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.
Review updated July 9th, 2014.
Therefore, in most categories they will be graded as one unit.
|Party / Borgata||B-||C / C+||C||D-||C+|
Relative to other sites, Party / Borgata has sustained above average losses.
According to PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout, the state’s most heavily trafficked network currently controls approximately 41 percent of all cash-game volume – 2.6 percent less than it did in late-April.
In the past 10 weeks, traffic at NJ PartyPoker is down 21 percent, although the majority of those losses were incurred in early-to-mid May. Since, the network has slowly bled customers at a steady weekly clip.
Players should expect to find anywhere from 40 – 70 ring games running during peak weeknight hours, mostly of the NLHE 6-Max variety, although some low stakes PLO and O8 can usually be found. Stakes range from $0.01 / $0.02 up through $3 / $6 and occasionally $5 / $10.
Twelve weeks ago, when the network was still flourishing, I counted upwards of 110 – 120 tables running concurrently on a Monday night.
Despite a much lower VIG, better payout structure and additional formats (Double or Nothing, Hyper-Turbos, Coin Flip), SNG volume has taken a huge hit, down somewhere in the area of 50 percent since April.
The inclusion of Sit & Go leaderboards may help to revitalize interest, but for now, don’t expect to find more than 20 SNGs to be running at once.
Tournament turnouts have also plummeted, with the week’s biggest Major – the Sunday $50k - rarely fulfilling its minimum benchmark. The Daily $10k, $5k and $2k Re-buy haven’t fared much better, with turnouts usually in the area of 90 – 120 runners.
In lieu of this, it’s unlikely that we’ll see another $100k Guaranteed for at least the duration of the summer.
Yet, like its SNGs, Party / Borgata’s MTT schedule is stronger than it was three months ago.
At the time of this writing, the combination of Party and Borgata holds the slimmest of leads over WSOP.com. And unlike in Nevada, where WSOP’s traffic surge is justified, I have to believe that in New Jersey, players just prefer what WSOP has to offer.
Grade (last review grade in parenthesis): B- (B)
For the longest time, I was thoroughly unimpressed with NJ PartyPoker’s array of pedestrian promotions.
That all changed a few days ago.
The most welcome change is the ten-fold increase of its new player bonus. Players who make their first deposit on Party are now entitled to a 100% match bonus up to $1,000.
Augmenting the appeal of the promotion is the fact that the bonus clears at a 50% rakeback rate.
These two facets of the promotion (which apparently is not just a limited time offer) alone automatically vault Party’s new player bonus from bottom feeder to top dog.
The sole drawback of the deposit bonus is that it clears in only four increments, meaning that players attempting to unlock the full $1,000 will have to earn 1,000 loyalty points before they receive a dime. But considering that the bonus never expires, the delay should only impact the most casual players.
Also of note, both Party and Borgata have added Sit & Go Leaderboards. From now until August 10, SNG grinders on both sites will be playing for their share of an additional $2,000 in cash per week.
Most of the network’s other promotions are yawn-worthy, with perhaps the sole exception being Borgata’s The Grind - and even that only awards the most committed players with anything resembling serious cashback.
Speaking of, when it comes to rakeback, both Party and Borgata player loyalty programs are severely lacking. At best, top tier players on Borgata can convert their accumulated points into a 15 percent cashback bonus or a paltry 5.3 percent direct conversion.
The situation on Party is even worse, as Palladium Elite (the site’s top tier) members are only entitled to a 10 percent cashback bonus. That’s atrocious.
However, given the sudden commonality of overlays and the restructuring of the network’s SNG fees, there is significantly more value to be had playing non-cash formats on Party / Borgata than just a few weeks prior.
Big improvement overall.
Grade: Party B (C), Borgata B- (C+)
Give Party NJ points for finally allowing players to view individual ring game tables, and for granting them the ability to view pertinent table stats. Take away those same points for not adding what is seemingly a trivial feature - wait lists.
The addition of SNGs to Party’s Android powered mobile app is also a pleasant, albeit long overdue upgrade.
But the fact remains that for the most part, Party’s client favors glitz over functionality, and that’s a problem.
Loading times are still in the 15 second range, strong authentication codes can take upwards of five minutes to hit my inbox (if they hit at all), half of the client’s promotional links are broken and I still have to hold my breath every time I jump from one menu tab to another.
But it looks great!
Furthermore, the notifications tab is still a mess, often times informing me that an achievement was met “Moments Ago” when in fact it happened in January.
Software and geo-location crashes are fewer and farther between, but still tend to occur during the most inopportune times.
Overall, Party’s client can be likened to a painting of the 19th century impressionism style – looks great from a distance, but upon closer examination, it’s ugliness is revealed.
Grade: C (C-)
Before delving into how deficient and detached Party’s customer service continues to be, let’s focus on the positives:
I have two major problems with Party’s customer service team:
Furthermore, software upgrades are often implemented without corresponding patch notes, leaving players high and dry as to what was actually improved.
And worst of all, the network takes an exceedingly cold, “sorry, we can’t help you” attitude towards any issue where they believe they’re not at fault. One needn’t look further than the recent $50k Guaranteed debacle to see that.
Other player concerns are addressed via makeshift solutions that impede players willingness to continue using the site.
In short, I’m of the mind that Party’s wayward communication and poor solutions are the primary reason why it continues to lose customers.
Based on the merits of the few things they’ve done right, I’ll award them a passing grade, but only by the slimmest of margins.
Grade: D- (F)
Compared to late-April, NJ Party Poker has done just enough to move up a half-letter grade.
Its software and customer service are still a far cry from what they were in the pre-UIGEA days, but its aggressive promotional schedule and improved cash-game lobby are worthy of praise, as is its partial recognition of player requests.
Grade: C+ (C)
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-)
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)
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:
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-)
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-)
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-)
Promotions vary between the two partners, but not so much that the sites would benefit from being viewed as two separate entities.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Other issues include:
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.
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:
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.
Currently PartyPoker NJ offers cash games, sit & gos and multi-table tournament play. Games variants include No Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and Limit 7-Stud.
Stakes on PartyPoker NJ generally range from $0.02/$0.04 all the way up to $10/$20.
What you get
Party Poker’s New Jersey recently revamped online poker bonus is on par with the biggest in the state, and is also one of the easiest to clear.
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, especially for those who take full advantage of the offer by making an initial deposit of $1,000 or more.
Perhaps the only drawback of Party’s bonus is that it’s only released in four equal increments. That means if you deposit $1,000 you will have to contribute $500 in rake before receiving a $250 increment. But with its fast clear rate it shouldn’t take very long to have all $1,000 of your bonus money sitting in your poker account.
What you get
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:
While neither option is terrific, if you’re a tournament (S&G or MTT player) and feel you can reach Palladium Elite status you can earn 20% cashback by sticking to purchasing tournament tickets.
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 13 missions players can earn (some simple, and some not so simple) with the total guaranteed prize-pool of all tournament freerolls amounting to over $33,000.*
*Limited time only
At eight deposit methods, Party offers a more varied palette of ways to load funds than any other NJ poker room.
Deposit methods include:
In fact, the only depositing method that’s not available on Party but is on other NJ sites is 7-11 PayNearMe. But with so many options already to choose from, another would border on overkill.
On the flip side, PartyPoker NJ is the only NJ poker room where you’ll be permitted to deposit via the e-wallet Skrill. Other viable alternatives for players who have had their Visa or MasterCard transactions declined include Neteller and Party’s pre-paid option – both of which will require you to first create an account.
Party is no slouch when it comes to withdrawal options either, once again offering more alternatives (six) than anyone in the state.
Party does not require its patrons to verify their identification before requesting a withdrawal, nor does it require players to pay withdrawal fees.
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.
No. You will only be playing against other players located in New Jersey who are logged on to the PartyPoker NJ network.
The international PartyPoker site will be a completely separate player pool, and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.
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.
No. You should be able to make an account from anywhere in the United States.
However, you will not be able to wager real-money on games, or make deposits unless PartyPoker’s geo-location software can verify that you are located within the state of New Jersey. Withdrawals, on the other hand, can be made from anywhere in the nation.