New Jersey online poker players could be playing with Michiganders before the end of the year.
Earlier this week, PokerStars shut down its New Jersey and Michigan clients for two days to conduct a major system upgrade in preparation for interstate poker.
🚨 Attention MI and NJ players 🚨
The scheduled maintenance has begun. We will post when the maintenance has been completed.
Please plan accordingly. pic.twitter.com/sem2ocgEJX
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) December 12, 2022
The updates come nearly seven months after Michigan joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), becoming the fourth state to do so, along with New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
PokerStars looks to become the second online poker operator in New Jersey to offer interstate play, as WSOP.com allows competition between players in Nevada and New Jersey. Players in Delaware can also participate in cash games on the network through its state-sponsored sites.
PokerStars confirms interstate play is coming “in the near future”
By the afternoon of December 13, the second day of scheduled maintenance, PokerStarsUSA tweeted that its NJ and MI sites were running again.
While we presume that PokerStars has done everything it needs to player pools, the two sites’ player pools remain separate as of December 14. The tweet confirmed that PokerStars is bringing “New Jersey and Michigan poker players together in the near future,” but left open the possibility of more changes coming between now and that time.
NJ & MI are back up and running! Watch this space for updates, as we work to bring New Jersey and Michigan poker players together in the near future.
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) December 13, 2022
More action and larger prize pools
Though less than two years old, Michigan’s online poker market is thriving. It isn’t quite as big as Pennsylvania’s, but it will immediately more than double New Jersey’s current traffic.
This is especially true on PokerStars, the top operator in Michigan.
New Jersey’s most popular online poker site is WSOP.com NJ, which has the largest regular tournaments due to its shared pools with Nevada. Soon, it will have company offering interstate poker.
PokerStars will have a tough time overtaking WSOP for the top spot in the NJ online poker market, but shared liquidity with Michigan will be a big draw. The longer PokerStars has a leg up in this arena, the more it can gain.
When will BetMGM and WSOP merge player pools with Michigan?
In addition to PokerStars, BetMGM Poker and WSOP operate in both Michigan and New Jersey.
With PokerStars soon to combine its player pools between the two states, BetMGM and WSOP become incentivized to follow as quickly as possible.
BetMGM and its sister sites, partypoker and Borgata Poker, updated their software at the end of November. The update was long overdue, as New Jerseyans have been playing on antiquated software while players in Michigan and Pennsylvania enjoyed a more modern playing experience.
Like PokerStars, BetMGM seems ready to enact interstate play sooner rather than later.
WSOP is less prepared, though. Its situation is similar to BetMGM, with outdated software in New Jersey and Nevada. WSOP debuted new software in Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2021 and needs to level the playing field before anything else can move forward.
Even if WSOP lags, we should see two sites welcome Michigan into the mix within the next month or two and possibly sooner.
As for WSOP, it will happen by May, in time for the annual World Series of Poker festival in Las Vegas. If not, that would be a tragic loss for the summer’s online bracelet events.