Ohioans were not the only ones celebrating expanded online gambling on New Year’s Day. Michiganders and New Jersey residents celebrated the pooling of players on PokerStars.
PokerStars rolled out a special slate of Sunday tournaments to celebrate the combination of the two states. This is the first time Michigan players have had the option to play on an online poker site that is not geographically restricted to just Michigan. New Jersey players have been able to play in a shared pool with Nevada and Delaware on WSOP.com since 2018.
With a combined pool, PokerStars upped the guarantees on the major Sunday tournaments. For example, the Sunday Special, which usually boasted a $50,000 guarantee in New Jersey was upped to $100,000.
By the time registration closed, the prize pool was more than double that number, coming in at $200,950.20. The $100 buy-in tournament, which allowed up to five re-entries, generated a total of 2,189 entries. There were 1,230 entries with 959 re-entries.
By comparison, Pokerstars ran a Fall Fest Main Event with a $50,000 guarantee in New Jersey and $100,000 guarantee in Michigan. The buy-in was double the amount at $200 and produced 281 and 571 entries, respectively.
The winner of the two-day event will take home just shy of $30,000. A total of 160 players remain and play will resume at 6pm ET.
PokerStars also juiced up the guarantee on a Sunday Mini Special to $50,000. The $10 event generated 6,378 entries and a $58,039.80 prize pool. The tournament had 3,424 entries with 2,954 re-entries in a tournament where re-entries were unlimited.
The pooling with Michigan is big news, but online poker players are still waiting for the other big US market, Pennsylvania, to join the Multi-State Interstate Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Pennsylvania launched online poker long before Michigan did, but is still waiting to start pooling its player base with other states. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the matter currently sits with Gov. Tom Wolfe’s office.