Michigan took the spotlight in the US online poker industry on Friday with the launch of PokerStars. For the first time players could actually jump in the tournament and cash game action in their home state.
After a full weekend of play, USPoker took a look at some of the weekend’s action. A few players in the state also shared their experiences on the site.
Sunday tournaments produce nice numbers
PokerStars’ launch made Michigan the fifth state to have legal, regulated online poker. A quick look at some of the Sunday tournaments offers some insight into the numbers so far on the site.
Overall, players seemed to have found the site and some of the bigger events scored well. The $30 Sunday Warmup comes with a $5,000 guarantee. That event attracted 317 entries for an $8,654 prize pool with “BigCShepp” winning for $1,626.
The $100 Nightly Stars features a $10,000 guarantee and brought in 169 entries for a $15,514 prize pool. “CabanaDan1” won that event for $3,109.
In the $250 Sunday High Roller, the event almost doubled the $7,500 guarantee. “DavidKayePorker” topped a field of 63 entries for a win of $4,337.
A welcome new poker experience with PokerStars
Many poker players were pleased to jump in the action online. Justin Beach, 28, played on the site everyday since Friday and said it was a great experience.
“It felt awesome to finally play poker again,” he says. “Michigan is doing big things on the gambling front. It makes a lot of us happy.”
Beach, who lives in Vassar (about 100 miles north of Detroit) and works as a cash transport guard, gave the site a nice test drive. He played the Michigan depositor freeroll tournament as well as several multi-table bounty tournaments, $5 Spin and Go’s, and more.
So far, Beach has been pleased not only with the platform but the extras available to players.
“The rewards program is awesome,” he said. “There were many free tickets to tournaments to increase the bankroll.”
The PokerStars Michigan mobile experience
Brendon Carlington, 28, lives near Cadillac – a couple hours from any live game. Having the PokerStars platform now allows him to play real money poker online again.
He downloaded the poker app and played on it exclusively over the weekend for about 20 hours. After depositing $50, Carlington played micro stakes cash games, a few tournaments, one sit and go, and several $1 and $5 Spin and Go’s.
Eight-game mix is also one of his favorite parts of PokerStars and he was able to play that on his phone as well. Carlington said he had no glitches or issues with any of his experience.
One drawback he mentioned was that players can’t pick the table they want to play on the app. The platform auto-picks based on the stakes a player selects.
Overall, however, Carlington was pleased with how much was offered via the app.
“This wasn’t a soft release or slow rollout, they gave us a full complete app with tons of options,” he said. “And as someone who likes mixed games, that is awesome. My account is currently at $200 and I hope to keep running it up.”
Hopes for growing volume and shared liquidity
Matthew Davis (pictured in lead photo), 31, lives in the Detroit area and owns an insurance agency. Over the weekend, he created an account and played a few small tournaments as well as some cash games.
Along with being a player, Davis also streams his play on Twitch as MattDavisPoker. He plans to work in some Michigan PokerStars streaming soon.
While he loves the software, Davis found a bit of a learning curve with the lobby. Initially, he couldn’t find how to list specific tournaments and exit “Quick Seat” mode.
Nonetheless, he’s happy to see PokerStars in his home state and looking forward to shared liquidity eventually. The recent federal court ruling regarding the Wire Act now makes that a possibility.
“It’s still brand new, so the volume isn’t great,” Davis said. “It’ll be interesting to see if they open up the player pool to include other states that are legal now.
“I have the account and tried it out but until the fields of the tournaments get bigger and prize pools get bigger, I will be playing elsewhere. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.”
A sit and go weekend at PokerStars
Johnny Lynn, 50, lives in the Lansing area and is a retired landscaper. He’s been looking forward to the launch and ready to get in the action.
Initially, Lynn had some issues. He was able to create an account without any issue, but his Norton firewall wouldn’t allow the software client to download.
However, after turning the firewall off he went on to download without any issues. After some play over the weekend, Lynn booked a nice $150 profit and had some fun getting back to the tables online.
“I was able to deposit through PayPal without issue, and to opt into some good bonus deals and have earned some rewards already,” he said. “I played six sit and go’s and won all but one of them.
Lynn was pleased with his experience over the weekend and looking forward to more time at the tables.
“I’d say that so far,” he said, “it has been a very positive experience.”