There was a lot of hype late last year when four European countries started proceedings in the creation of a shared poker liquidity pool. While Spain and France were fairly swift in becoming the first countries to be active in such, the other two remaining countries of Italy and Portugal seemed to be struggling to keep up with the flow. Italy did take some sort of step towards joining the network back in March when it completed technical checks to ensure integration was possible. However, Portugal has sort of been off the radar since February, when it published its technical standards in preparation of joining the network.
Alas, while things didn’t begin happening straight away, Portugal finally shifted into top speed today, allowing the admission of its own poker players to the liquidity pool. Naturally, as everyone expected, PokerStars took up position as the first platform to integrate its players from Portugal into the network with Spanish and French gamers, who began sharing their own liquidity back in January.
Speaking of the milestone achievement, Guy Templer – working as the Chief Operating Office for The Stars Group – said that PokerStars has “worked hard” to become the first operator providing shared liquidity throughout the three countries. He went on to speak of players seeing a vast increase in both the variety and the scale of the tournaments and the special offers that the network will be able to provide now. He closed out by saying that PokerStars looks forward to working alongside the Portuguese regulator in order to further enhance its own poker products.
What Happens from Here on Out?
The fact that Portugal has now joined the network works as another step forward for the European poker market. The four countries participating in the shared liquidity all decided at one point to only allow poker players in their countries to play against others within their countries. However, placing such limitations on poker pools is very much a bad route to go. Poker rooms are always in need of a steady flow of traffic in order to successfully survive, and while the industry did manage to survive in each of the four countries, it wasn’t a burgeoning one.
With the integration of Portugal’s players, the pool will increase somewhat. However, it does also come with a minor gripe to begin with. What gripe? Well, the regular cash games of Portugal won’t be merged into the network straight away, according to Severin Rasset from the PokerStars blog. Alas, the ZOOM poker cash offerings, as well as all other games, will be available. This includes tournaments too.
To ensure that the inclusion of Portugal into the network is celebrated, PokerStars aims to host the Trio Series. This is set to take place from June 3 and run through to June 13. It will feature a total of 78 different events and comes with a guaranteed prize pool of €500,000 for the Main Event, which has a €250 buy-in. All other events will start from as little as €1.