Home Online poker Two Years of Online Poker in Pennsylvania: Interviews with Key Players

Two Years of Online Poker in Pennsylvania: Interviews with Key Players


Poker fans in Pennsylvania have much to celebrate today, just as they did on that date two years ago. The highly anticipated launch of PokerStars PA November 4, 2019 effectively ended an 8.5-year drought in online poker in Keystone State.

In April 2011, Black friday has stopped the online poker sauce train in US states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. to be.

PokerStars PA is a game-changer

Online poker players in the Keystone condition settled for live poker offerings, while others migrated to New Jersey for online grind (or traveled there to play particular series). Still others have mostly given up on the game they loved and enjoyed for so long before the bottom fell.

With the beginnings of legal online poker in Pennsylvania, many players including ambassadors of PokerStars PA Keith becker and Marc Foresta, fell in love with the game again. (Watch our special two-year anniversary interview with Becker and Foresta below.)

PokerStars did not disappoint in terms of software and offers, built on nearly two decades of industry dominance. The brand also benefited from its early entry into the legal online poker in the United States market, a position on which PokerStars will continue to capitalize in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and the future legal states.

How has PokerStars managed to stay on top, and how do they plan to continue to do so? What challenges has PokerStars encountered in the legal online poker markets in the United States? We asked PokerStars Associate Director of Group Public Relations Rebecca McAdam Willetts and Tom bostic, Poker Operations Manager of PokerStars US for their views.

What have been the biggest challenges for PokerStars in the United States?

Rebecca McAdam Willetts: In one-state liquidity, we aren’t able to leverage scale and reach like we would elsewhere to offer the same variety and jackpots that some in our community see in d other parts of the world where there is shared liquidity.

We have to think differently about what online poker looks like given the liquidity we have, which is our greatest challenge but also our greatest strength. It forces us to be agile, creative and not be afraid to take risks. Fortunately, we have a long and rich history, a company filled with decades of industry experience, and an engaged community that speaks with us and inspires us to improve and create. Everywhere we operate, we benefit.

We want to create the best poker experience, reward and entertainment like no other poker site. We also want to make sure that we attract those who show up day in and day out and are looking for a seamless, rewarding, high-quality experience, while also talking to those who might consider poker so that we can continue to develop the game we all love. for the benefit of all players.

Two years later, what have been the most important lessons PokerStars has learned about the PA market?

Tom bostic: Pennsylvania has a thriving poker community. It is the second largest gaming market in the country with more than a dozen physical casinos, three online poker operators and active online communities, as seen on Discord and Twitch. The appetite for poker remains strong beyond the launch of PokerStars PA, with the PA Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) having recently generated more than $ 2,000,000 in prize pools from 25,000 entries across 69 events.

We also have amazing players, many of whom exhibit results and skill levels that can rival the best in the world. We knew poker fans in Pennsylvania were eager for online poker to reach the state, but it has been amazing to see the enthusiasm and commitment of those new to poker and those familiar with it.

Pennsylvania poker players should not be underestimated!

In the United States, PokerStars also has sites in New Jersey and Michigan, but the jackpots are usually the largest in Pennsylvania. In your opinion, why and how has the approach been different in these markets?

Tom bostic: Pennsylvania inherently has advantages over the other two US cash flows due to its population of 12.8 million compared to New Jersey (8.9 million) and Michigan (10 million). With a larger Cash Games player base, Sit-and-Go’s and Spin-and-Go’s are able to operate at higher frequencies and tournament jackpots are comparatively increased.

We focus on managing each US liquidity separately with tailor-made offerings for each, as evidenced by the formats we offer, participation level options and associated guarantees for individual and promotional events.

Now that there is more online poker competition in PA, how has PokerStars been able to maintain its No. 1 position?

Tom bostic: By investing in market growth, continuously improving our offering and through our dedication to our players and their feedback. PokerStars is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and in the recently established US liquidity, we are building on our foundations as the most recognizable name in online poker with a player-centered approach that has been demonstrated throughout our history.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that PA players can look forward to from PokerStars next year?

Tom bostic: We are always looking for opportunities to foster the overall growth of poker and create superior experiences for our players in Pennsylvania. Without going into specifics, in 2022 players can expect greater rewards, more variety in our offering as well as a few surprises down the road.

PokerStars PA still in the lead

Online poker remains a relatively small portion of iGaming’s revenue in Pennsylvania, but its contribution to state and local taxes over time is significant. In its first year and 11 months, online poker sites in Pennsylvania reported revenues of over $ 64 million, with over 10 million dollars going to state and local entities (taxed at 16%).

PokerStars revenue in its first two years (less October 2021) is $ 60.4 million. After being the first to launch, PokerStars was the only legal site in Pennsylvania for over a year before. BetMGM and Borgata joined in April 2021. WSOP.com followed in mid-July. At this point, PokerStars appears to retain its dominant position in the market.

As of September 2021, PokerStars accounted for two-thirds of total PA online poker revenue. WSOP finished second with 21% and the partypoker network represents the rest 12%.

Series of tournaments with jackpots north of $ 2 million become the norm. Even one-off tournaments like the popular Pennsyl-MANIA events regularly attract over 1,000 entries and prize pools of over $ 300,000.

Unsurprisingly, the record-breaking events took place in the first weeks of pandemic shutdowns when the entire online poker industry (and casinos) saw their traffic and revenues increase.

Top 5 PokerStars PA Series

PokerStars SeriesDatedGuaranteeTotal number of eventsTotal entriestotal prize pool
PASCOOPapril 2020$ 2 million10079,892$ 3,232,461
PASCOOPApril / May 2021$ 2.1 million12348,257$ 2,642,486
PACOOPSep 2021$ 2 million6925,500$ 2,378,1512
PACOOPSept./Oct. 2020$ 1.5 million5021,326$ 2,039,133
Bounty generator (PKO)Feb. / March 2021$ 1.675 million7535,673$ 2,012,204.25

Top 5 Pennsyl-MANIA events

DatedMembershipGuaranteeTotal entriesjackpotWinner (Prize)
May 2020$ 200$ 250,0002,774$ 515,964D-Bas1527 ($ 69,671)
August 2020$ 200$ 350,0002,026$ 376,836SlotWinna777 ($ 44,642)
Dec. 2020$ 200$ 500,0002 309$ 500,000 *PokerAnomoly ($ 74,148)
Apr 2021$ 300$ 400,0001,416$ 413,280throw in bag ($ 63,084)
October 2021$ 300$ 350,0001 130$ 350,000 **Paulie_Card $ ($ 56,237)

Pennsylvania: a key market for future poker growth in the United States

As Bostic and McAdam Willetts have pointed out, the PA poker market should not be underestimated. A large population combined with a strong appetite for online poker and a rich tradition of live poker in the state and surrounding areas such as Atlantic city, make PA a prime location for a healthy market.

When PokerStars can take advantage of cash shared among states like PA, MI, NJ and others, its presence in Pennsylvania will prove invaluable to the next phase of online poker growth in the United States.

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