One of the primary drawbacks of NJ online poker rooms is its low foot traffic relative to international markets.
At present, New Jersey does not share liquidity with any other jurisdiction. And while this may change in the near future, for now players are advised to choose the times they play wisely.
The good news is, that for at least a few hours during the day, online poker lobbies are bustling with enough activity to satiate most players. And a few select formats and stakes do run around the clock.
When are the best times for NJ online poker cash games?
For players looking to mix it up at the PokerStars NJ cash game tables, the best time to play is generally between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. on weekdays, and from 1:30 p.m. to approximately 2 a.m. on weekends.
Reason being is that this is when the bulk of the site’s tournaments are running. As many grinders already know, a robust tournament schedule tends to drive cash game traffic.
No Limit Hold’em cash games do run during the earlier parts of the day, but the available games are somewhat limited, with stakes ranging from $0.05/$0.10 to $0.25/$.0.50 drawing the majority of players.
But once prime time hits, it’s not totally uncommon to find a rather eclectic blend of NHLE, Omaha and mixed games running. Granted, alternative format games do sometimes play short-handed, but at least there’s a few stakes options.
What about online poker tournaments in New Jersey, when do they run?
Technically, tournaments on PokerStars are scheduled around the clock. But that hardly means all of them get off.
In fact it’s quite common for non-guaranteed tournaments running during the overnight hours right through the early afternoon to be cancelled.
Guaranteed tournaments are a bit of a different fruit, getting off with regularity.
On weekdays, the major guaranteed schedule starts at 1:30 p.m. with The Big $15 ($1,000 guarantee), and continues through 12:45 a.m., when the Moonlight 2nd Chance ($20 buy-in, $500 guarantee) runs.
In between, there are an array of guaranteed tournaments to choose from, with buy-ins ranging from $5 through $100. The biggest weekday guarantee is $8,000.
For gamblers with limited playing time, the best day to mix it up at the tournament tables is on Sunday.
Even on Sunday, there isn’t a dizzying amount of options, but the guarantees are substantially larger, spiking as high as $40,000. There’s also a blend of $5 and $10 tournaments that feature guarantees as high as $5,000.
Granted, they’re no Sunday Million, but still offer good value for a small and closed liquidity marketplace.
Any sit & goes at PokerStars NJ?
Not too many, no. PokerStars doesn’t do much to advertise or promote its regular sit & go games, and the traffic reflects that.
The best, and really the only, time to play sit & goes is during peak liquidity hours, which range from about 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. on weekdays, and 3 p.m. – 12 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Even then, it’s rare to find more than a dozen low-to-mid stakes NLHE running.
One of the primary reasons why the sit & go lobby is all but a barren wasteland on PokerStars is because the site has rolled out a faster paced, more gambling-oriented version of the vertical.
Spin & Go’s: The most reliable format on PokerStars New Jersey
Spin & Go’s are three-man hyper turbo sit & goes that feature randomized payouts, ranging from two times a player’s buy-in all the way up to 10,000x during select events.
Naturally, the payouts are weighted heavily toward the lower end of the scale, but there has been at least one instance of a player parlaying a $10 buy-in into a $100,000 score.
The allure of six-figure payouts has clearly captured the attention of NJ online poker players, as the format has become, without a doubt, the most popular in New Jersey. It’s also small market-friendly, as it only requires that three players take a seat, as opposed to six or nine for traditional sit & goes.
We can say with some clarity that Spin & Go’s on PokerStars run around the clock. Granted, the frequency of games is much lower during off-peak hours, but NJ online casino players should never have to wait more than a minute or two for the reels to spin.
Games get off instantaneously during peak liquidity hours.
Any particular time of year to play?
Players will find the best action on PokerStars, and on just about any NJ gambling website for that matter, from primarily November through February. That’s because people tend to gravitate toward indoor activities during the colder months.
We’d estimate that liquidity is a good 20 percent higher during the winter than the summer.