For the first time, legal US online poker will take place across three state borders

Spring Surprise: NJ, Nevada And Delaware Will Pool Online Poker Players May 1

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Online poker players in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware woke up to some very exciting news on Monday morning: Players in all three states will soon be competing against one another.

The recent rumors were true, and the liquidity sharing agreement between the three states will be implemented first at the WSOP NJ and 888 Poker network on May 1, according to a press statement.

“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and it is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward,” said Bill Rini, WSOP.com’s head of online poker.

“Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe the United States, for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”

How we got here

After scorning Nevada and Delaware for a couple years, New Jersey announced it would join the Multi State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA) in October.

Six months later, the three states have now made it official.

Six months may seem like a long time, but the time from the announcement, to New Jersey’s entrance into the MSIGA took half as long as the initial agreement between Nevada and Delaware — signed in February 2014 and enacted in March 2015.

Here’s a look at what players in all three states can except.

What sites will be affected?

The sole beneficiary of player pooling is 888; the only online poker operator active in all three states.

888 has a monopoly in Delaware, where it powers the online poker sites of the three Delaware online poker operators — Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway.

888 also powers Caesars Entertainment’s WSOP.com online poker sites in Nevada (where it’s the only operator of any consequence) and New Jersey, as well as its own 888-branded online poker site in New Jersey.

WSOP online events available in New Jersey

The goal was to have the liquidity sharing agreement in place before the start of the World Series of Poker in late May. That allows New Jersey players to compete in online bracelet events previously restricted to players in Nevada.

Players in NJ can participate in all four online bracelets at the 2018 WSOP.

  • June 3, Event No. 10: $365 No-limit Hold’em
  • June 22, Event No. 47: $565 Pot-limit Omaha 6-Handed
  • June 29, Event No. 61: $1,000 No-limit Hold’em
  • June 30, Event No. 63: $3,200 High Roller

Further, with so many poker players in town to compete in the WSOP, the liquidity sharing agreement will begin during the seasonal peak for WSOP.com Nevada.

Immediate impact

If nothing else, the agreement will combine traffic across all of the 888 powered sites.

That will nearly double traffic in Nevada-Delaware, and more than double traffic on the 888 network in New Jersey, based on the current cash game traffic numbers.

According to PokerScout.com, 888’s current Delaware-Nevada network boasts an average of 150 cash game players, with peak traffic of as high as 300 cash game players.

In New Jersey, the 888-WSOP.com network averages 110 cash game players with peak traffic as high as 250 cash game players.

Simply combining the two player pools would lead to average traffic of at least 250 players, and peak traffic numbers of more than 500 players.

But 888 wants a whole lot more

888 and Caesars are anticipating that the larger network will have more of an impact than simply combining player pools.

The hope is they can leverage their unique advantage and:

  • Poach players from other New Jersey operators that are suddenly outgunned by WSOP.com and 888.
  • Reactivate lapsed players who were unhappy with the size of the online player pool in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada.
  • Entice new players with bigger tournaments and a higher level of cash game activity throughout the day.

Additionally, because the two states are separated by three time zones, peak hours will be extended in both locales. That should lead to an even larger bump in average cash game traffic.

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.