After many months of hinting and hoping, WSOP.com and 888 finally began dealing virtual hands in Pennsylvania earlier this afternoon. The soft launch began at 2 p.m., with a full launch planned for Friday should all go well this week.
From July 12-15, WSOP plans to operate the site for a limited number of hours each day while testing the system. The schedule for the soft launch is as follows (all times ET):
- Mon., July 12: 2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Tue., July 13: 12:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Wed., July 14: 12:00 p.m. – 12 a.m. midnight
- Thu., July 15: TBD
Following this “field trial,” the full WSOP PA launch will come on Friday, July 16 in time for the first weekend tournaments.
WSOP is the fourth option for online poker in the Keystone State. After PokerStars launched its online poker room in Pennsylvania in Nov. 2019, players waited nearly a year-and-a-half for BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker to go live in late April as part of the partypoker US network.
WSOP PA ring-fenced for now, no bracelet events but rings may be coming
The launch has been a long time coming. In fact, WSOP was already sending promotional emails to Pennsylvanians last fall suggesting then that a launch was imminent.
WSOP.com operates in PA through Caesars-owned Harrah’s Philadelphia. Caesars and 888 poker have partnered to power poker sites in multiple states already, including New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
Thanks to the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement between those three states, WSOP/888 is able to share the player pools among them. However WSOP PA won’t be part of that agreement just yet. For now, players in Pennsylvania will only be able to play against one another on the new ring-fenced site.
That also means WSOP PA players won’t be able to compete for WSOP online bracelets yet either. Currently players in NV and NJ are battling for bracelets on WSOP.com sites in a series lasting through early August.
Meanwhile, there will likely be some WSOP-branded events on the PA site in the near future. When announcing the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit schedule in January, the WSOP described the series’ 12 virtual “stops.” The WSOP then noted how “an additional 13th online circuit event is earmarked pending launch of the WSOP.COM service in a newly regulated market.”
Expect to see a WSOP Online Circuit series on WSOP PA at some point this year. The WSOP will likely announce it once the site manages to attract a significant number of new players creating accounts.
How to download WSOP Pennsylvania
Those who have played on WSOP sites in other states will need to create new accounts in order to play on WSOP PA. They will also need to download the WSOP PA client in order to play on it. Having other states’ versions of WSOP will not work.
For those wanting to participate in the soft launch, downloading and installing the WSOP PA client is a simple process. Visit wsop.com/softlaunch and choose Pennsylvania, then click to download. The site will automatically detect if you are using a Windows PC or a Mac.
Once you’ve downloaded the software, double-click the icon to unzip and install the client. From there players will need to complete a three-step registration process to create a new account:
- Provide your gender, full name, date of birth, and email address
- Create a username and password, pick a security question and provide the answer, provide your mobile number
- Provide your country, mailing address, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, and acknowledge all your information is accurate and that you are at least 21 years of age
From there you’ll be directed to the cashier where you can explore ways to deposit funds. If you are registering an account from outside of PA, you’ll get a reminder letting you know you cannot play real money games on the site. However, you can still perform banking operations including depositing and withdrawing when outside PA.
WSOP PA launch features American debut of Poker 8 platform
Players who have played online poker at WSOP in other states will notice the Pennsylvania site looks completely different. That’s because with the launch of WSOP PA comes the US debut of 888’s new Poker 8 platform introduced in other countries last year.
It’s safe to say players’ first impression of the new site should be a very good one.
The Poker 8 platform features a darker color scheme with a more modern look. The lobby is also easier to navigate than was the case previously. Filters enabling players highlight favorite game types are more prominently displayed. There’s a new and better hand replayer, different avatars, sound effects, and animations, and other features that bring the site more fully into the current online poker era.
In addition to cash games and multi-table tournaments, players will find sit-n-go’s and 888’s BLAST game (a spin-n-go variant) among the options. Perhaps even more significant, the new platform allows multi-day and multi-flight tournaments as well as progressive knockout tournaments.
The mobile client features significant improvements as well. Players will finally be able to multi-table when using the WSOP app. WSOP PA players can play up to four tables at once on their mobile devices, whereas previous versions of the WSOP app only allowed one table at a time.
The app will also feature Omaha games, not previously available on the WSOP app.
In other states, WSOP continues to employ its previous platform, the look and feel of which largely resembles how the first WSOP site appeared that launched in NJ in late 2013. (WSOP does plan eventually to roll out Poker 8 in those states as well.)
Welcome offers for new WSOP Pennsylvania players
Much as WSOP does with its sites in other states, WSOP PA has multiple welcome offers for new sign-ups:
- $50 Free Play — after making a first deposit, players are given an extra $50 with which to play
- $1,000 Deposit Match Bonus — also when making that first deposit, WSOP will match it up to $1,000 (comes with a playthrough requirement)
- Welcome Week Freerolls — for each of the first seven days after making a deposit, players can play in $100 daily freerolls
The site will likely announce other promotions and offers as well following the full launch.
Players begin taking seats at WSOP.com PA
When the site first launched this afternoon, there were a variety of multi-table tournaments already on the schedule ranging from freerolls and $1 tourneys up to those with $30 buy-ins.
The very first tournament, a $250 guaranteed no-limit hold’em event with a $5 buy-in, began at 2:30 p.m. with a couple of tables’ worth of players and 90 minutes of late registration.
Also already open for registration is the $75K GTD Big Sunday, a $215 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament with re-entries.
Cash games ranging from $0.01/$0.02 up to $25/$50 were available, with the first sign-ups starting to fill seats.
Sit & go’s, all either heads-up or six-handed, were available with buy-ins ranging from $0.25 to $10. The BLAST games were available as well from $0.10 to $20.
It’s an exciting day for PA online poker players. Congrats on the new option and best of luck to all at the tables!
For more information on the newest PA poker site, check out our video on five things to know about WSOP Pennsylvania: