After a bit of a dry spell in which PokerStars NJ offered little more than a small Spin & Go promotion, the operator has rolled out a generous, if not exploitable, reload bonus that will see players earn a top-off on eligible deposits.
As is the case with most PokerStars promotions these days, the bonus amount will be determined lottery-style, with prizes running the gamut from $5 to $5,000.
Mega Cash Bonus runs from September 19 to October 9, and players must enter the bonus code CASHMEGA in order to qualify.
PokerStars opts for a no-strings attached approach
Beyond the randomized prize structure, Mega Cash Bonus differs from traditional online poker reload bonuses in one other key way: there are no earning requirements.
This may strike as odd to NJ online poker players, who have grown accustomed to having their bonus funds released at a predesignated rakeback rate, typically in the 20 percent range. But it’s unlikely we’ll see anyone complaining.
That goes double for occasional players, who have little chance of clearing traditional bonuses before they expire.
Given the no-strings attached nature of the bonus, PokerStars NJ stands to incur substantial up-front marketing costs. However, the capped size of the New Jersey online poker market should prevent these costs from getting out of hand. Contrarily, PokerStars would be on the hook for millions if it hosted a similar promotion on its rest-of-world dot-com site.
Also, it’s likely that Stars will recoup at least a portion of these costs via an increase in cash liquidity on the site. That presumes, of course, that players will not hit-and-run, which may prove a bit idealistic.
Many will win a little, few will win a lot
Players who regularly participate in promotions and Spin & Go’s on PokerStars will already be familiar with the randomized payout structure — which has become a staple of PokerStars’ marketing strategy in the post-Amaya era.
The majority of players will receive cash bonuses ranging from $5 to $15, with less than one percent winning prizes of $100 or more. Full probability matrix is as follows:
- $5,000 cash: 0.08 percent
- $1,000 cash: 0.15 percent
- $100 cash: 0.50 percent
- $25 cash: 2.50 percent
- $15 cash: 8.00 percent
- $10 cash: 28.77 percent
- $5 cash: 60.00 percent
The average weekly value of this promotion works out to $13.70. On a minimum $30 deposit, that equates to a 45.7 percent cashback deal. However, it’s worth noting that $4 of that amount is accounted for by the top prize.
Multiplying by three — which is the maximum number of times players can opt-in — yields a total promotional value of $41.11. That’s fairly low by traditional reload standards, but a tremendous no-strings-attached return on a $90 investment.
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Well timed aggression
A strong argument can be made that PokerStars NJ had little choice but to pull off something big — at least if it hoped to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive New Jersey online poker market.
Whether Mega Cash Bonus qualifies is yet to be seen. What is known is that after an early August rebound, facilitated by the site’s Card Hunt promotion, cash-game liquidity went down into the dumps.
According to recent PokerScout figures, 7-day cash game averages on PokerStars were hovering right around 90 players before Mega Cash Bonus began.
By comparison, the partnership of WSOP NJ and 888 Poker NJ is averaging roughly 130 players. The network received a big boost earlier this month when WSOP NJ launched a reload bonus of its own — a 100 percent match up to $1,000.
So far, Mega Cash Bonus is having at least some sort of measurable impact, as cash game averages are up near 100.
Thanks to its monopoly on the lottery-SNG format, PokerStars won’t need to close the gap completely to maintain the revenue lead for September, but every little bit helps. And the larger player bankrolls will certainly come in handy next month, when PokerStars NJ hosts the first annual NJ Championship of Online Poker.