A Look Back At PokerStars’ Interesting First Year In The New Jersey Market
It’s been an interesting year for the company (both in New Jersey and globally). While PokerStars hasn’t been the world-beater some hoped for in New Jersey, the company has made quite a bit of news.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights during PokerStars’ first year in New Jersey.
March 16, 2016: PokerStars soft launches New Jersey online poker site
PokerStars wanted to be part of the initial launch in New Jersey. But with some unresolved corporate baggage, the company’s license application was on ice in New Jersey for nearly two years.
After receiving approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement in September 2015, the site finally went live (for a five-day soft-launch) on March 16.
March 21, 2016: PokerStars New Jersey officially launches
Following its successful soft launch, PokerStars was officially green-lighted by the DGE on March 21.
— Lee Jones (@leehjones) March 21, 2016
With the addition of PokerStars the number of online poker sites in New Jersey grew to five, with three distinct networks:
March 29: PokerStars NJ debuts first major promotion
Within a week of its official launch PokerStars announced its first major New Jersey promotion. It was a special edition Spin & Go multiplier with a $100,000 jackpot that would remain in place until it was hit.
It would take nearly a year, but on January 30, 2017, the $100k jackpot Spin & Go finally hit.
With the jackpot taking so long to be claimed, PokerStars has decided to extend the promotion (seemingly in perpetuity). New Jersey players still have a shot at hitting the jackpot just by registering for a $10 Spin & Go.
May 14, 2016: PokerStars and Resorts team up for RunItUp: Resorts Rumble
Live events are a big part of PokerStars New Jersey’s business plan. Within two months of launch, PokerStars hosted its first event in conjunction with its Atlantic City casino partner, Resorts.
The event wasn’t a tournament series per se; rather it was a meet-up of sorts. Jason Somerville and a contingent of Team PokerStars Pros hosted RunItUp: Resorts Rumble.
In addition to a live/online tournament, the event featured a Q&A session with Somerville and the other PokerStars representatives, as well as a social event at the Landshark Bar and Grill.
May 15-29, 2016: PokerStars runs first online tournament series NJSCOOP
The day after the RunItUp: Resorts Rumble, PokerStars’ first online tournament series got underway.
The New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker (NJSCOOP) was a two-week tournament series featuring an impressive 54 tournaments and $1.1 million in guaranteed prize money.
Similar to PokerStars’ SCOOP series on its global site, the NJSCOOP featured 27 tournaments, each of which was available at two distinct buy-in levels.
June 16, 2016: PokerStars introduces fast-fold poker to NJ
In June PokerStars further differentiated itself from its competitors by adding Zoom Poker tables to its arsenal. The fast-fold format has been incredibly in larger markets. But other operators seemed unwilling to offer this option in a small market like New Jersey.
October 15-31, 2016: PokerStars NJCOOP
PokerStars inaugural NJCOOP was a rousing success, as nearly every event of the ambitious 43 event series surpassed their individual guarantees. In the end, over $1.4 million was awarded during the NJCOOP series, besting the series’ $1.2 million guarantee by over $200,000.
October 29 – November 6, 2016: PokerStars Festival New Jersey
The answer to a future trivia question is: PokerStars debuted its newly minted Festival and Championship live events in New Jersey, with the PokerStars Festival New Jersey.
PokerStars and Resorts pulled out all the stops for the series. But for a variety of reasons, the players simply didn’t show up. The turnout was relatively disappointing, marring what was otherwise a good first showing.
November 28 – December 28: PokerStars NJ Christmas Festival
PokerStars NJ pulled out all the stops for its month-long PokerStars NJ Christmas Festival, offering players a variety of ways to boost their bankrolls.
Among the promotions PokerStars offered were:
- All-In Shootout Freerolls
- Mega Cash Bonus
- Carnival of Tournaments
- Milestone Hands
- Christmas Festival Big Monday
January 24 – 29, 2017: PokerStars Winter Series
PokerStars’ third tournament series was its smallest, but also perhaps its most successful.
PokerStars ended up batting 1.000 for the series. All 10 events of the PokerStars Winter Series eclipsing their guaranteed prize pools.
March 2017: PokerStars celebrates one year in New Jersey
PokerStars’ next big promotion in New Jersey began in March. It was obviously designed to coincide with its anniversary in the market.
Here’s a look at the promotions:
- $50 Free Play (March 6-April 2): Make your first deposit of $20 or more using the bonus code ‘FREE50’ and you’ll get $50 worth of free play at PokerStars NJ — $30 as a cash bonus and $20 in Spin & Go tickets.
- Mega Cash Bonus (March 6-April 2): Anyone depositing $30 or more and using the bonus code ‘CASHMEGA’ will receive a Mega Bonus Cash Reward worth up to $10,000. This promotion can be claimed every week for four weeks.
- CardHunt (March 6-April 2): PokerStars NJ players can win up to $3,000 in instant cash by completing a daily CardHunt poker puzzle.
- NJ City Series (March 19-26): A 10 city-themed online series with buy-ins ranging from $5 to $400, and $150,000 in total guaranteed prize money.
- Big Sunday (April 2): To close out the anniversary celebration, PokerStars will double the guarantee of its Sunday Special tournament to $100K. All other Sunday Tournament guarantees will be increased by 25%.