In March 2016, PokerStars officially re-entered the Garden State online poker market with its New Jersey launch. Less than a month into the world’s largest poker site becoming available to NJ poker players, there has been plenty of feedback from well known New Jersey personalities.
Here is what we’ve seen so far on positive feedback surrounding PokerStars NJ as well as complaints from Garden State players.
PokerStars New Jersey: The Good
Jason Somerville Run It Up Live Stream
The globe’s most popular poker live streamer — Jason Somerville — is in action on PokerStars NJ routinely. He plays all stakes and should provide the best chance for an early market boost in 2016.
Somerville recently surpassed 10 million total views on his jcarverpoker Twitch Channel, which gives NJ poker fans both live and archived content without having to pay for a monthly subscription.
Ironically Somerville could potentially earn credit for being solely responsible for PokerStars NJ’s eventually success if he is able to spread the gospel of online poker throughout the Garden State while continuing his efforts to regulate the game across the continental U.S.
Tournament Leaderboard Returns
The PokerStars Tournament Leaderboard is alive and well in New Jersey. Despite not having the ability to compete in the Rest of World (RoW) player pool, those located in New Jersey can compare their monthly Points to opponents and even win cash prizes if they finish near the top.
The Top 20 PokerStars tournament cashes for each NJ player are weighed against a Points System to determine the winner each month. Although some recreational players have provided positive feedback on actually having a chance to claim an extra prize, volume will still win out in the long run.
PokerStars NJ SCOOP — May 2016 Debut
New Jersey players who are anxiously awaiting large guaranteed online tournament prize pools will be glad to know that the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) will make its Garden State debut next month.
SCOOP tournament buy-ins will range from $5 to $1,000 — giving NJ players of all bankroll levels an opportunity to take down their first major “regulated” online poker event ever.
In most online poker players’ eyes, PokerStars has by far the best software when compared to its competitors — especially in New Jersey. Garden State players have naturally gravitated to the world’s most recognized online poker brand in recent weeks due to its user-friendly interface.
PokerStars may have curtailed its Drop Down Menus when it released the latest version of its software, but there are still enough intuitive features to enjoy as well as enough stats to satisfy even the most devout number cruncher.
On the flip side of this token, competing New Jersey poker sites partypoker/Borgata Poker and 888 Poker/WSOP are known for frustrating some players due to lagged software, cancelled events, and minuscule player fields.
Setting The Right Tone
Aside from the fact that PokerStars managed to drop a deuce on RoW players on the same exact date that it launched in New Jersey, the right “local” tone was set when the site opened its virtual doors in NJ.
Select New Jersey establishments worked in conjunction with PokerStars marketing personnel to set up “Happy Hours” and “Discounted Meals” throughout the Garden State on the day that the site launched. It was a great maneuver by PokerStars’ promotional team, and a great way to get off on the right foot in NJ.
Precedent For More U.S. Regulated Online Poker
There is a large amount of industry interest in whether PokerStars can successfully make end-roads into a greater U.S. regulated online poker presence. If there is one poker site that has the software and marketing power to create a buzz in the States, it’s PokerStars.
Although many industry insiders are hesitant to predict a significant overall market increase due to PokerStars’ arrival in New Jersey, there are hopes that the brand can remain scandal-free long enough to convince officials in other jurisdictions that it can work in places like California.
Online Poker Game Variety
One of the great things about PokerStars is that the site offers a wide variety of stakes, formats and game types. New Jersey players are unlikely to wait as long as they would on a competing Garden State site when attempting to find a current cash game or tournament on Stars.
What’s more, New Jersey players are also able to experience lottery-style tournaments called Spin & Gos, Although not quite as popular with online pros, the format is sure to be a hit with Weekend Warriors and other recreational Garden State players.
PokerStars New Jersey: The Bad
Baazov Criminal Insider Trading Charges
PokerStars’ former CEO, David Baazov, recently stepped down from his position with parent company Amaya after being formally charged with insider trading by Canadian authorities.
Baazov’s exit hatch was liberally greased by poker media representatives, yet having a company’s main decision maker implicated in criminal activities in the first few days following the site’s New Jersey launch could prove devastating.
Despite achieving a massive amount of goodwill leading up to and following Black Friday, the PokerStars brand has managed to squander most of it with its larger, Rest of World market.
The sudden removal of legacy benefits alongside increased rake are making the games much tougher outside the United States, and plenty of New Jersey “regular” players are aware of this.
Many poker media writers have sided with PokerStars when it comes to changing its fees, but the decrease in (previously promised) player rewards for high volume consumers has run a damaging course via Google archived content.
Luckily for PokerStars (at least in New Jersey), the local player base is not at all affected by those changes, and will likely continue to play on the site as long as they enjoy the experience more than the other two statewide options.
Great Weather is Bad For Online Poker
New Jersey, which is located in the northeastern portion of the United States, is known for its teeth-chattering Winter months as well as its more pleasant climate during the Spring and Summer.
Almost without exception, online poker participation in a certain region decreases when the weather outside is fair. The timing of the PokerStars’ March 2016 NJ launch coincides with a seasonal downtrend that nearly every poker media representative is predicting will happen.
We may have to wait until September and beyond to see if PokerStars is actually able to bring more players into the state-based online poker market.
We are LIVE in New Jersey! pic.twitter.com/j1cpSqtqcj— PokerStars (@PokerStars) March 21, 2016