888Poker.com NJ Online Poker Review
888 Poker is a part of the second largest poker network in New Jersey. Its local sister site, WSOP NJ, is owned by Caesars Entertainment, the company that also owns the well-known, land-based casino brand in Atlantic City. This partnership allowed 888 to enter the fenced New Jersey e-Gaming market without much of an issue in November 2015, making it the go-to local poker site for an entire year.
This all changed in March 2016, however, when PokerStars finally managed to return to the New Jersey online gambling market. Nowadays, the 888 Poker/WSOP network is pulling similar numbers to PokerStars when it comes to weekend tournaments and other recurring events. Unfortunately, 888’s performance in the cash game sector did not fare as well.
Meanwhile, the launch of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Alliance on May 1 means that players at 888 Poker and WSOP.com can play cash games with players from Nevada and Delaware. The shared player pool essentially unites the family of 888/WSOP players in all three states.
888 Poker NJ software
888 Poker NJ is powered by Dragonfish software, which has been developed in-house for the global 888Poker.com network. In New Jersey, this same package is also used by WSOP. Both sites share the same player pool, which makes them somewhat more competitive in a market that has been struggling with small player pools ever since Garden State politicians gave i-Gaming the green light.
888’s groundbreaking software allowed the company to win EGR poker operator of the year awards in 2011 and 2012.
However, what used to be impressive five years ago would be considered pretty average nowadays. This is particularly apparent in a side-by-side comparison between 888’s and PokerStars’ poker software – the former simply looks outdated.
That being said, it’s difficult to criticize anything beyond the visuals. The lobby and games are stable and run smoothly on both Windows PC and MacOS. Despite looking dated, the user interface is perfectly adequate in terms of functionality: Games can be filtered by formats and stakes in the lobby, the table interface and action buttons scale well with the size of your window, and the client is compatible with the latest version of PokerTracker. Furthermore, like all serious poker rooms, 888 has kept its security measures up to date by using the latest encryption technologies.
Please note that, as required by state regulations, 888 Poker’s software uses a Wi-Fi-based geo-location system to confirm that you’re accessing their real money games from within the borders of the state.
888 Poker NJ bonuses
New 888 Poker customers can claim the following bonuses:
888 Poker NJ free $20 bonus
You will receive a free $20 bonus as soon as your new account has been successfully verified. The offer is composed of three separate chunks:
- $4 that can be used to play any cash games
- Six $1 tournament tickets
- $10 for casino play
Any prize money won as a result of playing the $1 tournament tickets can be withdrawn at will. However, the $4 cash game bonus needs to be cleared by paying $6 in rake and/or tournament fees.
Consequently, the whole cash bonus amounts to 66 percent rakeback, which is an excellent offer.
888 Poker NJ 100% matched deposit bonus, up to $1,500
- Minimum deposit: $10
- Released in $10 chunks
- Equivalent to a 20% rakeback offer
This bonus will match your first deposit up to a maximum of $1,500. Every $10 chunk of the bonus requires that $50 be paid in tournament fees or rake, which results in an effective 20% rakeback deal until the entire bonus is cleared.
This means that 888 Poker offers the worst matched deposit bonus in New Jersey in terms of absolute value. However, if you narrow your choice down to the largest networks that attract more than 150 players during peak hours, you’ll suddenly find yourself choosing between $1,500 from 888 Poker and a $600 from PokerStars, the latter of which amounts to a 55% rakeback deal.
As a result, 888 Poker’s first deposit bonus is exceptional if you’re going to deposit more than $600 and don’t mind taking much longer to clear your entire bonus. For players planning smaller deposits, PokerStars’ offer is a much better choice.
888 Poker loyalty program
- Equivalent to 10% rakeback or less for the average player
- Requires constant engagement in order to maintain loyalty level
888 Poker’s loyalty program is based on earning Status Points, which determine your loyalty tier, and Reward Points, which can be exchanged for money at a rate of $10 per 1,000 points. The rate at which RPs are accrued depends on your account tier – the more you play, the more cash back you’ll get. Please note that your account tier is reset at the end of each month, so you must keep grinding in order to maintain a higher rakeback deal.
SPs are accrued at the rate of two points per dollar paid in fees. Below is a list containing Status Point requirements for each tier, as well as RP accruance rates for each tier:
- Blue: 0 RPs – 2.5 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 5% rakeback deal
- Iron: 50 RPs – 4 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 8% rakeback deal
- Bronze: 200 RPs – 5 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 10% rakeback deal
- Silver: 3,000 RPs – 7.5 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 15% rakeback deal
- Gold: 6,000 RPs – 10 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 20% rakeback deal
- Platinum: 20,000s RP – 17.5 RPs per every SP earned – equivalent to a 35% rakeback deal
While this offer is fairly decent by New Jersey standards, it is worth noting that 888’s rakeback offer does not compare favorably with that of PokerStars. For example, if you were to pay $100 in rake on PokerStars, you’d end up with 15% rakeback. On the other hand, paying $100 in rake on 888 Poker would only get you 8%. Realistically, due to the high rake requirements, the majority of 888 players will never go beyond the 10% rakeback mark. And while it is true that the cap over at 888 (35%) is better than the one available at PokerStars (27%), the reality of the situation is that even extremely active high-rollers will find it difficult to achieve platinum tier – there’s simply not enough action at the tables to consistently generate $10,000 in rake.
Other ongoing promotions
888 Poker does not offer much in terms of recurring promotions. There’s the daily $50 freeroll, as well as the monthly $30,000 freeroll played on the last Sunday of the month.
And that’s pretty much it.
Keep in mind that the monthly freerolls are available exclusively to players ranked Silver or higher, which makes them essentially inaccessible to recreational players.
888 Poker mobile app
888’s mobile app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices and can be downloaded from either iTunes or the Google Play Store. The New Jersey version of the application is typically a few updates behind the international release.
Here are the minimum software requirements, which are quite reasonable:
- Apple: iOS 6.0 or better, compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
- Android: version 2.4 or better, requires an ARMv7 processor and at least 256 MB of RAM.
The app doesn’t set out to accomplish anything outstanding and focuses on providing players with a basic mobile poker experience. The app features all of 888’s cash games, Sit n’ Gos, and Blast! tournaments. Unfortunately, 888’s excellent MTT selection is non-existent in the app.
In addition to the above, the mobile app allows players to manage their account and financials. You can use it to check your Status Points and Reward Points balances, make a deposit, request a cash-out, and change your account information.
All things considered, and particularly due to the lack of a decent selection of MTT’s, we are not comfortable recommending the mobile app as a replacement for the desktop software. At best, the application can be considered a decent companion product.
888 Poker games
888 Poker shares most of its games with WSOP NJ’s. Unfortunately, due to the small player pool size – a recurring problem throughout New Jersey – most of the action is focused on S&Gs and MTTs. Cash game junkies will either need to look elsewhere or log-in exclusively during peak traffic hours.
Cash games on 888 Poker are not popular. Logging in during off-peak hours reveals a few active No-limit Texas Hold’em and Pot-limit Omaha tables, and that’s pretty much it. However, the action does pick up during peak hours, when the number of active players around doubles from 80 to 160. Here’s a more in-depth overview of available cash games:
- Texas Hold’em: Both six-max and full-ring tables are available. The vast majority of the action takes place at the No-Limit tables – Limit enthusiasts will have a hard time finding a decent game. Most action can be had at stakes between $0.01/$0.02 and $1/$2.
- Omaha: Available in both pot-limit and no-limit variety. Tables are usually empty throughout the day, with two or three usually filling up during peak hours. Available stakes range from $0.02/$0.04 to $5/$10, although most people seem to prefer the $0.25/$0.50 games.
- Stud: While 7-card Stud games are theoretically available, we are yet to see a single active table. If you enjoy this format then you’re almost guaranteed to be disappointed each time you join the lobby, regardless of the time of day.
This is where all the action is at 888. It’s also why the poker room is able to compete with PokerStars in terms of popularity in New Jersey. 888 Poker’s MTT schedule is impressive and, their Sit & Go’s tend to run pretty much non-stop during peak hours.
- Multi-table tournaments: 888 Poker offers $50 freerolls and one or two VIP tournaments, but most of the action is focused around standard MTTs. A typical low buy-in tournament attracts about 150 players on the weekend and is played in a NLHE format. However, a small percentage of events caters to the needs of the local Pot-limit Omaha community. Some notable recurring tournaments include the $10k The Big Sunday ($200 buy-in, NLHE), $2k NJ High-Rollers ($100 buy-in, NLHE), $1k Six-O Six Deep Stack ($30 buy-in, NLHE) and the $1K Evening 25 ($25 buy-in, NLHE). Last, but not least, there’s also Weekend Warriors – a series of nine tournaments hosted every weekend, with a total guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 or more.
- Sit & Go tournaments: Both regular and turbo NLHE S&G’s are available and can be played in a heads-up, 6-max and full ring formats. Available buy-ins range from $1 to $100, but don’t expect too much action beyond the $5 games. Some Pot-limit Omaha S&G’s are available as well. However, expect most of the active ones to feature buys of only a few dollars.
- Blast! Sit & Go games: Blast! is a unique, hyper-fast tournament format with a lot of similarity to PokerStars’ Spin & Go’s. Each game is played 4-handed, with buy-ins ranging from $0.10 to $30. The size of the prize pool is determined at random and typically equals between 2x and 6x the size of your buy-in, although it can theoretically go as high as 10,000x.
888 Poker update February 2019
888’s NJ online casino went big in December with 16 new titles, but January was quite the opposite. No new gaming additions were made last month, leaving 888 with 251 total games. 888 Poker had a similarly quiet month, and no new tourneys or promos are showing up as of this writing.
The reason for the dearth of additions could be that they’ve been working on gaining a foothold in Pennsylvania. Given that the state has stepped into the online arena and is handing out licenses, everyone’s trying to get in on the action. 888 has paired with Mount Airy Resort Casinos, one of the 3 license holders. This is a natural partnership, as Mount Airy established a relationship with 888 almost 4 years ago.
So expect to see an online casino with the usual slots/video poker/table games, along with poker and even sports betting in the not too distant future.
Affiliated land-based casino in Atlantic City
Caesars Atlantic City is a luxury casino-hotel and spa resort that opened its doors in 1979. The local Casino Control Commission did not allow Caesars Entertainment to advertise its name until 1983. As a result, the casino was known as Boardwalk Regency for the better part of four years.
The property was renovated and expanded several times. Today, with more than 3,400 slot machines on the casino floor, it is one of the largest gambling establishments in the entire state. Much like Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, it has an ancient Roman and Greek theme.
In 1985, the on-site 440-seat Cabaret Theater was replaced with the 1,100-seat Circus Maximus Showroom, which hosted many famous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, and Celine Dion. The Showroom was also used to host numerous professional boxing events.
From a poker-enthusiast’s perspective, Caesars Atlantic City stands out from the local gambling landscape due to its spacious 24-table poker room. Most of these tables host $1/$2 and $2/$5 No-Limit Hold’em games, but Seven Card Stud is also available, usually in a $1 to $5 open betting structure. Sit & Go tournaments are available on demand.
Caesars’ poker room in Atlantic City is additionally host to The Gladiator Games weekend poker tournament.