New Jersey online poker sites WSOP.com and 888poker.com have announced a plan to share player liquidity in New Jersey on a limited basis.
A major partnership between the two online poker operators that should produce better all around games for players.
The player pool sharing, which will begin immediately, will see larger prize pool guarantees in some tournaments and a more active player pool for cash games at the affected stakes.
The player sharing plan will not be put into action across the board.
According to a press release, only small stakes cash games will share their player liquidity, including No Limit Texas Hold’em tables with stakes as high as $0.25/$0.50 and Fixed Limit Hold’em tables up through $0.50/$1.
In addition, all sit and go tournaments with buy-ins up to $5 will also share player pools.
Major Tournaments Will Guarantee Larger Prize Pools
Perhaps most exciting for players will be shared player pools for selected tournaments. The two sites will now jointly offer $130,000 in guaranteed prizes over several tournaments each week, including a $25,000 guaranteed tournament each Sunday at 3 pm.
While both WSOP.com and 888poker.com (also known as the All American Poker Network) both use software provided by 888 Holdings, the two had operated independently of each other until now.
Liquidity Could Help Player Retention
“This is an excellent step forward for us and should help in building a larger audience and player base for online poker in New Jersey,” said All American Poker Network CEO David Licht. “Shared liquidity will help create a better player experience, we hope will attract a diversity of players and begin to bring poker to a broader audience once again.”
WSOP.com Director of Online Poker Bill Rini said that the move was an experiment in seeing if shared liquidity could help improve player “stickiness.”
“Customers used to playing on our site will not notice anything different, except more robust action and bigger prize pools,” Rini said. “We also hope this will help expand the market by offering more variety.”
The shared liquidity will combine the second and third largest sites in New Jersey, each of which has averaged slightly less than 100 cash game players at any given time over the past week.
While the Party/Borgata poker network is the largest entity in the state, a combined WSOP/888 player pool might be even larger.
PokerStars Could Join Market in March
While this move essentially consolidates the New Jersey online poker market into two factions, a third player might be joining the fray sooner rather than later.
The reentry of PokerStars to the state’s online poker landscape has long been rumored, and a new statement from State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union County) has fueled speculation once again.
Answering a question from Chris Grove on Twitter about the PokerStars appeal process, Lesniak responded by simply saying “March 2015.”
That provoked a response from other users who wondered whether they could trust Lesniak’s estimates.
Previously, the State Senator had predicted that PokerStars would be approved sometime late last year, but those dates came and went without any announcements. Lesniak said that he failed to consider the influence of Sheldon Adelson, who had been pushing to ban online gambling at the federal level.
When asked what had changed since then that made him more confident in PokerStars’ future in the state, Lesniak cited both political and practical reasons.
“Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and Poker Stars new ownership too formidable to deny,” Lesniak tweeted.