PokerStars being the only PA online poker room in the market to date is a blessing and a curse, so to speak. It is, after all, the world’s largest online poker room, so there’s no lacking for cash games and tournament variety; not to mention a host of promotional satellites and qualifiers to PokerStars Live events.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, PA card gamers have made it clear that they are looking forward to the end of PokerStars’ monopoly in the Keystone State. It’s not that they don’t appreciate what the famous brand brings to the table, but rather a strong desire for choice. Competition breeds better choices and promotions for customers, and no doubt PokerStars could use a little prodding in that area.
That being said, here’s what you can expect to find at PokerStars these days.
PokerStars is currently averaging about 350 players at any given time; twice that at peak hours. That’s a decent number, but nothing compared to the tens-of-thousands they attracted a decade ago. And the current numbers are virtually guaranteed to fall when PartyPoker and/or WSOP.com come online. If you’re expecting regular multi-million dollar events and oceans of fish in the cash games, you’re in for a big shocker.
There’s always a steady stream of traffic at the PA PokerStars cash tables. NL Hold’em games of $0.01/$0.02 up to $1/$2 are readily available, with higher stakes more likely on the weekends. The same goes for PL Omaha games – a few low stakes tables during the week, with more action Saturday and Sunday. PokerStars also provides 7 Card Stud, standard and Hi/Lo editions, but they’re a ghost town on week days.
The ring-fenced nature of PA PokerStars has resulted in a vast decline in tournament prize pools. The Sunday Majors no longer award multi-million dollar prizes, but they have exceeded the prize pools of the Sunday Warm-Up, Storm, Special, High-Roller and Super Sonic held in neighboring New Jersey. The latest renditions, combined, built up over $67k in prize money.
There’s better news for the brand’s famous ‘Championship of Online Poker’ series. Replacing the worldwide Spring and Winter Championships (SCOOP and WCOOP) of old is the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker – otherwise known as PACOOP. The 50-event tournament’s debut was originally announced as a $1,000,000 GTD, but ended up with $1.225m in the pool.
Other Betting Options – Casino and Sports
As the official licensing partner of Mount Airy, Keystoners can click their way over to the PokerStars Casino any time and enjoy a collection of casino style games. With online poker being the focal point, however, don’t expect too much. There are just under 100 games on the menu, covering just the basics – slots, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, video poker.
The Mt Airy / PokerStars duo also provides an online sportsbook via The Stars Group’s partner, Fox Bet. The range of sports available is about as varied as the casino – just the most common offerings, but nothing to write home about.
Overall, the average gambler will probably find what they’re looking for, no matter what type of iGaming they prefer. To learn more about websites with larger selections in either category, please refer to our PA online casinos and PA online sports betting pages.