There are almost four million more people living inside of Pennsylvania than New Jersey. That means the online poker market that opens up in the Keystone State later this year will likely be a bigger one than the Garden State currently hosts.
More people generally means more players. That creates bigger tournament prize pools and more cash game action.
Unfortunately, bigger doesn’t always mean better. In fact, there are already some clear indications that PA online poker may not end up being as much fun as it is in NJ.
PA will have a prohibition
As Steve Ruddock reported on Online Poker Report this week, PA will have a prohibition on online poker play at land-based casinos in the state when the market launches.
According to Ruddock, the ban was put in place to protect against land-based casinos pushing their customers to online games where taxes on operator revenues were originally planned to be much less.
In the end, the state passed laws that will see online gambling operators pay the same taxes as land-based casinos. However, the state never lifted the online gambling prohibition at live casinos.
Now, online poker players in the state will start out stuck with this situation. Where the chance to multi-table live and online tournaments simultaneously won’t be available to them.
That means less fun inside poker rooms.
Even a live and online multi-table fail proved fun
Back in the Fall of 2016, about six months after launching online poker operations in New Jersey, PokerStars held a live tournament series in Atlantic City. It actually started the same time the PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Online Poker was wrapping up.
Since there are no regulations in the state preventing it, this gave those in attendance the chance to multi-table live and online tournaments simultaneously. Many had a blast doing it. Including Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, who happened to run deep in the $500 PokerStars NJCOOP Main Event, and the PokerStars Festival New Jersey $300 PokerStars Cup opening event, at the same time.
2003 World Series of Poker champion, fellow Team PokerStars Pro, and good friend Chris Moneymaker also happened to make it down to the final two tables in the live event. He was sitting across the room and Ramdin kept shouting over with updates from the online event.
It wasn’t long before a rather awkward situation arose.
There were 16 players left in the NJCOOP Main Event online. Ramdin was relatively short and got it all in preflop with two kings versus two nines. Winning the pot would put him in a spot among the leaders. He had lot more chips in the PokerStars Cup live event, and also happened to be in a hand at the time.
It was heads up on the flop and Ramdin’s opponent had just checked to him.
“I’m all in, Chris,” Ramdin shouted across the room.
He was clearly referring to the online game. However, in live poker, verbal declarations are binding.
Ramdin’s opponent called. The tournament staff was forced to hold Ramdin to his verbal declaration, despite him having just queen-high, and he lost a good chunk of his stack.
Just happy to play online poker in the US again
There was a lot of good news though. Ramdin’s kings held online and he soon moved on to the final table of the NJCOOP Main Event.
He finished 10th in the live PokerStars Cup event, bubbling the final table. However, he was able to laugh off the entire situation. Mostly because the prize pool in the live event was so much smaller.
In the end, Ramdin, who is originally from Guyana, but calls New York City home, was just stoked to have been able to play online poker in the United States. Plus, doing it at the same time he was playing in a live PokerStars event was a major bonus.
Who could blame him? He said he had a great time doing it. Even the multi-tabling faux pas didn’t put a damper on it.
Unfortunately, at this point, it looks like he and others won’t be able to do the same thing in Pennsylvania anytime soon.