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[caption width="640"] New Jersey announces agreement to share player pool with Nevada and Delaware[/caption] In what could be a boost to the existing regulated online poker market in the United States, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, the three states where online poker has been legalized and regulated, have agreed to a multi-state pact to begin player pools. The office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the deal with both Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor John Carney that will open digital borders, allowing for New Jersey poker players to play against online patrons in those two states. The addition of New Jersey to the already established pact between Nevada and Delaware will no doubt increase the amount of competition, with prize pools to follow. “New Jersey has been a pioneer in the development of authorized, regulated online gaming, which has been a budding success since its launch in late 2013,” Governor Christie said. “Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming operators. This agreement marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for online gaming, and we look forward to working with our partners in Nevada and Delaware in this endeavor.” In order to have those player pools shared though, each operator will need to be approved and regulated in each of the three states, giving a bit of a head start to 888poker, the only operator currently established in each state. This agreement marks the latest step in the already established process of player sharing. In January 2015 888poker and WSOP.com, which uses the 888poker engine as its software backbone, began sharing players in limited cash games and tournaments in New Jersey. Then in March of that year, Nevada and Delaware’s pact to share liquidity took hold. New Jersey, it seems, is eager to get involved and bring more players into the fold. They stand ready to authorize operators for player pool sharing. “New Jersey stands prepared to approve a game offering for all three states as soon as an operator submits such a product for testing,” said David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. While perhaps not impressive on the worldwide stage, the numbers could be a big lift to the efforts of revitalizing the US online poker community. According to the data from online poker traffic purveyors PokerScout.com, Nevada's WSOP.com (along with customers from Delaware) saw an average of 130 cash game players online at a time over the most recent 7-day period. The WSOP.com brand in New Jersey (along with their pooled players from 888poker) saw 75 players in games during the same time frame. Combined, the theoretical 205 player pool average would be a jump of over 57%. “We applaud the government leadership and the regulators in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware for reaching this meaningful agreement.” Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the parent company of WSOP.com, stated in a statement in response to the intrastate agreement. “We will immediately begin efforts to take our existing Delaware-Nevada compact and add New Jersey to the mix by following the requirements established by the regulators so WSOP.com can share liquidity with all three states.” The participation of New Jersey in multi-state player sharing comes nearly four years after online gaming was originally approved in November 2013.
Online poker players in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware can now circle May 1 on their calendar as the day that everything will change. WSOP.com announced Monday morning that on that day, the player pools for all three states will combine into one. The move comes six months after the three states reached an agreement to allow for a combined liquidity. Players in Nevada and Delaware have been part of the same player pool since 2015. "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," Bill Rini, Head of Online Poker for WSOP.com told the Associated Press. "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." The combination of the three markets into one should pave the way for bigger tournament prize pools and a more robust cash game offering. Players in New Jersey will be able to play in the four bracelet events on WSOP.com this summer as part of the 2018 World Series of Poker schedule. Delaware players are not eligible to play in those events. "Pooling poker players from three states will be a significant regulatory step in the U.S., and is very exciting for our players and partners," Yaniv Sherman, 888poker senior vice president told the AP. "If approved, we anticipate that this will open up further opportunities in other states." 888poker is the software partner of WSOP.com and the companies have promised a "number of upgrades" to the software designed to enhance the player experience according to a press release issued by WSOP.com Monday. Players in New Jersey and Delaware will need to download the new poker software on May 1. Further details will be announced later this week.
Online poker players have become accustomed to poker sites going offline for software updates. When WSOP.com went offline in Nevada on Monday night, it was one of the most highly anticipated updates of all time. When the site came back online, players were able to play against players in other states for the first time in the history of U.S. regulated online poker. The re-launch of WSOP.com as the first interstate online poker room in the United States comes 6.5 months after New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware - the only three states that offer regulated online poker - entered into an agreement to pool their respective players in a bid to increase liquidity. "It's a monumental day for online poker in the United States," said WSOP.com’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini. "This is truly a game-changer for players and we hope is the model blueprint for additional states to join the fray." WSOP.com is the only operator that offers play in all three regulated states. Players were quick to react to the changes and are looking forward to what this means for the tournament schedule moving forward. The first Sunday of multi-state tournament action includes a $100,000 Guaranteed event with a $320 buy-in (with rebuys). Last Sunday, the $215 buy-in Ultimate Warrior in New Jersey offered a $40,000 guarantee and attracted 229 entrants. To help promote the launch, WSOP.com announced Tuesday morning the Coast-to-Coast Classic, a tournament series with $1 Million guaranteed over 32 events. Buy-ins range from $11 to $1,000 and guarantees go as high as $200,001. Players in New Jersey do not have to change anything to play on the multi-state platform, but players in Nevada and Delaware will have to re-download the software and create a new account. Players with questions about multi-state online poker can visit this thread on PocketFives.com.