NJ Online Poker Sites - Reviews And Resources
Online Poker Report

New Jersey’s Online Poker Sites: A Poker Player’s Review

Below you’ll find comprehensive reviews of the major NJ online poker rooms along with answers to frequently asked questions about legal online poker in New Jersey. Learn more about NJ’s online casinos here.

Last updated: Nov. 8, 2017

NJ online poker site welcome bonuses

  • POKER SITE
  • BONUS
  • GRADES
  • PLAY

NJ online poker room reviews

Contents

The NJ online poker industry of 2017 is quite a bit different than the one from early 2016, but only marginally for the better.

It’s now been over one year since PokerStars returned to the US online poker market. We can say with some clarity that its reentry was both a boon and a bust.

On one hand, today’s operators boast better event schedules, promotions, and thanks to PokerStars, games, than they did. Not to mention, NJ online poker revenue was up for 2016, as was cash game liquidity.

On the other, neither revenue nor liquidity were up by significant margins. And although PokerStars quickly rose to market share leader, it cannibalized the overwhelming majority of its revenue from existing operators.

To illustrate, in February 2017, PokerStars had a 41 percent share of the market. But year-over-year revenue was up a scant 8.8 percent. In May 2017, online poker revenue was down 17.5 percent from the year prior.

Similar story for cash game liquidity, which was up just 10.9 percent from the day PokerStars unofficially launched (March 16, 2016) to the same day in 2017. This, despite PokerStars controlling nearly 44 percent of cash game liquidity as of mid-March.

Fast forward to June and cash game liquidity is in an even more undesirable spot, down 17.2 percent from this time last year, and hovering just above its historic low point.

The launch of Pala Poker in June 2017 has done little so far to turn the industry’s fortunes.

Impact of PokerStars

That being said, the entry of PokerStars has been a net positive for the industry, and online poker in general, in less measurable ways:

  • Events like the PokerStars Festival at Resorts in Atlantic City helped to spread awareness to a venue that hasn’t been known for poker in years.
  • PokerStars sponsored pros such as Jason Somerville and Chris Moneymaker spent a great many hours steaming legal US online poker from streaming site Twitch. Their efforts have resulted in more US viewers reaching out to their representatives about legalizing online poker in their home state.
  • Online tournament events like the highly successful PokerStars NJCOOP proved that while the industry may not be able to consistently replicate its early successes, it can still do so occasionally, pending there’s a worthwhile draw.
  • PokerStars reinforced the aforementioned ideal more recently, when its second annual NJSCOOP paid out nearly $1.5 million in prize money across 70 events.

Turning to operators not named PokerStars, the path forward looks difficult. Former second place network WSOP NJ/888 has recently fallen into the industry basement, at least in terms of revenue. The drop-off appears to be a byproduct of a poorly received software update, and the redistribution of marketing spend from the operator’s NJ site to its Nevada site.

Third place Party/Borgata is stuck in the mud. The running of the GSSS V in October was an attempt to reverse course. Unfortunately, the series was marred by mass overlays and cancellations. The ensuing ire of its player base looked to be the first nail in the coffin for the network.

Since, the network has scaled back its efforts. Last March’s GSSS Spring ’17 was a shadow of its former self, all but solidifying PokerStars’ stance as the go-to site for tournament events.

With cash game averages on Party/Borgata hovering around just 70 during the seasonal uptick, and 65 currently, one has to wonder how long it’ll be before the bottom falls out. However, there is now a playMGM online poker room that could attract some players.

Then there’s upstart Pala Poker, which recently launched in an already saturated and struggling market. Pala’s numbers have been less than awe-inspiring so far, but in its defense, the site is still in beta, and it did launch during the seasonal swoon.

WSOP NJ review

WSOP.com: When PokerStars NJ first set up shop, cash game traffic on then market share leading WSOP/888 took a substantial hit. Since, liquidity has rebounded somewhat, but it looks as though WSOP will have to content itself … Read our full WSOP.com NJ review >>>

PokerStars NJ review

PokerStars NJ: When we last saw PokerStars in the U.S. back in April 2011, it was embroiled in a heated battle with then competitor Full Tilt for online poker supremacy. My, how times have … Read our complete PokerStars NJ review >>>

Pala Poker NJ

Pala Poker NJ: PalaPoker.com beta has launched as of June 6, 2017. They are on their own proprietary poker software built in-house.

888 NJ review

888 Poker NJ: The WSOP/888 network absorbed the launch of PokerStars NJ about as well as expected, losing just under 25 percent of its cash game liquidity. The duo continue to share liquidity across lower stakes no limit hold’em cash games and … Read the complete 888 NJ review >>>

PartyPoker NJ / Borgata review

PartyPokerNJSince the entry of PokerStars, liquidity on Party/Borgata has fallen to nearly unsustainable levels. However, its recent performance on the tournament front has been …  Read our complete Party NJ / Borgata review >>>

Online poker in New Jersey updates: November 2017

Eric Ramsey takes a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the 2017 NJCOOP. In other PS news, PokerStars NJ just wrapped up satellites to its PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – the first time the company has offered satellites to this event in the United States since before Black Friday.

And looking forward, Steve Ruddock examines who stands to win – and who to lose – when New Jersey begins pooling players with Nevada and Delaware. On that same note, WSOP.com boss Bill Rini talked to Jess Welman about what players can expect when the pooling becomes a reality.

How many people are playing legal online poker in NJ?

While sites certainly have points in the day where they are more or less busy, and while a certain promotion or tournament may cause traffic at a particular room to spike temporarily, it’s best to look at rolling averages to understand which poker rooms are most consistently busy.

At most recent check (August 2017) the 7-day average was 245 simultaneous players and trending neutral. It’s nearly the lowest cash game liquidity has been since the onset of NJ online poker in November 2013. 

As it currently stands, here are the active online poker sites in New Jersey from most active to least active, with a general estimate of market share:

  1. PokerStars NJ38% market share. 
  2. WSOP NJ / 888 Poker NJ (partially shared network) – 36% market share.
  3. PartyPoker NJ / Borgata (totally shared network) – 26% market share.
  4. Pala Poker – too early to tell

Click on the link of any room above for an in-depth analysis of the site’s traffic for cash games and tournaments.

In terms of the overall market size: You can track traffic at New Jersey online poker sites over at PokerScout.com.

Suffice it to say, traffic is substantial enough to guarantee a variety of low-to-mid-stakes games and a variety of MTTs and SNGs (also at the lower end of the buyin spectrum).

Right now the game of choice at most rooms is no limit holdem.

Remember, most of the software powering online poker sites in New Jersey is not new. In some cases, it’s been around for over a decade (888 and PartyPoker, for example). So these rooms all have the capability to add new games. It’s more a matter of whether or not there’s sufficient player interest to justify adding new games, especially when you start talking about more niche variants like HORSE or Badugi.

Will PokerStars be available in NJ?

Yes. PokerStars launched in New Jersey in March 2016.

Will Spin N’ Gos be available in New Jersey?

Yes, PokerStars has launched Spin & Go tournaments for New Jersey players. More recently, 888 and WSOP rolled out a lottery sit & go format of its own, entitled BLAST.

List of mobile options for NJ online poker players

In terms of dedicated apps, players have the following choices:

Android apps for online poker in New Jersey

Google does not allow any real-money gambling apps in the Google Play Store.

Therefore, you’ll need to visit the site for a given poker room using your Android phone or tablet in order to download the app.

Available Android apps for NJ online poker:

  • PokerStars NJ Android app.
  • PartyPoker NJ Android app. Read review here.
  • Borgata Poker NJ Android app. Read review here. Same under the hood as Party’s app, but with Borgata branding and promotions.
  • 888 Poker NJ Android app. Read review here. Visit 888 NJ using your Android device in order to download and install.
  • WSOP NJ Android app. Read review here. Again, same under the hood as 888 but with WSOP branding and a slightly different player pool. Visit WSOP.com on your Android device in order to install.

iOS apps for online poker in New Jersey

  • PokerStars NJ.
  • Borgata’s online poker app (iOS).
  • PartyPoker NJ (iOS).
  • 888 Poker (iOS). 
  • WSOP.com (iOS).

Other mobile-compatible alternatives

PartyPoker and Borgata also offer a Java-based browser version of their software that may work on some devices.

For regular updates on new mobile apps and other developments in New Jersey, bookmark our NJ online poker news section.

The basics of New Jersey online poker

Can I legally play for real money in NJ?

Yes. If you are in the state of New Jersey, you can play real-money poker and casino games at a variety of regulated sites.

You do not need to be a resident of New Jersey to play at the state’s regulated online poker sites. The only requirement is that you have to be within the state to play for real money.

You can access your account from anywhere in the United States. You can also deposit and cash out from anywhere. But you have to be within the borders of New Jersey (as verified by the site’s geolocation software) in order to play for real money.

What sites are offering NJ online poker right now?

As of the last update to this FAQ, there were four networks offering online poker in New Jersey:

As of January 12, 2015, WSOP and 888 share some – but not all – of their respective player pools. So a more accurate, albeit more confusing, description of the number of networks in NJ online poker would be 3.5 rather than 4.

You can read reviews of all three networks by clicking on the links above.

PokerStars operates as a standalone network, and brought the number of networks to between 3 and 4, depending on how you consider 888 and WSOP.

Note: Ultimate Poker was active in NJ but closed in September of 2014Betfair (in partnership with Trump Plaza) technically had a poker site, but traffic at said site was non-existent and the room was formally shuttered in November of 2014.

Are other rooms going to be available in the future?

Beyond PokerStars, it seems unlikely that you’ll see many additional rooms open in NJ until shared liquidity with other jurisdictions becomes a reality.

How many poker sites can New Jersey realistically support?

The performance of the state to date suggests that New Jersey is capable of supporting up to two distinct online poker networks over the long run.

Remember, when NJ started offering legal online poker, there were five distinct networks: Party / Borgata, WSOP, 888, Ultimate and Betfair.

A year later that number was down to (effectively) two networks, becoming three when PokerStars entered the equation.

  • Ultimate closed in September 2014.
  • Betfair never really launched and officially shuttered in November 2014.
  • 888 and WSOP essentially combined into one network in January 2015.

Here’s an older, but still relevant, piece from OPR that looks at state population levels and what those levels suggest for said state’s ability to support online poker rooms.

How do the partnerships between casinos and sites like PartyPoker work?

In New Jersey, only land-based casinos qualify for online gambling permits (called Internet Gaming Permits by NJ regulators). But regulations also allow those casinos to partner with technology providers, who must also be vetted and licensed (albeit at a lower level of licensing) to take part in New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market.

Each Internet Gaming Permit – the license received by a land-based casino like The Borgata – can operate up to five websites. And each website can be a distinct brand.

So, in the case of the Borgata, their IGP is being used to power the following sites:

  • BorgataPoker.com
  • BorgataCasino.com
  • Nj.PartyPoker.com
  • PalaCasino.com
  • PalaBingoUSA.com

And each site (sans the two Pala entities) is powered by the bwin.party poker and casino software. In addition, the PartyPoker online poker site and the Borgata online poker site both feed into the same central player pool.

What happens to a NJ online poker site if its land-based casino closes?

This question has, unfortunately, already been somewhat answered by the DGE. The online casino must find a new land-based partner, but has a grace period within which to do so.

When Trump Plaza announced plans to close, it was the first Atlantic City casino with an Internet Gaming Permit to shut down. Trump Plaza had a partnership with Betfair that allowed Betfair to operate an online casino in NJ.

The NJ DGE subsequently announced that Betfair could continue to operate online in NJ after the Plaza closes, contingent upon a few basic requirements. And Betfair then successfully located a new partner with the Golden Nugget Casino. But in the absence of a new partner, it seems that Betfair would have had to eventually close up shop in New Jersey.

What happened to Ultimate Poker?

Ultimate Poker closed in September 2014 after its business relationship with Trump Taj Mahal reportedly went south. Get more details on the closing of Ultimate Poker / UCasino. Ultimate subsequently ceased operations in Nevada in early November.

Why these sites are legal

There’s been a lot of ambiguity surrounding the legality of online gambling in the United States. NJ sites are the first of a wave of legal, regulated online gambling options.

Is online poker legal in NJ?

Yes! Online poker is legal in NJ thanks to the passing of a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law back in February of 2013.

In order to offer online poker or online casino games in New Jersey (more info on licensed NJ online casinos here), sites must have the approval of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Any other site that offers such games for real money to residents of New Jersey is in violation of state law.

Who can offer regulated online poker in New Jersey?

Sites approved by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.

What are the regulations governing online gambling in NJ?

You can review NJ’s online gambling regulations in full here.

What do I do if I have a complaint or issue with a site?

New Jersey regulators have a simple process for handling customer-operator disputes arising from regulated online gambling:

  1. First the customer must notify the operator of the issue and attempt to resolve the issue through support channels.
  2. If a resolution is not reached, the customer can then file an Internet Gaming Dispute form with the NJ DGE.
  3. The form must include a copy (screenshot is likely acceptable) of the contact between customer and operator.

The DGE will help you to properly file a dispute form if you have any questions. Contact them (609) 984-0909 / [email protected]

But remember, you must attempt to resolve the issue with the operator first.

How do I self-exclude from online casinos in New Jersey?

You can self-exclude from NJ’s online poker rooms and casinos via a simple online form. A few important notes about self-exclusion from online gambling sites in New Jersey:

  • Obviously only regulated sites in New Jersey will respect your self-exclusion request. It will not apply to offshore, illegal sites or sites outside of New Jersey.
  • You will be excluded from all regulated sites. There is no way to selectively exclude yourself from one online casino but not another.
  • Self-exclusion does not require you to admit to problem gambling.
  • You can choose from two periods of exclusion: 1 year or 5 years.
  • The self-exclusion does not necessarily extend to land-based casinos, although some operators (Caesars being a good example) will also exclude you from their brick & mortar properties.

People choose to self-exclude from gambling sites for a number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with problem gambling.

However, if you think you have an issue with gambling addiction, we encourage you to visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for additional information and resources.

Who can play online poker in New Jersey?

What is the minimum age to play online poker in NJ?

Same as the land-based casino age: You must be 21 to play at NJ’s regulated online poker sites and casinos.

Who is allowed to play at NJ online poker sites?

Anyone of age who can be confirmed by a given site as being located within the state can play online poker in New Jersey. You do not need to be a resident of New Jersey.

Am I playing just against other people in NJ?

Yes. Right now the player pools are made up only of people in New Jersey.

Do I have to go to the casino to set up a NJ online poker account?

No, you can just visit any of the websites approved by the DGE.

I heard Nevada and Delaware have online poker too. Are all the states connected?

No. Delaware and Nevada are connected, but players in NJ are playing against other players in NJ only.

Will New Jersey eventually share player pools with other jurisdictions?

It is expected that some US states will at some point combine their player pools for online poker and casino gaming, much in the same way that several states pool lottery prize pools across a coalition of states (Powerball, for example).

But compacts are a complex affair and there are any number of factors slowing their development. So there’s no firm timeline or blueprint for how states like New Jersey will come to share player pools with other states offering regulated online gambling.

With that said, there are reason to be hopeful about New Jersey’s long-term chances for entering into liquidity-sharing agreements with other jurisdictions.

First, NJ DGE Director David Rebuck has mentioned on several occasions that his office has engaged in advanced conversations with regulators from the UK over the issue of sharing player pools.

Second, New Jersey has aspirations to serve as a regulatory hub for other states that are looking to regulate online gambling. In fact, Director Rebuck aggressively promoted those aspirations at the East Coast Gaming Congress in May 2015, saying “If you partner with New Jersey, I can guarantee you, you can be up and operating in anywhere from 90 to 120 days, and you can set whatever tax rate you want.”

Third, NJ gubernatorial candidate Sen. Raymond Lesniak is a strong proponent of online gambling, and would likely push for international compacts.

Depositing and withdrawing at NJ online poker sites

Read an in-depth, method-by-method breakdown of depositing at Party / Borgata here and one for 888 / WSOP here.

A quick overview of ways to deposit and cashout at NJ online poker sites follows below.

What methods are available for deposits and withdrawals at NJ online poker sites?

Methods vary by site. Credit cards, PayPal, echecks, ACH deposits prepaid cards and deposits at the casino cage are options offered by various NJ online poker sites.

The most reliable method, and also one of the fastest, is ACH (bank transfer).

I heard VISA deposits are being declined?

Yes, VISA deposits currently have what are generally regarded as the lowest acceptance rates for online poker deposits in New Jersey. Even though these deposits are perfectly legal, several of VISA’s issuing banks initially decided to hold off on accepting such transactions for now.

The situation improved in 2015, when PartMasterCard and VISA issued new credit card codes for regulated online gambling, but difficulties persist.

One alternative is to use your VISA to fund an ewallet such as Neteller, and then to fund your player account using Neteller.

Can I use Mastercard to deposit?

Yes. MasterCard acceptance rates are much higher than VISA and are easily the highest of any credit card. American Express does not allow gambling-related transactions.

Can I use American Express to deposit at NJ’s online poker rooms?

No. American Express generally doesn’t allow gambling-related transactions regardless of legality, and the NJ online poker market is no exception.

Can I use PayPal to deposit at NJ online poker sites?

Yes.

Following almost a year of speculation regarding PayPal’s return to New Jersey, news that the company was once again handling online gambling payments arrived in September 2015.

If these sites are legal, why is it so hard to to deposit?

For a number of reasons, but the short answer is that many banks and companies are waiting to see how regulated online gambling works out before jumping in. They’re concerned about possible unanticipated liabilities and weighing those against the revenue potential of regulated online gambling.

Once the amount of money involved grows and the uncertainty recedes, depositing at one of NJ’s online poker rooms will become an easier thing to do.

The introduction of new MCCs for processing regulated online gambling transactions in April 2015 brightened the outlook, but only to an incremental degree in the short term.

Read an in-depth, method-by-method breakdown of depositing at Party / Borgata here and one for 888 / WSOP here.

What’s the best online poker site in New Jersey?

The answer to that question will vary by player. For a starting point for determining the best NJ online poker site, refer to our grades for NJ’s active rooms below:

  • POKER SITE
  • BONUS
  • GRADES
  • PLAY

The number of online poker sites in New Jersey is small enough that the question of which site is the “best” site becomes somewhat moot. Unlike the international market, where there are dozens of sites, NJ is home to only three entirely unique online poker networks.

That means players can realistically give all of NJ’s online poker rooms a fair trial and determine for themselves which is superior.

In most cases, players will derive the greatest benefit from playing at multiple (if not all of) NJ’s online poker rooms in order to maximize promotional and bonus value.

Online poker NJ: Bonuses for new players

The bulk of the promotional value available to online poker players in New Jersey comes via the opening bonuses offered by all rooms in the state’s market.

New player bonuses come in two forums: no deposit bonuses, where players are given some amount of free money to try out the room, and deposit bonuses, where the poker site matches an amount deposited by the player with some sort of bonus funds the player can then convert into real money via further play.

Online poker NJ: Security questions

Are these sites secure?

Sites are required by regulations to demonstrate both that they can provide a secure gameplay environment and that they can securely store your personal information.

How do I know I’m not being cheated?

New Jersey’s regulated online poker rooms are subject to strict and regular oversight. If you have any suspicions, you can file a complaint with New Jersey regulators directly.

Why does the site ask for my social security number?

Sites are required to verify player identity by regulations, both to ensure you’re eligible to create an account and also for tax reporting purposes.

The site is asking for a utility bill / my ID / etc. Should I provide it?

If you are playing at one of the approved, licensed sites in New Jersey then you should feel comfortable providing this information.

Sites need it in order to verify your identity, ensuring that accounts are only being created and used by those of legal age to gamble online (21).

The economics of online poker in New Jersey

How much revenue do NJ online poker sites generate?

Legal online poker in New Jersey currently generates somewhere along the lines of just over $2 mm in revenue a month, and up to $2.5 mm when special tournament events are running. Generally, the industry generates $500k more in the dead of winter versus the summer.

Read a more complete breakdown (including casino revenue) at our NJ online gambling revenue tracker.

What kind of tax revenue does online poker generate for NJ?

The tax rate for legal online gambling in NJ is 15 percent of revenue, with an additional 3 percent re-investment tax applied for operators.

Online gambling as a whole has generated over $80 mm in tax revenue for NJ since being launched in November 2013. Poker has accounted for something around 17 percent of the total revenue in New Jersey, and therefore roughly 17 percent of all taxes generated by legal internet gambling to date.

Are any of NJ’s regulated online poker operators profitable?

NJ’s online operators don’t break out poker and casino in terms of profitability – only in terms of revenue. And no companies that I’m aware of have been willing to provide a detailed breakdown of their profit and loss so far in the regulated market for online gambling in NJ.

Borgata did indicate that they were realizing a profit from their online arm during a November 2014 earnings call and reiterated that position in their call covering the 1st quarter of 2015, although it is unclear how much of that revenue (or profit) came from online poker as opposed to online casino.

What impact is online gambling having on New Jersey’s land-based casinos?

Every indication from land-based casino operators in New Jersey has been that online gambling supports their land-based products. Representatives from Caesars and the Borgata have said that the vast majority of online customers were new to their respective brands, suggesting that online is bringing a new kind of customer to Atlantic City’s casino operators.

These anecdotal reports provide support for recent research from UNLV that concludes the regulation of online gambling represents a net positive for land-based casinos and the companies that run them.

What are the rules governing online gambling affiliates in NJ?

Generally speaking, anyone who promotes New Jersey’s regulated online gambling sites must be registered with the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

  • If you are working on a flat-fee or CPA basis, you only need to acquire a Vendor number (VRF), which is a relatively simple process.
  • If you are planning on working on a revenue share basis with regulated online casino sites and poker sites in NJ, then you’ll need an ASCIE, which is a more involved license.

Sites that promote online poker or gambling are generally referred to as affiliate sites. Here’s one example of a site we operate with reviews of NJ online casino sites; here’s another of a site that we don’t operate that lets you earn online casino rewards.

Affiliates interested in the NJ online gambling market will need to make a choice between promoting regulated sites and promoting offshore US-facing sites. Recent updates to the regulations governing NJ online gambling require affiliates to cease promoting unregulated US-facing poker sites and casinos as part of the requirement for approval to promote NJ’s regulated sites like WSOP and Golden Nugget online casino.

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