PokerStars Goes Live in New Jersey, Initial Numbers Mixed

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After a four-day period where the software was tested and approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, PokerStars once again is alive and well on U. S. soil – or at least New Jersey soil as a part of their online gaming and poker industry.

Partnering with Resorts Casino Hotel, PokerStars prepped for their big debut today by going through a four day “soft” opening, where various pieces of the PokerStars software (which looks very much like the worldwide client) were tested for the DGE approval. Those tests were capped at 500 players and seemed to do fairly well overall, drawing in peak numbers on Saturday night at 10:50PM of 209 players and on Sunday night at 9:33PM of 304 players (figures courtesy of This led to the actions of the DGE this morning, which had been something that many New Jersey online poker players had been looking forward to.

At roughly 7AM this morning Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStars, announced to that waiting audience that they were ready to go live. “We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey,” said David Baazov, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer 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.” Their partner with Resorts Casino Hotel, owner Morris Bailey, was likewise enthusiastic about the debut in saying, “This is a great day for online gaming, for state players and residents and for Atlantic City. 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.”

As the day started, plenty of the members of Team PokerStars Pro were on hand for the grand opening. Jason Mercier piped up on Twitter, “Welcome to PokerStars New Jersey!” while showing a shot of him playing from the Resorts Casino Hotel with his dog, Marshmallow. Chris Moneymaker took some time off from his managerial duties with the Global Poker League’s Las Vegas Moneymakers to tell his followers over Twitter that, “PokerStars is back in the USA! Real money is open for play in NJ and I am on my way there!” Other Team Pro members such as Jason Somerville, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst and Jennifer Shahade also sounded off about the debut.

Along with the world-class poker software that they use, PokerStars will also provide other gaming outlets for New Jersey residents. Through, players will take part in poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and slot games. These offerings will be available to Garden City residents through home computers, laptops, tablets and mobile offerings. It also has to be emphasized that, at this time, PokerStars is only open for people INSIDE THE BORDERS OF NEW JERSEY, as many people seem to be unaware that regulated online gaming and poker is only active in three states.

So what has been the overall impact on the online poker scene in New Jersey with the addition of PokerStars? That is going to take some more time to determine, but initial looks at the numbers are not seeing a massive influx of players to the new PokerStars offering, that of Party/Borgata nor WSOP/888.

With only a few days of data to look at, the peak numbers of each of the three sites are about what would be expected. WSOP/888 had peak numbers of 376 players on Saturday and 360 players on Sunday, while Party/Borgata saw peaks of 255 and 272 (it must be noted that these peaks were prior to the peaks for PokerStars/Resorts on those same days). The overall seven day averages also aren’t greatly affected as WSOP/888 has a seven-day average of 180 cash game players (the standard of measurement by PokerScout), Party/Borgata 110 and a “suggested” average for PokerStars/Resorts of 110 also.

All of those numbers would translate out to roughly what the market was averaging previously with just WSOP/888 and Party/Borgata in the mix. These preliminary numbers would say that the apex has been reached and there isn’t further growth possible in the New Jersey market, but both PokerStars/Resorts and WSOP/888 are ramping up player promotions that might change these numbers for the better.

The true impact of PokerStars on the New Jersey online gaming and poker industry won’t really be felt for a couple of months, so let’s enjoy the honeymoon while it lasts. PokerStars is alive and well and back in the United States – at least for New Jersey residents.

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