PokerStars Finds Following in Pennsylvania in First Week

PokerStars Finds Following in Pennsylvania in First Week

PokerStars won the hearts of many poker players in Pennsylvania simply by being the first operator to launch online poker under the new regulations.

It had been two years since the lawmakers of Pennsylvania chose to legalize and regulate online poker. And the summer months came and went with several operators launching online casino games but without any poker component. Players were anxious and frustrated.

When PokerStars announced that it would be the first to launch online poker for Pennsylvanians, it had already won. Then it took only two days to go from a soft launch to full operations, and it was another victory.

After a full week of online poker, is PokerStars PA a success?

A Win by the Traffic Numbers

Virtually any online poker traffic in the new market could be classified as a success.

Even so, the number for PokerStars PA have been good. In the late afternoon of a Tuesday afternoon (November 12), there were 480 cash game players on the site, but it peaked at 933 in the past 24 hours, likely Monday evening.

According to PokerScout, the seven-day average of players was 425. But that beats the average of PokerStars NJ – a site that has been active in New Jersey for several years – by quite a lot, as its seven-day average of players was only 75. And it’s peak over the past 24 hours was 169 players.

A Win by the Table Numbers

PokerStars provided some highlights of the first week of action, which indicate the numbers of players who have been flocking to the site.

The very first day, which was a part of the soft launch, saw more than 700 players register for new online poker accounts. On the second day, approximately 1,100 more players sign up.

On that first evening of its soft launch, PokerStars PA hosted a $20 buy-in Moonlight Express tournament. “TallnessBink” won it for $651.88. In total, there were 12 scheduled tournaments that day, and they awarded $12,305 in prize money.

The first day of official play after approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed a peak number of 745 concurrent players on the site just after 8pm that evening.

Day 1 ran nearly 400 SNGs with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $100. And that night, the largest tournament was the $100 Nightly Stars, which accumulated a prize pool of $16,340. In the end, “love2playpoker” won it for $3,248.

Day 2’s action consisted of filling more than 1,000 seats during the evening hours. The first five-figure prize pool came out of that, as the $50 Bounty Builder proved an attractive option. When it finished, “jb2paint” was the winner for $1,331 but also collected $1,081 in bounties. In total, the scheduled tournaments on Day 2 awarded $34,061.

The first five days awarded more than $450K in tournament winnings. And over the course of that first week, players completed more than 15,000 SNGs for more than $500K in winnings.

A Win by the Sunday Tournaments

The first set of Sunday tournaments was a solid showing for Pennsylvania players. The full Sunday schedule awarded more than $140K.

PocketFives collected the numbers for the Sunday majors on PokerStars PA. The highlights were:

–$30 Sunday Warm-Up with $7,500 GTD = 395 entries $10,783.50 prize pool

–$10 Sunday Storm with $5K GTD = 654 entries, $5,951.40 prize pool

–$100 Sunday Special with $40K GTD = 472 entries, $43,329.60 prize pool

–$250 Sunday High Roller with $10K GTD = 59 entries, $13,747 prize pool

–$50 Sunday Supersonic with $5K GTD = 92 entries, $5K prize pool ($676 overlay)

It should be noted that all of the tournaments offered reentries. And all but one exceeded their prize pool guarantees, some quite significantly.

Glitches Being Worked Out

Not only was PokerStars PA the first online poker site in the new Pennsylvania market, it was only the second PokerStars site in the new regulated US market.

The first few days – especially the two soft-launch days – were the worst for glitches and problems, but that was the purpose of the soft launch. PokerStars worked out most of those bugs quickly.

The Two Plus Two forum thread on the topic saw some complaints into the first weekend. Some complained that the site was “laggy” and “unplayable.” Others noted that initial identity confirmation took several hours. However, neither of those complaints seemed to resonate with most others.

Most of the comments reflected typical online poker players. Not everyone was happy with the promotions, tournament payouts, having to choose a new PokerStars screen name, initial low interest in non-hold’em games, etc. This is no different from players on any poker site anywhere in the world.

On the upside, many players were pleasantly surprised at the variety of limits and games, the larger-than-expected tournament fields, and the smooth software.

Most players seem pleased with PokerStars PA in general and look forward to some competition when the PartyPoker and 888poker sites launch in Pennsylvania.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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