The first week of March proved to be a transitory week on New Jersey’s iGaming front, marked by noteworthy announcements and the launch of several new promotions and depositing options.
And while little of significance occurred on the virtual felt, the success of last week’s widely successful Party / Borgata-hosted $100,000 guarantee has prompted the network to push the envelope even farther.
More on the success of Party’s first six-figure Sunday Major here.
The Garden State’s other sites have reacted to Party’s ambitious aims in tow, rolling out player-friendly new promos of their own.
But after spending significant time on each site this week, I feel compelled to raise the question: Should NJ’s gaming operators take a step back and fix whatever lingering server and geo-location issues remain first, and worry about broadening their audience through fancy promos and tournament series later?
Far and away the biggest news this week is Party / Borgata’s post on the 2 + 2 forums detailing a rough version of its forthcoming NJ Championship of Online Poker (NJCOP).
As they did weeks prior to revamping the $50k guarantee, Party is requesting that players chime in with their thoughts regarding the NJCOP’s preliminary schedule, at least indicating that the site will be factoring in player opinions before releasing a more finalized version.
For right now, the NJCOP is slated to be a 10 event, mid-to-high buy-in tournament series set to kick off on April 19th and conclude on the 27th.
Unsurprisingly, Party’s most lucrative tournament series to date will coincide directly with the WPT World Championship Event, which also happens to be the Main Event of this year’s Borgata Spring Poker Open.
The festivities will commence with a $50,000 freeroll, followed shortly by the site’s second $100,000 guarantee. It will culminate in Party / Borgata’s largest stateside guarantee yet: a $200 buy-in, $200,000 guarantee event (Event #10) where the winner will be guaranteed a staggering $50,000 in cash.
Reactions to the preliminary NJCOP draft have ranged from tepid to ice cold.
And while forum posters are almost universally thankful that the site posted the maiden version of the NJCOP on 2 + 2 first, it was scorned for its lack of ingenuity.
Among the most frequent issues players had were:
From a personal standpoint, I would like to see Party incorporate more mid-stakes tournaments as part of their regular and special tournament schedules. And while several changes are en route, more work needs to be done before mid-stakes players will be truly satisfied.
I’m almost inclined to say that Party hates money.
By simply hosting a more varied tournament schedule and at least two NJCOP events on each day, it could easily compel more players from NYC and PA to make the trek to NJ for the series.
I have to guess that Party is banking on the fact that most of the serious MTT grinders will already be in New Jersey for the Borgata Open.
On a more positive note, Party is offering two 6-max tournaments as part of the NJCOP. But even still, it could do a much better job appealing to the wants of different player sects.
As mentioned earlier, March is proving a transitory month for most NJ poker sites, most of which either saw or are seeing their current promos come to a close.
Among the more noteworthy March promos are:
Also of note, old-school poker players will be happy to know that the e-money service Neteller is making its grand return to the US iGaming scene.
Available as a depositing and withdrawal option on WSOP and 888, the reintroduction of Neteller should please the swarms of poker players still stifled by Visa and MasterCard’s wayward payment processing policies.
Sometimes I take my stable Internet connect and general lack of geo-location issues for granted. However, there are those that after three months and change are still plagued by geo-targeting and other damning server issues.
So much so, that I’m beginning to wonder whether NJ’s iGaming sites should spend more of their resources fixing their underlying problems then trying to get a leg up on one another.
Over the past week, I did my best to experience geo-issues firsthand by first increasing my time playing online and then logging on from several different locations and computers.
And while I can’t attest to the exact extent of the problem until more data is retrieved, I’m happy to report on my own findings:
Overall, it’s clear that NJ’s online poker operators still have a long way to go before they can rightfully claim to offer a seamless, user-friendly poker playing experience.