New Jersey Online Poker Outlook: Fair To Partly Cloudy

New Jersey poker players are still flocking to tournaments more so than cash games. Thankfully, the news is not bad. But it isn’t great either.

There were some tournament overlays during the past two weeks, and some cash game players went into hiding, but nothing too drastic.

Overall, New Jersey poker keeps chugging along waiting for the next big thing. What that is remains a mystery.

Most are pointing to Pennsylvania coming online as the jump start New Jersey online poker needs. We are not so sure.

Even when it does launch online poker, Pennsylvania likely won’t join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) immediately.

So for the foreseeable future look for New Jersey poker to keep doing its thing and keep banking on a big poker tournament series here and there to add a little excitement.

Here are the key stories from the U.S. regulated poker scene since our last report published on Sept. 25 are:

  • New Jersey’s three major poker operators all posted positive tournament trend lines
  • The WSOP.com Online Circuit event ended on a high note
  • PokerStars NJ‘s NJCOOP takes center stage
  • partypoker NJ reports the most consistent numbers of the bunch

Now, let’s take a look back at the tournament and cash game trends for the two-week period ending Oct. 7, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

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Major online poker tournaments summary

Two major tournament series descended on the New Jersey poker scene on Sept. 30. WSOP.com hosted its 13th and final Online Circuit event, and PokerStars NJ kicked off the always popular NJCOOP.

The WSOP.com Online Circuit event was a huge success. It met all of its guarantees and handily. PlayNevada.com spoke to Bill Rini at the conclusion of the event to get his take.

“We were actually quite surprised at how well the event performed. We were aware that a lot of players wanted something like this on the schedule, but we were truly blown away at the draw. We thought our guarantees were fairly in-line, but when every event is doubling or tripling the guarantee, it shows we underestimated the demand.”

Piggybacking on that success, all three operators are showing positive trend lines when looking back on the last two months of tournament data. It’s the first time in quite a while that we’ve been able to say that. Granted, partypoker NJ is mostly flat, but a little something is better than nothing in this environment.

Making its Sunday major guarantee was almost a certainty for WSOP.com over the last few months. Without the Online Circuit event on the schedule, the online poker room went into overlay territory for only the second time since the launch of shared liquidity.

You might assume the players went over to PokerStars NJ. You would be wrong. PokerStars NJ actually had fewer tournament players during its NJCOOP event than WSOP.com had on its regular Sunday major.

For now, let’s just keep our eyes on those positive trend lines and hope for a repeat in a few weeks time. 

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $525 Circuit Event #13 – Main Event 439 $200,000 $341,000 $141,000
PokerStarsNJ $250 NJCOOP-05 Sunday Special, $60,000 Guaranteed 285 $60,000 $66,405 $6,405
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 157 $35,000 $31,400 -$3,600

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 245 $100,000 $73,500 -$26,500
PokerStarsNJ $350 NJCOOP-25 Sunday Special, $70,000 Guaranteed 224 $70,000 $73,472 $3,472
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 174 $35,000 34,800 -200

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

The seven-day rolling average cash game traffic report is anything but exciting. It keeps posting a slightly declining trend line.

The only exception came during the few days when WSOP.com and PokerStars NJ hosted a big tournament. You can see the blip on the charts.

It doesn’t seem that PokerStars NJ was as attractive to players as WSOP.com’s Online Circuit event. Of course, that most likely has to do with the fact the WSOP.com’s player pool includes Nevada and Delaware.

The expectation was that some of the cash game players would jump ship over to PokerStars NJ once the Circuit event concluded. They jumped ship, all right. But they left the online poker scene altogether.

On average WSOP.com lost 30 cash game players, PokerStars NJ lost five, and partypoker NJ stayed the same. In fact, of all three poker operators, partypoker NJ has posted the most consistent figures. It is not helpful that it remains solidly in third place, though.

New Jersey’s online poker forecast is fair to partly cloudy at best — at least until more states join the MSIGA.

Peak traffic continues to spike a few days a week, but overall, traffic is trending downward over the last month.

With two big tournaments on the schedule for Sept. 30, one might expect a decent peak traffic number. However, that is not the case. Instead, that day posted some of the lowest peak traffic numbers of the month.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

PokerStars NJ continues to host NJCOOP through Oct. 15. The big finale comes on Oct. 14 with the $500 NJCOOP-42 NL Holdem $150,000 guaranteed Main Event.

Online poker is entering its slow season. It would not be surprising to see an announcement of another tournament series soon.

It seems as if the industry is a one-trick pony these days. Players hop from one tournament to another, so the online poker rooms are giving them what they want. partypoker NJ hasn’t hosted one in a while; maybe it is time.

We will keep our eyes on the New Jersey poker scene, and the complete U.S. regulated online poker landscape and report back here on Oct. 23.