New Jersey Online Poker Gets Some Of Its Tournament Mojo Back

It is good to know New Jersey poker players still love their tournaments. Over the past week, players have been flocking to WSOP.com for their chance to win one of 13 WSOP Circuit gold rings.

There is more good news on the horizon. Once the Online Circuit event concludes, PokerStars NJ will pick up where WSOP.com leaves off with its 47-event NJCOOP.

While things are looking up in the tournament world, cash games are still just hanging on. Shared liquidity just didn’t increase the player pool in the Garden State enough to make much of a difference.

Even so, it is nice to finally report some good news about the New Jersey online poker scene for a change.

Here are the key stories from the U.S. regulated poker scene since our last report published on Sept. 11 are:

  • All three operators exceeded their major tournament guarantees for two weeks in a row
  • WSOP.com is hosting the Online Circuit event and is posting some big numbers
  • PokerStars NJ took a hit in cash games this week posting some of its lowest numbers in months
  • partypoker NJ is just chugging along without any big wins or significant losses

Now, let’s take a look back at the tournament and cash game trends for the two-week period ending Sept. 23, 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

Finally, some good news to share. For the first time in two months, all three operators exceeded their guarantees for both of the last two Sundays.

This is a big deal. There have only been three other Sundays since shared liquidity launched on May 1 that all three operators avoided paying out of pocket.

WSOP.com is in the middle of hosting the inaugural WSOP.com Online Circuit tournament series. The 13-event series promises over $700,000 guarantees and 13 gold rings.

So far, every tournament smashed its guarantee. It must feel good to both WSOP.com and the players to have some of the WSOP mojo back.

WSOP.com combines the player pools between Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey and that undoubtedly contributes to its tournament success. It will be interesting to see if PokerStars’ NJCOOP will have similar success or if shared liquidity really does have an impact. Look for NJCOOP kicks off this upcoming weekend.

The declining trends for the past two months are flattening out. They are not quite as sharp as they were immediately following the WSOP.

What is surprising is partypoker NJ showing a slight positive trend. It rarely posts the big numbers that WSOP.com and PokerStars NJ do during a big tournament series. As a result, it doesn’t see the big drop in entries following a series either. It just holds steady week after week.

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 237 $100,000 $100,200 $200
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 194 $35,000 $36,084 $1,084
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 191 $35,000 $38,200 $3,200

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP WSOp Circuit Event #6 – $320 NLH Monster Stack 579 $100,000 $173,700 $73,700
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $35,000 Guaranteed 206 $35,000 $38,316 $3,316
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $35,000 Guaranteed NLH 191 $35,000 $38,200 $3,200

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Cash game players usually go where the big tournaments are. After two months of sharply declining trends, WSOP.com is finally back on an upward climb.

It appears most of the players came from PokerStars NJ. Its seven-day rolling cash game average fell into the 70s for an entire week. The only time it has been consistently that low is during the WSOP. Of course, that is when half of New Jersey poker players make the trek to the Nevada desert.

No doubt, PokerStars NJ is hoping to reverse the trend when it takes over tournament hosting duties from the WSOP.com this weekend.

While the tournament baton passes from WSOP.com to PokerStars NJ, partypoker NJ will most likely be hanging steady. partypoker NJ is consistently in third place, but it hasn’t had the fluctuations in numbers the other two online poker sites have had.

Peak traffic numbers are still showing declines across the board. The sites seem to have a hard time posting solid traffic for more than a few days in a row.

Even the very popular Online Circuit event doesn’t seem to be impacting peak traffic numbers consistently day after day. Although, WSOP.com did produce some noticeable spikes in traffic during the past week.

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

We’ll be watching tournament traffic transition from WSOP.com to PokerStars NJ this next weekend. WSOP.com will be wrapping up the Online Circuit event, and PokerStars will be starting NJCOOP.

The series will likely be huge considering PokerStars NJ is giving away three coveted Platinum Passes. The schedule consists of 47 events and over $1 million in guarantees.

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. 9.

Image courtesy of Larry Kang/Flickr