” of the Michigan operations does not explain everything.
Michigan is the 10th most populous state in the U. S. with about 9.9 million people. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, has nearly 13 million (12.8 million, to be exact) and did not exactly jump on the online poker bandwagon as quickly as they could. In theory, Michigan online poker should not be able to eclipse the Pennsylvania numbers, but they are.
It does whet the appetite to think of what a combined PokerStars US operation would look like.
Michigan’s 500 players (on average), put together with the 400 from Pennsylvania and the 130 in New Jersey, would make for over 1000 players on average if they were to compact. That would put a proposed PokerStars US in the Top Ten in WORLDWIDE online poker sites. It is also true that this fanciful notion would potentially mint money, with a potential customer base of over 30 million.
The potential for compacting exists. New Jersey already has a compacting deal with Nevada and Delaware, and it would be no issue for them to reach out to Pennsylvania and Michigan. Michigan changed their laws to allow for compacting; the only one holding out at this time might be Pennsylvania, who is still examining the evidence from their online gaming and poker operations.
Even if PokerStars were to cobble together a compact in the U. S., it would pale in comparison to their international operations. Long the #1 site in the online poker industry, PokerStars serves 8400 players on average over a seven-day period, vastly outpacing IDN Poker (6000) and GGPoker (5400). It still is an excellent indicator that PokerStars’ operations in the U. S. are going strong and, if they were able to pool their resources, would dominate over the operations of WSOP.com in the U. S.