It’s really happening. PokerStars looks like it is finally coming to PA on November 4th, for the first time since 2011 and after months of speculation of when the brand would open in the state.
The launch of PokerStars in Pennsylvania will mark the first online poker room in the state, a launch which is expected to be one of many. In preparation, we will take a look at what you need to know from what will surely be one of the biggest online poker rooms in the state.
Testing first, then a full launch
Although PokerStars and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said that testing would begin “next week,” it is widely expected to occur on November 4th with the downloadable game client available for a limited time period for testing each day.
During the testing period, players are expected to be able to play cash games, sit and gos and multi-table tournaments. Zoom Poker and Spin and Gos are not expected to be among the offerings available at testing.
Should testing go well, an official launch would likely be held towards the middle or end of the week. Most online casinos that have opened in PA have quickly passed their mandatory testing period and have moved on to a full launch a few days later. Although PokerStars will be the first online poker room in the state, we expect PokerStars will be no different.
PokerStars PA will not have a large player pool
PokerStars.com is the largest online poker room in the world. Unfortunately, the PokerStars available to players in Pennsylvania will not be as large as “that” PokerStars. PokerStars.com is the home of the global player pool, which PokerStars PA is not apart of. At launch, PokerStars PA will include only players who are physically located in the state. Players from other states and other countries will play elsewhere.
This could change in the intermediate to long term, however. Notably, a multi-state player pool already exists between Nevada and New Jersey with WSOP.com. That partnership required an agreement between the two states and a poker room operating in two different states. With the launch of PokerStars PA, the online poker room will be available in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, leaving the possibility that the player pools from both states could be merged eventually.
The complication lies in the fact that over the last year, interpretation of the Wire Act and multi-state cooperation has been complicated. WSOP.com still currently has its Nevada and New Jersey player pool, but while there are still questions about the future of such agreements, Pennsylvania and PokerStars will likely choose to focus on keeping the player pools separate, at least for now.
PokerStars comes to PA through a partnership with Mount Airy
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which oversees the online gambling and online poker market in the state, awards licenses to existing PA casinos to operate online gambling. PA casinos are generally choosing to partner with existing providers in bringing games to residents. In the case of PokerStars, they have partnered with the Mount Airy Casino, which has received a license to operate online poker, online table games, online slots as well as sports betting.
PokerStars’ sports betting brand, FoxBet, went live in before the start of the 2019 NFL season.
Bonuses and promotions
While the bonus could change during the first week of launch, we expect PokerStars PA bonuses to be similiar to that of those offered in New Jersey when that market opened.
New players can take advantage of a $20 no deposit bonus or a 100% up to $600 bonus on a first deposit.
For frequent players, PokerStars now awards players with the Stars Rewards program. Instead of incentivizing proportionally based on how much rake they generate, player rewards are a bit more random through the use of “Chests,” which award random prizes.
Looking for other games?
In addition to PokerStars’ standard suite of poker games, over 70 casino games will also be available to players within the PokerStars client. Players will be able to enjoy a few dozen slots, a dozen or so table games and a handful of video poker games. More games are expected in the future.
You can bet sports through PokerStars FoxBet. Some sort of integration between PokerStars and FoxBet in the client is expected.
The launch of PokerStars in PA is a big deal. It’s the first time since 2011 that PokerStars was available in the state, and during that time market conditions were less favorable to online poker.
Pennsylvanians will be able to play online poker from the biggest poker brand in the world and although there may be some bumps initially, PokerStars generally has a great track record with poker players. And with the full backing of the state of Pennsylvania, players can play on the online poker room with confidence.
Stay tuned to PromoCodePA for the latest information about PokerStars and other online poker rooms launching in the state.