[toc]PokerStars NJ has reinforced its commitment to the New Jersey market with its first major reload bonus since going live back in March. Beginning October 10 and running until November 6, returning depositors are eligible for a one-time 100 percent deposit match up to $500.
The timing of the offer comes as little surprise, as beginning on Sunday, the operator will play host to the NJ Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) — an ambitious $1.2 million guaranteed tournament series spread across 43 events. More on the NJCOOP here.
The nuts and bolts of PokerStars’ reload bonus
In order to qualify, existing players must making a deposit of at least $20 using the bonus code NJ500. At the time of deposit, no additional funds will be credited to player accounts. Instead, bonus funds are cleared by participating in real-money cash games, tournaments and other games, like the exceedingly popular Spin & Go’s.
Players will unlock $5 of their bonus for every 100 VPPs earned. For most games, VPPs are accrued at a rate of 5.5 VPPs per $1 paid in rake.
What this means is that players will have to pay roughly $18.18 in rake/fees to clear $5, which works out to about 27.5 percent additional rakeback on top of what they are already receiving in accordance with their loyalty tier.
It’s worth noting, that because the bonus clears in small, incremental chunks, budget conscious and occasional players are all but assured that they’ll reap some sort of benefit from the offer.
Players have a relatively tight window of 35 days from the time of deposit in which to clear the bonus, after which any unlocked portion will expire. The offer is only available once per player.
The big impact of reload bonuses in New Jersey
Data suggests that reload bonuses are among the most impactful of all NJ online gambling promotions, accounting for sizable liquidity spikes.
Beginning in early September, WSOP NJ offered players a 100 percent match up to $1,000. According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout, cash game traffic on the WSOP/888 network shot up 14.5 percent during the first week of the offer, compared to a 7.5 percent decline on PokerStars NJ over the same timeframe.
Since the promotion ended on September 30, traffic on WSOP/888 is down 13 percent. Meanwhile, PokerStars NJ is already feeling the positive impact of its offer, as it has recently reclaimed the market share lead from WSOP/888.
How does PokerStars NJ’s offer stack up?
Fairly well. While the monetary cap is set at about half that of similar promotions run on WSOP NJ, the rakeback rate is higher — 27.5 percent versus 20 percent. Also, unlocking a $5 chunk is easy enough that players will feel like the next milestone is within reach.
An argument can be made that PokerStars NJ needed to host such a promotion ahead of the NJCOOP, as in the absence of supplementary offers, it would have an extremely difficult time fending off mass overlays.
Reinforcing this notion, is a second promotional offer recently rolled out by the site — this one directly linked to the NJCOOP.
PokerStars NJ has issued a challenge whereby players who play just one real money hand or tournament will receive an entry into a NJCOOP Main Event Freeroll. There are currently two more freerolls scheduled, one on each of the next two Sundays at 6 p.m local time. The winner will receive an immediate entry into the $500 buy-in main, which will guarantee $200,000.
Second through 21st place will receive a consolation prize of $25 — not a bad deal, considering the first freeroll on October 9 only drew 384 runners.