New Jersey Takes The WSOP Title While Other States Struggle To Get Online Gambling

Written By Jessica Welman on July 30, 2017 - Last Updated on March 25, 2022
WSOP sign

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is over and done with, so now the gambling world’s attention is focused on places outside of Las Vegas once again.

Even as the WSOP wrapped up, the talk about the winner focused on New Jersey. Social media generated debate on just how good the East Coast poker pros are and just how much the presence of online poker in the state matters in their success.

Meanwhile, runner-up Daniel Ott’s home state of Pennsylvania is still struggling to both balance the budget and pass gambling expansion legislation. New York’s online poker hopes are dead this year, but that is not stopping one new Empire State casino from establishing itself as one of the places to play the game on the East Coast.

Here are all those stories and more in this week’s top gaming headline roundup:

Pennsylvania online gambling hopes might have to wait until fall

The Pennsylvania legislature continues to scramble as it tries to come up with ways to balance this year’s budget. There is currently a $2 billion deficit on the $32 billion budget. Now lawmakers are trying to reach a compromise that generates the money without hiking taxes too much.

The Senate approved a plan this week that earmarks $200 million of the budget as stemming from gambling expansion. With that much money expected, online gambling would have to part of that expansion.

Online gambling’s presence in the budget fix is a good sign, but it seems like it could be the fall before the House and Senate can reach a compromise and pass iGaming. There is also a chance they do not pass anything, as last year there was a similar budget measure but no expansion ever came about.

Scott Blumstein wins WSOP Main Event

The WSOP ended with a bang last weekend. With a dramatic deuce on the river, New Jersey poker pro Scott Blumstein took down the third-largest WSOP Main Event ever. The 25 year old took home over $8.1 million.

In addition to winning big, Blumstein won in style. He did so with a smile on his face at a final table with some of the more jovial participants in recent memory. As poker’s newest ambassador, Blumstein will need that positive attitude and personality.

Blumstein is not only poker’s newest ambassador either. He is, more specifically, the poster boy for New Jersey online poker success. Since online poker came to the Garden State, there has not been a year without a New Jersey player at the Main Event final table. Certainly could be variance, but it is also a sign that the Americans contending with the increasingly talented international players are the ones with access to online poker.

Speaking of international players, the real winners at this year’s final table are the London residents. Thanks to taxation, third-place finisher Benjamin Pollak actually did not net that much less than Blumstein at the end of the day. Moreover, British amateur John Hesp, who took fourth, ended up earning as much as runner-up Daniel Ott of Pennsylvania did.

Rivers Casino Schenectady hosting Poker Night in America

The upstate New York casinos are not even a year old yet. Rivers Casino Schenectady is making up for any lost time though. After hosting a successful tournament over Memorial Day weekend, the property is stepping up its poker game.

In August, the casino will host the first-ever King of the Hill event from poker TV show Poker Night in America. The event pits four top poker pros in a heads-up tournament. The event is a winner-take-all format with each player putting up $50,000 to play. The line-up is:

  • Phil Hellmuth
  • Doug Polk
  • Dan Cates
  • Frank Kassela

The event will be livestreamed as well as filmed for TV. There will also be two days of invite-only cash game action in addition to the heads-up event.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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