PokerStars Shoots to Top of New Jersey Online Poker Market in First Official Day
It’s official: PokerStars remains an immensely popular brand with United States-based online poker players, as evidenced by the surge to the top of the New Jersey online poker market by PokerStars in its first official day of real-money play.
As widely reported last week, PokerStars and its New Jersey casino partner, Resorts Casino Atlantic City, successfully negotiated a five-day “soft launch” that began last Wednesday. For those five days, actual real-money play via the PokerStarsNJ.com site and software client was available only to a pre-invited list of players, capped at 500 in total at any single moment during the five-day test. The site was available only for partial hours on the first three days.
Despite a few registration hiccups, the testing phase ran smoothly. The New Jersey Division of Gaming enforcement affirmed that the site passed its accountability standards during the soft-launch phase, and at 12:01 on Monday morning, the site opened its registration and deposit functions to all New Jersey residents.
By late morning, some 400 players were seated at the Stars tables, according to live data provided by Stars’ own software client, and by the late-afternoon start of US prime time online-poker hours, PokerStarsNJ.com had already surged over a thousand real-money players, likely surpassing all of its established competitors in the Garden State. PokerStars has yet to pass its chief New Jersey competitors, WSOP/888 and Borgata/Party, in the rolling seven-day traffic averages as offered by online site monitor PokerScout, but that seems a formality based on the first day’s totals and an expected continuance of the interest surge in the coming days.
However, Caesars/WSOP and the Borgata need not fret too long about the success of the metaphorical new kid on the block. PokerStars’ big-time return to New Jersey is very likely to kick off a “halo effect” that not only benefits all sites in New Jersey, but could even drive renewed interest in online-poker legislation in other states. That’s a rosy scenario, but have no doubts: Monday was a big day for US online poker.
Even as midnight neared and PokerStars’ first day of its return to the US drew to a close, nearly 900 New Jersey players continued to play on the site. Check the number at upper right in the following screen grab:
PokerStars also issued a self-congratulatory, promotional press release as part of the big day. “We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey,” said David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya. “Working with our partner, Resorts Casino Hotel, we look forward to providing the most exciting, innovative and secure gaming experience to New Jersey.”
“This is a great day for online gaming, for state players and residents and for Atlantic City,” added Morris Bailey, owner of Resorts Casino Hotel. “Resorts has worked diligently to build a home for globally renowned brands in New Jersey and, with the addition of PokerStars, is proud to introduce yet another respected partner.”
According to the presser (and without too much exaggeration), “PokerStars’ much-anticipated launch in New Jersey is a significant milestone for the company and the industry. PokerStars New Jersey players will be able to take part in the brand’s most popular games, formats and products, including the popular Spin & Go variant, which crowned 13 millionaires globally between October and December 2015.”
The announcement also noted that special New Jersey online promotions, bonuses and live events will be offered to players, “giving them opportunities to interact with and play against some of the best and most well-known players in the world, such as Team PokerStars Pro members Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Liv Boeree, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Jennifer Shahade and Jason Somerville.” Stars has already announced two different first-deposit programs in New Jersey, one tailored to first-time online players, and the other perhaps more suited to veteran grinders.
The Stars client will also be able to offer casino games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and slots, as authorized under New Jersey law. All games are available on mobile, desktop and tablet, and are available to verified state residents and visitors age 21 and over.
Here’s a shot at some of the happy first-day players at PokerStarsNJ: