Internet poker pools in Nevada and Delaware began sharing liquidity on Tuesday, a result of an interstate agreement signed by the states’ governors in February of 2014.
The soft launch of the pact will bring Nevada’s WSOP.com site and Delaware’s 888poker communities together, creating a larger pool of players that should create more active and consistent cash tables.
Last month, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval revealed poker players should expect the sharing arrangement to be rolled out in four to six weeks.
Of course, not everyone got their hopes up as the liquidity alliance suffered one delay after another.
But this week the promises were finally fulfilled as Delaware residents saw over 300 players at the tables Tuesday night, a far cry from the typical half-dozen that had previously occupied its room.
“We are standing in a moment of history,” Gov. Sandoval said after the interstate signing. “I consider this a landmark intersection in the road of gaming history.”
The sharing of poker pools is critical to Delaware’s dire iPoker situation. According to PokerScout, the 888 networks in the country’s second smallest state were attracting just seven players on a weekly basis.
Total online poker revenue for the month of January was a dismal $27,695, down a whopping 70 percent year-over-year. The fact that overall iGaming in the state only fell nine percent only further proves the problem of player liquidity is responsible for the game’s horrid performance.
Nevada brings with it 150 players on a seven-day average and regular 24-hour peaks exceeding 300, meaning residents in the First State can now sit down at dozens of poker tables instead of just one or two.
Bringing Nevada’s pool to Delaware should take online poker off life support, but not all of Vegas’ Internet features are making themselves available, specifically WSOP.com promotions and satellite events.
“Almost everything will be linked together,” said Seth Palansky, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment. “Anyone playing in Delaware will not be playing on WSOP.com; they will be playing on 888. They will be pooled with Nevada players, including those on WSOP.com, but pooling is different than everyone playing on the same site.”
Unfortunately, that means players in DelawareÂ will be prevented from WSOP satellites and the first-ever bracelet to be contested almost entirely online. According to Palansky, the WSOP.com brand must retain a certain level of independence even though its players will share tables with residents in other states.
In the case of online poker, numbers speaker louder than words. The initiation of the interstate compact 13 months ago gave hope to the game in Delaware, but its delayed execution only further hampered the market.
Both states are betting on an influx in participation rates following the joining of their respective pools. Weekly averages are estimated to grow upwards of 500 players, a level that Delaware couldn’t have ever reached without cross-state sharing.
“Today this is an Internet poker agreement between Delaware and Nevada,” Gov. Markell said in 2014. “But we know more games and more states mean more players, which means more revenue for participating states.”
So far, New Jersey has remained antagonistic to joining in, but that could change if the interstate pools breathe new life into the underperforming industry.