The soft launch period has come to a close. Pala Poker passed its test and won approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
To give us a better understanding of Pala’s New Jersey experience, US Poker spoke to Jeremy Clemons, the Chief Marketing Officer of Pala Interactive.
It’s been one week for Pala Poker NJ
So, what has Pala learned after its first week as an online poker operator?
“Through our beta launch [the product is still in beta] we have confirmed our assumption that poker players have a great deal of passion about the game and the poker product/platform they play on,” Clemons said. “We have received a great deal of valuable input from New Jersey players during our initial week of operations.”
According to Clemons, a good deal of the feedback has been on the features and functions of the platform.
“Our platform is new and we expected to hear the type of constructive input we are hearing,” he said. “Most of the feedback has centered around convenience features for players with examples like table sizing for multi-tabling, better alerts when players have action pending and synchronized breaks.”
This field trial is giving Pala a chance to fine-tune its product and determine what customers are looking for in terms of functionality and features.
“We are constantly adding to the list of product improvements and will be regularly rolling out enhancements,” said Clemons.
Why now and why New Jersey?
The question everyone would like answered is why Pala decided to launch in such a prohibitive market?
Clemons provided us with the answer:
“We have spent the last three years building a new poker platform in preparation for state-based online gaming regulation in the US.
“In addition to the current regulated market in New Jersey, we believe that other states may regulate online gaming and specifically online poker in the foreseeable future.
“We wanted to get the product out of the lab and into the market with the view of tuning the platform and improving the feature set with the objective of providing online operators with another poker supply option.”
Based on the reasons behind the launch, Pala was able to tone down its expectations.
“Our expectation prior to launch was simple,” said Clemons. “We wanted to get our poker platform live and operating in New Jersey without any significant technical issues.”
So far so good on that front. Aside from a few minor bugs Pala is dealing with in the immediate term, the company plans to add new functions and features over time.
“We are still in our beta period and will be for the immediate future and we are pleased to have not experienced any major hiccups,” Clemons told USP. “We are delighted with that result.”
So far, players have not been flocking to the Pala Poker tables.
Peak cash game traffic has been in the 10- to 15-player range, according to PokerScout.com’s data.
The site is also offering a number of daily guaranteed tournaments, and is routinely paying out over $1,000/day in overlays.
This isn’t surprising, as Pala has a couple things working against it in New Jersey. Pala is not only late to the online poker party, but the California-based tribe’s brand isn’t well-known in New Jersey.
Pala is trying to overcome those two burdens by providing would-be players with great value. The thinking seems to be, we have a good product, we just need people to give it a try.
Promotions at Pala Poker in New Jersey
“With the addition of poker, Pala now offer the largest welcome bonus of any New Jersey online casino,” Clemons told US Poker. “We provide any new registered player with $50 in bonus with no deposit required.”
Clemons went on to mention the tournament overlays, which appear to be by design.
“We have terrific opportunity for tournament players right now,” Clemons said. “We have a daily guaranteed poker tournament schedule which has provided over $1,000 in overlays every day we have been live.
“There is an immediate opportunity for players to build their bankroll from these overlays.”