Why choose PokerStars NJ
- Globally the biggest online poker network
- Extremely good customer support
- Play poker and casino under one wallet
- Vast selection of casino games
Most popular games
PokerStars NJ Review
The entrance of PokerStars was one of the most anticipated events in the short history of the New Jersey online gambling market. The Internet poker giant hadn’t had a presence in the United States since the events of Black Friday – the 2011 incident in which the federal government laid out indictments that effectively shut down the three largest poker sites operating in the USA – and the company had to wait through an agonizingly long approval process to get a license in the Garden State before finally launching in early 2016.
Now that they’ve finally launched, PokerStars has made a serious impact on the state’s marketplace. They will certainly big one of the biggest (if not the largest) player in the online poker industry here, and their casino operations are also formidable. But we’ll need to take a closer look in order to see if the site has a chance to look up to the considerable hype it has generated.
This isn’t normally where we’d start when it comes to the New Jersey market, but there’s no more natural place to begin talking about PokerStars than with their poker operations. Within a couple weeks of opening, they became the most popular poker site in the market, surpassing both the WSOP/888 and Party/Borgata networks in terms of cash game players. Undoubtedly, this was helped by media attention and promotional efforts, but it seems likely that the site will maintain a position at or near the top in terms of traffic for the long term.
In terms of cash games, low and medium stakes games are frequently running: games up to $2.50/$5 No Limit Hold’em are running even during off-peak hours, with some players available on occasion at higher stakes. Pot Limit Omaha is also popular, with $1/$2 games running frequently. The famous Spin and Go “lottery” style tournaments have also been ported over to NJ, with versions that cost anywhere from $1 to $25 being offered here.
For tournament players, most of the action is relatively small, though there are also some bigger events available, particularly on Sundays. The Sunday Special is a $200 buy-in tournament that begins at 6 pm Eastern each week, which features a guaranteed prize pool of at least $50,000.
Transferring between the poker and casino parts of the PokerStars interface is simple: there is a large button near the top of the client that allows you to instantly choose where you want to be. Once you head into the casino, you’ll see a mix of games that come from Amaya brands (naturally, as PokerStars is an Amaya holding), along with NetEnt. This provides a rather diverse selection of slots, with the NetEnt machines tending to be the most popular choices among players.
All told, there are just over 30 different slots available for players to choose from in this software. While that’s not the widest selection out there by a long shot, there is enough variety here to keep most players interested. The following are a few of the most popular titles:
- Druidess Gold
- Vampires vs. Werewolves
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Jack Hammer
- Gonzo’s Quest
- Monkey in the Bank
- Judge Dredd
- Irish Eyes 2
New players can take advantage of two different offers, depending on just how much they would like to deposit. The more casual option is a $50 free play offer that can be taken on any deposit of $20 or more. If you take this offer, you’ll find that a $10 Spin and Go ticket has been instantly credited to your account, along with a ticket to a $5,000 freeroll (as well as one million play money chips, if you’d like to enjoy some fun play as well). Within 36 hours, you’ll be given $20 that you can use however you like; another $20 will be gifted to you a week after your deposit clears. Interestingly, there are no restrictions on how this money can be used, so it is yours to keep or cash out as you like; however, the terms and conditions do require that you take this offer “with the intention of using [the money] to play real money games,” so the offer could be voided if you attempt to cash it out without playing.
Higher stakes players may prefer to use a 100% matching first deposit bonus worth up to $600. This bonus can be taken all at once, or over as many as three deposits, so there’s no rush to put the whole $600 into your account immediately if you aren’t comfortable committing that much cash. The bonus will be cleared by earning VIP Player Points on the site; every 100 VPPs earned will unlock $10 of the bonus funds, which will then be credited to you as real money.
How to Play
Unlike most sites in this market – or, frankly, in the industry today – PokerStars NJ is not available in an instant play format. That means that you’ll have to download a client to your computer in order to play. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternative clients available for different operating systems, including Windows, Macs, iPhones (and iPads), and Android devices, among others. The client takes just a couple minutes to download on a broadband connection, and contains both poker and casino games in one package.
As with all sites in New Jersey, only adults who are currently located within the state borders can play for real money here. However, you do not need to reside in the state in order to open an account or explore the software. Real money play, though, will only become active when you can be geolocated within New Jersey.
While there isn’t a wide breadth of table games here, some of the options are surprisingly intriguing. In particular, there are a lot of multiplayer tables, where you’ll be able to sit down with friends (or complete strangers) and test your luck against the dealer. Blackjack, roulette, and a hold’em-based game can all be played in multiplayer formats here.
As we said, however, the actual selection of games is relatively thin. There are several variations of both blackjack and roulette, but only a few other games to choose from. The offerings are as follows:
- European Roulette
- Double Ball Roulette
- Heads-Up Hold’em
More disappointing is the complete lack of video poker, at least at this time. You also won’t find any “specialty” games: there are no scratch cards or keno available.
As with many of the New Jersey casino sites, PokerStars offers a wide variety of methods for players to use when they are banking. These range from credit cards and popular e-wallets to the prepaid methods and the unique option we’ve seen throughout the state: the ability to make deposits and cash outs at the site’s land-based partner, Resorts Casino.
There are also a couple of options specific to this site that we’d like to spotlight. The PokerStars Play+ Card is a prepaid Discover card that is paired with your account and can be used for banking here or anywhere else Discover is accepted. In addition, there is an instant online banking option that works with many major banks (and some regional ones), including Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and HSBC.
The full range of deposit options includes:
- Resorts Casino Cashier
- Instant Online Banking
- Play+ Card
Withdrawals can be processed through many of the same options, though there isn’t quite as wide a range of choices when you’re cashing out. The credit cards can no longer be used, nor can the instant banking or PayNearMe. That still leaves all of these options for withdrawals:
- Play+ Card
- Resorts Casino Cashier
There’s a lot to digest here, as PokerStars is a slightly different animal than we’ve seen elsewhere in this market. The focus here is definitely on poker: the client starts you in the poker room by default, and the promotions are generally targeted towards poker players (though there are special, in-client promotions for casino players that rely on an in-game currency known as StarsCoin). This comes as little surprise, of course: this company built its name on poker, and has only recently found its way into the wider casino games market.
This means that if you are solely looking to play slots or table games, there may be better options in the state. However, for those who are excited about the entry of PokerStars into New Jersey, that’s unlikely to be the case. It’s right there in the name: you know you’re here to get poker and other games on the side, rather than the other way around. We like the fact that everything is integrated into one client, as well, allowing you to bounce to and from the casino as you like without taking you too far away from the main offering.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting entries into NJ’s Internet gambling marketplace so far, even if it’s not the best choice for everyone. If you’ve been waiting for PokerStars again, then the great news is that it is here, and just as impressive as you remember it. For other players, if you’re looking for an integrated poker/casino solution from one of the most trusted providers in gaming, then this is the site for you.