US Online Poker a Bust – Move to Canada or go Live

Canada Online PokerCanada online poker has been thriving for years. Many of the worlds largest operators accept Canadians, giving us access to a wide variety of software platforms and large player pools to compete with. Despite some states legalizing the activity in 2013, the US online poker market has failed to come anywhere close.

It was a beautiful picture painted by industry analysts back then, who believed the regulation of online gambling in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey would kick-start a wave of regulation across other states. Shared liquidity would be the name of the game, and the US online poker market would flourish once more, resembling success that hadn’t been seen since before Black Friday 2011.

Obviously, that dream never came to fruition. No other states have yet moved to regulate online poker. New Jersey hasn’t even bothered to share liquidity with Delaware and Nevada. And Nevada’s player pool is so small, they don’t even bother to post figures, probably for fear they’d become the laughing stock of the iGaming world.

That’s not to say that the US internet gambling market as a whole has been a bust. Much like Canada online casinos, Americans who live in Delaware and New Jersey (Nevada is limited to online poker only) have taken full advantage of the casino style gaming on offer. In fact, the lion’s share of revenue in New Jersey has come from it’s internet casino games.

But for card players, the Canada online poker market looks a lot more appealing to our southerly neighbors – especially those who wish to pursue such a career path. Canadians have access to the majority of today’s largest operators. PokerStars isn’t one of them, but 888, Will Hill, Party Poker, Unibet; these and many more are open to residents of the True North.

Shape Up or Ship Out

In the US, the harsh reality is that online poker pros will either have to reshape their career path by transitioning to the live felt, or pick up and move, leaving their home country behind. Countless pros have already chosen the latter, with most of them moving north to Canada, but there’s lots of good live poker action to be found in the states.

From Las Vegas to Atlantic City, California to Florida, it’s not hard to find a hotbed for high stakes cash games and regular, heavily trafficked tournaments. Playing live does require an extra skillset though, involving face-to-face psychological warfare. But anyone with dreams of donning a WSOP bracelet one day will need that, anyway.

Canada Online Poker Will Remain Superior

According to the experts with Eilers Research and Krejcik Gaming, US online poker isn’t going to get better anytime soon. In fact, their most recent data suggests that New Jersey – the only place in the US where an internet poker pro has any chance of making a living – will see its digital poker revenue decline by $1.5 million in 2017. The good news, however, is their estimation that online casino games will continue to rise 17%, up $33 million this year.

The same study predicted that at least one more state – perhaps Pennsylvania or New York? – will regulate online poker in 2017. Even so, it would take many months to create the framework, approve the software, licence the operators, etc. It would have to be at least 2018 before any official launch could take place.

In the meantime, barring any sudden and drastic changes to local laws, Canada online poker is already thriving, and will continue to remain superior to anything the US may have to offer for years to come.

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