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Last updated April 18, 2018
WSOP generated some rare positive news for the US online poker community this week.
Starting as early as May 1, its customers in Nevada and New Jersey will be able to play side by side for the very first time. The three-state agreement also includes the 888 Poker sites operating in NJ and Delaware. All three states will pool liquidity within a shared online poker network.
It’s a huge step for the US industry, which has been mostly ring-fenced since Black Friday. Traffic in the NJ and NV markets will essentially double overnight, and the long-term benefits figure to be substantial. WSOP expects to launch its multistate poker client within two weeks, pending final approval from regulators.
The news, of course, creates as many questions as it answers. How will it work in each state, and what do players need to do to participate?
Fortunately, we have a pretty good bead on how things will work for the affected players.
First, it’d be good to explain how multistate poker will work on the WSOP platform.
Right now, the company has gaming servers located in both of its active states. Nevada servers run the games in Nevada, and the same goes for New Jersey. That needs to be changed, though. In order for the games to run correctly and be uniformly approved, they need to funnel through the same hardware.
The question of where those servers should be was answered by NJ regulations, which stipulate that gaming equipment must be physically located within the state’s borders. WSOP and 888 will, therefore, migrate all gameplay over to the NJ data center. After May 1, logins to WSOP NV will actually occur on servers based in NJ.
New Jersey players won’t need to do much apart from a standard software update. Players in Nevada and Delaware, though, have a few extra steps to take to prepare for the multistate launch.
Pretty much nothing. On May 1, WSOP NJ customers will be pushed a standard software update. Once complete, the client will begin to fill with players from all three states.
You have a bit more legwork to do than your NJ friends.
Since data now runs through NJ, all accounts must be hosted on those servers. WSOP Nevada players will, therefore, need to create a new account on the combined system. Their current account will be closed, and all funds, tournament tickets and loyalty points will be migrated to the new account. Responsible gaming limits will persist across the migration, too.
In most cases, players will be able to retain their current screen name. More on that below. Hand histories and player notes, however, will not survive the transition.
You need to create a new WSOP Nevada account as outlined above.
If you’re a customer of one of the 888-powered sites in Delaware, you have a similar process to follow. You’ll need to download a new piece of software and create a new account.
There’s another side effect of the transition that is especially relevant to international players. Identity verification documents are securely stored on the current Nevada servers, so they won’t be transferred over.
International players who intend to play online this summer will need to create a new account and re-upload their documents for verification.
In the coming days (maybe April 23), WSOP will open a pre-transfer process for those wishing to get a head start. Users who take advantage will have their account prepped and loaded for launch day. Thereafter, it may take up to 72 hours to complete the transfer.
WSOP is offering a perk for those who plan ahead, too. Everyone who pre-registers will be entered into a drawing for a $10,000 Main Event seat.
In most cases, yes. However, players in NV and DE will need to select screen names that are not already in use on NJ systems.
Some players will have reserved their same screen name in multiple markets. In those cases, they’ll be forced to change one of them.
In the case where a screen name is shared by more than one individual across the networks, WSOP will handle the transition on a case-by-case basis, weighing things like activity/longevity and reward status.
No. WSOP will retain and transfer all account information, minus hand history and notes.
Yes. The current bonus is a 100 percent match up to $1,000, plus a handful of tournament tickets. The same offer is being extended to NJ players as a reload bonus.
From a functional standpoint, not much will change with the gameplay process. Players will continue to log into clients from their current market, so Nevada players will still need to use WSOP NV.
Under the hood, though, all traffic will be routed through the same NJ servers.
A HUD (heads-up display) is a graphical tool used by some poker players to provide on-screen information. It essentially monitors the action to generate a profile of the players at the table.
State regulations differ on the approval of HUDs. Nevada, for example, prohibits them, while NJ has no official stance. Since they’re not available in all jurisdictions, they won’t be permitted on the WSOP/888 clients going forward.
This change primarily affects NJ players, who have been able to use a HUD to this point.
Related to the above, local storage and mass downloading of hand histories will not be available after the merge.
Restricting this is designed to prevent the use of HUDs and other tracking software, thereby leveling the playing field for all players. Critics argue that keeping this information in the dark prevents the poker public from adequately monitoring the games.
WSOP.com does allow players to review the last 30 days through the in-client replayer, but that’s the extent of local storage. It will also provide extended hand histories beyond that period on a case-by-case basis.
Regarding cash games, the lobbies will be combined to accommodate players from all three states. Some games at higher stakes will remain exclusive to WSOP.com, as is currently the case.
Most of the tournaments available in Nevada will also be available to east-coast players. The exceptions are WSOP-branded events (which are not available on 888 platforms) and limited events where it’s impractical, such as satellites to smaller live tournaments.
Yes, if you’re in NJ or Nevada.
Although WSOP software is provided by 888, bracelet events and satellites are exclusive to the WSOP brand. That’s good news for players in NJ, who will be able to play in four online bracelet events this summer.
Delaware does not have a native WSOP client, so bracelet events will not be available there.
On average, PokerScout shows about 250 active players across the WSOP/888 network. Currently split into two separate groups, those players will soon be pooled into one combined lobby.
The expectation is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. Action begets action in poker, and networks only begin to thrive once they reach a certain threshold of players. A hundred isn’t really a sustainable crowd, but a few hundred is enough to draw some external interest.
By activating dormant customers and perhaps tempting some new ones, WSOP/888 expect to see their network grow in the near future.
There is currently no avenue for other sites active in New Jersey to serve the Nevada market.
PokerStars, the sites under the Borgata network (Borgata, PartyPoker NJ, playMGM) and Pala Poker are not currently licensed to operate online poker rooms in Nevada. They would have to get licenses in Nevada in order to offer poker across state lines.
Only four states have legalized iPoker so far: Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Pennsylvania’s law is brand new, so its industry hasn’t launched yet. When it does, though, it will likely join the multistate alliance to make it a four-state pact. That’s mostly speculation, but there is some circumstantial evidence to support the theory.
The alliance should continue to expand as more states legalize online poker, too. And if the multistate network is as successful as hoped, it may provide some extra motivation for states on the fence.
Use our momentum tracker to keep up with progress in the relevant states.
Customer support is available by phone and e-mail 24 hours a day:
A comprehensive FAQ is available online, too.
WSOP will also have in-person help available this summer at the Rio. Look for the Lambada Room signs in the convention center.