One Week In, Michigan Is Busiest US State For PokerStars

Posted By Matt Schoch on February 5, 2021 - Last Updated on February 19, 2021

About one week to the hour since it launched, Michiga online poker lead the nation. Nearly 1,100 seats were filled at about 3:30 p.m. EST on Friday at PokerStars Michigan as the workweek neared a close and Super Bowl weekend was set to begin.

Meanwhile, at the same time, PokerStars in Pennsylvania had 983 seats filled and New Jersey games seated 334 players. Michigan sat at the top of the platform’s three states.

Michigan became the fifth state to launch regulated online poker on Jan. 29, joining Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. One week into launch, PokerStars players seem pleased with how the rollout has gone.

PokerStars Sunday Majors for Feb. 7

PokerStars brought its usual Sunday Majors lineup to Michigan quickly. Four of the usual five events were available during last week’s first Sunday action. All five tourneys are lined up for Sunday, Feb. 7. As of Friday afternoon, 10 players signed up for the Sunday Special.

Sunday Majors on Feb. 7 include the following:

  • Sunday Storm – $10 buy-in, $2,000 gtd. prize pool
  • Warm-Up – $30 buy-in, $5,000 gtd. prize pool
  • Supersonic – $50 buy-in, $2,500 gtd. prize pool
  • High Roller – $250 buy-in, $10,000 gtd. prize pool
  • Sunday Special – $100 buy-in, $20,000 gtd. prize pool (was not held last Sunday)

First Sunday results included:

  • The first Sunday Warm-Up attracted 317 entries for an $8,654 prize pool. Winner BigCShepp claimed the $1,626 top prize.
  • In the first $250 Sunday High Roller, player DavidKayePorker topped a field of 63 entries to win $4,337. The event almost doubled the $7,500 prize guarantee.

Just like old times for PokerStars players

Peter Hotaling, of Rochester Hills, said the return of PokerStars to Michigan was worth the wait.

“Felt just like old times,” he told PlayMichigan via Twitter. “Player pool sizes were encouraging for only being one week in. Good selections of tournaments and cash games.”

However, he noted that one drawback of the app was that players can’t pick their table in cash games.

“I don’t like how in cash games on the app you can’t select your table. It quick seats you,” he said. “Also for tournaments on the app, there’s a bug where it doesn’t tell you what place you’re in.”

PokerStars Michigan a ‘massive improvement’ to offshore

Another player from East Lansing opined that the random generator software seems trustworthy.

“At least in comparison with offshore sites where playing poker is a nightmare,” the player, who preferred to remain anonymous, wrote in a message to PlayMichigan.

“So yeah, this is a massive improvement. Sometimes players might feel that there are some action hands, but this is normal given the large number of hands dealt.”

While some issues remained for depositing money on the site, the availability of PayPal for transactions also made life easier, the player said.

Of course, live tournament play is preferred, such as those at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, but given the winter weather and pandemic, online poker provided everything poker players had been missing.

“It is convenient sometimes to play a tourney without driving to a casino in freezing temperatures,” he said. “Still, hoping the pandemic would ease and could have a chance to enjoy tourneys in casinos again.”

Still to come for MI online poker

Online poker will only grow here in Michigan, as more platforms such as BetMGM Poker expect to launch soon, in addition to multistate player pools.

While BetMGM launched online sports betting and online casinos on Jan. 22, the company has not given any indication about when its MI poker site will launch.

It’s a similar story for interstate play and shared player pools.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said Michigan will not enter into any compacts with other states for interstate play until later this year.

The Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement includes New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada for now. Pennsylvania, which has had legal online poker since 2019, has not yet joined the pact.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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