PartyPoker USA Coming Soon
IMPORTANT U.S.A NOTICE: Party Poker still does not accept US players for real money nor has a US license to operate in the US except in the state of New Jersey. The New Jersey-facing Party Poker USA launched in Nov. 25 and thus far is only available to players physically located in the state. If you want a similar type of site and are not in New Jersey we recommend IgnitionPoker.eu which accepts most US states and, in our opinion, is more legitimate than most offshore poker sites. See our homepage for more options but Ignition is one of the more attractive options and the software is at least somewhat similar to Party Poker.
Best PartyPoker Alternatives for US Online Poker Players
Can I Play at PartyPoker in the USA?
PartyPoker, which is owned by the international GVC Holdings group, is en route to securing a Nevada and Delaware gaming license along with their NJ one. This will give them access to open their online poker room within those three state borders only. If a “State Compact” is signed within other US territories they will have access to let players from the three states to play with each other. This is known in the business as “shared liquidity” and is essential for offering good games. Only Delaware and Nevada have a compact at this time. Poker in NJ hasn’t been a particularly profitable venture for Party Poker so it would be easy to see them standing back and waiting for the big states like California and Florida to open up before they really start dumping money into their offers at the three states available. We will continue to update this page as anything comes out.
The Story of PartyPoker USA
PartyPoker.com made their much-anticipated entry into the online poker market on August 1, 2001, with a fully operational online casino. At the time, poker players were already well familiar with PartyPoker due to hype that had been created on the popular poker message board Rec.Gambling.Poker (RGP). The hype was justified because PartyPoker was the first online site that offered a tournament that guaranteed $1 million to the winner and the only way to get a seat was to win a satellite online, which started at just $22 on PartyPoker.com. The tournament was called the PartyPoker Millions. At that time very few online poker sites were offering live events at all. The first three rounds of the tournament were played online, and the final 100 players battled it out live on a cruise ship traveling the Mexican Riviera.
It didn’t matter who you were at the time or what online poker site you had previously played at, if you were a poker player you were on PartyPoker in 2001, looking to ensure you were one of the hundred players that had a seat in the Party Million finals held Mar 16, 2002.
If you don’t believe us, the field of players winning their seat online included former World Champions Phil Hellmuth, Carlos Mortenson, Dan Harrington, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Ferguson, Tom McEvoy, Johnny Chan, and Huck Seed, as well as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, Barbara Enright, David Chiu, Barry Shulman, Eric Seidel and Layne Flack. The finals also included, of course, the event’s winner Kathy Liebert who pocketed the $1 million dollars in cash and made a name for herself, one she’d build upon in years to follow, by winning this event.
As a result of the hype surrounding Party Millions, and that it was offered the following year in an expanded format, near instantly upon their launch, Party Poker became the world’s largest online poker site with a multitude of different poker games including tournaments, Sit & Go’s and cash games.
History of PartyPoker USA
PartyPoker left the US market suddenly on October 2, 2006 due to Congress passing the Safe Port Act, which included unrelated anti-gambling language to the act, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA for short. In doing so, Party Poker self-relinquished the title they held for four year as the largest online poker site, and eventually settled for a spot as the fourth largest global online poker site trailing leaders PokerStars.com, Full Tilt Poker and the iPoker network. Party Poker, however, has done everything correct to prepare to reenter the US market, starting with their decision to exit before UIGEA was signed into law. In fact, it would appear from an outsider’s perspective that they are gambling big money that US legal poker is coming soon, and they want to take advantage of it. In April 2009 PartyPoker agreed to pay the United States government $105 million in penalties, for processing transactions that were “contrary to certain US laws” in exchange for a “non-prosecution agreement”. While this doesn’t fully absolve PartyPoker, it does ensure they’ll never be prosecuted for any actions prior to the agreement.
Perhaps the biggest sign PartyPoker was preparing for entry into the US market came in July 2010 when they announced a planned merger with sports betting giant Bwin. The value of this merger exceeds $250 billion and instantly made the Party/Bwin combo (traded on London Stock Exchange) the largest publicly traded gambling company in the world. Under the terms of this agreement, PartyGaming share holders will own 48.4% and Bwin shareholders 51.6% and the company will operate with joint CEO’s Norbert Teufelberger and Jim Ryan. This is likely quite significant in Party Poker’s US strategy for reasons we’ll mention momentarily.
GVC Holdings Acquires Bwin.Party
The new Bwin.party was itself absorbed by massive online gaming group GVC Holdings in 2015 for $1.4 billion. GVC Holdings has a variety of different businesses in the gaming industry including sports betting, casino and more.
GVC Holdings, which is based on the Isle of Man, is also a publicly traded company with licenses in 18 different countries and a massive market cap. The company is uniquely positioned to take advantage of softening laws regarding online betting in the USA thanks to its massive gaming infrastructure.
It helps that PartyPoker very much played along with US authorities in 2006 and that should help give it a head start on some of its international competitors like PokerStars, which opted to stay in the US market after UIGEA. GVC Holdings could also open a number of doors for PartyPoker as the site attempts to expand in the USA in markets like Nevada and potentially Pennsylvania.
There’s also a good chance that some of the bigger land-based gaming entities in the USA will move to the online market when it becomes available and PartyPoker might very well provide some software for those organizations. GVC already has one such agreement with MGM Resorts.
When Will PartyPoker USA be Licensed?
At this point PartyPoker is already licensed in the USA — although only in New Jersey. PartyPoker’s entrance into the USA has been lukewarm thanks to the limited player pool available in NJ and the lack of shared liquidity across other states. Competing sites like Play WSOP and 888poker have had similar issues.
It’s worth mentioning that PartyPoker has made some huge strides to reinvigorate its brand over the last few years with revamped software, a new focus on recreational players, a broader online tournament schedule and partypoker LIVE, which offers big money live tournaments around the glove. The site has also been extremely generous with sign-up bonuses and promotions for new players.
Poker players are starting to notice and international players have been flocking to the site with the number of new deposits on the rise.
What does this mean for legal online poker in the United States? It’s not yet clear. It still appears that federally regulated online poker with shared player pools across states is a number of years away. PartyPoker has invested heavily in the US market but has thus far had middling returns so it may play this one cautiously until big states like California and New York get on board with legal online poker.
Fortunately there are still some online poker sites that are willing to take a gamble on the US market and offer their services to US-based players across the country. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out PartyPoker from the US, there is a practice version of their site open to US players that can be accessed at www.partypoker.net.