[toc]As difficult as it may initially seem to believe, PokerStars has now been operating in the New Jersey online gambling market for nearly a year. It’s been a somewhat bumpy ride for the operator, marked by a tremendous start, followed by an elongated hangover period and brief intervals of resurgence.
But throughout it all, PokerStars has remained the online poker industry’s top revenue generator, and has an additive impact on the market.
To celebrate these wins, the operator has rolled out a full menu of promotional delights, many of which will span the entire month of March.
$50 free play is back
One of the best welcome packages for new online poker players has returned. From now until April 2, PokerStars players that make their first deposit of $20 or more using the bonus code FREE50 will receive a $30 cash bonus and $20 worth of tickets to try out the site’s poker/slot hybrid format, Spin & Go’s.
In addition they’ll also win a ticket to a $5,000 Depositor Freeroll event, and one million play money chips.
The first $15 of a player’s cash bonus will be credited within 36 hours of the initial deposit, and the remainder after seven days. Spin & Go tickets will be distributed across a four-day span, beginning on the day a player makes an eligible deposit:
- Day 1: 3 x $1 tickets
- 2: 1 x $2 ticket
- 3: 1 x $5 ticket
- 4: 1 x $10 ticket
There are no clearance requirements associated with the cash portion of the bonus, rendering it a true 150 percent cash-back deal.
In terms of monetary value, it may not be the best welcome package the NJ online poker industry has on display, but it’s certainly one of the most attractive.
Returning players not forgotten
PokerStars has also rolled out a reload offer (bonus code CASHMEGA) that awards players who deposit $30 or more with a cash reward.
Unlike the overwhelming majority of online poker reload offers, there are no wagering thresholds associated with this promotion. Players are free to cash out their bonus immediately.
The catch is that the prize amounts are randomized, with the overwhelming majority of players receiving $10 or less. Full prize matrix, with odds, listed below:
- $10,000: 0.04%
- $5,000: 0.06%
- $1,000: 0.12%
- $100: 0.5%
- $20: 2.5%
- $10: 26.78%
- $5: 70%
The average value of this offer works out to $15.38, which is a bit better than a straight 50 percent cash-back deal. That’s still not nearly as lucrative as the first-time deposit bonus, but solid for a promotion that asks virtually nothing of players.
Other promotional offers
- CardHunt makes a reappearance this month. The promotion awards players that complete a daily poker puzzle with random prizes, up to $3,000 per day. However, most players will win just a couple of bucks. This offer runs from March 6 – April 2.
- NJ City Series: This tournament series, which starts on March 19 and runs through March 26, consists of 10 MTTs and guarantees at least $150,000 in prize money. What’s interesting is that the series follows a pattern, with each subsequent event boasting a higher buy-in and guarantee than the last. Buy-ins range from $5 to $400, and the guarantees cap out at $50,000.
- Big Sunday: The festivities conclude on April 2. On that day, PokerStars will double the guarantee of its flagship tournament (The Sunday Special) from $50k to $100k. All other Sunday Majors will see their guarantees increased by 25 percent.
Measuring the market impact
Excluding the period immediately following launch, PokerStars had its best months in October and January. These just happened to be the two months that PokerStars hosted one-off tournament series.
The revenue uptick in October came as little surprise, as that was the month the operator ran its historic $1.1 million+ NJCOOP. January’s performance was more of an anomaly, as the Winter Series guaranteed just $275k, spread across ten events.
Its overwhelming success was a testament to the ability of PokerStars to attract players to the tournament tables.
This month’s tournament series is even smaller, so it likely won’t have the same financial pull. But combined with the site’s other offers, the result should be an above-average March for PokerStars.
Notably, PokerStars also leads the industry in the cash-game traffic department, and its margin is on the upswing. According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout, seven-day rolling averages on Stars are currently 146, compared to 127 for WSOP / 888 NJ.