If the allure of playing in some of the East Coast’s largest live tournaments weren’t already enough, tourists in New Jersey now have the added incentive of playing legal poker at one of the state’s numerous poker sites.

Not all poker rooms are created equal; and with so many alternatives, new grinders on the scene may find themselves confounded by all of their available options.

Complicating matters further, the bar for entry is more rigid than it was back in 2011 – a comparatively small price to pay for a more secure playing environment.

So whether you’re looking to join the 15 percent of out-of-state players who regularly play online poker in NJ, or are just in town for a long weekend, here’s what you should know about mixing it up on the Garden State’s virtual green felt.

Creating an Online Poker Account in New Jersey

New Jersey’s poker sites adhere to a strict new player registration process set forth by the state’s regulatory committee, the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

Pro tip: You do not need to be a New Jersey resident to play online poker in the Garden State, but in order to wager real-money you must be physically located within the state’s borders.

In addition to providing basic information such as your name, address and date or birth, you will be required to fork over that most dreaded piece of sensitive information: the Social Security Number.

While the inclusion of an SSN field may raise a red flag for some, take solace in knowing that it plays an integral role in the identity verification process, which by design, is in place to shield you from malicious activity.

Pro tip #2: As an added security measure, the DGE requires that all poker rooms give players the choice to implement what’s known as “strong authentication.” Typically, this added security measure is enforced by requiring players to punch in a SMS delivered pin number each time they log-in.

Funding a NJ online poker account

Admittedly, NJ’s poker rooms have experienced their fare share of payment processing issues. In particular, credit cards transactions are a roll of the dice – with Visa success rates a virtual coin flip and MasterCard hovering right around 75 %.

Due to several issuing banks refusal to amend their antiquated gaming transaction policies, New jersey’s iGaming operators have introduced a slew of alternative funding options, such as the eWallets Skrill and Neteller as well as prepaid card options.

Just be warned that by using a third-party processor, you will be required to pay a nominal transaction fee. The good news is that this fee is rarely more than the cost of a tournament VIG.

ACH transactions are still perhaps the easiest and most reliable way to fund an online poker account, but unfortunately, out-of-state transactions can often take upwards of 2-3 business days to process.

Pro Tip #3: Just because you can’t play real-money from outside the state, doesn’t mean you can’t fund your account before setting foot in New Jersey. Plan ahead, especially if funding an account via ACH.

Lastly, if you’re in the Atlantic City vicinity, you can always visit the online poker room’s affiliated casino cage to load up your account. Assuming you aren’t familiar with the mish-mosh of gaming alignments currently in place in New Jersey, here’s a quick reference guide of NJ sites and their land-based partners:

Who are the top poker networks in New Jersey?

In terms of cash-game volume, the PartyPoker NJ network – which currently consists of NJ.PartyPoker.com and BorgataPoker.com – averages approximately 120 concurrent players, good for a 42% market share.

However at an average of 100+ ring gamers, WSOP.com is arguably the single most traversed site in New Jersey.

After a strong start – largely due to its hyper aggressive promotional stance – cash-game volume on 888poker.com has dropped considerably. The same can’t be said about Ultimate Poker, which never had much cash-game traffic to lose, “ultimately” resulting in its departure from New Jersey’s iGaming market.

Onto Tournaments:

While the state’s largest weekly online poker tournaments are undoubtedly on PartyPoker NJ, WSOP.com has become known for hosting regular tournament series, such as its recently concluded Fall Poker Festival – a string of 8 mid-to-high buy–in events with guaranteed prize pools ranging from a modest $1,000 all the way up to a $20,000. Be on the lookout.

My recommendation to tournament junkies is to split your time grinding MTT’s between Party NJ and WSOP. That, and always keep an eye out for overlays, of which there are currently many.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What NJ site boasts the best new player deposit bonus?

  • That would be nj.partypoker.com, which is currently offering a 100% match bonus up to $1,000 and $25 in free play to new players.
  • Us.888poker.com is no slouch either, offering a 100% match to, you guessed it, $888, as well as $10 in free play.

What else is happening on the promotional front?

  • Both WSOP.com and Party / Borgata regularly host Sit & Go Leader Board promotions. As implied by the name, promos of this variety reward the respective network’s very best SNG grinders with a share of weekly cash.
  • The two networks are also known for gifting their hardest working cash game players with additional cashback opportunities. See Borgata’s The Grind, for a prime example.
  • 888 on the other hand, tends to vary its promos back and forth between offering players freeroll tickets and increasing their rakeback.
  • And don’t forget to check out the state’s online poker sites around Borgata Poker Open and WSOP time, as they’ll be sure to spread a myriad of online qualifiers into live events.

What site is best for SNG grinders?

While Party / Borgata run SNGs with the highest frequency, WSOP currently touts the best SNG player incentives.

 What about Omaha?

  • 6-Max PLO cash-games get off on both Party / Borgata and WSOP fairly often, especially during peak hours. Full-ring games are few and far between, with your best bets being 888poker or WSOP.com.

(Alternative format Omaha fans may be a little disappointed, as even in an optimal scenario, only a few O8 games are spread across all NJ sites. Other variants such as Big-O and 6-card Omaha are currently not offered)

What are the best days to play tournaments?

  • If you’re at all familiar with the online poker landscape, you already know that Sunday is typically the best day to register for MTTs, and in NJ it’s the same.

How is the Rake and Rakeback?

  • While definitely not as player friendly as that found on large international poker networks, each NJ site offers players the chance to receive upwards of 35 % of their contributed rake back in the form of bonuses and other awards.
  • In general, cash-game rakes and tournament VIGs tend towards average to slightly above, with rakes hovering between $.01 taken per $.18 – .22 in the pot (capped), and VIGs for lower stakes SNGs and MTTs right around 9 percent.

Are New Jersey’s poker players still experiencing geolocation issues?

  • The short answer is yes. However, compared to when the state’s iGaming industry first launched in November 2013, players are reporting a fraction of the geolocation disturbances that they once were.
  • If you’re staying at a friend’s home or a hotel, ensure that it has a reliable Wi-fi connection. And of course, don’t forget to bring your laptop, or tablet /smartphone device.
  • Do note that players on 4G LTE should now be able to play online poker from a mobile device.

Speaking of which, have NJ’s poker sites gone mobile? What about Mac users, can they play online?

  • All NJ networks offer Mac compatible and Android /iOS versions of their software.
  • Do note however, that some of the mobile versions are not yet as feature rich as their PC /Mac counterparts.
Robert DellaFave

About

Robert DellaFave is involved in the legal New Jersey online gambling industry in a number of ways. Not only does he contribute to a variety of online gambling publications focused on regulated US online poker and online casino sites, he is also a game designer.