It’s been quite a journey but PokerStars is finally back in the USA, specifically starting with New Jersey. The world’s biggest poker site is now officially licensed and regulated in New Jersey with PokerStars NJ.
Understandably, poker fans are pretty excited. Poker players in New Jersey can rest assured they are getting an excellent piece of software that’s almost identical to the award-winning global version.
That means players can fully customize their experience with different lobbies, tables and event different decks. You can choose from a wealth of options like four-color decks, auto-rebuy, fast deposit and more. It’s all here.
Also all here? The great lineup of weekend guaranteed tournaments, major tournament series (NJCOOP), innovative game variations (Spin & Gos, Zoom Poker, Power Up) and the best mixed-game action online.
PokerStars NJ - A First Step Back Into the USA
If you were a fan of PokerStars before it left (or, more accurately, was forcible removed from) the USA there’s no reason not to jump back in these days.
In fact it’s a fantastic time to re-explore the online poker waters as the game is again on the uptick (the 2018 WSOP Main Event had the 2nd-biggest field of all time) PokerStars NJ is continually investing money into bringing new players to the site.
That means everything from free, no-deposit bonus money to generous guarantees on its tournaments to innovative new, casual-poker-player driven variations like Power Up and Unfold.
The experience isn’t exactly the same as the full international PokerStars we've come to know as PokerStars NJ, at least for now, offers far fewer games. You can't play the Sunday Million, for example, or win a SCOOP bracelet.
But PokerStars NJ has been upping the guarantees in many of their tournaments and you'll likely luck out with an overlay or two. The PokerStars NJCOOP - a smaller version of PokerStars' famed tournament series - is also becoming a very significant series in its own right with $1.2m in guarantees in 2018 alone.
As for the poker traffic, you won’t be competing against players from the rest of the world, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how much you like playing against Brazilians or Norwegians. But that’s the same for every poker site operating in New Jersey currently and there are still plenty of opportunities to find soft games and tables.
While NJ’s population doesn’t support some of the more obscure games that are offered on PokerStars’ global client, the games are still built into the client which means if you can actually get a game running you can play HORSE, Five-Card Omaha, Five-Card Draw or Badugi to your heart’s content.
Now that New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have all agreed to share a player pool (and Pennsylvania will likely come on board shortly), the odds of those game running have gone up.
BONUS CODE AND PROMOTIONS
PokerStars NJ Bonus
All new players who create an account at PokerStars NJ via a PokerListings review link are instantly eligible for:
- $30 worth of free play at PokerStars NJ
- Up to $600 bonus at 100% match
- 1 ticket to the $5,000 Depositor Freeroll played on the last Sunday of every month
- 1M Free Play Money chips
The play chips and freeroll ticket hit your account immediately upon sign up. The first $10 in bonus money is credited within 36 hours of your deposit (you must deposit $20 to get the $30 free). The second $10 in bonus money is credited within 7 days.
New players also get $10 in Spin & Go tickets spaced out as so:
3 x $1 Spin & Go tickets on the first day
1 x $2 Spin & Go ticket on the second day
1 x $5 Spin & Go ticket on the third day
PokerStars NJ Bonus Code
PokerStars NJ Bonus Code for PokerListings Players: FREE30.
You also need to download the software and create a new account via our review link. (Click any "Play Now" or "Get Bonus" link on this review page).
Enter the above code in the designated field during your account creation and you'll instantly be tied to all of our PokerListings bonus offers. Being a PokerListings player will also make you eligible for all exclusive freerolls we may offer on PokerStars New Jersey.
PokerStars NJ Bonus Payout
Once you've made your initial $20 deposit all of your free play bonus will be credited within 7 days as outlined above.
For your 100% match bonus you have 60 days to make up to three deposits to reach the maximum $600 bonus. So for example if you deposit $100 you will get an extra $100 match bonus in your pending bonus account. You can then make up to two more deposits up to $500 total that PokerStars will match.
Match bonuses are paid out in increments of $10 for every 100 VPPs you earn. You earn VIP Player Points on PokerStars NJ at a rate of 5.5 VPPs for every $1 in tournament fees or rake.
You have 4 months to earn all the VPPs needed to clear your bonus. You can always see how close you are to the next $10 released in your account info.
PokerStars NJ Rewards
The rewards program at PokerStars NJ has been streamlined considerably since its early days but you still earn VPPs and StarsCoins as you play.
The more hands you play, the higher your VIP status, the more perks you generate. There are 6 loyalty tiers on PokerStars NJ.
Each status level gets you various perks like earning StarsCoins faster or free tournaments. Meanwhile you can use your StarsCoins to enter exclusive tournaments or just trade them straight-up for cash.
TOURNAMENTS AND FREEROLLS
PokerStars NJ doesn’t have quite the amount of tournaments the global site offers but you’ll still have access to a ton of low-stakes MTTs and Sit & Go’s.
Currently the weekly schedule is anchored by a $45,000-GTD Sunday Special but special events with bigger guarantees are mixed in every few months. There’s also the NJCOOP, which emulates the famed Spring Championship of Online Poker, but is obviously smaller.
Buy-ins for the Daily Bigs tournament range from $5 to $50 and prize pool guarantees top out around $2,000. THat's not bad for daily action with around $6,000 gtd in total. Check the current schedule below:
The Daily Bigs
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
Hot Turbos, Nightly Stars, KO Fever and Moonlight Express are more daily tournaments alongside the Change Up tournaments for Omaha players.
The Sunday lineup as mentioned isn't quite as elaborate as the schedule on the parent site but it mirrors the idea with a slate of tournaments starting around 4 ET and running through to 10 pm.
Buy ins are $10 to $500 and guarantees max out at $45,000.
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
PokerStars NJ also has a lot of great freeroll options for New Jersey-ites (and visitors from the city). If you’re building your bankroll from scratch you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of great free tournaments on tap including the monthly $5k depositors freeroll.
Note: As of May 1, 2018, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have entered into an official player sharing agreement so expect tournament offerings and prize pools to increase!
PokerStars NJ Zoom Poker & Spin & Go's
The other jewels in the PokerStars NJ crown are of course the ultra popular Zoom Poker and Jackpot Spin & Gos.
Zoom Poker is of course PokerStars' version of Fast-Fold Poker which, if you've yet to try, it now the fastest and fairest version of poker going. If you sign in to play Zoom Poker you're immediately dropped into a table in which everyone who folds is whisked to another table to play a new hand.
The amount of hands you can get in in an hours is phenomenal and you're never left sitting around waiting for a playable hand. You lose a bit as far as reads at the table go but for pure, adrenalin-fueled poker with premium hands, Zoom Poker is a blast.
Zoom Poker comes in both cash game and tournament form.
Jackpot Spin & Gos are a similarly fast-paced injection of action. They're 3-player hyper turbo sit & go's with super fast levels and, best of all, the prize pool at your table randomly multiplied before the action begins.
Buy-ins range from $1 to $25 on PokerStars NJ and each prize pool is multiplied 2x and 1,000x the buy-in. Maximum prize pool is $25,000, which for a $25 sit & go over in about 10 mins is a phenomenal return.
PokerStars NJ Live Satellites
PokerStars regularly offers both low buy-in satellites to its bigger online events and low buy-in satellites to its own big live poker events.
Satellites to the marquee PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, for example, run regularly as do freerolls to win tickets to those satellites.
Package winners earn $15k+ all-inclusive trips to the Bahamas that include the $10,300 buy-in for the PCA Main Event and deluxe accommodation at the epic Atlantic Resort.
SOFTWARE AND GRAPHICS
PokerStars software is widely regarded as the best in the business. It offers rock-solid reliability and security coupled with lightning fast gameplay. There are players who refuse to play on anything else.
You also have numerous options for customizing the appearance the software including changing the look of the table or deck of cards.It also has great features like four-color decks, various tiling options and robust multi-table support.
Perhaps the biggest argument against PokerStars’ software is that there’s so much going on it can get confusing. Fortunately PokerStars has rolled out a dumbed-down interface option for those who prefer the bare-bones look.
The PokerStars NJ lobby is of course much easier to navigate because there are less games running.
The PokerStars NJ mobile app is equally simple to navigate but still offers an excellent gaming experience. Multi-tabling is also available and works well.
The real gem of the PokerStars NJ mobile app is Zoom Poker, which is the perfect format for one-tabling on the go.
PokerStars NJ is in a somewhat strange place when it comes to attracting those super soft fields.
On one hand there are definitely some beginner players trying online poker for the first time now that it’s fully regulated. On the other hand there are a number of returning players who are very experienced when it comes to the game.
There is also a small subsection of poker pros who have moved to NJ in an effort to try and grind out a lifestyle. In our experiences with the site we’ve found the play considerably weaker than the global site but that might just be variance.
There are definitely (and always will be) good spots in the micro-stakes, however.