Online poker is full of live, legal options in New Jersey. Poker went online in the Garden State in 2013.
Today, the online poker market includes seven apps so you can play anywhere in New Jersey. NJ is also the only state that shares player pools with Nevada, Delaware and also Michigan. PokerStars now offers tournaments where NJ and MI players can compete for even larger prize pools.
No matter the day, you can find juicy cash games and big-time tournaments running all the time. You might even bank a six-figure score or win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet when playing online poker in New Jersey.
Best NJ online poker sites in 2023
NJ online poker reviews
Each poker site uses its own software client, which creates small differences in presentation. Available stakes and game types also vary from site to site, as does the size of tournaments and prize pools.
Free play poker vs. real money poker
Real money online poker has been around New Jersey since 2013. Most licensed NJ operators brought free play money online poker to the market with it. In some cases, free play money online poker has been around a lot longer.
Free play money poker games do offer a way to learn the game without risk. However, few people take it seriously, so gameplay is often a poor simulation of the real thing.
So much so that real money micro-stakes may be a better place to learn, particularly if players plan to move up to real money stakes eventually.
Play money poker sites are often linked to social media. Furthermore, they offer player loyalty programs where players might be able to earn something while they play.
So, if you want to play poker to earn, you should hit the real-money games instead and keep play-money poker around just for fun.
Is real money poker legal in NJ?
Yes, real money online poker is legal in New Jersey.
It has been since Feb. 26, 2013, when a bill permitting internet gambling in the state was approved by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Chris Christie.
Almost nine months later, the state’s first legal online poker sites were a part of the synchronized launch of online gambling in New Jersey on Nov. 21, 2013.
Online poker operators have generated an average of about $2 million in revenue annually ever since.
New Jersey signed on to an interstate compact known as the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA) in October 2017. This changed the law to allow NJ sites to apply for regulatory approval to share player pools with those in Delaware’s and Nevada’s legal online poker markets.
Michigan has most recently joined the list as PokerStars is now offering tournaments with merged player pools.
Of course, WSOP.com and 888 Poker are the only other NJ online poker operators that run sites in these other states. As a result, they were the only sites to apply.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) granted the sites the necessary approval and the first interstate games launched May 1, 2018.
WSOP.com has gone on to run a schedule of online WSOP bracelet events available in New Jersey and Nevada the past two years.
How to play online poker on Android
WSOP.com on Android
The WSOP.com Android app is available for download from the WSOP.com website.
The app promises to be optimized for on-the-go Android poker play. It is an excellent product for the one-trick, one-table No Limit Hold’em ponies.
Unfortunately, WSOP.com mobile apps only support playing one table at a time. Also, the Pot Limit Omaha games and tournaments you might find on the desktop client are not there.
Game selection functions are also more frustrating than functional. The cash game and Sit and Go sliders work, but you can’t see these lobbies, so it makes it a guessing game.
The mobile software is the same employed by 888 Poker, but the WSOP.com features the more robust better tournament selection and an efficient and easy-to-reg lobby.
The WSOP.com Android app does deliver on bringing the most prestigious name in the game to your Android device. But unfortunately, the actual desktop online poker experience is not available on WSOP.com mobile.
PokerStars on Android
The PokerStars NJ Android app is among the biggest in the market at over 80MB. What you get is mobile access to the industry-leading poker software and the PokerStars brand, which is optimized for your Android device.
That means No Limit Hold’em (NLH) and Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) cash games and tournaments, Sit and Gos (SNG) and the popular Spin and Gos. There are even Zoom Poker fast-fold games, although these tend to run only sporadically.
The PokerStars NJ Android mobile app offers access to all the account management features.
Some server lag and unresponsiveness issues remain, but these are minor problems for an Android app.
The app also includes chat features, quick seating, multi-tabling and tutorials for how to optimize it for phones and tablets.
You must go to the PokerStars NJ mobile page to download and install the app. However, once that’s done, you’re in for something special.
888poker on Android
888poker NJ promises the slickest poker app in the business for Android devices available for download from the 888poker website.
All of its poker games are there, including cash, tournaments, Sit and Gos, super turbo games and SNAP poker fast-fold. However, the app features the same frustrating game selection sliders as WSOP.com. The problem is you can’t see these lobbies and what games are running first.
Other than that, the 888poker NJ app does feature smooth functionality, quick deposits and real poker games with real opponents, in real-time.
It’s just not as close to the desktop client experience as others in the NJ market.
How to play online poker via your iPhone / iPad
PokerStars for iPhone / iPad
PokerStars NJ seems to understand the need to replicate the desktop computer experience on mobile devices as much as possible. It does that with the PokerStars iOS app available for download on the PokerStars NJ website and the Apple App Store.
It’s designed natively for iPhone or iPad devices and features almost everything you’ll find on the desktop client.
There’s a “Play Now” button, allowing you to instantly join your favorite games, tournaments and access to about every poker game and popular PokerStars’ product.
WSOP.com for iPhone / iPad
You can download the WSOP.com mobile app for iOS devices on both the WSOP.com website and the Apple App Store.
Unfortunately, the same limited functionality you find with its Android app is there on the Apple app as well.
That means No Limit Hold’em is the only game and it’s a single-table only experience. That said, there are freerolls, Sit & Gos, multi-table tournaments, cash games and even casino games available.
It provides 24/7 access to games and customer support.
Plus, the WSOP.com app is optimized for iPhone and iPad users.
888poker for iPhone / iPad
The 888poker iOS app is available for download on the 888poker NJ website and the Apple App Store. Plus, the mobile app seems to be designed better for iOS devices than Android.
It’s got the full account functionality of the desktop client. Plus, Sit & Gos, multi-table tournaments, satellites, step tournaments and cash games including Hold’em Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven Card Stud Hi Lo. There’s even access to the 888casino games.
Plus, 888 Blast poker jackpot games are there as well.
How to clear online poker bonuses
The top online poker sites in New Jersey offer a variety of online poker bonuses to players. These include everything from free tournament tickets to no-deposit and deposit-match bonuses.
Most include wagering requirements that players must complete before they can withdraw the bonus funds. There is a straightforward way to meet these wagering requirements and clear the bonus: play online poker.
Of course, the amount you must play to clear a bonus is specific to that bonus. That’s why it’s always essential to understand the terms and conditions of a bonus before you try to clear it.
You’re going to want to know how many days you have to clear the bonus, if it will be released incrementally, and if and when it expires. Plus, you’re going to want to know exactly how much poker you need to play to clear the bonus.
In most cases, players earn frequent player points (FPP) based on the amount of rake they pay on a site. Poker bonuses are cleared when certain FPP thresholds are met.
It’s always a good idea to look for times when online poker rooms run promotions allowing you to earn extra FPPs. You might be able to clear a bonus faster as a result.
Another rule of thumb worth noting is that the bigger a bonus, the harder it is to clear.
That means you’ve got to be willing to put in the time at the tables to clear a significant bonus. Most recreational players would be better off choosing smaller and easier-to-clear bonuses they may be able to get their hands on playing only part-time.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and if you want to clear a poker bonus, you are going to have to put in some work to do it. The bigger it is, the more practice you’ll have to do to get it.
However, those with a clear understanding of how to clear the bonus they seek and a willingness to grind it out should find the pursuit of poker bonuses profitable.
Moving money on and off poker websites
NJ online poker sites work hard to make moving money on and off the sites as quick and easy as possible. Each site offers a variety of easy-to-use deposit and withdrawal methods and is continually adding new ones.
Whatever method you used to make a deposit can usually be used to withdraw funds. If not, NJ online poker sites are happy to make other options available.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular deposit and withdrawal methods at NJ online poker sites:
- Visa and Mastercard: NJ online poker sites accept major credit cards as long as the bank the card is issued by approves. Some issuing banks may not authorize online gambling transactions. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find another deposit method. However, several exist where you still can use your Visa or Mastercard.
- Play+: Several online poker sites in New Jersey take the Play+ prepaid credit card. The card can be funded using a Visa, Mastercard, Discover card or even your checking account.
- Prepaid Cards: Prepaid cards can be a safe and convenient option for making deposits on NJ online poker sites. Players load money onto the prepaid cards and then use the funds to deposit on a poker site. Several major credit card companies offer prepaid credit cards and some NJ online poker rooms have their own branded cards.
- Cash at the Casino Cage: NJ online poker sites run under licenses held by Atlantic City casinos. Most will accept cash deposits at the cashier cages inside the associated casino.
- PayPal: This third-party payment processor is the largest in the world and available at several online poker sites in New Jersey. You can fund a PayPal account from several sources, including your bank account and credit cards.
- ACH E-checks: ACH e-checks is an online money transfer service that essentially lets you write an electronic check to an online poker site. It’s a great way to move money from a bank account to an online poker site.
- PayNearMe: Financial services provider PayNearMe has partnered with 7-Eleven convenience stores and CVS Pharmacies to create a financial services app. The app allows users to make bill payments via retail sites. Also, you can make payments at several NJ online poker sites with cash.
- Online Banking: Those that make bill payments with their online bank account can often deposit to an NJ online poker site directly as well. But this too is often subject to authorization issues.
Types of poker games available to NJ poker players
Most of the tournament and cash-game action in the NJ online poker market revolves around No Limit Hold’em. There’s also some Pot Limit Omaha around and some sites that have software capable of running other poker variants.
The thing is, games don’t run without players and most of the time, it’s hard to find even six players willing to sit at RAZZ, HORSE or 2-7 Triple Draw games.
So, even the sites that advertise a wide variety of poker variants available don’t run much outside of No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha games most of the time.
That said, it’s all about timing. You might be able to jump in a cash game or tournament featuring your favorite poker variant.
- No Limit Hold’em (NLH): The biggest cash game in NJ online poker is far and away No Limit Hold’em. There are usually tables running with stakes ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50 with six-max and nine-handed tables. However, the majority of the action is at the micro- and low-stakes levels. Most NJ online poker tournaments are No Limit Hold’em as well.
- Pot Limit Omaha (PLO): Most NJ online poker sites run Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) games, just not as many as No Limit Hold’em. The stakes online in New Jersey run from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50, but the $0.50/$1 and $0.25/$0.50 tables are the most popular. If your timing is right, you might also find Omaha Hi Lo games running, too.
- Stud: A lot of NJ online poker sites claim to offer stud games. In reality, the games run rarely. Stakes range from $0.50/$1 to $40/$80 when they do get off the ground.
- HORSE, 2-7 Triple Draw and other variants: While mixed games are fun and everybody knows poker is more than hold ’em and Omaha, NJ online poker isn’t. Alternative poker variants are usually only found in specialized seasonal tournaments. Cash games do not run regularly.
- Fast fold games: Most online poker sites in NJ run some version of fast-fold games akin to PokerStars NJ’s Zoom Poker tables. In this format, you are instantly transported to a different table to start a new hand when you fold one. Zoom cash games and the like requires a large player pool, so it doesn’t always run on NJ sites.
- Multi table tournaments: All NJ online poker sites offer a daily schedule of No Limit Hold’em multi-table tournaments (MTT) with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $50. However, the bigger buy-in MTTs are on Sundays in New Jersey. Larger online poker operators run Sunday Majors with buy-ins ranging from $50 to $500. Prize pool guarantees for these events go up to $50,000.
- Sit and Go tournaments (SNG): Online poker sites in New Jersey host No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Sit and Go tournaments. Most are nine-handed, six-max or heads up. Buy-ins start at $0.25 and go up to $500. Prime-time peak hours are the best time to find Sit and Go tournaments running.
- Lottery Sit & Go tournaments: Lottery Sit & Go tournaments akin to PokerStars’ Spin & Gos run on a variety of NJ online poker sites. These are three-handed Sit & Go tournaments with randomized prize pools awarded. That means they are playing for anywhere from two buy-ins to $1,000. The Sit & Go tournaments that run regularly in NJ will range from $1-$25 and are even more popular than standard Sit & Gos.
Is it safe to play online poker for real money in NJ?
Online poker is legal and regulated in New Jersey. That doesn’t mean big brother is watching; however, it means the NJDGE provides oversight in the state. It ensures it is entirely safe to play online poker for real money in NJ.
The NJDGE vets every operator, issues permits, and tests and approves software and games. Fair play is a part of the equation every step of the way.
Offshore online poker rooms are the ones to concern you. Unlike legal and regulated NJ online poker sites, these are unlicensed and don’t undergo any testing.
You may have read about superuser scandals in the past where someone was able to see an opponent’s hole cards and take advantage. The NJDGE has strict guidelines in place to make sure nothing like that ever happens in the state’s legal, regulated online poker market.
Licensees are also required to keep customer funds separate from their operational budget. That means your money is always safe and secure with an NJ online poker operator.
Even if an online poker operator goes belly up, your funds will be safe.
You may remember that Ultimate Poker left the NJ online poker market in 2014. Every dollar on deposit was paid back to customers before the site closed because those funds were held separately from the site’s operating budget.