Party Poker New Jersey – Fact Sheet and Review

PartyPoker NJ

PartyPoker NJ marks the return of PartyPoker to the United States online gambling market after an absence of some seven years following the passage of the UIGEA.

The room is licensed and regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and offers both poker and casino games to players located within the state of New Jersey.

You can visit PartyPoker NJ at NJ.PartyPoker.com.

Player review of Party-Borgata network

Review last updated April 23rd, 2014.

NJ.PartyPoker.com and BorgataPoker.com comprise the same network and share liquidity across most games formats. As such, they will be treated as one entity, except where otherwise noted.

Traffic: Party / Borgata sustains staggering losses

Cash-game traffic on Party Poker NJ is down nearly 30 percent over the past six weeks, with the average number of players online during peak hours down from approximately 1500 last month to 1100 – 1300 in April.

Players can expect to find anywhere from 80 – 90 cash game tables running on weeknights, most of the NLHE variety. Stakes range from $.01 / $.02 to $25 / $50 with the majority of active tables featuring blinds in the $.50 / $1 to $2 / $4 area.

As a mode of comparison, six weeks ago it wasn’t uncommon to find over 100 concurrent cash games running. But the last time I’ve seen Party NJ reached the century mark was minutes before it awarded the grand prize for its 30,000,000th hand promo.

Sit & Go volume is also down, with an average of 30 low-to-mid stakes 6-max games running at peak hours, as compared to over 50 two months prior.

For the most part, Party’s daily tournaments meet or exceed their guarantees, but overall, entry numbers into the network’s biggest weekly event – the $50k guarantee – is trending downward.

On two occasions, Party NJ replaced its $50k with a $100k. The site’s first venture into the land of six-figures was widely successful, drawing a record-breaking 768 runners. The second, not so much.

There are a multitude of speculative reasons as to why Party / Borgata stomached such significant traffic losses, but suffice to say, the network’s biggest issues can be at least partially attributed to laziness. More on this later.

Despite all this, Party / Borgata still boasts the highest traffic and market share of any NJ-based poker site, and that’s still worth something.

Grade (last review grade in parenthesis): B (A-)

Value/promotions: Party NJ boasts big top prizes, little else

In terms of final table payouts, Party / Borgata boasts the largest weekly prizes, with at least one player walking away with a $10,000 payday each week. That being said, their tournament payout structures are still flatter than what most regulars would like to see.

Party’s high player volume functions as a double-edged sword. The network rarely fails to meet the guarantees for its daily tournaments. That’s normally a good thing, but considering that almost every other NJ site is forced to lay money out of their own pockets, it lessens the overall value to be had by playing in a Party NJ tournament.

That wouldn’t be so bad if Party / Borgata did anything to differentiate itself from the pack in terms of player kickbacks. But for the most part, the network’s promotions are unimaginative in nature.

Borgata offers a $600 first-time deposit match bonus, which is leaps and bounds better than Party’s own paltry $100 new player bonus. Most of the network’s other promotions come off as contrived and underwhelming.

Both Party and Borgata should be recognized for their recent efforts to bridge the gap between themselves and the Borgata’s brick and mortar casino via cross-promotional tournaments. And the upcoming NJCOP should provide a much-needed boost to network traffic, if not the entire state’s iGaming market.

Yet, it’s difficult to look past the network’s high rake/entry fees, and low rakeback bonus structure (15 percent at highest tier on Borgata, 10 on Party), and assert with confidence that the network offers good player value. It doesn’t.

And the introduction of new features that only affect hardcore players, such as Party’s Paladium Lounge, does little to rectify the underlying issue.

Grade: Party C (B-), Borgata: C+ (B)

Software: Technical issues abound on Party / Borgata

The worthiness of a gaming site should be determined by its ability to provide a exemplary playing experience, not its looks.

There’s no denying that Party Poker NJ and its sister site are both modernistic and sexy, but beneath the surface lies the ugly truth – Party’s software is a riddle of bugs and non-optimized code.

It’s utterly confounding how, despite markedly lower traffic, the software continues to suffer from a variety of crippling issues. Just to name a few:

  • Loading times on faster computers exceed 20 seconds, and that’s if the program loads at all. Client hangups often force players to reopen the log in screen.
  • The Friends tab is prone to load inaccurate data from months prior.
  • Sub-menus often fail to properly display graphics.
  • No table selection. I realize this is by design, but it’s been one of the most persistent complaints among regular players.
  • Server failures beyond geolocation errors. A good example would be the technical difficulties suffered on March 9th, forcing a chip-chop among the final twelve players of the $50k.

Oh and lest I forget, Party’s mobile application is a bare-bones hack job, hardly worthy of serious consideration.

Like most, I initially marveled at Party’s redesign. But now that its underlying ugliness has been unveiled, I marvel no more.

Grade: C- (B-)

Customer service: They can’t even spell P-O-K-E-R

If I were to apply the age old adage “if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all” to Party NJ’s customer service team, this section would be devoid of words.

Slow, uninformed, and curt, the team’s most glaring flaw is its lack of empathy. Player concerns are often brushed aside, even those worthy of being addressed.

For instance, several individuals in my inner poker circle called in to inquire as to why their match bonuses expired. After waiting an exorbitant amount of time to be connected to an operator, they were abruptly informed that the bonus expires after a mere two weeks.

Generally speaking, I’m a staunch advocate of reading the fine print, especially when it comes to poker promotions. But Party’s reps should at least have the common courtesy not to direct blame toward its customers, which is exactly what happened. “You should have known better” is not an appropriate response.

Even worse, the network’s representatives possess little knowledge of poker. One would think that a working knowledge of the game would be a prerequisite for serving as an agent for an online poker site.

Factor in the hour-long wait times and frequent issue escalations, and it becomes clear that Party’s customer service is hardly worthy of a passing grade.

Grade: F (D-)

Overall: Party must go back to its roots

There’s a reason why Party Poker was once the number one poker network in the United States, and it had little to do with its special events. Should the network continue to ignore the underlying issues with its software, tournament schedule and customer service team, I would expect traffic numbers to fall off into the abyss.

As the most recognizable poker brand and brick and mortar casino in NJ, the Borgata, in accordance with its online poker partner bwin.party, needs to set the standard to which all other poker sites aspire, and fast.

Grade: C (B-)

Read Robert's March review of Party/Borgata

Review from March 2nd, 2014.

For the purposes of this review we’ll group together PartyPoker and BorgataPoker.com, as they share the same interface, player base and weekly tournament schedule.

Promotions vary between the two partners, but not so much that the sites would benefit from being viewed as two separate entities.

Traffic: The numbers don’t lie, Party / Borgata still reigns supreme

Fans of PokerStars  will be disappointed to know that tournament and cash game turnouts on PartyPoker pale in comparison to their pre-Black Friday counterparts. Given New Jersey’s relatively small population compared with the majority of the free world, that’s to be expected.

That being said, Party still brings in a decent number of poker enthusiasts, and regularly fulfills its relatively lofty guarantees.

Cash games run 24/7, which can’t be said about most other NJ-based sites, and Sit and Go’s fill up on a somewhat reliable basis.

Here’s how the numbers break down during peak weekday hours:

  • Expect approximately 1200 – 1500 players to be online on any given night.
  • The majority of cash games are of the NLHE variety. Stakes range from $0.01 / $0.02 up to $5 / $10 and occasionally $25 / $50.
  • About 70% of cash games are 6-max. The remainder are either full ring or heads-up.
  • After an early-January peak of 277, 7-day cash game volume averages are at approximately 210 and trending downward.
  • On any given night over 100 simultaneous cash games will be running, 90% of them NLHE, ~10% PLO and perhaps 1 or 2 7-Stud.
  • Nightly tournaments typically draw anywhere between 40 and 250 players, with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $100.
  • Upwards of 50 SNGs, all of which are either 6-max or heads-up, will be running simultaneously. Stakes run the gamut from $0.10 through $50.

Sunday’s turnouts tend to be somewhat better. On its busiest day, I’ve seen nearly 7,000 players online, but those days have seemingly passed.

And thanks to recent changes to its Sunday 50k Guarantee, expect the week’s largest tournament prize pool to regularly eclipse $60,000.

On a side note, on March 2nd the site ran its first $100k Guarantee. Read more about it here.

One point of contention is that Party’s nightly tournament schedule is largely uneven. Most tournaments feature $1-$10 buy-ins, occasionally $20. The next jump up is to $100. What about the mid-stakes players?

At least the issue is being partially rectified, evident by Party’s Daily Majors page.

Value: Biggest payouts, but lowest equity

Players can expect nearly all of PartyPoker’s guarantees to be met, including those for its higher buy-in tournaments. Overlays are nearly nowhere to be found, SNG fees are on the high side and cash game rakes are not quite offensive.

What that ultimately suggests is that Party boasts bigger prize pools than its competitors, but less value.

In keeping with its casual friendly motif, Party pays out an astounding 20%, or more, of its tournament fields. That’s good news for players satisfied with a min-cash, but terrible for players who rely on their big scores to be, well, big.

That being said, the bar for quality has been set fairly low, especially at the smaller stakes. Players who limp every hand, 10x raises pre-flop – that sort of thing is more common than what I would normally expect.

Then again, some of the same guys that play in my weekly home game did mention that they recently created an online poker account. Names will be held in private.

Promos: Party lags behind some other sites

Party’s promotions are rather lackluster. New depositors are entitled to a measly $100 match bonus, and the newly launched Dream Seat Series is a mere novelty promo.

Perhaps the best thing going for Party right now is its clever Remission Bonus promo, which grants special bonuses to those finally receiving remittance from FTP. Think of it as Party’s way of saying “Regulated poker is good.”

Software and Service: Geolocation somewhat improved, customer service bottoms out

PartyPoker’s sleek, newly redesigned interface looks significantly better than it functions. Latency issues plague the client, graphics sometimes fail to populate correctly and icons often need to be clicked multiple times before a page loads properly.

As far as disconnects due to geolocation issues, they’re noticeably down. Certain players still experience problems, but they’re far less prevalent then they were just a couple of months back.

Unfortunately, the same praise cannot be granted to Party’s customer service department, which is abysmal. It’s bad enough that it takes upwards of an hour to reach someone, but when you finally do, the representative will often tell you how you’re the one causing the issue.

After my first phone session with Party’s representatives I was nearly convinced that someone was playing a cruel joke on me. After my second, I promptly called the state’s DMV and Unemployment offices, thanking them for the “short” wait times.

Live chat isn’t much better, nor are the answers to common questions offered by Party’s representative on its Two Plus Two forum.

But at least when I requested a cash-out by check, it arrived in a very timely fashion. I would have requested an instant e-check, but apparently that’s not allowed unless you already made a deposit via the same method.

Consensus

Party / Borgata are still the go-to sites for players seeking bigger paydays. They’re also far more aesthetically pleasing than any other NJ-based poker site.  And SNGs, MTT and cash games can be found with relative ease. Yet its laggy software, poor customer service and pedestrian promotions could be contributing to its steadily declining numbers.

Read Robert's January review of Party/Borgata

Review last updated January 6th, 2014.

With PokerStars out of the picture (at least for now), The Borgata and its online partner bwin.party undoubtedly have the most pressure to succeed.

Launching in New Jersey a mere two months after rolling out a major software update, PartyPoker took a huge risk by incorporating a slew of social media and casual-friendly features into its formerly traditional software package.

Largely untested in a “go-live” setting, Party’s revamped software is not without its misgivings but ultimately works, and is in large part the reason behind why its captured approximately 50% of NJ’s iGaming market share. That, and brand recognition of course.

It’s like Facebook, only with poker

Incorporating a friend’s list, news feed and user achievements into its online poker offering, PartyPoker feels more like a juxtaposition between a video game, Facebook and a casual poker app than it does a real-money poker site. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just worth noting.

PartyPoker’s news feed informs you when one of the player’s on your friends list performs a notable feat. For instance, if Player X earns a user achievement , you’ll receive a notification. If he wins a huge pot, the system will tell you just how many big blinds he won. Even if said player enters a tournament, you’ll be the first to know.

As a result, notifications pile up at such a staggering pace that anyone with more than a few friends will probably not bother keeping up with them.

Yet despite all of its social-friendly features, noticeably absent from PartyPoker is the one thing poker players want most: an easy way to see where there friends are playing.

Say my buddy is at the final table of the 50k Guarantee. Outside of scouring my notifications tab, I would have no way of knowing unless he notified me via another means. Even then, I’d have to go to the tournament lobby, search for his name, and click on it to watch him donk off all his chips. It’s hardly an intuitive process.

Missions: Meaningful or gimmickry?

PartyPoker’s missions act as a sort of supplemental player incentive program. By perusing to the site’s “Achievements” tab, players can select from a variety of objective-based assignments. Completing missions, which usually entails meeting three aims, rewards players with entries into freerolls or other special events.

Overall, missions are a novel idea, but the objectives are too easy and the rewards uninspired. There’s only so many $1,000 Giveaway tickets you can win before the allure wears off.

That said, promotional missions are a delight. Featuring harder, time-sensitive objectives and more prestigious rewards, Party’s WPT mission and Borgata’s Mega Missions are tailored more towards the serious poker player, but pose benefits to casuals as well.

For instance, this month players who accumulate  a specified number of iRewards points on BorgataPoker.com will be rewarded with tournament tickets and cash bonuses. Broken down into 17 tiers, casuals should have no problem reaching Tier 1 or 2. However, reaching the top tier will be a monumental task for even the most serious grinder.

While Borgata’s promotional mission isn’t the most inventive promotion currently being offered, it rewards players with what they value most: rakeback.

And at the end of the day, missions will be judged not by their objectives, but their rewards.

Software gripes; other issues

Overall, PartyPoker’s new user interface is a refreshing change of pace. Due to its highly visual nature and well-designed main menu, browsing the site is never a chore. Overall, Party’s site just feels more comprehensive and unified than any of its competitors.

With that said, both NJ.PartyPoker.com and BorgataPoker.com have more than their fair share of software and functionality issues – some minor, others glaring:

  • Geolocation: Although not as prevalent as it once was, there should be no excuse for someone using a PC with a stable Internet connection and a wifi adapter to experience any geo-targeting issues. Multiple times, particularly during peak-hours, I’ve experienced random disconnects, causing me to lose valuable chips.
  • Lag: Navigating between tabs sometimes results in software freezes and other minor glitches. Server lag while playing a single cash game is generally minimal, but rears its ugly head more often when multitabling or foraging through an MTT.
  • Table selection: By design, Party’s software only allows players to choose their preferred game format and stake – not a specific table. Compounding matters, pertinent table stats such as % of players to the flop and hands per hour are hidden from view.

Other issues include:

  • Tournament selection: Most tournaments feature buy-ins in the $1 to $20 range. From there, the price of admission jumps to $100+. Party would do well to incorporate more mid-stakes buy-in tournaments into its available offerings. Compounding matters, PartyPoker is notorious for canceling its guarantees without notification.
  • Rake: Party’s rake is higher than any other New Jersey poker site ($0.01 for every $0.18 in the pot – capped according to stake).
  • VIP Rewards: Rakeback on BorgataPoker.com caps out at 15%; NJ.PartyPoker.com at 16%. But what’s worse is that your online VIP status has no bearing on your Borgata My Rewards tier.
  • Customer service: Right now, it’s less than abysmal. Hotline wait times of over an hour are commonplace, and players lucky enough to get through to someone often find that their question has to be forwarded or escalated to another department.

The Bottom Line

Issues aside, the marriage of the Borgata and bwin.party has proven largely successful. It’s the only site that gets off Sit & Gos on a regular basis, its Sunday majors are well-structured (even if they should start earlier) and its software, while not perfect, is probably the most stable of any NJ iGaming site. Party also offers more legitimate depositing methods than most, including Skrill.

For more on NJ.PartyPoker.com, check out its dedicated forum on Two Plus Two.

Party Poker New Jersey Fact Sheet

PartyPoker NJ Software

PartyPoker NJ uses the same core software as the global PartyPoker product.

American players who recall the software from the last time they were able to access it will be in for something of a surprise, as the software recently received a complete overhaul.

In terms of the different ways to access the room, players can choose from:

  • Downloadable client: Fully-featured client requires download and offers the most complete PartyPoker NJ experience.
  • Browser-based client: Requires Java to run. Offers access to same lineup of games but slightly fewer features than downloadable client.
  • Mobile: NJ.PartyPoker.com is available for iPhones and iPads and any other iOS platform 4.3 or later. Android is also supported, visit Party NJ on your Android device to download.

Network partners

PartyPoker has partnered with The Borgata (BorgataPoker.com) to offer online poker and online casino games in New Jersey.

As a result, The Borgata utilizes the PartyPoker platform to offer online poker and feeds players into a pool shared with PartyPoker. Players who sign up at BorgataPoker.com will see the same games and opponents as players at PartyPoker, although the promotions offered by each site do differ.

Games available

Currently PartyPoker NJ offers cash games and tournament play. No limit holdem is the only game type offered at present.

PartyPoker NJ Promotions

Deposit bonus at Party NJ

What you get

  • NJ.PartyPoker.com offers a 100% up to $100 Deposit Bonus. This means Party Poker will match your first deposit up to a maximum of $100.
  • The Party Poker bonus in New Jersey is equivalent to a 50% cashback/rakeback deal
  • NJ.PartyPoker.com’s deposit bonus never expires.
  • Bonus Money is released in $10 increments.

The lowdown

Party Poker’s New Jersey online poker bonus is by no means the biggest in the market (other sites in NJ are offering up to $500) but it’s by far the easiest to clear and the best value, which means you’ll be getting more bang for your buck.

The effective value of the bonus is equivalent to a 50% cashback deal, which makes this one of the better bonuses in all of online poker, not just New Jersey.

The bonus never expires which is a nice benefit, but with its fast clear rate –for every $20 you contribute to the rake at Party Poker you’ll receive $10 of your bonus money—it shouldn’t take very long to have all $100 of bonus money sitting in your poker account.

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PartyPoker NJ VIP Rewards Program

What you get

  • The estimated Value of the Party Poker VIP scheme is between 6%-16% cashback/rakeback
  • Players can convert their points into tournament tickets, bonuses, or items from the Party Poker store
  • Party Poker awards players freeroll tickets for accomplishing “Missions” and “Achievements”

The lowdown

For low limit and casual players Party Poker’s VIP Program is pretty competitive with its New Jersey rivals but still near the bottom. However, as you climb the VIP ladder Party Poker’s rewards program starts to drift even further to the bottom of the pack and by a much wider margin.

Of course, there are other rewards offered in VIP Programs, from freeroll entries to special promotions, but the bread and butter of any VIP scheme is the amount of convertible cash it offers players, and Party Poker’s VIP scheme does not offer a straight conversion.

Because there isn’t a cash redemption option at Party Poker, players will have to select from one of two options to convert their Party Poker Points into a usable poker currency in New Jersey:

  • Purchase a Bonus: Every player at the site has the chance to convert their Party Poker Points into a deposit bonus, and while the best bonus conversions are only available to the highest volume players, the difference in actual worth is almost nonexistent: equivalent to 6% cashback for Bronze level players and 8% for Palladium level players in the VIP Program.
  • Purchase Tournament Tickets: The second option is to purchase tournament tickets, which has a better overall value; roughly double the worth of purchasing bonuses for Palladium level players, and a slight increase for players in lower tiers of the program.

While neither option is terrific, if you’re a tournament (S&G or MTT player) and feel you can reach Palladium status you can earn about 16% cashback by sticking to purchasing tournament tickets.

Missions and Achievements

In addition to their VIP Program, Party Poker New Jersey is also offering players the chance to earn rewards (entries into exclusive freeroll tournaments) by accomplishing “Missions,” similar to the extra rewards players receive on social media and mobile games.

Currently there are 25 missions and achievements players can earn (some simple, and some not so simple) with the total guaranteed prize-pool of all of these tournaments amounting to $52,500.

Current Promotions

  • Countdown to 30,000,000 Hands. All you have to do is play. Be the 30,000,000th hand and you’ll win $10,000.
  • Double Point Poker. Play during three specified daily times and you’ll earn double points.
  • Dream Seat Series. Earn yourself seats to sporting events and concerts.
  • Remission Bonus. FTP remission check burning a hole in your pocket? Through August 6, take the chance to turn it into extra cash.
  • Mission Freerolls. Complete missions (described above) to earn freeroll entries.

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PartyPoker NJ – Frequently Asked Questions

Who can play at Party Poker’s New Jersey site?

The site only accepts players located in New Jersey.

You do not have to be a resident of New Jersey to play – you simply have to be located within the state’s borders in order to play poker and casino games at PartyPoker NJ.

Will I be playing against players on the main PartyPoker site?

No. You will only be playing against other players located in New Jersey who are logged on to PartyPoker NJ.

The international PartyPoker site will be a completely separate player pool, and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.

What about BorgataPoker.com? Is that the same thing as PartyPoker NJ?

Yes and no. The two sites share the same software and the same player pool, but have different promotions and bonuses. You also need a separate account for each site – your PartyPoker login won’t work at Borgata and vice-versa.

The easiest way to think of it is as two doors into the same poker room.

Do I have to be in New Jersey to make an account at Party NJ?

No. You should be able to make an account from anywhere in the United States.

However, you will not be able to play games, deposit or use other functions of your account unless PartyPoker’s geo-location software can verify that you are located within the state of New Jersey.

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You can visit PartyPoker NJ at NJ.PartyPoker.com.

Robert DellaFave
Robert DellaFave - Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several online poker publications and dreams of one day programming a poker simulation clever enough to beat the pros. Read more by following @DivergentGames on Twitter.