If you live in New Jersey, consider yourself fortunate. You live in one of the few US states where real money online poker is legal, licensed and regulated. Long gone are the days where you had to look to questionable offshore operations to get your poker fix. Now, you can choose from an assortment of sites that are safe and legal.
Choosing “the best” of anything is always a bit of a subjective exercise, but I’m going to make the case for WSOP.com today because I think it represents the best option for New Jersey players. Note that I make this suggestion without any financial consideration. I am not affiliated with any New Jersey poker site, although I do plan to be eventually.
Anyways, there are 4 active and licensed poker sites in New Jersey at the time of this writing:
- 888 Poker
- Borgata Poker
You won’t go far wrong at any of these sites because they are all 100% safe places to play. Each is monitored by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and is partnered with a major land-based casino as per New Jersey law. So if you end up disagreeing with me, it’s no big deal. It’s impossible to make a huge mistake as long as you stick with licensed sites.
WSOP.com Has the Most Traffic
The primary consideration (after safety) in evaluating a poker site is traffic. If there is no traffic, there are no games. Software, bonuses and promotions mean nothing if the traffic is nonexistent or too low to keep the games running with any frequency.
Traffic is especially important in smaller markets such as individual states. The one and only downside to playing at licensed poker sites in New Jersey is the fact that they may only accept players from within the state. This makes traffic problematic and especially important when deciding where to play.
Between the four poker sites that currently accept players from the Garden State, there really only two poker networks in play. WSOP and 888 have a limited player sharing agreement in what they call the All American Poker Network. Meanwhile, Party Poker and Borgata have their own player sharing agreement that we just call the Party Borgata Network.
The All American Poker Network currently edges out the Party Borgata Network in terms of traffic, so it comes down to WSOP and 888. However, the agreement between those two sites is not a 100% pooling of players. WSOP.com is rumored to have slightly more players than 888 at any given time.
So that’s the basic process that I went through to rank WSOP.com as the highest traffic poker site in the state. The traffic numbers are pretty close between both over the long run, but I sometimes see WSOP with nearly twice as many cash game players as Party or Borgata. For example, here’s a look at the traffic numbers today (July 2nd, 2015) according to PokerScout.com:
|Poker Site||24 Hour Peak (cash games)||7 Day Average (cash games)||Online Now (cash games)|
|888 / WSOP||256||180||161|
|Party / Borgata||266||110||72|
WSOP Promotions are Better
WSOP.com is home to a long list of ever-changing promotions. I’m a big fan of the promotions here because they offer value, unique perks and benefit reactional players and grinders alike. You’ll get your first taste of WSOP’s promotions with a large deposit bonus that is offered to all new customers.
$1,000 Deposit Bonus
Summer is always a slow season for online poker thanks to the beautiful outdoors and other activities that compete for everyone’s time during the warmer months. So with that in mind, WSOP.com has a new deposit bonus worth up to $1,000. This is a 100% match rate bonus that effectively doubles your first deposit there.
For example, a deposit of $500 will get you an extra $500 for a total bankroll of $1,000. Your bonus cash is released in increments of $10 as you earn Action Player Points (APPs) by playing in real money ring games and tournaments at WSOP. APPs are earned at a rate of 2 APPs for every $1 paid in rake or tournament fees.
Use the bonus code SUMMER2015 to claim this bonus.
World Series of Poker Promotions
As you would expect at site named after the World Series of Poker, there is a constant stream of WSOP-related promotions. These include satellites that award free travel and entry to WSOP events, online-only tournament series that coincide with the WSOP and even one online event that is considered an official WSOP tournament complete with a bracelet for the winner.
Note: The WSOP online event is only open to players located in Nevada at the time of playing.
Guaranteed tournaments at any New Jersey poker site are bound to be smaller than what you may be used to if you were around in the unregulated Full Tilt and PokerStars days. However, these tournaments are still fairly large for a site limited to such a niche, one-state-only market. Here’s a look at some of the WSOP guarantees.
- Sunday: $35K Guarantee with $200 buyin
- Sunday: $10K Guarantee with $100 buyin
- Monday through Saturday: Nightly $10K Guarantee with $30 buyin
- Nightly $5K rebuy and add-on guarantee with $10 buyin
WSOP always has new promos coming down the line. These include the occasional reload bonus, SNG leaderboards, player of the year awards, frequent freeroll tournaments, shorthanded leaderboards and more.
The Software is a Tossup
The software of any poker site ultimate dictates how easy it is to play there regardless of how many players may be online. If the software is too broken, players will eventually choose to play at the smaller site just so they can stay active. Fortunately, none of the major NJ poker sites have software that’s unusable.
Both WSOP/888 and Borgata/Party have software with strong points and cons. WSOP’s software suffers from a lack of update and high quality mobile functionality, but it is definitely usable and gets the job done. You won’t have to worry about random disconnections or other major bugs during your stay.
WSOP’s software can be installed on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The mobile poker app at WSOP.com only allows one table at a time, but works with cash games, tournaments and SNGs.
Meanwhile, Party Poker and Borgata have a software client that also gets the job done, albeit with its own minor issues. The download client still suffers from waiting list, friend list and deal-making issues in addition to widely-reported instances of lag. The mobile software has seen numerous improvements that could very well put it at the top of the list as far as mobile poker goes.
Overall, the software at all four of NJ’s major poker sites is good enough to get us by. They could definitely use from improvement, but none of the issues are enough to kill the experience for players. I’m still recommending WSOP because both sites have their software issues, but WSOP reigns supreme in traffic numbers.