Like a thunder storm in the height of summer, fads can come and go very quickly. Such was the initial boost in traffic that occurred when Nevada and Delaware pooled their online poker players late last month. In the first days of shared liquidity, the merged ring games drew impressive numbers, but after stabilizing, the sustained increase is all but negligible.

Interstate online poker network between Nevada and Delaware unimpressiveOn March 25, 2015, thirteen months after Governors Brian Sandoval (NV) and Jack Markell (DE) signed the interstate poker compact to share liquidity between online poker markets, player pooling finally went into effect. in Nevada and Delaware’s three online poker rooms—all of which are powered by 888 software—began sharing player bases. As expected, the initial impact was inspiring.

Daily traffic averages were up 10% on the first day of the interstate network launch, rising to 20% on day two. However, the novelty wore off very quickly. Numbers began to drop back down, and by the sixth day, average cash game traffic was actually 3% below the previous counts, prior to player pooling.

One week later, Nevada and Delaware saw the shared online poker markets leveling out at an average of 170 active players at any given time, up from a previous average of 150 in Nevada and just 7 in Delaware.

All in all, the market stabilized well below the expectations of regulators and analysts who predicted at least a 190-200 average. According to Poker Scout, the 170 player count is still holding steady today, with a peak hour surge of about 385.

Probable Causes of Underwhelming Online Poker Traffic

There are plenty of reasons why the interstate online poker network has performed below expectations; some more obvious than others. One glaring motive is that Delaware has done very little to advertise its online poker market, or the nascent player pooling with Nevada. As OPR’s Robert DellaFave put it, a simple mailer stating “Play online poker with 20 times the amount of players,” could have made a huge impact.

Online poker players in Nevada had little incentive to jump onto their computers either. Merging the traffic from one small state with another even smaller state wasn’t going to influence their experience that much anyway.

Back on the Delaware side, chances are that serious players aren’t logging on from home to play legal online poker. It’s more likely that they are hopping the border to New Jersey to partake in much larger cash games pools and guaranteed tournaments. Even with Nevada’s numbers thrown into the mix, the interstate poker network’s promotions fall well short of what New Jersey can offer.

It’s also worth noting that early spring marks an annual decrease in online poker traffic. The seasonal downfall is to be expected, and could easily have some effect on interest from players.

Player Pooling Technically Flawless

On a brighter note, the technical side of the merge was a shining success. While many were disappointed that it took more than a year after the interstate player pooling compact was signed to get to the soft-launch phase, the whole point was to ensure no technical or geographical errors at the time of initiation, and in that regard, the launch has been flawless.

Calling all online poker players in the Garden State: The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOP II) has returned! The 34-event series will kick off on Thursday, April 16 and runs through Sunday, April 26, guaranteeing $1,000,000 throughout.

NJCOP II will feature a wide array of online poker variations with buy-ins to accommodate all levels of play. Everything from NL Holdem and PL Omaha, to 7 Card Stud, Bounty Tournaments and Deepstacks are on the schedule, with buy-ins ranging from $50 to $1,000.

New Jersey Championship of Online Poker NJCOP II

The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker is opening with a Players Choice event on April 16 at 6:00pm ET. Registration costs $100 and a minimum $20k is guaranteed. Then at 7:00pm is Event #2, $150 PLO 6 Max with $10k up for grabs.

The NJCOP II continues from there with 2 events on the schedule every weekday and 4 events each Saturday. On Sundays, the roster increases to 7 tournaments, including a $5 Mega Satellite to the NJCOP II Main Event on April 19 and 26 at 3:30pm. Each satellite offers rebuys and guarantees 25 seats to the Main Event.

The Second edition of the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker will play out Event #30 – the Main Event – on Sunday, April 26 at 5:00pm. The direct buy-in is $200, and the winners are promised a slice of the NJCOP II’s largest single-event prize pool, $150,000.

Also of interest will be two high roller events, #11 and #32, likewise to be played out on their respective Sundays. The first features a $1,000 buy-in and a standard NLHE structure with $50,000 GTD. The second also incurs a $1,000 buy-in, but is listed as “NLHE Slow” and guarantees $75,000.

Click here to see the Full Schedule of 2015 New Jersey Championship of Online Poker.

NJCOP II Notice for Mac & Mobile Players

A special notice has been posted on Borgata Poker and PartyPoker NJ in regards to users logging in to the online poker site from a Mac or mobile device. Note that certain poker variants cannot be played on Mac and/or mobile. Please see the chart below for NJCOP II events that can and cannot be played on specific operating systems and devices.

Poker Game Type PC Download PC Java Mobile Device Mac OS
Stud Games Yes Yes No No
Omaha Games Yes Yes No Yes
Heads-Up Games Yes Yes Yes No
Bounty Tournaments Yes Yes No Yes


About the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker

The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker is hosted by the Party Borgata Network, meaning that members of Borgata Poker and PartyPoker NJ will have dual access to all NJCOP II events. All legal-age poker players located in the state of New Jersey are welcome to participate. A verified account with either online poker room is required.

In its inaugural debut last year, the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker featured just 15 events, and guaranteed $600,000. The significant growth of the NJCOP II schedule, with more than twice as many events and the overall guarantee nearly doubled, goes to show just how well the 15 month old iGmaing market is developing in the Garden State.

More than two years ago, Illinois residents Kelly and Casey Sonnenberg filed a loss recovery suit against PokerStars in an attempt to recoup losses suffered while playing at the online poker room. PokerStars filed a motion to dismiss the case, and on Tuesday, the judge sided with the defendant.

While the decision was gratefully welcomed by PokerStars, it was not an unexpected outcome. The plaintiffs had already failed in their first attempt at a class action lawsuit against PokerStars, which was dismissed last March by the same judge, the Honorable David Herndon. Similar to the first case, there were a multitude of problems with the Sonnenbergs case.

The lawsuit was filed based on the Illinois Loss Recovery Act (720 ILCS 5/28-8). According to Illinois law, gambling is illegal (unless it falls under the guidelines of an authorized activity, which online poker clearly is not). And anyone who loses $50 or more as a participant in an illegal gambling activity is able to file civil action against the “winner” for recovery of those losses. Once the amount of loss is determined by the court, “the court shall enter a judgment of triple the amount so determined”.

In short, the Sonnenbergs filed for loss recovery in hopes of receiving 3x the amount they had lost while playing online poker at PokerStars.

The plaintiff apparently failed to realize that a number of required factors in a loss recovery case had not been sufficiently met. Namely, losses may only be recovered from the “winner”, and as Judge Herndon pointed out in both dismissed cases, PokerStars was not the winner of the gambling activity in question.

Judge’s Ruling in PokerStars Loss Recovery Case

The judge said that, while the plaintiff was able to identify Casey Sonnenberg as the “loser”, they were unable to identify a “winner” in their allegations. PokerStars was deemed a service provider, simply hosting the game and collecting a rake. The online poker operator could not be deemed a winner because it did “not have a stake in how the game is decided.”Additionally, the judge declared that the “plaintiffs failed to identify a single cognizable loser or a loss” and that they failed to “plead basic facts, including: when the purported loss was incurred, to whom…the loss was sustained, and what is the amount of the loss in question.” Loss recovery casino against PokerStars dismissed by Illinois Judge Herndon

As such, Judge Herndon decided, “The Court agrees with defendants and again finds that plaintiffs have failed to plead both loser and loss sufficiently.”

Furthermore, the judge said that the loss recovery statute in Illinois is only a viable complaint if the lawsuit is filed within 6 months of the incurred gambling loss. He said the Sonnenbergs case cannot possibly fall within the law’s statute of limitations due to PokerStars being eradicated from the US market by the incidents of Black Friday.

“April 15, 2011 was the last conceivable date on which any “losers” could have sustained any gambling losses,” read the judge’s decision. “The original complaint in this case was filed on August 24, 2012”, which happens to be near 15 month after PokerStars was shut down by the US Department of Justice.

PokerStars’ Attorney Responds to Dismissal of Loss Recovery Case

PokerStars’ lead council, Jeff Ifrah, called the dismissal of the loss recovery case against PokerStars a “significant” win for the online poker operator. “In what is traditionally a plaintiff-friendly court, the judge dismissed with prejudice the outlandish claims of two defendants who were motivated to file by their mothers.”

Ifrah went on to say that, “Helicopter parenting doesn’t fly in the Seventh Circuit and our client is delighted to put this nonsense behind them.”

The RAWA Hearing originally scheduled for March 5, 2015 held ominous undertones as the original witness panel was stacked in favor of Sheldon Adelson and his crusade to banish regulated online gambling in the US. Now set for Thursday, March 25, a fifth witness is scheduled to appear, helping to better balance the perspective views on the legislation.

RAWA—or by its official term, The Restoration of America’s Wire Act—is a federal bill that was scripted to reverse the DOJs 2011 opinion of the 1961 Wire Act, making it possible for states to regulate online poker and casino gambling. Funded by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, RAWA seeks to prohibit iGaming throughout the United States.

The RAWA Hearing (also said to be funded by Adelson) will take place in front of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, which just so happens to seat Representative Jason Chaffetz, who re-introduced RAWA earlier this year. The original panel of speakers for the hearing was set to include just four witnesses, three of which would heavily favor passage of the online gambling ban.

According to the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the winter storm that delayed the original RAWA Hearing was a blessing in disguise, because it gave the online poker community time to make their voices heard. As such, a fifth witness, Andrew Moylan, was added to the panel.

Official RAWA Hearing Witness List Updated

Mr. John Warren Kindt
Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at University of Illinois School of Law
Mr. Les Bernal
National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation
Mr. Michael K. Fagan
Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law
Mr. Andrew Moylan
Executive Director and Senior Fellow of R Street Institute
Ms. Parry Aftab
Executive Director of Wired Safety

John Kindt poses the biggest threat to the RAWA Hearing for his distinct pattern of radical statements opposing gambling. He has frequently misinterpreted the results of research by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), and despite being called on it by the American Gaming Association numerous times, he continues to do so. No doubt, his testimony will make every effort to undermine the proficiency of iGaming regulatory systems.

Les Bernal and Michael Fagan won’t speak in favor of online poker, but they have historically based their congressional testimonies on facts (unlike Mr. Kindt). While they do not oppose RAWA, their findings should be based on the regulatory capabilities of online poker and casino systems already present in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.

Parry Aftab was the Democratic choice to speak at the RAWA Hearing, and will lend a positive voice for the online poker community. She has long advocated internet gambling as a means to protect consumers, and is expected to present a strong, highly educated argument opposing RAWA on Thursday.

Andrew Moylan is the newest addition to the witness panel, and could be the game-saving pinch hitter for online poker advocates.  The R Street Institute is a group of research experts with a libertarian attitude. Mr. Moylan is expected to rebuke RAWA as a violation of state’s rights; the number one argument against the federal legislation, even by those who do not support or oppose online gambling.

John Pappas, Director of the PPA, was tremendously pleased to see Moylan’s name added to the witness list for this week’s RAWA Hearing. “I don’t know Andrew, but I’m familiar with R Street and they have a good reputation for focusing on federalism and 10th amendment issues on a whole lot of subject matters,” said Pappas. I think they will be very credible and a good voice at the hearing.”

“Was PokerStars hacked?” That’s the big question on the lips (and fingertips) of millions of online poker players who call PokerStars their virtual home. In the last month, dozens of cases have been reported, stating their accounts were accessed and funds depleted, and the world’s largest online poker site is denying any fault.

The first suspicious activity was reported on Feb 22 by a member of the TwoPlusTwo forums, then elaborated on the evidence in second post, alluding to accusations of PokerStars hacked accounts.

Accusations fly - PokerStars hackedAccording to the victim, someone had accessed their account from a foreign country, requested (and was granted) an increase to the max deposit limit, made multiple deposits from a never-before used credit card, converted 69,000 FPP to $70 cash, registered a never-before used Neteller account, and proceeded to make two instantly-approved withdrawals to that account in the amounts of $800 and $790.

Those are some hefty accusations, and ones the player was able to back-up with more than enough evidence. In the beginning it looked like the victim had either given his password away, or his computer was compromised by malware. However, it wasn’t long before other victims came forward.

On Feb 27, a second player said he suffered an “almost identical” instance of his account at PokerStars hacked. Similarly, this player had a complex password and had never given it out. More analogous reports came pouring in from there.

Then it was confirmed that the alleged hacker in the first incident unsuccessfully tried to access the victims email account just minutes after the PokerStars account was entered, which alludes to the culprit retrieving the email address from the PokerStars account, but having no password to access it. according to the victim, this can only mean that the PokerStars password was not collected by malware, or the hacker would have accessed the email just as easily.

That led to even more suspicion and questions – was PokerStars hacked? And if not, is there an extreme security issue that needs to be addressed?

Each of the dozens of victims who found out their accounts had been hacked over the last month were notified by the same email from PokerStars.

Greetings from PokerStars.

Your account has been frozen as we have determined it was accessed from a foreign location without your knowledge. We have conducted a full investigation into your account and we believe that your PokerStars password may have been compromised.

Our facts to support this are as follows:

The logins to your account show no failed attempts; whoever accessed your account knew your password perfectly.

Computer finger printing technology is utilized by our Security Team in order to determine which computer your account was accessed from. In this case, our investigation concludes that your account was accessed from a foreign computer where no logins were previously detected from. It is therefore possible that your password has been compromised.

With regards to the bankroll in your account, unfortunately we have been unable to recover funds lost.

To conclude this matter, we would like to advise you that PokerStars will not be liable for funds lost on your PokerStars account. PokerStars will not be held liable for any losses as a result of insufficient security measures to ensure that your personal details remain secured. This is in accordance with the sections 10.2 and 10.3 of our Terms of Service which state your responsibilities as an account owner.


Essentially, PokerStars said the fault of a compromised password lies solely on the account holder and that they can offer no further help in the matter. Blaming the player might seem like an easy answer, but victims aren’t willing to let the case drop so easily.

Accounts on PokerStars Hacked due to Lax Security?

Was PokerStars hacked due to lax securityFor years, PokerStars has been considered the most reputable and trustworthy online poker room in the world, but some players that may no longer the case. Some players have become certain that the accounts on PokerStars hacked were entirely the fault of the operator’s lax security measures.

Let’s take a look at some more evidence. In most cases, the culprit logged in from a foreign country, or at least hundreds of miles away from the account holder’s regular log-in location, but that never raised a red flag. A never-before used credit card was used to make a deposit, but again, no red flag. A new Neteller account was used to withdrawal; no red flag. Increased deposit limits and multiple purchases were made in a short period of time; no red flag. Multiple withdrawals to never-before used Neteller account; no red flag.

What does it take to raise a red flag to the security team at PokerStars? Hacked account holders would certainly like to know the answer, and Michael Josem, head of PR at PokerStars (and formerly one of the key people responsible unveiling the UltimateBet super-user scandal) finally responded with some answers.

Michael Josem responds to Accusations of PokerStars Hacked

PokerStars’ response on TwoPlusTwo indicated that hacks on the site are actually down since January 2015, and that it’s player awareness that’s on the rise thanks to their recent email notification policy. Josem said that 52% of all attempted hacks were thwarted this year, and that the other 48% resulted in an average loss of $57.09 per victim.

“Going forward, we have two key strategies to further reduce the already-decreasing frequency of accounts being ‘hacked’,” wrote Josem. “We will more actively promote account security enhancements to players to make their account more secure. In addition, we will continue to improve our system for evaluating risky cash-outs. We continually refine our cash-out systems to combat overall fraud trends, and we want to keep the frequency of hacked accounts moving in a downward direction.”

Josem said that the lack of any failed password attempts “strongly suggests that the hackers knew the passwords.” He defended the company by adding, “Because PokerStars follows the best-practice security guidelines for storing passwords, we don’t store a copy of a player’s password that can be decrypted. Thus, we can’t review the strength of passwords of the players who were hacked, and have only limited ability to evaluate how those passwords might have been obtained by the hackers.

“There is no evidence of any misbehaviour by PokerStars insiders in this situation. Because PokerStars passwords are hashed, even if a PokerStars insider were somehow able to gain access to the password database, they would not be able to decrypt a player’s password.”

Players were notified of three ways they can further protect their account information, all of which are available to PokerStars members at their own discretion. They can enable RSA Security Tokens, set up a special PokerStars PIN#, and/or enable SMS Validation.

While many online poker players have historically seen such measures as nuisances, due to the recent outbreak of accounts on PokerStars hacked, any and all members would be well advised to take advantage of these heightened security measures. Members can enable SMS Validation under the ‘Account’ tab, or set up a PokerStars PIN# here.

The online poker and casino gambling revenue report for February 2015 has been released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. While it’s clear that internet poker is on an alarming decline compared to last year’s results, it’s also worth noting that, despite the cash game traffic results, the Party Borgata poker network is still the leader in New Jersey.

Party Borgata Poker Network leads WSOP/888 in New JerseyWhen and 888Poker teamed up in January by pooling a portion of their player bases across certain cash games and tournaments, it appeared that the newly formed WSOP / 888 network was primed to take over the top spot in New Jersey’s online poker market.

According to current statistics from traffic tracking website PokerScout, WSOP/888 is averaging 200 players at the cash tables over a 7 day period, while the Party Borgata poker network is averaging only 150. That information would lead many to believe that WSOP / 888 would easily overtake the market as the #1 gross revenue generator in the Garden State. But the latest revenue reports indicate otherwise.

The NJ DGE’s revenue report shows that PartyPoker and Borgata Poker (collectively the Party Borgata Network) reaped $1,103,501 from interactive peer-to-peer gaming (i.e. online poker rake and tournaments fees). Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which operates as the license holder for and 888Poker, generated $942,154.

Together, New Jersey’s online poker market produced $2,045,655, with Party Borgata owning 53.94% of the market share. WSOP / 888 made up for the remaining 46.06%. In terms of cash game traffic, though, the numbers look quite different, with WSOP / 888 leading at 57.14% of the market share, and the Party Borgata poker network trailing with 42.86%.

How Party Borgata Poker Network retains #1 Rank

There are only two reasons why Party Borgata would remain on top, despite having lower cash game traffic than its sole network rival in New Jersey. The most likely cause would be a stronger interest from the online poker community in Party Borgata’s tournament schedule.

The network has a larger selection of well-structured tournaments that offer higher guaranteed prize pools than WSOP / 888, and the majority of them are networked across both PartyPoker and Borgata Poker. WSOP and 888 only chose to network a small number of their largest weekly guarantees, which are still collectively lower than those presented by Party Borgata. The highest Sunday GTD at WSOP / 888 generally fluctuates between $25k and $35k, while Party Borgata offers a minimum Sunday $50k GTD, often increased to $100k GTD.

The only other factor that could cause such a seemingly opposing result in New Jersey’s online poker leadership is the value of the players taking part at the cash tables. If PartyPoker and Borgata Poker are drawing more high volume, high stakes players than WSOP / 888, it would reason that the network would collect more from cash game rake than their competitor, despite having the lower traffic numbers.

Revenue Reports Good & Bad News for New Jersey

When comparing February’s online poker revenue to January 2015, the numbers don’t look good at first. Jan 2015 brought in $2,299,426 ($1,283,746 or 55.83% from Party Borgata, $1,015,680 or 44.17% from WSOP / 888). In Feb 2015, the total was down 11% to $2,045,655.

However, if we negate the fact that February had 3 less days than January, calculating the daily average instead, the results look more like this: $74,175 per day in January, $73,059 per day in February. That equates to a mere 1.5% differential, and should be a lot easier for New Jersey regulators to swallow.

Where the largest discrepancy lies is the comparison between February 2015 and February 2014. Last year at this time, the Garden State’s online poker revenue totaled $3,109,203. Overall, the internet poker market has seen a disturbing decline of 28.3% in year-over-year results.

On a positive note, online casino revenue in New Jersey is still running strong, accounting for approximately 4x more than online poker. When both online poker and casino revenues are combined, the DGE reported a total internet gaming win of $10.4 million in February 2015, up 0.9% from $10.3 million in February 2014.

The World Series of Poker has been a staple of the industry for 45 years, paving the way for evolution in the game of poker around the globe. This year’s announcement of a revolutionary WOSP Online Bracelet Event is a huge leap into the modern technological age, but not one that everyone agrees with. And according to some sources, the original structure for the event announced last month may be changed before the 2015 WSOP gets underway.

2015 WSOP Online Bracelet Event 64Never before has the WSOP awarded a gold bracelet in any forum except live poker tables at the designated venue in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2015 WSOP will change all that as organizers announced the summer schedule in February, including a historical milestone – an online bracelet event set to take place on

The online tournament is slated for July 2nd as Event #64 on the 2015 WSOP schedule. With a buy-in of $1,000 to the NLHE tournament, the original structure was devised to bring the final two players out of the online realm and onto a live table at the Rio on July 3rd.  Due to concerns about timing and a potentially short televised end to the highly anticipated online bracelet event, organizers are hoping to change the final table format.

According to PokerFuse, WSOP organizers have sought the permission of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to alter the final table arrangement. Instead of televising a heads-up finish on July 3rd, they want push it to July 4th, making the 3rd a “travel day” so that final tablists who aren’t already in easy traveling distance to Las Vegas have time to make it to the Rio. They would also prefer to have the final six players enter the live stage, rather than just two.

“We had concerns initially of getting the players to the Rio the next day to play out the event live,” said Caesars Interactive VP of Corporate Communications, Seth Palansky. He explained that they’ve “decided that July 3 will be a ‘travel day’ in essence for any players not in proximity to Las Vegas. As such, we will play the final table on July 4 now. This allows us to increase the live portion to six players and know we can get them all to the Rio in time.”

WSOP officials are declining all requests for comment for the time being. A spokesperson said that no comments will be issued regarding the proposed changed to the 2015 WSOP online bracelet event until the Nevada Gaming Control Board makes its decision.

Positive/Negative Responses to a 2015 WSOP Online Bracelet Event

The reaction from professional poker players regarding the first ever online bracelet event at the 2015 WSOP have been mixed.

One prominent supporter of the interactive transition has been Greg Merson, winner of the 2012 WSOP Championship. Merson called the online bracelet event his “favorite part of the schedule” this year. “Online has been a big boost for the game and rewarding the industry with a bracelet is amazing,” explained the former WSOP champ.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are players like 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Trevor Pope. “I think the WSOP online event is going to be quite overrated,” criticized Pope. His largest gripe seemed to be that serious online poker players prefer to multi-table, stating that “I personally won’t be playing the online event because I will just get too bored playing one table myself…”

Pope went on to condemn the requirements for participating in an online bracelet event compared to a live structure. Throughout history, the WSOP has been “a poker series played at the casino where all you need is a ‘chip and a chair’ as they say, but this is putting a whole new spin on that because now you need a good computer, reliable Internet, a place to play, and probably some good tracking software.”

In the end, though, Pope admitted that he could be wrong, and that the 2015 WSOP online bracelet event could have “a huge turnout” and help to “push online poker in the right direction.”

Live poker rooms are still a major attractant for card gamers these days, despite what the statistics might appear to show. After watching dozens of poker venues close across Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the last few years, skeptics are wondering if the ‘poker boom’ is truly over. But it seems the reality of the situation can be chalked up to the old cliché, ‘out with the old, in with the new’.

Live poker rooms evolving in the USThe cannibalization of live poker rooms was a huge concern among those who opposed the legalization and regulation of online poker throughout US states, particularly in Nevada and New Jersey, where land-based gambling dollars make up a significant portion of the states’ revenue. Both states launched online poker markets in 2013, and both have seen a remarkable number of their live poker rooms close since then.

Five poker venues disappeared from Atlantic City in 2014 alone. The first to go was The Atlantic Club (January 13, 2014), followed by the Showboat Casino (August 31, 2014), Revel Atlantic City (September 2, 2014) and Trump Plaza (September 16, 2014). The Trump Taj Mahal just recently closed its live poker room, but the casino remains open, and they say there are plans to reopen the poker tables this summer. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen.

Spinning the globe 2,500 miles to the west in Las Vegas, we find the same data reflected. At least 16 live poker rooms have ceased services in recent years, starting with the card rooms at Tropicana and Ellis Island in September of 2012, and ending with the most recent closure at Hooters just this month.

Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” That statement can be easily applied to the evolution of poker. It is not a lack of interest from players that is reducing the number of live poker rooms throughout the US, but rather a modernization of the game and the way players enjoy it.

New and Renovated Live Poker Rooms

There’s evidence to that theory in the vision of casino development experts and marketers throughout the country. While the dated card rooms mentioned above were shuttering their doors and windows, new—and thus far immensely popular—live poker rooms were opening at places like the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida, Maryland LIVE! Casino in Maryland, and the Parx Casino in Pennsylvania. Another is set to open soon at Philadelphia’s Sugarhouse Casino.

Some other live poker rooms are renovating their establishment’s to keep up with the changing tides. Caesars Entertainment has two of its live poker rooms with exclusive branding at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and Harrah’s Atlantic City. The company is clearly looking to promote its online poker presence in both of those states.

What it all boils down to is superior advertising, availability and tournament scheduling; giving players what they desire in today’s advanced market. The poker boom of the early 2000’s is not over, it’s just evolved. Live poker rooms must enhance their services to keep up, or get out of the way.

While online poker players across the United States are bracing for the results of a House Committee Hearing to discuss a federal anti-online gambling measure known as RAWA, government officials in Washington DC are bracing for a potentially dreadful winter storm. The hearing on HR 707, introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), was scheduled for the morning of Thursday, March 5. But due to a forecast that calls for 4-8 inches of snow dropping onto the nation’s capital, the RAWA hearing has been officially postponed.

House hearing to debate HR 707, RAWA, postponedThe House Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations was supposed to gather at 9:30am tomorrow to debate the feasibility of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (aka RAWA). The bill, introduced by Rep. Chaffetz one month ago today and heavily petitioned by the billionaire backing of Las Vegas Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson, seeks to enforce a blanket ban of any and all forms of internet gambling in the United States.

Tuesday morning, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was urging all of their members, and anyone else interested in preserving states’ right to regulate online poker, to take action. A link was supplied for anyone interested to instantly Tweet a pre-filled message to all members of the relative House Judiciary Committee.

“The opponents of your freedom to play online, led by casino magnate billionaire Sheldon Adelson, have stacked the deck for this hearing,” read a statement on the PPA website Tuesday. “They have loaded the witness panel with anti-poker zealots who have no real-world knowledge of how Internet poker works.”

But later that same night, it was confirmed by the PPA that the HR 707 hearing had officially been postponed due to the looming winter weather forecasted.

The postponement was later confirmed directly on the website of the House Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

Since then, the PPA has changed the contents of its Fight HR 707 – Take Action wepbage, pending further refinement. “Due to the postponement we will be refining this Take Action page. Stay tuned and we will be directing you back here very soon with all new actions.”

A new date for the HR 707 hearing has not yet been set. A notice on the committee website simply states that “it will be rescheduled at a later date.”

Let your State Rep know you Oppose HR 707

In the meantime, anyone who would like to let their representatives know how they feel about RAWA and has a few minutes to spare can Tweet or telephone all members of the House Committee, which presently includes 4 sponsors of RAWA. The complete list of committee members, along with their Twitter addresses and office telephone numbers, are supplied below.

State House Representative District Partisanship Twitter Acct Telephone #
California Karen Bass 37th Democrat @RepKarenBass 202-225-7084
California Rep. Judy Chu 27th Democrat @RepJudyChu 202-225-5464
Colorado Ken Buck 4th Republican @RepKenBuck 202-225-4676
Idaho Raúl Labrador 1st Republican @Raul_Labrador 202-225-6611
Illinois Luis Gutierrez 4th Democrat @Repgutierrez 202-225-8203
Louisiana Cedric Richmond 2nd Democrat @RepRichmond 202-225-6636
Michigan Mike Bishop 8th Republican @RepMikeBishop 202-225-4872
Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi AL Democrat @pedropierluisi 202-225-2615
Ohio Steve Chabot 1st Republican @RepSteveChabot 202-225-2216
South Carolina Trey Gowdy 4th Republican @TGowdySC 202-225-6030
Texas Louie Gohmert 1st Republican @replouiegohmert 202-225-3035
Texas Sheila Jackson Lee 18th Democrat @JacksonLeeTX18 202-225-3816
Texas Ted Poe 2nd Republican @JudgeTedPoe 202-225-6565
Utah Jason Chaffetz 3rd Republican @jsoninthehouse 202-225-7751
Virginia Randy Forbes 4th Republican @Randy_Forbes 202-225-6365
Virginia Bob Goodlatte 6th Republican @repgoodlatte 202-225-5431
Wisconsin James Sensenbrenner 5th Republican @JimPressOffice 202-225-5101

New Jersey’s online gambling market has been active for 15 months now, and after consistent reports of sluggish growth, it seems the industry’s revenue generation is finally staying on a northbound track. For the second month in a row, the interactive gaming win is up, including a substantial boost in online poker revenue.

nj-online-poker-revenueFor the month of January 2015, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported a total internet gaming win of $11,567,337. That figure translates to an 8% increase, up from $10,736,118 in December’s report. Of that, $9,267,911 came from the state’s online casino operators, while the other $2,299,426 was derived from peer-to-peer gaming (i.e. online poker operations).

Clearly, casino style gambling is more popular – and more profitable – than online poker games, but this month’s unwritten award for rate of growth goes to the latter. Internet casino win rose 6.38%, while online poker revenue grew 10.45% month over month.

Party Borgata Network leads in Online Poker Revenue

There are currently four online poker operators pilfering their virtual wares in New Jersey – Party Poker NJ, Borgata Poker, 888Poker and WSOP NJ. Party Poker and Borgata Poker are licensed to the Borgata Atlantic City, sharing their player bases on the aptly named Party Borgata Network. 888Poker and, although both licensed under Caesars Interactive and using the same 888-branded software, didn’t not begin sharing their player bases until last month.

With that in mind, only Borgata (Party/Borgata Poker) and Caesars (WSOP/888 Poker) are reporting online poker revenue. In that regard, Party Borgata still maintains a solid lead, representing $1,283,746 (55.83%) of the total peer-to-peer yield for January. WSOP/888 are slowly catching up though with a total of $1,015,680 on the month (up from $949,432 in December 2014).

WSOP NJ / 888Poker lead New Jersey in Cash Game Traffic

In terms of cash game traffic, however, and 888Poker are now cornering the New Jersey market. After partially combining their player bases in mid-January, the Caesar-licensed operators finally edged out the Party Borgata Network as the most popular poker site in New Jersey. According to PokerScout, Party Borgata currently averages 150 cash game players, while WSOP/888 have climbed to 220 players on a 7-day average.

Helping to keep Party Borgata on top in the online poker revenue counts was last month’s second running of the Garden State Super Series (GSSS II). The online poker series ran from January 11th through the 25th of the month, drawing in a plethora of players to participate in the 69-event, $1 million guaranteed series.

Remarkably, and 888Poker held no events of that caliber last month, yet still managed to see a small increase in online poker revenue. As such, it will be interesting to see just how well Party Poker NJ and Borgata Poker perform in February compared to WSOP and 888Poker when no major online poker events are on the table.

The biggest guaranteed events for New Jersey online poker players in February are the Sunday Majors. Again, Party Borgata has the better offering with a $100k GTD at 5:00pm every Sunday, but WSOP and 888 are working their way up, having increased the Big Sunday from $35k to $50k for last weekend’s Feb 15th rendition. Whether the prize will remain the same this coming Sunday is yet to be seen.