New Jersey online poker players may see larger tournament prizes and more players at the cash game tables, as two of the larger sites in the state will be combining their player pools.
The two sites, WSOP.com and 888poker.com (the All American Poker Network, or AAPN), will share player liquidity at many cash game tables and selected tournaments.
For cash games, only low-stakes games will be impacted.
No Limit Texas Hold’em tables with stakes as high as $0.25/$0.50 and Fixed Limit Hold’em games up to $0.50/$1.00 will see combined player liquidity at the two sites.
Sit and Go tournaments at low buy-ins of up to $5 will also be shared across the sites.
The biggest headlines will likely be made in multi-table tournaments, where the shared liquidity will allow for larger guaranteed prize pools and bigger fields.
According to a press release, WSOP.com and 888poker.com will share in tournaments that combine to guarantee $130,000 in prizes each week, including a 3 pm “Sunday Major” that will guarantee at least $25,000 in prize money.
The shared liquidity agreement will go into effect immediately.
“It is important we continue to experiment and look for new ways to create stickiness,” said Bill Rini, Director of Online Poker for WSOP.com. “Customers used to playing on our site will not notice anything different, except more robust action and bigger prize pools. We also hope this will help expand the market by offering more variety.”
AAPN CEO David Licht echoed those comments, saying that the player experience should be greatly improved thanks to the combined player pools.
“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,” Licht said. “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.”
It’s difficult to say just how big an impact the combined player pools will have at the two sites.
Looking strictly at the raw numbers, it would appear as though AAPN and WSOP.com could combine to overtake the Party/Borgata network as the top online poker entity in New Jersey.
However, there’s a problem with that analysis: it’s likely that some of the same players have accounts on both WSOP.com and 888poker.com, and they wouldn’t be able to play in the same games with both of those accounts.
Still, the liquidity agreement should at least tighten the gap between the two factions that dominate the state’s online poker industry.
While online poker in New Jersey may be a two-way race for now, the potential for PokerStars to enter and shake things up is still looming.
While the online poker giant was first predicted to reenter the state late last year, it never came to pass, with State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union County) blaming the political influence of Sheldon Adelson.
Now, Lesniak has made a new prediction, saying the PokerStars’ appeal of their suspended licensing application could be resolved by March.
Lesniak made that announcement on Twitter, saying that the current delay was due to “more due diligence window dressing,” and that Amaya should eventually be successful in obtaining a license for their leading online poker brand.