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What Are The Best Times To Play Various Online Poker Games In New Jersey?

February 6, 2017
best times NJ online poker

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.

Pair Of Players Hit Six-Figure Scores On NJ Online Casino, Poker Sites

February 4, 2017
PokerStars Sugarhouse jackpots

A couple of lucky players hit it big on New Jersey gambling sites in recent weeks, at two different online casinos and poker rooms.

That’s in addition to the winners that took home cash during a massive tournament poker series that just wrapped up at PokerStars NJ.

$150K handed out at Sugarhouse

The newest entrant into the New Jersey online gambling market is SugarHouse. That’s a Philadelphia casino that recently decided to get into the iGaming business in NJ.

While the online offering from SugarHouse is relatively new, it didn’t take long for a player to hit it big.

The user johnnyboy55555 won over $150,000 in cash on PlaySugarHouse.com. Here is how it went down, per SugarHouse:

Starting on one lucky day, Friday the 13th, he played over 20,000 slot spins on Mayan Riches across 12 days. He built up a few small deposits into a hefty profit of OVER $150,000!!! We approved and issued his cash withdrawal within 50 hours of his request.

A big score at PokerStars NJ

After more than a year, someone finally spun for big cash at PokerStars NJ.

The user ‘VaderWolf’ became the first winner of a $100,000 Spin & Go poker tournament. The promotion launched last spring, but the biggest prize had yet to be triggered in the turbo, three-player sit and go tournaments.

Here’s how PokerStars NJ described the action:

After buying in for just $10 to play the fast-moving, three-handed turbo tournament, ‘VaderWolf’ managed to defeat ‘martillo1978’ and ‘TLC-365’ to claim the lion’s share of the loot, winning a cool $100,000 in just minutes! For their part, both runners-up pocketed $10,000 each as a consolation prize.

PokerStars is still running these $100K Special Edition Spin & Go’s. Players can win anything 2x to 10,000x their buy-in in the Spin & Go’s at PokerStars.

Also at PokerStars…

PokerStars ran its first “Winter Series” throughout January. The collection of tournaments guaranteed more than $275,000 over the course of ten events. The series exceed expectations in terms of turnout, as prize pools totaled $366,000.

The main event surpassed its guarantee of $75,000. The prize pool edged past $100,000, making it one of the biggest online poker tournaments ever to take place in New Jersey.

There were 183 entries and 90 re-entries in the $400 buy-in event. ‘MattEMenz’ from Barrington, N.J., took the top prize of $20,935.

New Jersey Online Gambling Market Grows Despite Overall Casino Losses

December 27, 2016
NJ gambling online revenue steady

Despite New Jersey’s casino win coming in last month at $180.1 million, a 5.8 percent decrease compared to last year’s November win, NJ online gambling revenue has continued to grow at a rapid rate.

In fact, the state’s regulated online gambling market fell just short of its all-time high.

Revenue gains for NJ online gambling sites      

According to the November press release by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, not only has online gambling in the state continued to grow, it is growing by leaps and bounds.

In the month of November, the state pulled in $17.2 million for its online casino win, up 29.9 percent from last November’s $13.2 million.

Breaking the numbers down further, online casino revenue shot up 34 percent year-on-year to $15.1 million, while online poker revenue gained a respectable 6.4 percent to $2.1 million. The year-to-date overall online revenue is now $178.3 million, up an encouraging 32.3 percent from last year.

How this affects overall NJ gambling numbers

NJ gambling online revenue steadyAs the revenue figures continue to climb, they have begun to offset the losses Atlantic City casinos are posting on the land-based side.

With the online market taken into account, the total November win for the state came in at $197.3 million. This number represents a year-over-year loss of 3.5 percent. Without online casino revenues, however, the state would have lost 5.8 percent.

Although the offset may appear insignificant to some, as New Jersey’s online gambling market continues to grow, we can expect revenue from the online sector to take on a larger and larger role in Atlantic City casinos’ overall success.

Best individual performers

The Borgata has been at the top of the state’s revenue ranks since it opened, with the exception of the Golden Nugget usurping the title this September and October.

The leader in revenue this November was again the Borgata, retaking the top spot from the Golden Nugget. That said, it was only by a minuscule margin.

The Borgata-linked sites brought in a total of $3.809 million ($3.2 million in casino win and $632 thousand from poker) and the Golden Nugget brought in just $7,000 less with its casino-only site.

Other online casinos also continue to do quite well. Caesars was not far behind the Borgata and the Golden Nugget, with $3.36 million in revenue for the month. Resorts was just belowRes Caesars, bringing in $3.2 million, almost a million of which was from its online poker brand, PokerStars.

In the last place were the Tropicana casino-only sites, which brought in just under a $3 million win.

The future of online gambling in New Jersey

New Jersey racetracks are looking to capitalize on the growing online market by opening “Internet Cafes” at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

If Assembly Bill 4255, introduced in October by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-District 12), goes through, we can expect online gaming numbers to skyrocket.

The bill would allow for “horse racetracks to be available for placing wagers at casinos in Atlantic City using the internet.” New Jersey racetracks could “enter into an agreement with a casino located in Atlantic City or such a casino’s Internet gaming affiliate.”

Critics of the state’s plan to expand online gaming to the racetracks have pointed out that just last month voters rejected North Jersey casino expansion by a huge margin. They argue that by offering online gaming at the tracks, New Jersey politicians would be circumventing the democratic process.

Proponents of the bill, on the other hand, argue that their new plan would not require amending the state constitution, as there is nothing inherently illegal about racetracks partnering with existing Atlantic City properties.

Can Loyalty Points Earned Online Be Redeemed For Free Play Or Cash At New Jersey Casinos?

October 24, 2016
free cash NJ online casinos

All online New Jersey online gambling websites offer some sort of free play and/or cash to reward their loyal players.

However, this free play and cash is mostly relegated to online play only.

What is the best online casino loyalty program in New Jersey?

One of our favorite rewards programs is the Golden Rewards Player’s Club offered at the Golden Nugget Casino, because once Golden Points are redeemed they are added directly to the patron’s cashable balance.

At many other online casinos, this bonus money is still subject to playthrough requirements.

Let’s take a look at the Golden Reward Player’s Club, how it works, and why it is one of the best in the industry.

How does Golden Nugget’s Player’s Club operate?

Golden Points can be converted into cash at a rate of $1 per 100 points or $0.01 per point.

In order to redeem points, a player must have a minimum of 100 Golden Points in their balance and they must also redeem all their points at the same time. There are no partial point redemptions allowed.

At first glance these seems like pretty steep requirements, but the Golden Nugget Casino allows players to earn points in a much larger variety of ways than many of their competitors.

  • $100 wagered on slots will earn 5 Golden Points
  • $100 wagered on table games, blackjack, roulette or video poker will earn 1 Golden Point

More ways you can earn Golden Points:

  • Every day a real money wager is played: 10 points
  • Every day the patron deposits between $50 and $99: 20 points
  • Every day the patron deposits $100 or more: 40 points

As you can see, the points start piling up and just to reiterate, once Golden Points are converted to cash they can be instantly cashed out of your account without any further restrictions.

What are the loyalty programs like at NJ online poker rooms?

If you are an online poker player, be sure to check out PokerStars NJ and WSOP, both of which have stellar VIP programs.

PokerStars, in particular, has a VIP rewards program that you will enjoy.

There are six different levels of VIP status that you earn through competing in monthly or yearly VIP Steps. The first five VIP statuses are achieved on a monthly basis (BronzeStar, ChromeStar, SilverStar, and PlatinumStar) whereas the last, Supernova, is achieved on a yearly basis.

A quick perusal of the PokerStars VIP Store will do more than we ever could to convince you of the value of the site’s VIP Club.

As you move up the ranks of the VIP club, you can not only pick up cool PokerStars merchandise, you can purchase VIP cash rebates and online tickets to the biggest and best poker tournaments New Jersey online poker has to offer.

What is the best NJ online casino VIP program with land-based rewards?

It is worth noting that the that if you are looking for an online casino that offers a direct transference of online play to its brick and mortar counterpart, Harrah’s Total Rewards program is probably the right choice for your online play.

When you play at Harrah’s, for every $20 you wager, you will receive 1 Tier Credit (TC) and 1 Online Reward Credit.

Once you link your account, your Online Tier Credits will be automatically awarded to your Total Rewards account every month. You will then gain access to all applicable benefits at Total Rewards Atlantic City properties or any other Total Rewards property.

If you play enough at Harrah’s to achieve Seven Stars status, you will receive a $500 celebration dinner, complimentary rooms, upgrades to the best available rooms at check-in, annual retreats to any Total Rewards resort or casino, invitations to events, and a congratulatory trip with Norwegian Cruise Line.  

Once you achieve higher levels of reward at any of the New Jersey online casinos, you will start to earn all sorts of outstanding rewards and comps.

Can New Jersey Online Poker Players Play Against Players From Other States Or Countries?

October 11, 2016
NJ interstate online poker questions

So, can New Jersey online poker players play against players from other states or outside the United States?

The quick answer is “no.”

At the time of this writing, you are only allowed to player poker on any of the New Jersey online poker rooms with other players that are also located in the state of New Jersey.

Why is there a need for interstate online poker in New Jersey?

When PokerStars NJ opened its doors to United States online poker back in March of 2016, it immediately became the leading online poker site in the state.

This was most likely due to its superb reputation among poker players before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) forced offshore poker sites to shut down to United States clientele.

PokerStars NJ was an overnight success. For a time the site caused a surge in New Jersey online poker which lead to increased liquidity, better game selection, and promotional efforts that were unmatched in the industry up until that point.

But as the frenzy slowed down and the novelty wore off, players went back to other sites.

Today the industry isn’t that much better than it was 12 months ago. With so many different New Jersey online gambling sites all vying for a piece of the pie, the player base in New Jersey is far too thin.

In order to reinvigorate online poker in the state, some sort of interstate compact to allow for players in the state of New Jersey to play with players from other states or countries will have to be instituted.

The last we checked (September 2016), the 7-day average for players across all New Jersey online poker rooms was just shy of 300 simultaneous players.

What are the busiest NJ online poker rooms?

The most active of these poker rooms, and the sites we suggest you play if you are lucky enough to be within the state, are WSOP NJ and PokerStars NJ.

Combined, these two sites have more than 75 percent of all online New Jersey players. WSOP NJ and Pokerstars NJ are your best bet to find the games and tournaments you are looking for.

Will New Jersey poker players ever be able to play against players from other states or countries?

Most experts agree that some US states will at some point combine their player pools for online poker. At the time of writing, online poker is only legal in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.

It is widely agreed upon that this merger would function much the same way that several states have combined lottery player pools to create bigger and better prizes for everyone involved (Powerball).

But agreements such as these are very complex and there are several factors that slow down the development of such compacts. As of September 2016, there is no set timeline for when these shared player pools could occur in the future.

That being said, New Jersey wants to serve as a regulatory hub for other US States that are attempting to regulate online gambling.

New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement Director David Rebuck promoted these aspirations at the East Coast Gaming Congress back in May of 2015 and has engaged in several conversations with regulators from the UK over the issue of sharing player pools:

“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.”

With this promise and active efforts by the state of New Jersey to increase its online gambling market share, many other states are sure to jump on board. As legalized online gambling spreads throughout the United States, poker player pools will become larger and larger.

It is only a matter of time before New Jersey poker players will be allowed to play poker online with gamblers from other states and possibly even other countries, though when that time will arrive is not yet known.

Image credit: Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com

Do NJ Online Casinos Spread Online Poker Games Other Than No-Limit Hold ’em?

October 4, 2016
legal NJ online poker variants

The popularity of no-limit Texas hold ’em is unmistakable.

No longer do people romanticize cowboys sitting around a table holding their cards close to their chests and drawing to gutshots. Now, poker players’ fantasies are all about winning huge amounts of money in tournaments such as the $10,000 Main Event at the World Series of Poker.  

The game played? No-limit Texas hold’em, of course.

If you log onto PokerStars New Jersey and you click on the “Cash Game” tab, most likely all you will see is a list of no-limit hold’em games. However, if you click on the drop down menu located under the title “Game,” the software will give you the opportunity to choose other games you may be interested in playing. 

Common types of online poker games in NJ

At the time of this writing, PokerStars offered a total of 29 different games.

Some of the less popular games may be difficult to play due to lack of player interest, but you can find several tables of games such as limit stud running during peak gambling hours (5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.). If five card draw is your thing, you may be out of luck.

At the height of the poker boom, after Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP of poker back in 2003, the only game anyone wanted to play was no-limit hold’em. Now that things have died down a bit, a few other games have been gaining in popularity. Most notable of these games is pot-limit Omaha.

Pot-limit Omaha is the second most popular version of poker behind no-limit Texas hold’em. You can always find games of pot-limit Omaha running on PokerStars and WSOP. In fact, if you want to play for higher stakes, you will find $5-$10 pot-limit Omaha going more often than its no-limit hold’em equivalent.

It is true that there is a limit on the amount you can bet in pot-limit Omaha and this is sometimes a detraction to new players, but it shouldn’t be. In most no-limit hold’em games, players don’t bet larger than the size of the pot anyway.

The average pot size in pot-limit Omaha is almost always larger than the average pot size in no-limit hold’em. To top it all off, pot-limit Omaha requires much of the same skill set as no-limit hold’em in order to be a winning player, and the best players win at a much higher rate.

How is pot-limit Omaha played?

So how is the game played? It’s easier than you may think.

If you are familiar with Texas hold’em and know how no-limit betting works, you already know almost everything you need in order to play the game. Pot-limit Omaha is played exactly the same way as no-limit Texas hold’em with a couple of distinct exceptions.

First and foremost, instead of being dealt two cards in the hole, like you are in Texas hold’em, you are dealt four cards. You can’t use any combination of the four in your hand and the five on the board in order to make your hand.  

You must, MUST, use two cards out of your hand and three on the board.

The easiest way to understand this concept is to take a look at flushes. If you have the ace of spades in your hand and there are four spades on the board, you do not have a flush.

If you have three spades in your hand and there are two on the board, you do not have a flush. You must use two cards out of your hand and three on the board with no exceptions. So, the ace of spades along with another spade and three or more spades on the board makes your hand.

No-limit betting vs. pot-limit betting

The difference between no-limit and pot-limit betting is not as great as you would imagine. If there is $50 in the pot, the max that you can bet is $50.  

Keep in mind, however, that your call is counted as part of the pot. The amount you can bet escalates very quickly.

If there is $50 in the pot and your opponent bets $50, to figure out the size of the pot, you match the $50 that he bet and then match the size of all bets. So in this situation, you would be able to raise to a total of $200 (don’t worry, the software does these calculations for you).

So next time you are looking to play some poker at either PokerStars NJ or WSOP NJ, give pot-limit Omaha a try. You will find that it is every bit as enjoyable as Texas hold’em and there is a good chance, after playing it a few times, no-limit hold’em will feel like an inferior game.

Image by David / CC BY 2.0

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