Finally, a second interstate poker network

This past weekend, poker players in Michigan and New Jersey found a long-awaited gift under the Christmas tree: the merging of player pools on PokerStars. They will have to wait to open the present, as the shared liquidity does not begin until January 1, 2023, but after waiting this long, methinks they can be patient for another week.

PokerStars will be the first online poker operator in the United States to combine player pools between Michigan and New Jersey and just the second to launch an interstate online poker network.

The only other multi-state poker network is that of WSOP.com/888poker, joining sites in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. It is technically called the All American Poker Network, but I don’t think anyone has ever actually called it that. Players in Nevada and New Jersey play on WSOP.com, powered by 888’s poker software, while those in Delaware play on one of the state’s three racino-linked sites that also use 888’s platform.

Because they are on WSOP.com, Nevada and New Jersey players can participate in World Series of Poker online bracelet events. Delaware players are, unfortunately, out of luck in that regard.

The three states can share player liquidity because of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which they have belonged to for years (Nevada and Delaware first, then New Jersey came along later). Michigan joined MSIGA in May, but of course that did not mean that online poker rooms would automatically share player traffic. The sites still had to work with the states to get all the technology approved, testing done, so on and so forth.

PokerStars does not have a presence in either Nevada or Delaware, hence why those states were not part of this announcement. It does have a popular site in Pennsylvania, which would be a fantastic addition to the network, but Pennsylvania is not part of MSIGA, so that’s out.

Gifts are welcome, even if we knew they were coming

The merging of Michigan’s and New Jersey’s player pools is not exactly a surprise, but it is certainly welcomed. Two weeks ago, PokerStars took both sites down for more than 24 hours to perform server upgrades, which was known to be preparation for the shared liquidity. There have also been some private tournaments mirrored on both sites, very likely some initial tests to be sure everything was working.

“Michigan and New Jersey joining forces is great news for our players in these two states, and poker, more generally, as it promises a better experience and even more value, all with the confidence provided by a trusted, licensed operator,” said PokerStars US Managing Director, Severin Rasset, in last week’s press release. “Our community will experience more breadth and depth of games, more tournaments with bigger prizes to win, amped-up promotions, and more choice.”

On launch day, there will be two special tournaments to celebrate the joining of the Michigan and New Jersey player pools. The first, at 6:00pm ET, is a $100 buy-in event with a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool. The second, a $10 buy-in tournament with a $50,000 guarantee, begins at 6:30pm. Registration for both begins tomorrow.

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