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PokerStars New Jersey Offers 2019 WSOP Online Poker
PokerStars New Jersey this week announced its online poker events tied to the 2019 World Series of Poker. Card players wondered whether PokerStars would support WSOP events, since the DOJ announced a June deadline for legal interstate online poker betting. Now those players have an answer.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the WSOP and PokerStars offers nine online bracelet events. PokerStars offered nearly double the events last year, but caution dictated officials scale back the number of events. Good reasons exist for the caution. In fact, PokerStars and WSOP have no choice but to offer half the events. The US federal government ban on interstate online poker begins less than halfway through this years World Series of Poker.
A quick timeline paints the picture. On May 30th, the 50th Anniversary World Series of Poker begins in Las Vegas. On June 14th, the U.S. Department of Justice deadline for legal interstate online poker arrives. After June 15, PokerStars won’t be able to offer New Jersey poker players the really huge guaranteed jackpots like the Sunday Million event.
Until then, PokerStars still offers New Jersey players online WSOP bracelet events, such as the WSOP Events #7 $400 NLH and #24 $600 PLO live on the NJ section of WSOP.com. The schedule includes satellite events where a player can win their way into the WSOP Main Event, which begins on July 3rd.
50th Anniversary of WSOP
Over the past two months, confusion reigned as to whether or not New Jersey based online players could participate. According to the announcement made in February, organizers of the WSOP event said that these events are only open to players who physically reside inside New Jersey.
The official announcement stated online card players “inside the borders of eligible states” were eligible. At the time, PokerStars said “eligibility for New Jersey players…has yet to be determined,” but since determined it was legal before June 14th.
New Jersey and Nevada players can enter the events on June 2 and June 9 events. These eligible events include event #7 $400 No Limit Hold’em and #24 $600 Pot Limit Omaha that will be live on the NJ section of WSOP.com.
Seth Palansky on WSOP Poker Events
Seth Palansky, Vice President of the WSOP, said PokerStars schedule online bracelet events PokerStars before the June 14 Department of Justice enforcement deadline. The world’s biggest poker site won’t schedule events after the June 14 deadline, so it is a last chance for New Jersey poker players to play WSOP branded events – at least this year.
Once the deadline passes, PokerStars won’t offer the kind of large guaranteed jackpots like the Sunday Million event, because New Jersey won’t have access to shared player liquidity. All depends on a lawsuit filed by the New Hampshire Lottery against the DOJ; New Jersey joined New Hampshire’s lawsuit.
DOJ’s Opinion on 1961 Wire Act
The Department of Justice reversed its opinion on the 1961 Wire Act, declaring online poker, casino games, and lottery sales to be illegal. The revised interpretation changed an 8-year old policy. At the same time, it vastly expanded the federal government’s authority over gaming.
The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) reversed a 2011 opinion, which opened the door for online casinos and poker sites. The 2011 opinion allowed 6 states to pass legal online poker. Three of those states — Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware — formed an interstate poker compact.
WSOP, 888 Poker Network Also at Risk
The DOJ’s new interpretation puts the WSOP.com/888 multistate network in some trouble as it the only interstate online poker network in the United States. All American Poker Network (AAPN) shares a common player pool with players in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
States’ reactions were swift and 15 states raised “strong objections” to the new policy. All cite state’s rights and equal sovereignty concerns, because the DOJ claims full control over state laws. More than 15 states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, joined the poker lawsuit. New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Attorneys General wrote a letter asking the DOJ to withdraw its latest opinion.
At the time of the January reinterpretation the Department of Justice gave operators and regulators 90 days (April 15) to revise their online gaming offering and bring it in line with the new opinions of the Wire Act. Rod Rosenstein extended the deadline an additional 90 days and now requires that operators meet the new interpretation by June 14, 2019.
PokerStars New Jersey WSOP Schedule
The first of the nine online bracelet events will be taking place on June 2. PokerStars events feature multiple rules, so players can play in a Knockout event, a 6-max PLO event, a turbo event, and a double stack tournament. Online bracelet event buy-ins range from $400 to $3200.
Last year’s WSOP tournament offered guaranteed prize pools for three of the four online bracelet events. The tournament resulted in each event exceeding their guarantees by nearly 50%. The first event attracted close to 3000 entries alone. It was the largest turn-out the New Jersey WSOP online bracelet events in PokerStars New Jersey history. Because of the pall hanging over New Jersey online poker, PokerStars and WSOP organizers took a more cautious approach this year. The 2019 online WSOP schedule includes much guarantees for all the online events, because PokerStars expects lower turnout.
The 2018 $1000 buy-in Online Championship event became the biggest-ever tournament prize pool for the New Jersey gaming niche. The event featured a record-setting tournament prize pool for a regulated US gaming market. The full prize pool rose to $1.55 million, once PokerStars counted all entries.