- US Online Poker
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Partypoker was among the world’s first online poker rooms, making its debut way back in 2001.
It was also the largest site in the early boom years until it ceased US operations following passage of the Unauthorized Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. The partypoker brand is therefore perhaps less familiar to some US players than its competitors, like PokerStars, which elected to continue serving the US until Black Friday in 2011.
Because of that decision, however, partypoker was able to make its legal return to the US market before most. When legal online gambling came to New Jersey in November 2013, partypoker NJ was one of the first operators to go live.
For now the Garden State remains the only one in the US in which partypoker operates, though its launch in Pennsylvania appears imminent.
Partypoker was acquired by online casino and sports betting giant GVC in 2015. GVC is aiming to become a major force in the legal US sports betting space through a partnership with MGM Resorts, called Roar Digital. This hasn’t yet impacted its operations or plans in the US but could be a strategic consideration as new states open for business.
|Online Poker Site||Partypoker|
|Partypoker Bonus Code||PLAYNJCASH|
|Bonus description||$25 FREE|
|State(s) available||New Jersey|
|Last verified||October 2020|
At the moment, partypoker offers both a sign-up bonus and a first-deposit bonus. These are not mutually exclusive and do not require a code.
The sign-up bonus requires no deposit. Following identity verification, every new account receives free play worth a total of $25. This is broken down as follows:
The first-deposit bonus is credited automatically. It requires a minimum deposit of $10 and the bonus is a full 100% match up to $1,000. The bonus money is released in ten equal parts with a 2x play-through rate — that is, the site will release $1 for every $2 in rake or tournament fees.
Players can also clear the bonus through partypoker’s casino products at a higher 4x rate.
Under Roar Digital, partypoker has access to any US online gambling market in which MGM or Boyd Gaming owns property. Its list of active states is currently limited to New Jersey, but launch in Pennsylvania appears imminent too.
Partypoker’s owner company GVC also received a license to operate its games in Nevada in 2019. That includes a license for poker, so it seems likely that partypoker will launch a site there too. The company has, however, said that westward expansion is “not a priority,” so the wait may be long.
For now, partypoker’s US traffic is low and its variety of games limited.
For cash games, stakes start at $0.02/$0.04. The options are No-Limit or Limit Hold’em, or Pot-Limit Omaha. Partypoker’s fast-fold product fastforward is available for $0.05/$0.10 and $0.25/$0.50 NLHE, but rarely has any traffic.
Sit-and-go and scheduled tournaments are also available on the partypoker US client, though heads-up sit-and-gos are the only ones that typically fill, however. The site’s lottery sit-and-go product — SPINS — is not currently available in the US.
Partypoker has operated continuously in New Jersey since the state’s synchronized online gambling launch in November 2013. In addition to poker, partypoker NJ also offers in-client casino products. There is no party-branded sportsbook at the moment, but the parent company does offer sports betting in the US under the BetMGM brand.
In New Jersey, MGM’s online gambling products operate under the land-based casino license of Borgata.
Partypoker NJ was competitive in its early years with WSOP/888, the only other active site at the time. Its traffic and market share have since suffered due, however, primarily due to two factors: the launch of PokerStars NJ in 2016, and 888 integrating its NJ platform into its multi-state poker network with Nevada and Delaware in 2018.
Starting in September 2014, partypoker NJ began running a twice-annual tournament series called the Garden State Super Series (GSSS). The site, however, scaled the festival back significantly beginning with its sixth installment in the spring of 2017. The most-recent GSSS ran in October 2018 and missed many of its guarantees, putting at least a temporary end to the series.
Partypoker quietly discontinued the GSSS in 2019, and it’s unclear whether or not it will ever reappear.
If all goes according to plan, Pennsylvania will be the second US state that partypoker enters.
Rules for PA online gambling contain a unique “qualified gaming entity” provision, allowing companies without a physical presence in the Commonwealth to seek licensure. MGM was one of two operators that applied for permits as a QGE — along with Golden Nugget — and its application is currently pending regulatory approval.
Roar Digital CEO Adam Greenblatt confirmed to OPR that the group will use the partypoker brand in PA. Once live, however, there is no clear indication that the partypoker PA site will be able to share players and liquidity with the New Jersey client.
Yes, but only in New Jersey. At the moment, partypoker holds licenses in New Jersey and Nevada and is in the process of obtaining one for Pennsylvania. However, its only site to have gone live so far is partypoker NJ.
It is not legal for international or offshore sites — including partypoker’s main dot-com network — to serve players in the US.
Almost anyone can sign up for an account at partypoker NJ, so long as they are at least 21 years of age and not otherwise excluded from gambling. To actually sit at the tables, however, a player must be physically present in the state. Residency and citizenship don’t matter, only their physical location at the time of play.
Other reasons a player may be ineligible include voluntary self-exclusion, being employed by partypoker, or having had one’s account closed under suspicion of cheating.
Partypoker is expected to launch in Pennsylvania shortly. It also has a license to operate in Nevada, but has indicated that launching a site there isn’t a priority at this time.
West Virginia has also legalized online poker and other forms of gambling, and partypoker’s parent company recently launched a sportsbook there in partnership with The Greenbrier. That could mean a partypoker WV site is coming eventually, but the state’s small population could make it an unappealing market unless it’s possible to share liquidity with other states.
Michigan passed a full package online gambling bill in December 2019, and it’s very likely that partypoker will eventually have a site there. However, the latest word is that neither online poker nor other forms of online gambling are likely to launch until some time in 2021.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding interstate liquidity sharing. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is most notably attempting to extend the Wire Act to apply to all forms of gambling, rather than just sports betting. A federal court struck down that attempt, but the DOJ is now working through the appeals process.
WSOP/888 already shares liquidity between Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. If partypoker were to launch in Nevada, it would likely follow suit. As for other states, including Pennsylvania, it’s unlikely that regulators will be open to the idea of shared liquidity until the DOJ’s legal battle is resolved.
International shared liquidity is a far more remote possibility. If it’s even possible, it’s sufficiently far off to not be a legitimate consideration for now.
Compared to other poker operators, partypoker is in good legal standing thanks to its decision to depart the US market immediately after the UIGEA came into effect in 2006.
Its parent company has many subsidiaries, however, and some of these have occasionally had compliance issues. In particular, its license application in Nevada came into jeopardy due to GVC having acquired a company that was, at the time, doing business illegally in Turkey.
Though it did ultimately receive its license, the vote by the Nevada Gaming Control Board was split 2-1 and the license came with conditions — such as GVC being required to pay $100,000 to cover additional investigations into its operations.
Still, if GVC was able to get past the notoriously strict Nevada regulators, it will likely have no trouble in other states. Certainly, anywhere willing to overlook the past indiscretions of PokerStars should be favorably inclined towards partypoker.
Partypoker was originally created in 2001 by PartyGaming, itself founded a few years earlier in 1997 by American entrepreneur Ruth Parasol. It wasn’t the very first online poker site, but it was among the first. Within a few years it was also the biggest, thanks in large part to aggressive television advertising as the poker boom was taking off.
PartyGaming went public with an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in June 2005, with a valuation of almost $8.5 billion. Its share price surged over 40% in the first month of trading, but disaster struck the following year when George W. Bush signed the UIGEA into law.
While competitors like PokerStars, Full Tilt and UltimateBet elected to continue serving US customers, PartyGaming chose to comply with the law and pull out. Its stock immediately plunged by 60%.
In 2011, PartyGaming merged with Austrian online gambling company bwin Interactive Entertainment to form a new company, Bwin.Party. Bwin had operated a poker room on the Ongame network and migrated its players to partypoker’s network after the merger.
Online gaming giant GVC struck a deal to acquire Bwin.Party in 2015, and the transaction closed in February 2016. Today GVC’s worldwide annual revenues exceed $3 billion, of which partypoker accounts for only a tiny part.
Partypoker’s current operations span three individual traffic pools:
2001 – Partypoker first opens and accepts US customers, as was the norm at the time.
2006 – With the passage of the UIGEA, partypoker discontinues US operations and loses its status as the world’s largest online poker room.
November 2013 – Online gambling goes live in New Jersey. Partypoker is one of the first two poker rooms to launch.
September 2014 – Partypoker NJ runs its first Garden State Super Series (GSSS), with $1 million in total guarantees.
March 2017 – Partypoker NJ makes huge cuts to GSSS for its sixth installment. Events reduced from 75 to 11, total guarantees from $1.17M to $270,000.
October 2018 – GSSS runs for the last time. Partypoker forced to pay out big overlays, including for the Main Event and High Roller. Series does not return in 2019.
May 2019 – GVC receives license for Nevada operations, including poker.