PokerStars has confirmed that it will combine liquidity pools from Michigan and New Jersey starting Jan 1, allowing players in the two states to play against each other.
Becoming the first online poker platform to offer shared liquidity between the two states, PokerStars claims that the move will offer players greater competition, greater prizes and more tournaments.
In the wake of this announcement, PokerStars has announced a $150,000 tournament on Jan 1 to celebrate the shared liquidity landmark moment.
Players in Michigan and New Jersey can join the online tournament with a buy-in of $100, and featuring $100,000 on the line.
This will be followed by a $50,000 guaranteed tournament with a buy-in of only $10 starting at 18:30 ET.
“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.
“Our community will experience more breadth and depth of games, more tournaments with bigger prizes to win, amped-up promotions, and more choice. To kick start, we are offering generous guarantees on our debut multi-state tournaments that will no doubt provide lots of value for those who take to the tables.
“We worked closely with the regulators of New Jersey and Michigan, and we hope that more will follow this great example.”
The online poker world was hit badly in 2011 after the Wire Act of 1961 put an abrupt end to online poker in an event known as Black Friday. This effectively banned poker across the US unless singular states introduced legislation to legalize it. Even so, this reduces the liquidity pool for players in individual states, hurting the industry overall.
Later in 2011, the Obama administration clarified that the Wire Act would only limit sports betting despite it being used to bring down the big three poker sites.
However, following the Trump administration’s interpretation of the Wire Act in 2018 – in which the Department of Justice sought to expand the Wire Act to all forms of online gambling – lotteries, regulators and other industry figures took action against the DoJ.
The New Hampshire Lottery won a case in a district court despite an appeal from the DoJ in 2019, while IGT also took the DoJ to court over the Wire Act expansion.
Following IGT’s win over the DoJ, which was confirmed in September, and the deadline for an appeal passing, there is more clarity for the expansion of online poker leading to this move from PokerStars.