The launch of PokerStars in New Jersey will certainly expand the market for online poker to some degree, but the reality of the situation is that a good chunk of the traffic PokerStars attracts will come directly from competing networks WSOP / 888 and Party / Borgata.
While those sites have made it clear they’re not looking to get into a bonus battle with PokerStars, WSOP – the market leader by cash-game traffic prior to the launch of PokerStars NJ – is offering two upgraded promotions in an attempt to both retain existing players and attract a few new ones.
These promotions are exclusive to USPoker and you must use the bonus code GALAXY when depositing to claim either.
New players: $500 deposit bonus + $500 exclusive freeroll
The first upgraded promotion is a bonus for first-time depositors on WSOP NJ.
Make your first deposit using the bonus code GALAXY and you”ll receive
- A 100% match bonus on your deposit up to $500 (public offer only up to $400).
- An entry ticket into an exclusive $500 freeroll on April 3rd.
- 7 tickets into “Welcome Week” freerolls.
See WSOP NJ for full terms and conditions regarding bonuses and freerolls. Note that the bonus is not cash, but bonus funds that you convert to cash by playing at WSOP NJ. The extra $100 bonus and entry into the $500 freeroll are only available when you make a deposit using the bonus code GALAXY. The minimum deposit is $10 and you have 60 days to clear the bonus.
Existing players: $100 reload bonus + $500 freeroll
Of course, WSOP NJ is looking to reactivate existing players as well as attract new ones. So there’s an additional promotion that’s aimed at bringing some players back to WSOP NJ, or maybe even ensuring that players will limit the amount of play that they move from WSOP to PokerStars.
For players that have already made their first deposit at WSOP, you can claim an additional bonus by reloading your account with a new deposit. Here’s what you can get by depositing and using the bonus code GALAXY:
- A 100% match bonus on your deposit with a max bonus of $100 ($100 deposit = $100 in bonus)
- An entry ticket to an exclusive $500 freeroll on April 3rd (ticket will automatically appear in your account after the deposit clears).
See WSOP NJ for full terms and conditions.
Click here and use bonus code GALAXY when making your deposit to claim.
Status match also on table
In addition to the reload bonus, WSOP NJ is offering a status match promotion that may further incentivize players to keep more of their play at WSOP NJ.
Details via WSOP:
Contact [email protected] before 11:59pm on March 31st with your full name, contact phone number, WSOP.com user name, and a screen shot confirming your status on another poker site, and we’ll throw in up to three months of bonus cash.
We’ll status match you for April, May, and June to your new status and if you maintain that loyalty level during those months, we’ll give you up to a 15% cash bonus on your play in July, Aug, and September.
You don’t even have to maintain that loyalty level in July – Sept (though, we’re sure you’ll want to).
Status match before April 1st and:
- Maintain that loyalty level for one month and receive a 5% bonus in July.
- Maintain that loyalty level for two months and receive a 10% bonus for July and August.
- Maintain that loyalty level April, May, and June and receive a 15% bonus in July, August, and September.
Prizes are not cumulative.
Will the promotional moves stem the traffic tide?
It’s still quite early in the game, but after a week of operation in New Jersey, PokerStars appears to have edged out WSOP for the lead in the NJ market. Obviously some of that has to do with the amount of hype surrounding the launch and the novelty for players of being able to play on PokerStars again following an almost five-year hiatus of the brand from online poker in the US.
The consensus is that some of that traffic will move back to competing sites once the initial buzz around PokerStars fades. And certainly attractive promotions like this one from WSOP will help to draw some activity away from PokerStars and back to NJ’s other legal online poker sites.
But ultimately the promotional budgets for operators on the poker side in NJ are constrained, so we’re unlikely to see a continual flow of generous promotions designed to stunt PokerStars’ ability to grab market share.
So while promotions like the WSOP deposit / reload bonus will certainly help to better position the room competitively, it seems likely that PokerStars will be able to grab – and hold – the top spot in the market regardless.
Of course, another benefit to WSOP of running these types of targeted promotions is that it puts pressure on its other competitor – Party / Borgata. We could see a situation where WSOP essentially balances out the traffic it loses to PokerStars with traffic siphoned off from the Party Poker / Borgata network.
Less movement on the casino side
In addition to launching online poker, there’s also the PokerStars NJ online casino. But unlike poker, where competitors like WSOP and PartyPoker are certainly concerned about the impact that PokerStars will have on their bottom line, the major online casinos in NJ – such as Caesars Casino Online, Resorts Online, Golden Nugget, and Betfair – are likely not overly worried about the role PokerStars will play in the casino vertical.
Why not? A few reasons. First, the NJ online casino vertical is already incredibly crowded and competitive, meaning that operators are already offering aggressive and generous promotions and bonuses. It may be difficult for PokerStars to match the kind of bonuses offered by, say, a Resorts (match bonus + free play + free scratchcards for a $3mm jackpot shot), meaning that existing casino operators don’t necessarily have to worry about competing on price with PokerStars.
Another reason: PokerStars has a strong poker brand, but is not really going to resonate as a brand among NJ casino players the way that a Harrah’s online casino will. Harrah’s is a familiar brand with a strong database and the ability to tie online play into the nationwide Total Rewards system – levers that PokerStars simply doesn’t have to pull.
Combine the above with the significant head start that NJ’s online operators have on the casino side, and it’s easy to understand why online poker operators in NJ are probably far more nervous about the entrance of PokerStars than the state’s online casino operators are likely to be.