PokerStars’ new shared liquidity pool between players in France and Spain is also open to players outside those two countries.
This week, The Stars Group’s flagship site PokerStars began pooling online poker liquidity between its locally licensed sites in France and Spain. Stars is the first site licensed in both jurisdictions to pool cross-border liquidity since Spain published its liquidity sharing regulations on the Official State Gazette on Monday.
Surprisingly, the announcement of the liquidity launch by PokerStars.fr rep ‘PokerStars Benjamin’ in the ClubPoker forum also informed players that “non-resident players in France or Spain will be able to play on the pool by registering on the .ES. License, with the exception of residents of a country subject to a national regulation.”
In other words, provided that your home territory doesn’t have its own domestic regulated online poker market, you’re welcome to sign up via PokerStars.es and dive into the Franco-Spanish pool. Players from various European markets have since confirmed their ability to register with PokerStars.es and start playing against Spanish and French players.
The move came as something of a surprise, given that PokerStars.fr explicitly prevents players from outside France from opening accounts. PokerStars Benjamin said the different rules were due to the company’s belief that “the new shared liquidity will be of sufficient size to accommodate foreign players without negatively impacting the ecosystem, which was no longer the case in .FR before the transition to shared liquidity.”
Benjamin also clarified that the company’s previous limitation of its .es site to Spanish residents “was a PS choice,” noting that the Spanish-licensed sites of rivals PartyPoker and 888Poker each accepted non-resident players from the market’s launch.
Last summer, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain agreed to a framework for pooling their online poker markets. While France and Spain have lived up to their end of the bargain, Portugal has remained tight-lipped on its regulatory progress, while Italy appears to be having second thoughts about the whole endeavor.
The liquidity pooling has been touted as the cure for the ailing poker sectors in the previously ring-fenced markets, which have undergone steep declines in recent years, particularly on the cash games side, although there has been a bit of a resurgence in poker activity in both France and Spain over the past year.