From the WSOP / 888 to PokerStars and partypoker, New Jersey’s online poker industry is brimming with quality. Naturally, this reputation reflects in the games you can play and the promotions you can pick. It doesn’t matter whether you want low-stakes cash games, free credits, or entry to a WSOP bracelet event. The Garden State’s finest can oblige. In this guide to NJ online poker, we’ve broken down the basics and outlined everything you need to know about one of the leading gaming regions in the US.
So how does New Jersey’s online poker economy look in 2021? Although certain sites have fallen by the wayside since 2013, the economy is as strong as it's ever been. The entrance of PokerStars in 2016 provided the local market with a shot in the arm and, in recent months, COVID-19 has forced operators to innovate.
For example, as well as an online version of the WSOP, residents have been given the chance to play for World Poker Tour (WPT) titles courtesy of partypoker. These innovations have seen revenue surge in 2020 and 2021. Over the 2020 summer months, overall income for online poker was almost $5 million per month. That’s a year-on-year increase of more than 155%. Put simply, NJ poker online is as strong as it's ever been and that means it’s a great time to get in on the action.
Why have we listed the above as the best online poker sites in New Jersey? For starters, they’re all international brands. 888Poker New Jersey may be a top poker name in the US but its roots stretch back across the Atlantic to Europe and the UK. It’s the same story with PokerStars New Jersey and partypoker NJ.
The only one of the above that didn’t carve out a reputation in Europe before going live in New Jersey is WSOP.com. However, as the owner of the largest live poker series in the world, this company also has an international reputation for excellence.
To bring their brand of poker to the Garden State, each operator partners with a local casino. For example, partypoker New Jersey has a deal with the Borgata and BetMGM, while WSOP.com and 888 Poker NJ have a deal with Caesars Atlantic City. Stars, on the other hand, is linked to Resorts Casino. These relationships not only make them legal online poker sites in New Jersey but give them more locally accessible and widen player pools.
There’s no use having an international reputation for excellence and ignoring local tastes and traditions. All these sites blend the best of what poker has to offer in New Jersey and the world at large. Finally, you can play across states thanks to liquidity sharing pacts between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, these two sites can offer interstate online poker. This is particularly important because it means local players get access to bigger events, including the WSOP Online.
WSOP.com New Jersey is the top site in the state when it comes to overall activity. That instantly makes it a winning destination. However, as an original player on the scene (it went live in 2013), this operator offers a lot more than action. Firstly, it’s the digital arm of the world’s leading live tournament provider. As an offshoot, this site has a reputation for quality and excellence by default. What’s more, it has the ability to provide MTTs like few others.
Yes, Stars leads the way when it comes to major online festivals. However, WSOP.com has carried what its live counterpart started and put together a solid roster of weekly and annual MTTs. For example, the Sunday Guarantee gives you the chance to play for a share of $10,000 each week. In fact, in 2020, the weekly prize pool increased to $100,000. If that’s not enough, this NJ site also hosts official bracelet events.
That’s right. Every summer, you’ll have the chance to play for WSOP bracelets without leaving New Jersey. On top of this, and actually it’s the online card room that’s home to official satellites for the summer series. Therefore, if you’ve ever wanted to travel to Las Vegas and compete in the World Series of Poker, this is the site to use.
Tournaments aren’t the only thing this card room excels at. Its software is powered by 888 and it has interstate connections with Nevada. However, when it comes to picking one main winning point, MTTs are it. From regular small stakes offerings to world-class showdowns. There really is no other site in New Jersey that can match it.
When it comes to branding and reach, this room doesn’t just lead in New Jersey, but also worldwide. It did come to the party late having launched in New Jersey in 2016. However, it’s made up a lot of ground in a short space of time. This is partly due to its success outside the US. In almost every legalized poker market, Stars is the biggest site there is. That reputation goes with it wherever it travels and that’s certainly true in New Jersey.
Tournaments are a great place to start when it comes to PokerStars NJ, simply because there are so many to choose from. The weekly roster is packed with value at all levels. For example, there’s a $5,000 freeroll every week for newbies. Beyond that you’ve got four Sunday majors, including the Sunday Special topping $100,000 in prizepools. Finally, Stars is renowned for hosting major festivals. The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) is the largest and it typically guarantees $1 Million in prizes.
Because there is more money and resources than most, it can innovate at a faster rate. Over the years, we’ve seen Zoom (fast-fold cash games) and Spin & Go (three-handed lottery-style tournaments) have become popular. Not only that, they’ve given niches that other operators can’t match. When you combine this with the second busiest cash game network in New Jersey, there’s very little not to like about PokerStars NJ.
888 does offer poker in the UK and other European countries, but its main expertise is in other betting. However, what this company also specializes in is software, providing services and networks for other brands. This means that it can be on both sides of poker simultaneously - which is an advantage. On the one hand, 888Poker can react to what players want. On the other, 888 drives industry trends because it creates the software other sites use. Having this omnipresent position helped 888Poker New Jersey become the most active site in the state.
And yes, it is also the biggest online poker site in New Jersey. Because 888Poker and WSOP.com share a network. This means players on the former will compete against players on the latter. The end result is a daily average of over 500 users logged on at any one time, with more than 200 cash game players. This ability to offer more action that most is enhanced when you factor in that NJ 888Poker has interstate liquidity.
If we look at specifics, 888 Poker New Jersey gives newbies up to $1,500 in bonus cash. Although regular players can take part in freerolls too, as well as other promotional MTTs. The weekly tournament schedule is strong and cash games are well stocked up to $5/$10 NLHE. However, a particular feature we like is BLAST tournaments.
These four-handed sit and go tournaments offer random prizes. At the lowest level, you pay $0.10 to enter and win from $0.20 to $1,000. At $30 buy-ins, you can win $300,000 for beating three players. Besides generous prizes, BLAST tournaments are also high-pace. Blinds increase every two minutes, and, after some time, everyone must move all-in blind.
For a solid all-rounder, partypoker should be your go-to NJ online poker site. partypoker is one of the longest serving operators. The original site launched in 2001 and quickly became the largest platform worldwide. Although it subsequently lost its footing, the company has rebounded in recent years under the guidance of GVC Holdings.
Today, partypoker is one of the most consistent and widely available brands in the US. It’s done this through partnerships with MGM (under Roar Digital), the WPT and, in New Jersey, the Borgata. New players get a bonus worth up to $600 as welcome as well as unique promotions like Spin the Wheel. Plus, daily $10,000 guaranteed tournaments, the Sunday $35K, and leaderboards for sit and go players.
partypoker’s software has also improved dramatically over the last five years. The developers have made a concerted effort to enhance the experience for casual players and the security team does a great job of weeding out cheats. All of these are nice selling points, particularly when you factor in that there’s a solid selection of low stakes Hold’em and Omaha cash games. However, the area it really excels at is major tournaments.
Thanks to a long-running deal with the World Poker Tour (WPT), partypoker is able to offer MTTs with real value and prestige. In September 2020, the two announced the launch of their first Online WPT Poker Open in New Jersey. The tournament carried a $300,000 guarantee and the allure of becoming a WPT champion. Alongside a WSOP bracelet, winning a WPT title is just about the biggest thing you can do in poker. So, you have an opportunity to etch your name in the books without leaving the comfort of your home. This is one of the major reasons to try partypoker New Jersey.
Global Poker is known as a sweepstakes site. You technically have to purchase credits before you can play. But its model makes it as legal as real-cash poker sites. However, it differs from PokerStars et al in that you don’t play for cash. Instead, you play for coins. You purchase packages of gold coins in order to play tournaments and cash games. Alongside these coins, you’ll also get sweeps cash.
If you’ve got some sweeps, you can redeem them for gift cards. Firstly, you need to verify your identity. After that, you can cash in as many or as few sweeps as you like (the minimum is 20 sweeps). You can choose to receive your money as a physical gift card or a virtual one. (These are processed through bank transfer, PayPal or Skrill.)
Because you’re not technically playing for real money, Global Poker is legal in New Jersey and 48 other US states. The only place you can’t use this site is Washington. The reason is because it uses old sweepstakes laws. In simple terms, because you’re purchasing and playing with gold coins rather than cash, it’s not breaking any laws. Since sweeps are a byproduct of playing, you can use them to claim a “prize.” And hence withdraw your winnings.
Alongside tournaments like Gold Rush and Bonanza, Global Poker has Hold’em and Omaha cash games. As well as Caribbean Poker for the casino fans, and a poker school. Which is something we like because it adds to the newbie vibe. Allowing new players to hone their skills without worrying about pros. Once you feel confident, we suggest switching over to a NJ poker site like 888 or partypoker.
|WSOP.com NJ||Get 100% bonus |
up to $1,000
|PokerStars NJ||FREE30 OR STARS600||$30 free credits OR |
100% match up to $600
|888poker NJ||Get $20 Free|
|partypoker NJ||WELCOMEBONUS||$25 free play + |
100% up to $1,000
|Global Poker||Get $20 worth of |
Free Gold Coins
As you can see from above, there are three main bonuses you can expect to see at a NJ poker site:
This is a bonus you get just for registering an account and verifying. One such example is what you get at 888poker New Jersey. This bonus you can use to enter cash games or tournaments and build a bankroll from nothing. This is generally a one-time offer only available to new players and is by far the most popular kind of welcome reward.
Similar to a free bonus on registration, new and existing players at legit NJ card rooms can benefit from free tickets. Either from ongoing weekly or monthly promos or as a gift dropped in your account, like when you first sign up to a site. Free tournaments tickets differ from free bonuses in that they are specified tournaments, or maybe a freeroll ticket for a sizable prize.
This is the most common type of bonus and one you’ll most likely find included in a welcome offer or package. You’ll get this bonus on your deposit, sometimes with a bonus code needed in the relevant field. It will “match” the amount you deposit by a percentage - usually 100%.
So if you deposit $200, with a 100% match, you’ll get an extra $200 to play with, perhaps released in increments. What varies from site to site is the maximum amount of match bonus you can get. Or maybe how much time you have to wager it before you can claim and withdraw it.
The state of New Jersey imposes several strict regulations, including:
New Jersey lawmakers made online poker legal back in 2013. As one of the first US states to regulate online poker and gaming, officials wanted to make sure they set an example. As such, all online operators had to partner with a local live venue.
For example, partypoker has a working relationship with the Borgata in
Atlantic City. This condition is still in place today and provides a degree
of assurance and accountability within the state.
Online sites also need to have servers located in New Jersey. The company doesn’t have to have its HQ in the Garden State. However, the servers must be based in the region. In fact, this ethos applies to players. If you want to join and use a site in New Jersey, you must be located within state lines.
You don’t have to be a resident. However, the points at which you register and, subsequently, log in to the site, you must be in the state. To ensure you comply, you’ll have to allow an operator’s geolocation software to establish where you are. If you don’t do this or you’re outside of New Jersey, you won’t be able to access the site/mobile app.
Finally, you must be at least 21 years old to play online poker in New Jersey. Like your location, you’ll have to prove this before you can make a deposit/withdrawal by submitting some form of official ID. As long as you meet these two conditions, you can play real-money cash games and tournaments in New Jersey.
What’s more, thanks to liquidity sharing pacts with Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, you can also compete against players in other states (providing the site you’re using offers this option).
The only other thing you need to know when it comes to NJ online poker laws is tax. Operators pay 15% on gross revenue and an additional 2.5% for Investment Alternative Tax Obligations. As a player, you’re liable for state and federal tax on winnings.
In some situations, a certain amount of tax is withheld as standard. For example, tournament winnings over $5,000 (once the buy-in has been subtracted) will have a small amount withheld. However, it’s your responsibility to declare any relevant income.
We’ve already stated that geolocation software is integral to every poker site in New Jersey. This is to comply not only with state laws but federal laws. Unlike other parts of the world where playing online is legal across the entire country, the US works on a state-by-state basis. What’s legal in New Jersey is prohibited in New York, for example.
Therefore, if you want to use the best New Jersey poker sites, you’ll always have to prove that you’re within state lines. If you get caught trying to game the system, your account will be shut down. What’s more, you could be prosecuted not just in New Jersey, but under federal law in the state where you were trying to play illegally.
So, you should never try to skip the geolocation verification process or provide false details when you create an account. Even if you could find a way to play illegally (it’s virtually impossible), the consequences simply aren’t worth it.
How did New Jersey poker become a thing? Well, for that, we need to go back to 2011 and the events of Black Friday. When the Department of Justice unsealed indictments against online poker operators breaking the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), the industry in the US died.
With federal laws preventing international operators from serving US customers, the online market disappeared overnight. However, thanks to New Jersey lawmakers, the winds of change soon resurrected the industry. Although online legal poker would come back to the US in a slightly different form, it did find its way back in.
It all started with a 2011 bill that invoked a state’s right to enact its own laws. As outlined, the bill sought to make online gambling legal in New Jersey for any aged 21+ and located in the state. The bill passed the House and Senate but wasn’t signed into law. Governor Chris Christie vetoed it, citing concerns that it would hurt Atlantic City. Changes were made that protected casinos in Atlantic City while also giving poker sites a chance to thrive.
In February 2013, bill A2578/S1565 was approved and signed into law by Gov. Christie. By July, all 12 of Atlantic City’s casinos had applied for online gaming licenses, six of which had already started building websites. By November 2013, 13 gaming sites had been licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). And an initial testing phase was successful.
On November 26, 2013, the following sites officially went live: Betfair Casino, Betfair Poker, Borgata Casino, Borgata Poker, Caesars Casino, Harrah’s Casino, partypoker, Tropicana Casino, Ultimate Casino, Ultimate Poker, World Series of Poker NJ, 888Casino, and 888Poker.
Finally, Golden Nugget Casino joined the party on December 26, bringing a year of change to an end.
In the years that followed, sites would come and go. Ultimate Poker became the most notable departure, while the entrance of PokerStars in 2016 breathed new life into the industry. Today, New Jersey still stands as one of the biggest regulated online gaming markets in the US.
There are plenty of bricks and mortar poker rooms in NJ, so why play online? That’s a good question. Most people prefer to play via computer because it’s easier. However, if we’re looking at specifics, digital platforms have an edge over New Jersey poker rooms also because of the following factors.
Thinking times are limited online and, because the dealer is virtual, hands take seconds rather than minutes. If you’re someone that prefers a faster pace, online is definitely the way forward. Couple this with short-handed tables (six, four, three and two-handed). Meaning you get to see many more hands per hour when you play via your desktop or mobile.
With fewer overheads and the potential to run more games than a live poker room, online operators can offer a broader range of stakes. In the average NJ poker room, you’ll probably need at least $50 to sit down and play a $1/$2 game. Online, it’s possible to play for a dollar or less. Cash games start at $0.01/$0.02 and there are tournaments that are either free or start at $0.10. This makes online card rooms accessible to everyone, regardless of how large or small their bankroll is.
The final reason poker sites in NJ have the edge over their offline counterparts is game selection. Even the largest poker rooms in New Jersey can only hold a couple of hundred players at best. Online, there’s virtually no limit to the number of players that can ante up. As such, operators can offer more games and, importantly, more variety. Because they’re not faced with the same space restrictions, New Jersey online poker sites can cater to a much wider range of players.
New Jersey’s leading mobile poker apps are all slick, stable, and secure. However, of the top operators, each one has its own strengths:
This app offers a full range of options, including cash games and tournaments. It’s also possible to play in the World Series of Poker New Jersey via the app.
Cash games, tournaments, and sit and go tables can be accessed via the app. Most games take place at micro stakes. However, the main strength of this app is speed. The software is slick and the quick-seat function gets you into a game in seconds.
This operator offers the most sophisticated and robust mobile app in the state. You can play in portrait or landscape mode and there are plenty of customizable features. Additionally, you can play Zoom (fast-fold poker) cash games and tournaments.
Recent updates have made the partypoker NJ mobile app much more intuitive. You can now play in portrait mode and the bet slider has been centralized for easier use. Additionally, you’ll find a full range of games at all stakes.
What is the traffic like at New Jersey online poker sites? Pretty good. In fact, it’s better than any other US state offering regulated gaming. WSOP/888 has the largest playerpool, not least because it’s connected to networks in Nevada and Delaware. These interstate connections have actually increased the number of active players in all regions over the last few years.
However, it’s important to remember that, because online poker isn’t federally regulated, traffic isn’t as strong as it could be. New Jersey has a population of around nine million. Of that population, only a small percentage play poker. Because of this, it’s hard to find action in certain games.
In the early days, it was all about low stakes No Limit Hold’em. However, as the NJ online poker market has matured, Pot Limit Omaha has been brought into the mix. There are times when you can find Draw and Stud. However, this is only when there’s a major tournament festival happening such as the WSOP.
In general, most of the action happens at $200 NLHE/PLO and below. There has been a slight increase in mid-stakes games over the last few years. This is mainly because of the WSOP hosting online events and more pros travelling to the state to play. Therefore, what you’ll find with mid and high stakes games is that they’re seasonal and only take place when there’s a big MTT running.
WSOP NJ/888 Poker NJ: 547 players
PokerStars: 335 players
partypoker/Borgata/BetMGM: 172 players
*These figures were correct at medium to peak hours in Jan 2021.
New Jersey poker tournaments have gotten a lot better in recent years. When Stars arrived in 2016, it brought with it a wealth of experience in this area. Major festivals such as the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) go beyond what’s available on a site’s weekly roster of MTTs.
Indeed, because these festivals offer a variety of events with prizepools topping $1 million, they’re a huge draw. Since PokerStars NJ raised the bar, WSOP.com has responded with online events. And, more recently, partypoker has worked with the WPT to offer world-class festivals within the Garden State.
Cash games are a staple of any online poker site. At the time of writing, WSOP/888 and PokerStars attracted the most cash game players. However, every site in the state will have at least a few cash games. The beauty of these tables is that you’re playing with cash, therefore, anything you win can be banked as soon as you leave. As a general rule, you’ll find the most action playing No Limit Hold’em at tables with buy-ins of $100 or less.
Sit & Go tournaments are great if you like competition but don’t want to wait. Another name for these games is on-demand tournaments because they start once a table is full. Like MTTs, sit & go tournaments can cost anything from <$0.10 to over $500.
In recent years, the genre has evolved to include innovations such as Spin & Go and BLAST. These sit & go tournaments feature random prizepools that can be worth as much as 10,000X the buy-in.
You don’t always have to pay to play. Freerolls are available at all the best New Jersey online poker rooms. These are often available to new customers, but they can also be offered to existing customers that complete tasks. Such as making a deposit or playing a certain number of hands.
Although the prizepools will vary, it’s often the case that the total payouts will be around $100 to $200. This means you stand to win approximately $20-$30 if you’re the victor and less if you finish within the money. However, it’s important to note that anything you win is yours to keep and not subject to any playthrough conditions.
There’s no point in playing poker in NJ if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor. In other words, if you can’t make a withdrawal, there’s no reason to ante up. Thankfully, the leading Garden State sites make it easy to cash out your winnings:
Finally, New Jersey online poker rooms are extremely safe and 100% fair. This is thanks to strict regulations and the oversight of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). Operators must offer a high-quality service at all times. This of course would not be guaranteed with offshore sites which are not regulated in the US.
In a legit US card room, every player’s identity and location must be checked to prevent fraud. Additionally, security teams have to monitor activity across the network and tackle any anomalies as quickly as possible. On the technical side of things, websites and apps are secured using SSL encryption technology. Accounts must be password protected and, in most cases, you can use two-factor authentication to make things even more secure.
Finally, every operator must have its software tested and certified as fair by an independent agency. This ensures all games are 100% fair. Plus, all player funds have to be in secure, segregated accounts. So it would when you play New Jersey poker online.