WSOP.com and 888 Poker NJ have finally made the decision to start sharing players. This move has been anticipated for quite some time, seeing as how the two poker operations will share liquidity on the All-American Poker Network when it launches in Nevada. But for some reason, it has taken the two sides some time to do the same in New Jersey.
The only catch is that the iPoker entities will only share players in low-stakes cash games, $5 SNGs and some bigger MTTs (up to $25k). However, most players can agree that some sharing is better than no sharing with regard to boosting cash game and tournament traffic. But our only question is, why wait until now? Furthermore, what’s with the timing of this deal? Let’s answer these questions by covering three potential reasons why.
1. Nobody’s catching Party/Borgata
Ever since the New Jersey iGaming market opened in late 2013, the Party/Borgata network has maintained firm control over the lead. According to PokerScout, they feature 160 average cash game players, compared to 110 for WSOP.com and 100 for All-American (888). Since neither site seems to be gaining any ground on the Party/Borgata network, it makes sense that WSOP and 888 would try to catch them together. This is especially the case when considering that Bill Rini, WSOP.com Head of Poker, believes that the two sites will bring a large amount of unique low-stakes players to one another.
2. Building bigger guaranteed tournaments
Continuing on the theme of battling Party/Borgata, neither WSOP nor 888 is able to compete in terms of guaranteed tournament prize pools. Party features a weekly $50k guarantee, which is by far the biggest in the market. WSOP has the next largest with a $25k guarantee while 888 is only able to feature a $10k tournament. But by combining players, both sites really stand to gain by having the opportunity to feature bigger tourneys. It’s even possible that they could one day trump the $50k guarantee that Party/Borgata is offering.
3. PokerStars could soon be in NJ
Just because PokerStars didn’t get into New Jersey last year doesn’t mean they are forgotten in America. In fact, State Senator Raymond Lesniak recently said that he expects Stars in his state by March 2015. This seems like a fairly reasonable guideline because their arrival is already late. In any case, it’s best for WSOP.com and 888 to act now rather than later so that they can share players and actually compete. Sure, PokerStars figures to quickly establish themselves as the number one option in the Garden State. But if WSOP and 888 combine some players, at least they’ll be a respectable force.