Not 24/7 just yet
WSOP.com has gone live in Pennsylvania. The online poker room began its soft launch period on Monday, July 12 at 2:00pm ET; it will run through July 15. As long as no problems arise that would necessitate extended downtime or regulatory review (it would be very unusual for this to happen), the full launch will happen on Friday.
During the soft launch, WSOP.com’s hours will be limited. Outside operational hours, nobody will be able to login or even download the software. The soft launch hours are as follows:
Monday, July 12: 2:00pm – 10:00pm ET
Tuesday, July 13: 12:00pm – 10:00pm ET
Wednesday, July 14: 12:00pm – 12:00am ET
Thursday, July 15: TBA
As one might expect, traffic is fairly light on the first day, particularly because the site is not called PokerStars. At about 9:15pm ET, there are 43 cash game players. The multi-table tournaments have had from 15 to 39 players.
WSOP.com is giving everyone who creates a Pennsylvania account and deposits $10 a free $50 in free play. It cannot be cashed out, but any winnings earned from its use will be available for withdrawal. In addition, those same players will receive seven tickets to daily $100 freerolls. The freeroll on Monday drew 70 entrants.
Minor growing pains
The online poker site did experience some hiccups on its first day. At 7:30pm, WSOP.com tweeted that it was aware of problems people were having depositing using discover cards. Some people replied that they were having difficulties depositing, period. An hour later, the site advised players to e-mail or use online chat to communicate with customer service, as its Pennsylvania phone lines were being lit up.
WSOP.com becomes the third or fourth online poker room in Pennsylvania, depending on how you want to count. PokerStars was the first to launch in the state, doing so in November 2019. It had a monopoly until April 2021, when the sister sites BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker both went live. This is where your choice of counting method comes in. There are no four internet poker rooms in Pennsylvania, but two are on the same network, so they are basically one.
Part of the appeal of WSOP.com is that it is the official site of the World Series of Poker, so there will be plenty of World Series promotions. But while the site will offer qualifiers for this fall’s Series, Pennsylvania players will unfortunately not be able to play in the WSOP Online at this time. The state has yet to enter into any interstate poker compacts, therefore restricting its players to virtual tables with just opponents within the state’s borders.
Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have joined their player pools, which means that the players on WSOP.com in both Nevada and New Jersey play together for WSOP Online bracelets. Players in Delaware are also on the network via the state’s three racinos that use 888’s software (the same software WSOP.com uses). In order for players located in Pennsylvania to compete for WSOP Online bracelets, their state will have to join with those other three.