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 updated July 9th, 2014.
|Party / Borgata||B-||C / C+||C||D-||C+|
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+)
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.
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.
WSOP.com New Jersey is powered by 888 Holding’s proprietary software Dragonfish.
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 strong 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 recently 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 90 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 three 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 nine monthly levels and two 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.