Online Poker Set to Be “Less Fun” in Pennsylvania?

March 5, 2018 by Carolyn J Dawson

Pennsylvania pokerIt was only about a month ago that we reported on online poker applications arriving in Pennsylvania this spring. Due to online gambling becoming legal in the State, online casinos and poker rooms are expected to be integrated very soon. While this is all very good news within itself, it has become apparent that online poker in the Keystone State won’t be as much fun as the New Jersey market.

Even though Pennsylvania houses about 4 million more people than New Jersey, meaning that the potential for bigger prize pools is there, there are clear signs that in this respect, bigger isn’t always better. And the reason for this? Well, Pennsylvania will actually also have a prohibition relating to online poker gameplay within land-based casinos. This ban was apparently put into place in order to protect against any land-based establishments pushing players to online gaming – where the taxes for revenues were originally planned to be a lot lower.

However, this was turned around in the finishing stages, with Pennsylvania passing laws that charge the same tax rates for both online and offline revenue. Unfortunately, the state did not lift the gambling prohibition on online gaming at live casino locations. This being the case, online poker gamers will have to begin their gaming journey in this situation. And in this respect, the opportunity to play multi-table live or online tournaments at simultaneous times will not be possible. This is where the “less fun” side comes into play.

New Jersey Even Brought the Fun with Failing Events

It was only six months after New Jersey launched online poker play, that PokerStars was the host of a live tournament series. This took place in Atlantic City and began at the same time as the PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Online Poker was finishing. New Jersey doesn’t have any regulations prohibiting such events, giving those players attending the opportunity to multi-table live as well as play online tournaments at the same time. This saw many players have an overwhelmingly fun time participating.

Two Team PokerStars pros – Chris Moneymaker and Victor Ramdin – were participating in such events at PokerStars too. While Moneymaker made it down to the final two tables in the live event that was ongoing at the time, Ramdin kept hollering over with various updates taking place in the network’s online event. It would prove to be a difficult and awkward situation though, as when Ramdin shouted across the room that he was “all in” in the online poker game he was playing, this went down as a verbal declaration in the live poker tournament he was playing too. Ramdin’s opponent in the game “called” and Ramdin had to be held to his verbal declaration. At the time, in the live game, he only had a queen-high hand, leaving him to lose a good portion of his chip stack.

Despite this, Ramdin still declared that he had a good time playing both online poker and a live event at the same time. His online hand held, and he moved on to the final table of the NJCOOP Main Event there. Because of his slip up in the live tournament though, he finished in 10th position. However, he was able to laugh this off, stating that he had a great time participating in both.

For the moment, it doesn’t seem like residents of Pennsylvania will be able to enjoy such though. While this prohibition may be looked at in the future and potentially overturned, perhaps online poker in the Keystone State may be a little less fun!