PokerStars is the largest poker room in the world, so it might come as no surprise that PokerStars NJ is the most-popular online poker provider in New Jersey. The poker site’s launch in the Garden State was delayed due to legal complications resulting from brand carrying the stigma of being pretty much synonymous with online poker during the Black Friday events.
However, when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement finally allowed The Stars Group to enter the market in March of 2016, PokerStars quickly became the go-to site for most local online poker enthusiasts.
PokerStars’ New Jersey partner is Resorts Casino Hotel, a roaring twenties-themed Atlantic City casino hotel owned by DGMB Casinos. Resorts Casino first opened its doors in 1978. It has been an important part of the local casino landscape since.
How to sign-up for PokerStars NJ
Signing up for a PokerStars NJ account is simple – and contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a New Jersey resident to do it. The entire process boils down to downloading the client software and filling out a simple registration form. However, keep in mind that PokerStars’ NJ real money tables are available exclusively to people located within the borders of New Jersey.
As required by local regulations, all players have to download and install geo-location software. This is included with the poker client. If your computer or internet connection configuration prevents the operator from confirming your location, you won’t be able to play on PokerStars NJ. If you start your poker session in New Jersey and cross state borders, the client will immediately terminate your session.
PokerStars NJ sign-up bonuses
PokerStars NJ bonuses may, at first glance, appear very similar to what’s offered by the international version of the poker room. However, in reality, New Jersey’s promotions yield significantly more value.
$30 free play
This bonus is available to first-time depositors who deposit $20 or more. It consists of three chunks:
1. $10 in cash, credited to a player’s account within 36 hours of depositing.
2. Five Spin-and-Go tickets, awarded as follows:
- Three $1 tickets credited on the first day following the deposit
- One $2 ticket credited on the second day
- One $5 ticket credited on the third day
3. $10 in cash, credited to a player’s account seven days after their first deposit.
In addition, players receive a free ticket to an exclusive Depositor Freeroll, whichruns on the last Sunday of every month. All things considered, this promotion gives you plenty of bang for your buck if you’re more of a budget player. However, if you’re planning to deposit $30 or more, you should definitely choose the 100 percent matched deposit bonus, described below, instead.
100% matched deposit bonus, up to $600
This bonus will match your payment 1:1. In order to claim its full value, you can make three qualifying deposits over 60 days. For example, if you deposit $100 on your first day, $200 one week later, and $300 after 58 days, you’re still going to receive $600 in total bonus cash.
The matched deposit bonus releases in $10 chunks. Each chunk is credited to your account as soon as you earn 100 VIP Player Points (VPPs). Points accrue at the rate of 5.5 per $1 paid in rake or fees. This essentially amounts to a 55 percent rakeback deal.
This puts PokerStars NJ above and beyond all the other popular poker rooms, both in New Jersey and outside the borders of the state. However, in terms of nominal bonus size, other poker rooms tend to fare better.
PokerStars NJ traffic overview
Despite being the most-popular internet poker room in New Jersey, PokerStars NJ still suffers from low traffic. Although the number of active players can be 20 percent higher than in the case of the other licensed New Jersey sites, it’s still very low by global standards. This results in a significant gap between the software’s theoretical capabilities and the actual player experience.
The average number of cash game players oscillates around 100 on most weeks. Traffic tends to reach its peak between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Even around that time, the number of active players seldom exceeds 300. However, it doesn’t dip below 200 either.
To give this information more context, consider that the total number of people playing cash games on all New Jersey poker networks during peak traffic hours usually falls in the 600-700 range.
As you’d expect from a small network existing in a fenced-in market, the competition is very soft.
Numbers for tournament traffic don’t look much better. Mid-week tournaments rarely start with more than 30 enrolled players. Even weekend events don’t attract big crowds.
It’s worth noting that, unlike its global counterpart, PokerStars NJ isn’t the leading network in New Jersey when it comes to MTT traffic. This honor belongs to partypoker NJ, which consistently attracts more players despite the fact that it offers lower prize pool guarantees.
To drive this point further home, in 2017, PokerStars’ mid-December Sunday Special MTT with a $45,000 guarantee attracted only 137 players, while a similar event with a $40,000 guarantee hosted by partypoker drew 242 entries.
PokerStars NJ games
PokerStars NJ runs on the same software as its mother site, but the size of its player pool is miniscule by global standards. While it’s hard to criticize a poker room for offering too many poker variants, there’s no denying the fact that the ghost-town nature of many lobbies doesn’t reflect well on the network as a whole. As mentioned above, there is a night-and-day difference between what’s theoretically available and what’s practically playable.
PokerStars NJ cash games
Cash games on PokerStars NJ aren’t necessarily all about No-Limit Hold’em. The action is definitely limited to low-stakes tables though. Niche poker variants, such as HORSE, Razz, or 2-7 Triple Draw are supported by the software.
Nevertheless, don’t expect to play them regularly. You might find a heads-up opponent once in a blue moon, but most of the time these lobbies are empty.
Available No-Limit Hold’em stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50. The site offers 9-max play, but players tend to congregate around 6-max tables instead. You’re unlikely to find any active 9-max games outside peak traffic hours.
PokerStars’ NJ NL Hold’em player pool is composed mostly of micro- and low-stakes players. Don’t expect to find any significant full-ring action beyond $1/$2. Limit Hold’em is also available. The stakes go as high as $100/$200, but on most days this variant plays almost exclusively heads-up.
Generally speaking, Omaha enthusiasts tend to play on the largest networks. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is some Omaha action at PokerStars NJ. Just like in the case of No-Limit Hold’em, the stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50. However, unlike with NLHE, Omaha action isn’t so focused on the micros – in fact, players tend to congregate around the $0.50/$1 and $0.25/$0.50 tables on most days.
The client supports other Omaha variants, but finding someone to play against seems borderline impossible these days.
Players should not expect much beyond very sporadic heads-up play, with supported stakes ranging from $0.50/$1 to $40/$80.
PokerStars NJ multi-table tournaments
NL Hold’em MTTs are available on a daily basis. Buy-ins range from $5 to $50. Prize pool guarantees are higher than on other New Jersey networks, but the number of entries tends to be lower than on partypoker.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The lower entry count makes it easier to finish in the money. This is particularly true when you consider the loose nature of most games.
The Daily Bigs
Plenty of options, low buy-ins, high guarantees. Here’s what you can expect:
- The Big $5 (16:00 ET) – $5 buy-in, $500 guaranteed
- The Big $30 (17:00 ET) – $30 buy-in, $1,000 guaranteed
- The Big $50 (18:00 ET) – $50 buy-in, $2,000 guaranteed
- The Big $10 (18:00 ET) – $10 buy-in, $1,000 guaranteed
- The Big $20 (19:00 ET) – $20 buy-in, $1,500 guaranteed
Other recurring daily tournaments include:
- The Hot Turbos
- KO Fever
- Nightly Stars
- Moonlight Express for No-Limit Hold’em
- Change-Up for Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, and Stud
This is where things get serious and the prize pools are larger, attracting significantly more entrants. A complete list of the Sunday MTTs:
- Sunday Warm-Up (16:00 ET) – $50 buy-in, $8,500 guaranteed
- Sunday Storm (17:00 ET) – $10 buy-in, $4,500 guaranteed
- Sunday Special (18:00 ET) – $200 buy-in, $45,000 guaranteed
- Sunday High Roller (19:00 ET) – $500 buy-in, $15,000 guaranteed
- Sunday Supersonic (22:00 ET) – $75 buy-in, $5,000 guaranteed
Other poker offerings on PokerStars NJ
Aside from ring games and MTTs, PokerStars NJ players can also enjoy multiple single-table tournaments (STTs). The site additionally features fast-fold poker, but traffic is currently too low to support this fast-paced format.
Sit & Go tournaments
Sit & Go tournaments are available for No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo. All variants are available in 6-max and heads-up formats. Buy-ins range from $0.25 to $500, but even low buy-in tournaments take some time to launch outside of peak-traffic hours.
Spin & Go tournaments
Spin & Go is a special three-handed STT format with randomized prize pools, which can range from two buy-ins to 1,000 buy-ins.
Keep in mind that the odds of scoring the highest prize pool are slim. In most cases you’re going to receive the lowest potential payouts. Ticket prices range from $1 to $25.
Spin & Go tournaments are slightly more popular than standard S&Gs.
Fast-fold Zoom games
The general idea behind Zoom is simple. Once you fold your hand, you move to a different table to start your next hand immediately. When the number of active tables is high, this creates an intense, fast-paced poker experience.
However, the number of active tables on PokerStars NJ is never satisfactory. Consequently, players abandoned Zoom in favor of standard cash games.
PokerStars NJ rewards program
Unlike the global PokerStars network, PokerStars NJ has a more transparent, volume-based rewards program. Players earn VPPs to complete Steps and earn StarsCoins. Players can exchange StarsCoins for cash rewards and tournament tickets.
Your VIP status level determines the number of VPPs required to advance to the next Step:
- BronzeStar – 20 Steps – 5 VPPs per Step
- ChromeStar – 25 Steps – 20 VPPs per Step
- SilverStar – 20 Steps – 100 VPPs per Step
- GoldStar – 20 Steps – 200 VPPs per Step
- PlatinumStar – 15 Steps – 400 VPPs per Step
- SuperNova – Infinite number of Steps – 400 VPPs per Step
As previously mentioned in the bonus section, players earn VPPs at a rate of 5.5 points per $1 paid in rake or tournament fees. Your Steps reset at the end of each month, but unlike in many other volume-based systems, you do not lose your VIP status as long as you manage to again complete the minimum number of Steps required to retain it.
What makes this grind highly rewarding is the fact that the number of StarsCoins your receive for completing a Step depends on your VIP level. For instance, completing your first Step awards seven StarsCoins, but if you complete a Step on SuperNova, you’ll be getting at least 2,000.
StarsCoins can be exchanged for cash at a rate of 1,000 coins per $10. If you’re not spending your VIP currency on tournament tickets, what you get here is essentially a very rewarding cashback mechanism. If you don’t want to crunch the numbers yourself, here’s the breakdown of the whole thing:
- BronzeStar – 0 Steps to maintain – up to 169 StarsCoins – 8-9% rakeback
- ChromeStar – 5 Steps to maintain – up to 1,365 StarsCoins – 12-15% rakeback
- SilverStar – 5 Steps to maintain – up to 6,400 StarsCoins – 15-18% rakeback
- GoldStar – 10 Steps to maintain – up to 15,350 StarsCoins – 17-21% rakeback
- PlatinumStar – 10 Steps to maintain – up to 26,600 StarsCoins – 22-24% rakeback
- SuperNova – 15 Steps to maintain – between 2,000 and 2,200 StarsCoins per step – up to 28% rakeback
PokerStars NJ deposit/withdrawal options
PokerStars NJ gives you access to multiple cashiering methods.
PokerStars NJ customers have the following deposit methods at their disposal:
- Casino cage – Visit Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and deposit at the cage.
- MasterCard and Visa – Despite the fact that PokerStars NJ is a licensed poker operator, there’s a high chance that your banking institution refuses your payment. If you value your time, you should avoid this method.
- Skrill and Neteller – E-wallet solutions are fast and extremely reliable. Both Skrill and Neteller are generally considered superior to the alternatives.
- eChecks – Your funds will be credited to your account as soon as you make your payment, but you’ll have to wait for the e-check to clear before you’ll be allowed to request a cash out. This process shouldn’t take more than seven days.
- PayNearMe – Print out your PaySlip and go to a 7-Eleven to deposit. Reliable, but not exactly quick.
- PokerStars Play+ Card – A Discover prepaid card issued by PokerStars NJ – can be bought through the cashier using your credit card.
All of the aforementioned options are available for withdrawals, except for Visa, MasterCard, and PayNearMe. However, e-Checks, Neteller, and Skrill are available exclusively to players who used the method in question to deposit within 12 months of placing the cash-out request. It’s also worth noting that withdrawal requests may require up to 48 hours for approval.
PokerStars NJ support
Support staff can be contacted exclusively via e-mail at [email protected].
While you’re guaranteed to receive a quick response, obtaining a satisfactory answer can require some persistence on your part. Fortunately, you won’t have to deal with them all that often. The FAQ section on their website is quite extensive and the answers it provides tend to be detailed and satisfactory.
PokerStars NJ offers no phone support as of this time.
Other PokerStars NJ promotions
PokerStars NJ isn’t big on recurring promotions and special offers, but what’s there has the potential to provide some additional bang for your buck.
A good example of such a special offer is the Jacks or Better Challenge. Once you opt in, you’ll start accumulating points whenever you win a hand holding a pair of Jacks or Better. Once you reach the point target, you’ll instantly receive a cash prize of up to $5,000.
If you’re an Omaha player or you tend to focus exclusively on cash games, PokerStars NJ is definitely your best bet in New Jersey. If you prefer MTTs, picking between PokerStars NJ and partypoker NJ comes down to personal preference, as the prize pools and tournament lineups are very similar between both sites.
Overall, a very strong pick and registration is pretty much mandatory for any online poker players in New Jersey.