The WSOP.com online poker room in NJ is operated by Caesars Entertainment in conjunction with their iGaming partner 888 in New Jersey.
WSOP is of course the acronym for the World Series of Poker, one of poker’s most recognizable and respected brands, and a Caesars Entertainment holding since 2004.
Review from November 20, 2015.
|WSOP NJ||B||B||C||B-||B-||Play now|
|888 NJ||B-||C+||C-||C||C||Play now|
|Party NJ||C||C-||C+||C-||C||Play now|
WSOP.com shares a common platform as well as liquidity across all low stakes cash games and most major tournaments with 888 Poker NJ.
However, there are enough key differences between the two, both in the games they offer and their business practices, to consider them as separate entities.
Traffic on WSOP.com remained mostly flat throughout most of the summer and early fall, but has recently begun to show signs of life.
Granted, a portion of the site’s earlier liquidity struggles can probably be tied to the weather, as both September and October featured more warm and sunny days than what is typically observed for New Jersey.
After trending downward at a torrid pace throughout Q1 2015, and holding mostly steady from April to October, cash game traffic is just beginning to trend upward.
Players can expect to find 45-50 concurrent games running during peak hours, with the hope being that this statistic will at least climb into the mid-50’s come January.
To no surprise, the majority of players mix it up at the smaller stakes ($.25/$.50 and below). Higher stakes games ($1/$2 and up) constitute a smaller portion of total liquidity than they do Party/Borgata, but a greater percentage than on 888 Poker.
PLO games have fallen in popularity, now only accounting for approximately 5-10% of ring game traffic, at best. Fixed limit games were supposed to make their way back to New Jersey but haven’t, and Stud games are not available on the site.
On a side, I find it a bit lazy and distasteful that WSOP.com still displays the Fixed Limit and Stud lobbies. At this point, they’re simply cluttering the interface.
20-25 concurrent Sit & Go tables appears to be the norm during peak weeknight hours (7 pm – 11 pm). From the overnight hours, all the way to the mid-afternoon, hardly any SNGs run.
That’s still an improvement over June, when it was very rare to ever find more than 20 games running. My assumption is that Party/Borgata’s decision to nix its Sit & Go leaderboards drove some grinders back to WSOP.com.
Turning to tournaments, the site’s daily and weekly majors continue to thrive. The nightly $10,000 guarantee beats its minimum benchmark on a near nightly basis, as does the $5,000 GTD Nightly. Even the nightly High Rollers, two of just a few freezeout tournaments offered by the operator, tend to crush their modest guarantees by 50% or more.
The site’s biggest weekend major, currently a $30,000 guarantee, typically features prize pools in the $30k – $35k range.
WSOP.com heavily favors the rebuy and add-on tournament format, and for good reason. R&A tourneys allow the operator to keep the initial buy-in amount low and the guarantee high.
Emphasis on “initial.” In reality, players participating in R&A MTTs should except to spend at least three times as much as what’s listed in the tournament lobby. Sadly, even the majority of smaller tournaments (guarantees of $1,500 or less) feature rebuys and add-ons. Players who only allocate a small amount of money to poker may be better off grinding somewhere else.
Grade: B (B-)
WSOP.com deserves points for being by far the least complacent New Jersey online poker operator. Now, if only its promotions offered more in the way of player value.
On the plus side:
A few negatives:
Every now and then, WSOP.com will host a promotion that goes beyond creative, especially when there’s a strong cross-promotional opportunity to be had.
Take the Online 9 for instance. Players that reached the final table of a $99.99 buy-in tournament were randomly assigned a “seat-mate” that corresponds to a player at the Main Event final table. In addition to their winnings, the player whose seat-mate emerged victorious won a $1,000 cash bonus.
Promos of this variety work because they actively engage players away from the virtual green felt. Call it cross-promotion at its finest.
It would just be nice if occasionally the operator used all the money it’s saving on rakeback (cashback rates are below industry averages) to host one big promo. That being said, WSOP is still miles ahead of the competition.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much value to be had in the way of tournament overlays, nor are tournament prize pools as inflated as they were earlier this year.
Although I still feel that playing WSOP.com majors is a wise investment, as there are a plenty of fish willing to fire off multiple barrels in both the $5k and $10 guarantees.
Grade: B (B-)
888 Poker is one of the fastest growing sites in the ROW market, and I’m fairly convinced that it’s rise has nothing to do with the quality of its software.
Compared to the PokerStars client, 888’s offering comes off as antiquated and lacking, especially in the areas of functionality, aesthetics and customization.
The thing is, until recently, most non-PokerStars branded clients weren’t much better. That’s begun to change, and I feel in order to stay competitive, 888’s client will need a fresh coat of paint.
I mention this for two reasons:
For now, WSOP’s client still falls under the category of adequate, but with each passing day its limitations are becoming more glaringly obvious.
In the short-term, I’d advise the operator to at least remove unused Fixed Limit and Stud lobbies, support additional game filters, and allow players to view their loyalty status from somewhere that isn’t a cash game table. Greater customization would also be viewed as a plus.
And why do outside webpages open in Internet Explorer? No one uses that browser.
The one positive change to the WSOP client is hidden in the cashier: PayPal is now available as a depositing method.
Unfortunately, the addition of the widely popular and respected payment processor hasn’t resulted in material liquidity gains. I’m guessing this is because most depositing players who have had their credit card or other transactions rejected probably gave up on NJ online poker long ago.
Still, the broader implications of PayPal working with regulated US gambling sites is huge, especially in states that will offer it on Day One.
Grade: C (C+)
The WSOP.com support forum offers a fair bit of useful information including contact info for customer support, a detailed listing of current promotions and information regarding failed credit/debit card transactions.
Furthermore, questions/concerns posted in new threads are answered by WSOP staff in a timely and efficient matter.
The problem is not enough players are utilizing it. Part of that is because the forum is not a part of Two Plus Two, but I feel as though WSOP.com could have done a better job promoting it.
As for the WSOP.com support staff, reps strike me as more eager and willing to help than on other NJ sites, yet equally unequipped to answer the hard questions. Also, it’s rather irksome that live chat representatives are only on call from the hours of 3 pm – 11 pm.
Thankfully, live phone support is available 24/7, and email response times, while still a bit unpredictable, tend to be quicker than they were 12 months ago.
Still NJ’s best, although I suspect PokerStars will assume that mantle come 2016.
Grade: B- (B-)
WSOP’s current strategy appears centered around retaining and catering to high-volume site regulars. That’s somewhat of a departure from what I witnessed earlier in the year.
After just a few months, the casual-friendly promotions seemed to be replaced by ones that favored grinders.
My guess is WSOP decided NJ isn’t big enough to warrant spending money on attracting new players. And after witnessing the poor turnout figures for their budget-friendly MTT series’, it’s difficult to blame them.
Personally, I’m not entirely convinced, and think the operator should spend some of its creative energy cooking up an enticing casual focused promo.
That being said, there’s still plenty to like about WSOP. It’s just too bad the operator doesn’t have more say when it comes to technological and support upgrades.
Grade: B- (B-)
888’s poker software has been around for over a decade and offers many of the features available at other online poker sites, plus a few features that are only found at 888 online poker rooms.
This is the same software that is powering us.888Poker.com in New Jersey, as well as 888 Poker’s international network, and the WSOP.com software in Nevada.
Here are the different options available to New Jersey online poker players to play on WSOP.com:
The Caesars Entertainment and 888 Holdings partnership has also created a second online poker room in New Jersey, us.888Poker.com, but at this time the two sites are not sharing a network.
WSOP.com is operating as an independent online poker room in NJ, while 888Poker launched on the All American Poker Network, and at this time there are no plans to combine the sites into a single network.
WSOP.com NJ launched with a balanced selection of poker games at a variety of different stakes. Tournaments (multi-table and sit & go) as well as cash games (six-handed and nine-handed tables) are available around the clock, with WSOP.com unsurprisingly placing a heavy emphasis on No Limit Holdem games.
Stakes at the site range from $.01/$.02 to $10/$20 for cash games with tournament buy-ins starting at just $1.10.
In addition to No Limit Holdem tables, several other poker games are available at WSOP.com New Jersey. Here is the complete list of poker variants offered at the site:
What you get
WSOP has reduced the ceiling of its first-time deposit bonus from $1,000 to a comparatively paltry $400. That ranks last among New Jersey’s poker rooms.
The first-time deposit bonus in New Jersey also clears at a pretty slow rate – one of the slowest of any New Jersey online poker site at present. You’ll need to earn 100 Action Player Points (more on these below) for every $10 of bonus money, which works out to 20% cashback.
Furthermore, you only have 60 days to clear your bonus money, after which the remainder of your bonus money will disappear forever. That means that if you deposit $400 or more, you’ll have to contribute $2,000 in rake and tournament fees before procuring the full bonus. Should you fail to meet this lofty goal, you will still retain the portion you have already cleared.
Although raking $2,000 in approximately two months is not impossible, its perhaps out of reach for some low-limit players.
Fortunately, you will also accrue WSOP Points (more on these below as well) and would be on pace for the Diamond level in the WSOP VIP Reward Program, adding another ~8% cashback from the WSOP.com VIP Rewards program, which I’ll now explain.
What you get
WSOP.com uses a very straightforward VIP Rewards Program known as “Action Club.”
Action Club uses Action Player Points to determine a player’s level within the program. There are twelve monthly levels and three yearly levels – players can reach and WSOP Points are awarded based on your level in the program. WSOP Points are what you redeem for cash and prizes.
For each $1 in raked a player contributes to the pot he will receive two Action Player Points (APP’s), regardless of level in the Action Club Rewards Program. WSOP Points are also awarded based on rake contribution, but a player will also gain a multiplier based on Action Club level.
WSOP Points can be redeemed at any time, and possess a value of $.01, or $1 for every 100 WSOP Points you earn. Based on the requirements, the WSOP.com Action Club offers players anywhere from 2% to 35% cashback.
For more information on Action Club or to see the current promotions offered at WSOP.com in New Jersey click here.
WSOP.com offers the same array of cashiering alternatives as its sister site 888 Poker NJ.
Depositing options on WSOP.com are varied enough that most players shouldn’t have trouble finding at least one method that suits their needs. They include:
In order to request a withdrawal you will first need to supply WSOP.com with a copy of your Driver’s License, Passport or National ID. Additional documentation, such as a bank statement, may be required depending on your preferred withdrawal method.
In total, WSOP.com offers four withdrawal options, which rates about average among New Jersey poker rooms:
The only real difference between WSOP’s and 888’s cashiering platforms is that WSOP tends to deliver payouts in a slightly more timely manner.
Players at WSOP.com must be 21 years of age, registered users at the site, and be physically located within New Jersey when they log on and play.
Only players in New Jersey are allowed to participate in WSOP.com NJ’s online poker games. Players in Nevada will have to register at the WSOP.com Nevada website, and players elsewhere in the world can join the WSOP.com website on the global 888 Poker Network.
While it’s powered by the same software and is operated by 888 and Caesars Entertainment, the two sites are for all intents and purposes separate entities. Your WSOP.com login details will not work on US.888Poker.com, and the two sites do not share player pools.
You should be able to register an account from anywhere in the world, but you will not be able to verify your account or play for real money unless you are inside New Jersey.
Players outside of New Jersey are capable of participating in play-money games on the site and banking options are supposed to be available as well.
Get started playing online poker in New Jersey: Visit WSOP.com NJ here. Use WSOP NJ bonus code 10FREE to get $10, no deposit when you create your account. Terms and conditions apply.
Review from June 2015
It’s a good thing WSOP.com made the strategic decision to share partial liquidity with then third place poker room 888 Poker NJ, as this year’s seasonal downtrend has had a devastating impact on industry traffic, with WSOP.com bearing the brunt.
The level of cash game activity on WSOP.com is down, way down.
When WSOP.com first joined the WSOP/888 network it wasn’t uncommon to find 70 – 80 concurrent cash games running. That number has effectively been slashed by over a third, with about 40 – 50 tables the new norm.
Granted, May and June are typically two of the worst months for online poker, primarily due to the advent of warmer whether and the influx of live tournament options. But still, a one-third drop feels a little excessive.
As expected, small stakes NHLE games rule the lobby, accounting for about 70% of all games played. However, it’s worth noting that players are more prone to play mid-to-high stakes games ($1/$2 – $10/$20) on WSOP.com than 888 Poker NJ.
PLO is also more prevalent on WSOP.com, accounting for anywhere between 5 – 15% of ring game liquidity.
WSOP slashed the amount awarded via its recurrent Sit & Go Leader Boards promotion by 60%, and as a result, SNG traffic has fallen by about the same. These days, it’s unlikely to find more than 15 – 20 SNGs running during peak hours, and the well dries up completely during the overnight and morning hours.
It’s little wonder that a fair chunk of WSOP’s SNG grinders made the switch to Party / Borgata, as the latter now awards $10,000 per month spread out among its top performers, as opposed to WSOP’s $3,000.
On the flip side, WSOP’s nightly Major tournaments continue to pull enviable numbers. The daily NJ High-Roller events regularly surpass their modest guarantees, as do the $10,000 and $5,000 guarantees.
If I had to guess, there’s four reasons why tournaments on WSOP are rarely subject to overlays:
That being said, WSOP’s nightly MTTs no longer obliterate their guarantees by 50%. These days, it’s more like 20-25%.
Take away the rebuys and add-ons, and ditch the conservatism, and it becomes apparent how much WSOP.com relies on these aspects of their business. To illustrate, the single entry Sunday $40,000 GTD (up from $25,000 per-merger) has posted overlays of $8,365, $13,545 and $3,925 in the first three weeks of May.
Grade: (last review grade in parenthesis) B- (B)
Give WSOP.com credit for boasting by far the most creative and comprehensive promotional schedule in the US regulated market. Everyone from cash game players, tournament grinders and sit & go aficionados are represented in relatively equal proportions.
However, the value of each individual promotional is a bit on a low side, with leader board promos awarding anywhere between $1,000 – $3,000 a month and threshold bonuses up to about $2,500.
Some allowances must be made, as it’d be unrealistic for players to expect WSOP.com to keep rolling out a half-dozen or more promotions a month, and have each one potentially be worth thousands upon thousands of dollars, especially in a market as niche as New Jersey. But I’m of the mind that if promotional value must be kept low, then why not target promotions at players who’d be happy to earn a few extra bucks – namely, recreational players.
Interestingly, WSOP has dabbled in casual-friendly promos before, but not lately, and I’m curious as to why. Wasn’t the whole reason WSOP instituted cuts to its rakeback program so that it could distribute bonus funds more evenly?
Instead, we have promos that either task players with accumulating a significant number of player points (see The Climb and APP Threshold Bonus) or leader boards where only the highest volume players have a realistic shot of landing in the top three.
Overall, there’s still plenty of promotional value to be had on WSOP, perhaps more than ever. I just wish there was that one slam dunk promotion that awarded consistency and loyalty as much as it did volume, and maybe a recurrent promo designed for the little guy.
Despite no longer crushing their guarantees, there is certainly some value to be had by playing MTTs on WSOP.com, if only because the guaranteed prize pool to initial buy-in ratios remain relatively high.
However, if you’re the type to fire multiple bullets each night, that ratio shrinks in a hurry.
And don’t expect to find much in the way of overlays, Sunday’s $40,000 GTD being one of the sole exceptions.
Grade: B- (B-)
The noticeable lack of structural upgrades to WSOP’s online poker platform is rather disappointing.
That’s not to say the platform is in serious need of repair, but it essentially looks and plays the same as it did when first launched in New Jersey some 18 months ago.
Which wouldn’t be so bad, if the initial launch product didn’t come off as antiquated.
Although the desktop client is less buggy and prone to disconnects than Party / Borgata’s NJ software, it is not without its share of problems. To name a few:
Admittedly, these are only minor-to-moderate concerns, and WSOP must be granted some allowances, since it’s 888 that provides the software. But it’ll only be so long before players become fed up with what amounts to an increasingly outdated poker client, especially if a better option presents itself (aka PokerStars).
There has been little innovation in the mobile arena either. Contrarily, the mobile applications offered by Party / Borgata have undergone several overhauls, and have superseded WSOP’s poker app as industry best.
Grade: C+ (B-)
There are some that criticized WSOP.com for launching a separate support forum, as opposed to reestablishing a presence on 2 + 2. I’m not one of them.
Instead, I personally feel that any representation from an authoritative source such as Head of Online Poker Bill Rini is far better than no representation whatsoever.
Unfortunately, the new forum has failed to attract much in the way of foot traffic, but that may very change, pending Rini maintains his presence and the unwieldy forum interface is improved.
And let’s hope he does, as WSOP’s customer service reps are often less than helpful. Courtesy and eager, yes – but both live chat and phone reps are often unaware of current promotions, and tend to explain benefits via overly simplistic hypothetical models. Compounding matters, the live chat option is only available eight hours per day (3 PM – 11 PM).
Then there are the email response times, which range from two days to forever. Don’t bother.
All in all, I can’t be too critical of WSOP.com, as the company has clearly put forth some effort in the customer service arena, but it’s difficult not to miss the days of Ultimate Poker, and their stellar support team.
Grade: B- (B-)
If I were forced to sum up my feelings toward WSOP NJ in one word, it would be: average.
Nearly everything about the operation is at least serviceable, yet nothing stands out as truly extraordinary. This wasn’t always the case. Why, just a couple of months ago there was more value to be had playing sit & go’s on WSOP than on any other NJ poker room. Rakeback opportunities too, were far more plentiful one year ago than they are today.
Recent cost cutting measures were supposed to be offset by a stronger promotional schedule, and to a degree they have. Yet individually, the promotions still come off as underwhelming. It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that most promos hold little appeal to recreational players.
The inclusion of support forums and ties to Total Rewards were certainly nice touches. And not for nothing, the promos WSOP.com has cooked up to coincide with the live Series appear pretty juicy.
Yet, I can’t see WSOP.com remaining relevant in the regulated market unless they become more proactive with regards to technology and customer service.
Grade: B- (B)
Review from February 2015
There’s been some confusion lately regarding the impact of WSOP/888’s merger on total industry liquidity.
Let me clarify by saying that the merger is only having a minor impact on raw cash game liquidity. However, due to the nature of the agreement, players are going to notice a huge spike in low-stakes and tournament activity on both WSOP and 888.
All of which leads me to estimate that average daily traffic on WSOP is approximately 210 – 220, or about 20% higher than it is on Party/Borgata.
Since the time of my last set of reviews, the number of concurrently running cash game tables during peak hours has effectively doubled to between 70 – 80.
As expected, the majority of cash game activity occurs at the lower stakes, primarily $.25/$.50 and below, but relative to 888, WSOP spreads a higher frequency of mid ($.50/$1 – $2/$4) to high ($3/$6 – $5/$10) stakes cash games. PLO is also more prevalent on WSOP than its sister.
Sit & Go volume on WSOP is as healthy as its ever been, largely thanks to the strength of the site’s recurrent Sit & Go leaderboard promotion. Granted, January’s iteration allocated less weekly prize money ($5,000) than previous versions ($7,500), but $20,000 in added value is still nothing to sneeze at.
It’s not uncommon to find upwards of 30 Sit & Gos running during prime time, and I’ve witnessed totals as high as 20 after hours (12 am – 3 am). Stakes run the gamut from $1 to $100 and are heavily weighted towards 6-Max.
But of all the site’s game formats, its high profile MTTs have experienced the most significant gains. Again, this is mostly an immediate result of WSOP’s newly-forged ties to 888, but also a result of traffic begetting traffic.
The site’s flagship weekday Major, a $30 buy-in, $10,000 GTD NLHE R&A is performing particularly well, regularly smashing its guarantee by 50% or more. Its little brother ($11 buy-in, $5,000 GTD NLHE R&A) also holds its own, eclipsing its minimum benchmark by at least 30% most nights.
As for WSOP’s now $40,000 GTD Weekly Sunday (up from $25,000), since the increase, turnouts have almost doubled. Granted, the site’s largest weekly Major still just barely manages to scrape by its lofty guarantee, but is performing worlds better than it was back in the fall, when a 10% overlay could be considered a victory.
In a word, NJ players looking for action are best served playing on WSOP.
Grade: (last review grade in parenthesis) B (C+)
WSOP’s promotional schedule is evenly weighted between promos that reward outstanding or high volume play and those designed to keep recreational players in the game. And for that the operator should be commended.
Promotions such as the Sit & Go Leader Boards, and the Player of the Year Race will appeal to the site’s fiercest and most dedicated grinders, while Cash Masters, which rewards players who participate in just a few raked hands each day, and the recently concluded Cracked & Busted are tailor-made for light-hearted play.
Some might argue that WSOP is placing too much emphasis on its casual player base, and to an extent, I agree. The site has drastically cut back on the amount of rakeback distributed to all but its highest volume players, and in the current poker climate, its highest tier (Seven Stars) is virtually unattainable.
Additionally, WSOP recently reduced its table cap to six – a move designed to balance the poker ecology over the long haul, but in the immediate, one that didn’t sit well with the site’s high-volume clientele.
Whether WSOP’s cost cutting measures and recently instituted quality of life changes will pay dividends down the road is yet to be seen, and is largely dependent on the strength and ingenuity of its upcoming promotions and its ability to strike a healthy balance between the wants of pros and hobbyists.
With regards to tournament value, since partially merging with 888, tournament overlays on WSOP are few and far between. However, these days, players are competing for much larger prize pools, and there’s something to be said about that.
It’s especially good news for professional players, who due to WSOP’s inclination towards rebuy and add-on formats, often only have to put up a small amount of money to compete for first place prizes ranging from $1,500 – $5,000.
On the flip side, players whose budget restricts them to one or two bullets are placed at an extreme disadvantage, and encouraged to read between the lines.
Grade: B- (C)
By this point I’ve virtually exhausted everything I have to say about WSOP’s software, so I’ll focus primarily on other points.
With regards to WSOP’s desktop and mobile applications, they’re serviceable but nothing flashy, relatively stable, undergo little in the way of noteworthy upgrades and relative to Party/Borgata’s much maligned client, are a breath of fresh air.
That being said, the structure for both the $10,000 and $5,000 nightly guarantees are greatly flawed. The extended rebuy period and big add-on makes it so that hardly any players are eliminated until after the two hour mark, with virtually everyone having a relatively deep stack.
As a result, it takes an elongated amount of time to play down to the final nine. By then, the blinds are so high that the remaining players are forced to play average stacks of 10 -15 big blinds. What results is an all-in or fold shove fest that virtually nullifies a player’s skill edge.
Granting players the ability to actually play poker when the pay jumps matter most is the cornerstone of a well-thought out structure.
But right now, WSOP’s efforts with regards to MTT structure balance are decidedly absent.
Grade: B- (B)
I’m a strong believer in full disclosure. So when WSOP rolls out changes to its poker paradigm unannounced, I’m admittedly a bit baffled.
Maybe its because the team doesn’t want to provoke the scorn of the poker community, but in my estimation, the backlash is even worse when players discover changes that they deem unfavorable on their own.
That being said, Head of Online Poker Bill Rini is typically more than willing to explain the reasoning behind any and all changes after the fact, and is constantly meeting with players (both recreational and professional alike), extracting their opinions on how best to move forward.
WSOP is also the most proactive and experimental of New Jersey’s poker operations, illustrating a willingness to take chances.
And while the site’s promos and business decisions aren’t always well received, overall, I feel WSOP does cares about the growth of the U.S. regulated market.
As for its customer service representatives, they’re capable of handling most fundamental questions. However, email inquiries are rarely handled in a suitable time frame, which would be a problem if WSOP’s software caused the community more problems, or if the site frequently deviated from its policies – but that’s just not the case.
Grade: B- (B-)
While I’m of the mind that high-volume, low-stakes grinders are best served playing on WSOP’s sister site, most other players, especially recreational players and MTT grinders, will feel comfortable on WSOP.
It’s not that the site is doing anything particularly mind-blowing at the moment, but more what the competition, namely Party/Borgata, isn’t doing. That being said, I do believe the site has to step up its game in preparation for PokerStars. Whether this be via reexamination of its player loyalty program, even more ambitious promotions, bigger VIP freerolls or something else, is up to the team.
But for now, WSOP’s stable client, creative promotional offers, increased traffic and stellar SNG playing environment are reason enough to allocate the site an above average grade.
Grade: B (B-)
Review from November 2014
Note: WSOP and 888 began sharing some of their player pool in January of 2015. We will be updating our reviews to reflect shortly. Promotions and bonuses at the networks remain separate.
In the two-and-a-half months succeeding the conclusion of the live Series, volume on WSOP.com inched steadily downward.
A mid-October surge, likely facilitated by the launch of several new promos, virtually negated the late-summer swoon, but these gains were quickly offset by a sharp drop-off.
Since, volume has recovered somewhat, but at an average of 112 cash game players, is still 20% lower than it was in late-July – which wouldn’t be so bad if history didn’t dictate that traffic was supposed to start trending upwards by early-fall.
During peak weekday hours, players can expect to find anywhere from 35 – 40 concurrent cash games running. There’s been a slight paradigm shift away from NLHE of late, with PLO games now accounting for roughly one-quarter of active ring games.
Stakes generally range from the lowest of the low ($.01 / $.02) up through $3 / $6 and occasionally $5 / $10.
SNG traffic has held relatively steady for several months now, largely thanks to the strength of WSOP’s SNG Leader Board promotion, which is in my estimation, by far the best recurrent promo in New Jersey.
The past few iterations of the promo have awarded $7,500 in weekly prize money, spread out over three tiers (low, medium and high). No other site in the regulated market can say they consistently dedicate $30,000 a month towards one promo. Kudos for that.
Thanks to the Leader Board, it’s not uncommon to find upwards of 20 SNGs running during peak hours, most of the 6-Max turbo and heads-up variety. Stakes typically run the gamut between $1 – $50, although $100 and $200 games are not unheard of.
Tournament traffic has taken a small hit, although the site’s flagship nightly, a $30 buy-in, $10,000 GTD R&A tends to reach its minimum benchmark more often than not.
The nightly $5k GTD R & A hasn’t been faring quite as well, likely due to its late starting time of 9 pm, small buy-in to prize pool ratio, and poor structure.
In addition, Sunday’s $25,000 GTD freezeout rarely hits its guarantee, often offering an overlay of 10% or more. Although, on a somewhat brighter note, just about every other Major on the weekend schedule bests its modest guaranteed prize pool.
Grade: (last review grade in parenthesis) C+ (B-)
My, what a difference a few months make.
Around the advent of this year’s live Series, WSOP.com made the strategic decision to effectively half the rakeback for most of its player loyalty tiers, under the premise that more money would be distributed elsewhere (reload bonuses, promotions, aggressive guarantees etc.).
And for a time, it was. Whether it be through an enhanced welcome bonus, reload bonus, better promos or a one-off tournament series, it was clear that the site was spending money.
But since the summer, it appears that the well has run somewhat dry.
The total value of November’s promotions is somewhat in the vicinity of $50,000. Compare that to July, when it was at least $65,000. (Mind you, these are very rough estimates.)
That disparity doesn’t seem so bad until one considers that throughout the Series, WSOP.com was offering a 100% match bonus up to $1,000 to both new and returning players.
The best players can expect today is a 100% match up to $400 on first deposits and the very occasional flash or promo driven reload bonus.
Factor in that WSOP’s welcome bonus clears at a painfully low 20% rakeback rate, and it becomes apparent that new players are better off starting their online poker careers elsewhere.
About the only bright spot are the recurrent SNG leader boards, but they only impact a small subset of the online poker playing community.
Alright, tournament value is also on the rise, but that’s more a consequence of falling volume than it is a result of WSOP’s active involvement. If anything, WSOP’s reliance on rebuy and big add-on tournament formats comes across as a cost cutting measure designed to coerce players into thinking they’re getting tremendous bang for their buck.
All of which would be excusable if WSOP’s player rewards programs didn’t insult players with single digit rakeback. But it does.
Grade: C (B+)
Maybe it’s just me, but in the past six months I’ve noticed exactly one upgrade to WSOP’s poker platform. Admittedly, it’s one that had a dramatic effect on my ability to enjoy online poker.
Players can now connect to mobile devices via 4G LTE, all but rendering the need to be within proximity of multiple Wi-Fi signals obsolete.
Otherwise the software remains relatively unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing for those who value core functionality over aesthetic appeal and customization.
WSOP’s desktop and mobile platforms tout most of the basic features players have come to expect from an online poker client, and little more. They serve as a stark contrast to Party / Borgata’s offerings, which look sharper, but are bogged down by broken links, lag and oddly missing features.
Contrarily, response times on WSOP.com are generally fast. Disconnects, although prevalent, have become less common. And the site’s cashiering interface is intuitive and ripe with deposit and withdrawal options.
There are a few minor annoyances, however:
Again, these are minor grievances, but there’s enough of them to be rather irksome. Otherwise, WSOP’s software is as average and serviceable as its ever been.
Grade: B (B)
If Party / Borgata’s and 888’s customer service department weren’t so atrocious, I’d have more to say about WSOP’s spotty approach to player-operator interaction.
Generally speaking, WSOP’s agents are only capable of handling the most rudimentary questions. For anything complex, I recommend deferring to Head of Online Poker Bill Rini.
Unfortunately, Bill’s (justified) withdrawal from the site’s dedicated Two Plus Two Internet forum left a void that has yet to be filled, although he can still generally be reached via 2+2 PM or Twitter.
There have been multiple reports of players never receiving responses to email queries, or worse yet, receiving the dreaded form letter. This appears to be happening with more frequency than in the past.
But to be fair, WSOP’s software has caused me so few problems, that I haven’t had much of a need to contact the customer service department – and that’s by and large, a good thing.
Grade: B- (B+)
While I would like to see more in the way of software upgrades and forum representation, playing on WSOP remains a mostly pleasant experience.
Problem is, due to the site’s poor player loyalty program and substandard promotions, I just don’t feel the same pressing need to log-in that I did in say the mid-summer.
And I’m a bit befuddled as to why WSOP’s Nevada grinders are entitled to better cashback rates and other player incentives that New Jersey players are not. Aren’t we the bigger market?
I had feared that once the live Series concluded, WSOP would scale back on its generosity. Those fears have been realized.
Grade: B- (B+)Read Robert's July 2014 Review of WSOP NJ
After ebbing and tiding throughout May and most of June, traffic on WSOP NJ is on a sustained upswing – the reasoning behind which initially eluded me.
First I checked out the software. Nothing new of note.
Then, after scouring through the site’s software and promotional page, I still couldn’t pinpoint why 7-day cash-game averages were up nearly 25 percent since mid-June.
Checking my email, I noticed that the network was offering a limited time 200% up to $100 match bonus on all reloads – but the majority of the surge occurred before that offer was extended. So that wasn’t it.
Then it hit me. WSOP.com is thriving A) because brand recognition is at an all-time high and B) it’s just good. More on this later.
Players should expect to find anywhere between 30 to 60 concurrent cash games running during prime time. Most fates are decided over a 6-Max NLHE table, with a smattering of PLO and 9-Max tables also to be found.
Stakes generally run the gamut from a minuscule $0.05 / $.10 to $5 / $10
SNG traffic is also performing rather well (15 -25 tables), largely in part to the network’s generous S&G Leaderboard promotion, which is currently awarding five times the weekly prize pool as Party / Borgata.
Tournament traffic has also rebounded slightly, in large part due to the inception of both the WSOP Online Championship Series and the recently concluded Mini-Fest. And while the WSOPOC ultimately did not live up to its vaulted expectations, it exhibited WSOP’s continued commitment to hosting high buy-in tournaments on at least a quarterly basis.
In addition, Mini-Fest did feature something sorely missing from the network’s regular MTT offerings, and that was mid-stakes ($20 – $50 buy-in) tournaments. It’s just too bad WSOP hasn’t incorporated more of them into its daily schedule. Maybe soon.
While we’re on the topic, most of WSOP’s higher buy-in daily and weekly tournaments – the $25,000 Weekly Sunday, $5,000 Nightly Guarantee and $10,000 Nightly in particular – are currently featuring modest overlays. The network’s MTT menu continues to be heavily skewed towards Re-buy and Add-on formats, rendering the buy-in amounts for some tourneys a bit deceptive. Buyer beware.
One final note – on July 5, 7-day cash game averages on WSOP were 137, a mere one player behind those on Party / Borgata. This is the closest the two networks have been since regulated online poker went live in late-November.
However, because traffic grades are based on performance relative to other sites and because WSOP still features slightly less overall traffic than Party / Borgata, I decided to leave its grade as is.
Grade: B- (B-)
WSOP’s promotional schedule oozes of appeal. It’s 100% up to $1,000 first time deposit bonus is only superseded by a nearly equivalent bonus from Party, the latter of which unlocks bonuses at an increased cashback rate.
However WSOP is the only network to have taken its generosity one step further, by allowing current players to enjoy the same match bonus offer as newbies.
OK, so WSOP’s match bonuses expire after 90 days and are only equivalent to a 20 percent cashback deal. But on the positive side, they’re released in small $10 increments, meaning that even casual players should have no issue unlocking at least part of their bonus.
Add in live WSOP oriented promos like the 5-Seat Scramble, frequent WSOP satellites and a plethora of freerolls and tournament events, and poker players end up feeling like a kid in a candy store.
And lest we forget, WSOP takes no issue covering tremendous overlays, evidenced by the more than $100k it put up for the WSOPOC Main Event.
Right now, there’s hardly a valid reason to play on any other site – at least while the live WSOP is still running.
Well, there is one reason.
In order to round out its promotional slate, WSOP felt compelled to slash the cashback rewarded through its player loyalty program. Actually, “slash” is an understatement – more like decimate.
Although top tier players will enjoy either the same or increased rakeback, the Average Joe on WSOP will now receive approximately half the cashback they did before the change was implemented.
New Action Club tiers can be viewed here.
I too, initially took issue with the sweeping change, but over time, grew to appreciate what the site is doing, and believe that if volume continues to increase, that the VIP benefits program will be modified once again – this time for the better.
Grade: B+ (B)
Pedestrian aesthetics aside, WSOP’s software has reached the point where it can be considered both stable and functional.
While players who enjoy in-depth customization are best left looking elsewhere, WSOP’s minimalist approach to online poker keeps things clean without sacrificing the essentials.
Time banks, wait lists, lobby filters, quick access to the cashier – they’re all there and all operate smoothly.
In many ways, WSOP’s client (which is also the same one utilized by 888) is the antithesis of Party / Borgata’s. Whereas the latter looks better, it’s functionality is severely hindered by glitches and lag. WSOP’s, on the other hand, is fairly drab but client hangups are rare and intuitiveness abounds.
That’s not to say players won’t experience the occasional crash or geo-targeting discrepancy (Mac users in particular have experienced issues), but compared to the state of disarray it was in last November, WSOP should be commended for its efforts.
Even its Android and iOS apps are clean, concise and well-thought out. More importantly, they work. Just remember to mute that god-awful background music.
So if you’re not expecting PokerStars, and by this point most New Jersey players aren’t, WSOP’s client will serve as a more than serviceable, if slightly antiquated, placeholder.
Grade: B (B-)
The fact that WSOP did not forewarn players regarding the implementation of a new player loyalty scheme until after the fact causes the network to lose a few points.
And Bill Rini’s decision to take a more detached approach to forum involvement, while justified, certainly doesn’t help either.
Furthermore, I’m still not exactly sure why after an unexpected server shutdown, WSOP doesn’t distribute the prize pool based on ICM counts, as opposed to even distribution.
That out of the way, Rini is hands-down the best of NJ’s 2+2 forum reps, and generally speaking, outside of a few depositing issues, complaints on the forums are few and far between.
Customer service reps are somewhat knowledgeable, albeit perfunctory, but pleasant enough.
But the fact that I’ve only needed to reach them on a select few occasions speaks volume as to how little trouble I’ve had playing on WSOP.
Grade: B+ (A-)
Customer service and the revamping of its VIP scheme aside, WSOP’s past two months have been its best, and I didn’t even touch upon how admirable a job it did cross-promoting its online offering with the live WSOP and catering to players who have had difficulty loading funds via traditional methods, particularly credit/debit cards.
My concern is that with the live WSOP coming to a close, will WSOP scale back on its generosity, contenting itself to only roll out the red carpet each June, or will it continue down the path it’s going?
In either case, WSOP has done more in the past month to raise U.S. regulated poker awareness than NJ’s other three networks have since their inception, and that’s worth something.
Just not enough to bump it up to the “A” range.
Grade: B+ (B+)
Visit WSOP.com New Jersey [- Hide]
WSOP is arguably New Jersey’s most heavily traversed standalone site, and second largest network. It’s also, in my opinion, the best place to play online poker in New Jersey.
Compared to other NJ-housed sites, traffic on WSOP has fallen at a moderately slower pace (20 percent since March 5th) than market averages.
As of April 16th, 7-day cash-game volume averages are hovering around 125 and trending ever so slightly downward.
During peak hours, it’s rare to find more than 50 concurrent cash-games running on WSOP. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of only 60 percent of the games running on Party at equivalent times.
Yet in the overall cash-game traffic department, WSOP only trails Party NJ by approximately 20 percent. So why the discrepancy?
A quick scouring of WSOP’s player policy page answered my question. WSOP invokes a six table cash-game maximum, which was likely implemented to combat bumhunting. This would explain why the tables-per-player ratio is lower on WSOP than Party NJ.
The 6-max rule does not apply to tournaments.
Cash-game stakes run the gamut from $.01 / $.02 to $2 / $4 and occasionally higher. At least 80 percent of cash-game outcomes are decided over a NLHE table.
Due to the current lack of a Sit & Go promo, SNG volume has fallen dramatically, with usually no more than 15 low-stakes games running at one time. Why WSOP refused to make the SNG Leaderboards a permanent fixture of the site is light years beyond me.
My main grievance with the site’s MTT schedule is that it heavily favors re-buy and add-on structures over more traditional forays. It’s better than it was, and the inclusion of a few mid-stakes tournaments is a nice touch, but the daily MTT listing is still too skewed towards multiple bullet tournaments for my taste.
WSOP MTTs generally hit their guarantees, but rarely exceed them by more than 10 or 20 percent.
Although traffic is slumping overall, I’m of the mind that if there’s a room that can flip the switch without resorting to drastic, fiscally irresponsible methods, it’s WSOP.
Traffic: B- (B)
Last time around, I condemned WSOP for its utter lack of enticing promos. Regardless of whether or not my scalding review had any impact on decision making, things over at WSOP have improved.
First and foremost, WSOP now offers the single best match bonus in the Garden State. The only caveat is that players must use the e-wallet Neteller as their payment processor of choice – a small price to pay for a $1,000 match bonus and $20 in free cash.
WSOP has also done an admirable job of capitalizing on its allegiance with Caesars’ land-based casinos, evidenced by its WSOPC Championship Freerolls.
And as expected, the site has rolled out its WSOP promos, which grant top finishers entry into various live WSOP events. Less expected were the four vehicles in which players can qualify for such events. Bravo.
As mentioned previously overlays are not common on WSOP, and cash-game rake tends towards the high side. Thus, the value to be had on the site is not quite as high as it could be.
However, WSOP does offer its most dedicated players the opportunity to receive 30 percent rakeback via its VIP rewards scheme – the Action Club. Thanks to the Club’s multi-tiered structure, even casuals shouldn’t have much trouble reaching Gold status, which rewards 10 percent rakeback.
That’s better than the going rate on Party / Borgata.
Grade: B (C-)
WSOP now allows players dropped from the server due to geolocation errors the opportunity to finish their current hand. Kudos for that.
Otherwise, navigating WSOP remains a fairly intuitive process, at least by poker player standards. Nothing about the layout or aesthetics of the site stand out, but the software performs admirably under most conditions.
I say “most” because Mac and mobile users are experiencing their fair share of disconnects, most of them due to flaws in the site’s geo-targeting software.
Mac users in particular are being bounced from the site at seemingly regular intervals. The issue became so prevalent that it warranted a thread on WSOP’s dedicated Two Plus Two page.
I myself experienced a plethora of location verification hiccups during my time playing on WSOP’s otherwise brilliant Android app. More on that here.
Should WSOP eradicate its player targeting quagmires, I would avidly recommend playing on its site. As is, players not using a PC – preferably a hard-wired one – to do their check-raising best beware.
Grade: B- (B)
Customer service complaints on WSOP’s forum are few and far between, largely due to the efforts of WSOP’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini.
Compared to other site reps, Mr. Rini comes across as kind, informative and thoughtful. He’s also quick to alert the public to new features and/or software updates.
As for the customer service team itself, they are aptly equipped to handle common problems. More complex issues tend to be brushed aside, but at least the team hides its ineptitude behind the guise of helpfulness.
Grade: A- (B+)
WSOP is probably one major software patch away from vying for NJ’s top spot. Their current promos are excellent, Bill Rini is the man, and their tournament scheduling, while slightly R + A heavy, is more than serviceable.
I’d like to see more in the way of big tournament series and for the site to continue to capitalize on its branding, but those are small issues. Conversely, the near inability to play on Macs and mobile devices are glaring problems that must be addressed.
But I have faith that they will. Let’s just hope NJ’s other iGaming operators follow suit.
Grade: B+ (B)
What was once a virtual monopoly is now a nearly tight race for supremacy, largely thanks to WSOP’s mostly stable software, somewhat varied tournament schedule and exemplary customer service team.
Which proves just enough to make up for its glaring lack of worthwhile promotions, at least for now.
While there’s nothing truly overwhelming about WSOP’s traffic numbers, they’re high enough that players looking for a game shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one. MTTs run virtually around the clock, as do cash games.
Sit and Goes are a bit of a mixed bag. During the Sit & Go leaderboard promo they were getting off at a fairly regular clip, but since then, volume has taken a very noticeable hit.
Which raises the question, “Why not make leaderboards a staple of the site, instead of just a promo?” There’s this rumor going around that poker players revel in competition, you know. And leaderboards are just the type of thing to keep them coming back.
Here’s a snapshot look at how the peak weekday numbers break down:
Turnouts for Sunday Majors are generally solid. The site’s largest weekly tournament, the $25,000 Weekly Sunday Guarantee, draws an average of 150 players, each of whom antes up $200 + $15 for their shot at what usually amounts to 8 or 9k.
The $10,000 Weekly Sunday also has little trouble meeting its guarantee, typically drawing 140 players at $109 a clip.
In terms of tournament diversity, WSOP edges Party / Borgata out. PLO R&As, WSOP Main Event qualifiers, invitational freerolls and turbo micro stakes tournaments run on a consistent basis.
Better yet, WSOP.com $10k Nightly features a paltry $27.50 buy-in. While it is a re-buy tournament, the $10k allows players on a budget to take a cheap shot at a decent payday.
Like on PartyPoker, mid-stakes tournaments (~$50) occur less frequently than I turn a flush. The shortage of tournaments featuring buy-ins between $27.50 and $109 is downright alarming.
WSOP.com tends to be where the “regs” hang out.
Overall, play on the site is noticeably balanced. Yes, there are still plenty of bad players, but they’re almost entirely offset by the number of guys who memorize push-fold charts for fun.
Overlays are rare and becoming rarer, and the sudden lack of leaderboards further decreases player value.
The only points WSOP wins in this category are for its slightly lower rake, compared to PartyPoker, and a select few of its otherwise mediocre promotions.
Last month, WSOP rolled out its vaulted leaderboard promos, hosted two $250,000 freerolls and offered bonuses for short-handed play.
This month we get $215 satellites into the Main Event, a rather weak Game of the Day promo and a few measly freerolls. The internet acronym “WTF” comes to mind.
Alright, so there was the $400 Reload Bonus promo, but it was so short that anyone who doesn’t regularly play on the site probably didn’t notice it.
Hopefully March’s promos more closely resemble January’s. Otherwise, expect WSOP’s numbers to start dwindling.
WSOP has yet to change its much maligned server disconnect policies, which you can read more about here.
Thankfully, they’re not as big an issue as they once were, largely because server disconnects and geolocation hiccups are noticeably down.
Regarding the user interface, WSOP is the Buick to PartyPoker’s cheap sports car. One is nice to look at but sputters out once you hit third gear, while the other won’t win you any new fans, but is traditional and largely reliable.
In other words, there’s nothing special about WSOP’s site, and for the most part, that’s just fine. Why? Because navigating the site continues to be an intuitive process, especially for those who have played on other online poker sites before.
Where WSOP.com is really beginning to shine is in the customer service department. No, that doesn’t mean every one of its representatives would win a congeniality award. And no, player complaints aren’t always addressed right away.
But at least they’re addressed eventually, which is more than I can sometimes say about PartyPoker.
Then there is Head of Online Poker at WSOP Bill Rini.
Mr. Rini is a quintessential example of a what all other site reps should strive to be. Knowledgeable of the game, insightful and unafraid to tell it like it is, Bill is an active participant on WSOP’s Two Plus Two forums, and has no problems providing his opinion on tricky topics.
Case in point: Bill recently engaged in an intelligent back and forth discussion with 2+2 veteran and WSOP.com reg “Gags30” regarding the possibility of allowing players to sit at more than six cash-game tables.
Bill has also been quick to respond to my direct messages on Twitter, doing whatever is in his power to rectify technical issues.
A few weeks ago, I was nearly convinced that WSOP would eventually become the market leader in NJ’s iGaming industry. But due to the sudden dearth of attractive promotions, WSOP may have trouble gaining any further ground on Party.
Still, there’s something to be said about a site that scoffs at gimmicky promotions yet still manages to do draw NJ’s elite poker players.[- Hide]
Outside of a few nifty features like quick seating and a beginning players tab, there’s absolutely nothing special about WSOP’s software. A relic of a time long-past, WSOP.com is the Ford to PartyPoker’s Ferrari. Yet, thanks to its varied tournament schedule, solid player base and slew of promotional events, WSOP has solidified its place as New Jersey’s second most popular poker site.
Now if only it could rectify its software issues.
On more than one occasion, I was seated at a full-ring cash table when suddenly half the table would spontaneously disconnect. Clearly this is a main server issue and not a mere coincidence.
Compounding matters, to date WSOP has exhibited complete incompetence when dealing with these matters. Consider the following two scenarios:
1) Player A is participating in a NLHE cash-game. He gets involved in a huge hand when the geo-comply software detects he’s no longer within the state of New Jersey – which is odd considering he’s connected to an immobile landline. He is disconnected immediately, forgoing any potential earnings from winning the hand.
2) Player B is chip leader on the bubble of the $10,000 Nightly Guarantee. A scheduled server switch causes the site to disconnect for several hours. The next day, the player finds he was refunded his initial buy-in, and nothing more.
Unfortunately, both of these scenarios have occurred in reality. Granted, server issues are a part of any new online poker roll-out – that’s understandable. What’s unforgivable is that players are suffering monetary losses at no fault of their own. This is where I take issue with WSOP’s server outage policy, which can be found here.
While WSOP has quite a bit of work to do before it gets my wholehearted recommendation, it must be commended for its tournament schedule and forthcoming promotions.
The site’s nightly $27.5 R&A $10,000 Nightly Guarantee is WSOP’s answer to a mid-stakes tournament, and it works. The only downside is that the tournament almost always covers its guarantee, not that that’s any fault of WSOP.com. It’s more a testament to its popularity.
And unlike PartyPoker, WSOP features a plethora of $11 to $22 tournaments, some of which guarantee $5,000. Better yet, WSOP will never cancel a tournament because it projects that too few players will sign up.
No, the last thing WSOP.com does is shy away from giving out free money, evident by its upcoming $250,000 invitational freeroll.
It’s also the first site to implement a Sit & Go leaderboard, although this was likely done to influence SNG traffic, which at the moment is next to nonexistent. Cash game leaderboards are also set to go into effect, beginning on January 5.
WSOP.com loses points for its significant software issues and pedestrian interface. Its software also seems to be missing several essential features, such as an efficient means of tracking one’s VIP status.
With that said, WSOP.com bolsters a far more comprehensive tournament schedule than any site I’ve seen. And its newly-minted leaderboards, extraordinary promotion schedule and reload bonuses only add to its appeal.
Not to mention, WSOP features a lower rake than NJ.PartyPoker.com, which in the long-run might be the determining factor over who reigns supreme in NJ’s iGaming landscape.[- Hide]