Monday, July 15, 2024

WSOP Online Connects Nevada, New Jersey, and Michigan

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On the weekend before the start of the 2024 World Series of Poker, it finally happened. The WSOP online poker site connected its platforms in Nevada, New Jersey, and Michigan.

It had been in the process for many months. It was clear that the WSOP hoped to have the process completed earlier in 2024, as it made no announcements about summer WSOP online bracelet events. Players were clamoring for information and were met with radio silence for months. That was until just days before the May 28 start of the summer World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

The new combined poker platform went live on Tuesday, May 28.

Original Industry Leader

For a long time, WSOP.com was ahead of the curve…or in the general vicinity. It wasn’t the first site to launch in Nevada in 2013, as Ultimate Poker did it in April 2013. But WSOP followed in September of that year and quickly became the top-performing platform.

WSOP was among the first to launch online in New Jersey, as there was a joint launch for WSOP, Borgata, and partypoker online sites in November 2013.

Back in Nevada, Ultimate Poker shut its virtual doors in November 2014, leaving WSOP.com as the only viable, state-regulated online poker site serving Nevada players. The WSOP has held that monopoly on the market since that time – for nearly a decade. As the only site in Nevada, when that state signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in 2017, WSOP was the only operator able to join its player pools across state lines with New Jersey. That connection happened in May 2018.

Falling Behind the Curve

PokerStars then took over as the one with the hunger to be first. For example, when the Pennsylvania market opened for online poker, PokerStars launched in November 2019, while the WSOP site didn’t follow until July 2021. And when the Michigan market opened, PokerStars launched in January 2021, with BetMGM next in March of that year but WSOP pushed out until March 2022.

When Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed MSIGA in May 2022 to allow its licensed online poker operators to combine player pools with their sister sites in other states, PokerStars stepped up first…again. It announced by December 2022 that it was ready, and PokerStars did launch its Michigan-New Jersey combo site on January 1, 2023.

Neither WSOP nor BetMGM uttered a peep about plans to connect their Michigan sites in 2023. And months went by in 2024 in the same manner.

Suspicions Prove True

It wasn’t until March or April of 2024 that some in the poker business became suspicious that the WSOP hadn’t released any online bracelet schedules. In past years, the WSOP Online lineups for New Jersey and Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ontario would have been available…at least in April. More clues led Pokerfuse to speculate, with some evidence and sources, that the WSOP was preparing to combine its sites before releasing the WSOP Online schedule.

The live World Series of Poker was preparing to kick off in Las Vegas on May 28, but even as late as May 24, the WSOP made no announcements.

Pokerfuse did report that the WSOP was testing sites and plugging in the final components of the most updated version of the software.

Finally, on Saturday, May 25, the WSOP made its announcement.

“Caesars Entertainment and the World Series of Poker today announced the launch of an all-new real-money poker platform, WSOP Online that combines player pools in Michigan, Nevada and New Jersey into one network. The most makes online poker history, as WSOP becomes the first poker operator to pool liquidity across three US jurisdictions.

“WSOP.com officially rebrands as WSOP Online, featuring upgraded functionality such as four-table capabilities on mobile, including Omaha, multi-flight reentry tournaments, in-app gift drops, and exciting game derivatives, including Mystery Bounty. Poker players can also expect exciting new features, bigger promotions, and weekly tournaments with more players than ever before.”

Days of Processes

First, the WSOP instructed existing players in Nevada and New Jersey to log in and pre-register for accounts on the new platform. When the new platform would launch, those players’ balances and information would be transferred over within 72 hours.

Let’s just say it got complicated. Players had a lot of questions, and there were some glitches. By the time the new three-state platform launched on Monday, May 27, some players still had to allow upgrades and set up new accounts. Those who pre-registered had to await the transfers. There were some geolocation problems, balance transfer issues, and confusion about choosing new screen names.

As the WSOP got underway in Las Vegas on May 28, some players were still figuring out the new online setup. The online team did address issues as fast as possible, and they addressed software bugs as they were discovered.

On May 28, the Michigan Gaming Control Board finally made its announcement as well, noting the shared liquidity and WSOP launch to connect Michigan to New Jersey and Nevada. This brought the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians into the mix as the land-based casino partner to WSOP/Caesars in Michigan.

Without a moment to spare as the summer of poker began, WSOP Online was ready to offer online poker to three states at once.

Editor in Chief Jennifer Newell started her poker journey during the early 2000s, inspired by working with the World Poker Tour. Her passion for the game ignited a thriving freelance writing career by 2005. Armed with almost two decades of hands-on experience, she has ascended to the pinnacle of poker expertise, specializing in writing for industry leaders like PokerStars and Pokerfuse.

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