PokerStars announces second ever PACOOP

Jon Pill
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Posted on: September 11, 2020 4:05 pm EDT

This month PokerStars is putting on the second-ever Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP).

Since American players are unable to join in with WCOOP, this series will hopefully ease the jealousy of those players with a Keystone State IP address.

The players are not the only jealous entities in play. Partypoker continues to be sidelined as it waits on its license to join the fray in the PA market.


The new series will be made up of fifty events of varying sizes. The events will run for about three weeks. From Saturday the 19th of September until Monday the 5th of October. 

Kick off will be on the 19th with a pair of “warm-up” events — a pair of no-limit hold’em freezeouts with $50 and $100 buy-ins.

There’ll be a few wrap up events on the 5th October, but the big event will the day before: the $300 Main Event. This comes with $200,000 guaranteed in the prize pool.

That’s just a fraction of the $1.5 million in guarantees that Stars is putting up across all the events.

Players in the forty-six other states which don’t have online poker must be livid.

A less than perfect union

U.S. poker legislation remains isolationist by nature. Each individual state has to use its own player pool to avoid falling foul of the Wire Act and UIGEA. As a result players in a given state can only play with each other. Even two neighboring cities can’t pool their players if a state line divides them.

This must feel especially frustrating to PokerStarsPA; Pennsylvania borders both Delaware and New Jersey. These three states are the only states, barring Nevada, that offer licenses to online poker operators. 

This has upsides and downsides. For example, on the plus side, the PACOOP events don’t have to compete with WPT branded events put on by partypoker in other states and abroad. But it also means Stars can’t pool its player base across its markets. 

With multiple smaller bases, events like this are key to keeping players online and feeding Stars the rake it needs.

That’s a high priority right now because Stars has just pulled out of several international markets. Quite possibly in order to keep its U.S. regulators happy.

Monopoly money

Meanwhile, partypoker is still waiting on their license, and while Stars parties, party stares.

Pennsylvania legalized online poker in November 2019. PokerStars was in the market by the 6th of November 2019 and more or less cornered the market from the get go.

The WSOP started nosing around their territory in August and has started putting on games, but Stars have had very little serious competition in the market so far.

Partypoker would be competition, but partypoker is sitting on their hands wrapped to the gills in red tape. With the enormous publicity of having hosted the World Poker Tour World Online Championships, partypoker’s iron is as hot as it will ever be. While they sit, that iron cools.

There’s a lot of power in being the first into a market. Especially for a company of Stars’ size. So PokerStars is making hay while they can with events like this one.

Featured image source: Twitter