New Jersey has offered legal online poker since 2013. The state signed a compact in 2018 that shares a player pool with Delaware and Nevada.
We, at Play NJ, will cover several topics regarding New Jersey’s evolving online poker market, including how to play for real money.
Best online poker sites for real money in 2020
Is it safe to play at online poker for real money in NJ?
Yes, New Jersey features a legal and regulated online poker market. New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates the Garden State’s sites.
The DGE thoroughly vets every operator before issuing them an Internet Gaming Permit. Part of the process includes ensuring each site offers fair play. The DGE tests each operator’s poker software to confirm the random number generator offers results based on a 52-card deck.
Some players may confuse NJ real money poker rooms with offshore poker rooms. The latter are unlicensed sites that don’t undergo rigorous software testing.
Certain offshore operators have given the industry a bad name by running unfair games. For example, a company insider at the now-defunct UltimateBet (aka UB) used software that allowed operators to see opponents’ hole cards.
UB was an offshore poker room that had little-to-no oversight. New Jersey operators, on the other hand, are subject to the DGE’s strict guidelines.
The division also requires licensees to separate customer funds from the operational budget. This practice ensures a poker site can’t dip into players’ money for any reason.
The failures of offshore poker rooms show why separating customer and operational funds are so important. Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and UB each went bankrupt following Black Friday and couldn’t repay players.
This mess is the total opposite of what happens when an operator closes in the New Jersey market.
Ultimate Poker exited NJ in 2014 following a dispute with its land-based partner, Trump Taj Mahal. Given its players’ funds were ring-fenced, Ultimate Poker had no trouble paying every dollar back to the customers.
How to play real money poker in New Jersey
New Jersey requires all online poker players to be within its state boundaries. The Garden State’s gaming laws don’t cover other states, which is why it’s essential to ensure real money players are within NJ.
Online poker websites use geolocation software to determine one’s whereabouts. This process doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it does appropriately locate players in most cases.
Players should thoroughly research poker sites when they’re in New Jersey and ready to start playing. Reviews, such as ours at PlayNJ, are helpful tools in finding quality operations.
Players should, of course, visit the sites themselves to see what’s available. This process will provide a feel for the software, game selection, stakes, promotions, and more.
After finding a good site, the next step is to register for an account. Operators ask for each player’s name, email, home address, date of birth, mobile number, and Social Security number.
New Jersey also requires the Social Security number for both verification and taxation purposes. Sites may also request a photo ID and/or utility bill for further identification.
Top online poker sites for real money in 2020
The New Jersey internet poker market features seven sites:
- 888 Poker
- Borgata Poker
- PlayMGM Poker
- Pala Poker
We’ve thoroughly studied each operator and have determined the following three are the industry’s best.
1. WSOP.com NJ
WSOP.com is a reliable site in multiple areas including promotions, software and tournaments. It also boasts the market’s best liquidity, thanks to a deal where WSOP shares players with 888 (i.e., the WSOP/888 network).
Many NJ players appreciate being able to compete for World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets through this site. WSOP.com features multiple gold-bracelet events every summer.
Its desktop and mobile software are well designed, but the poker app is fairly basic and could use more features.
PokerStars had quite a journey to get back into the US market after being forced out following Black Friday. It finally gained approval from the DGE in 2016.
PokerStars NJ has since raised the level of New Jersey’s real money poker market with its vast game selection, unique offerings (e.g., Spin ‘n Gos) and generous promotions.
Unfortunately, PokerStars hasn’t been able to boost the state’s overall poker liquidity. It has, however, forced competitors to stay sharp.
3. 888 Poker NJ
The 888 Poker site stands out with its frequent promotions. It gives players a chance to enter plenty of freerolls and earn high rakeback.
This site also features good traffic due to the partnership with WSOP.com. Its relatively high liquidity allows 888 to offer quality tournaments.
One downside is 888 Poker’s software could use an update. The software’s look and features lag well behind what PokerStars offers.
What are the advantages of playing real money poker online?
New Jersey features a big, land-based poker hub in Atlantic City, but many players are enjoying the benefits NJ real money online poker offers.
Here are some key advantages to playing poker with real cash.
Poker is one of the slowest games in land-based casinos. Dealers must physically shuffle and deal cards, which is a time-consuming process.
In contrast, software shuffles and deals online poker hands within microseconds. The sites also provide players with a timer on decisions, which prevents taking minutes.
These aspects speed up the action, with the average ring game featuring around 50 hands per hour. This amount is approximately double the number of hourly hands gamblers play in land-based poker rooms.
New Jersey poker sites don’t need to cover salaries for dealers and other floor staff. They, therefore, don’t take as much rake from games.
Players can check rake charts at poker sites to see how much is collected from cash-game pots. They’ll find the rake is much lower than what’s featured at land-based venues.
Online poker doesn’t require players to travel anywhere. It instead offers a fast way to start playing the game immediately.
Rounders merely need a mobile device or computer and a working internet connection to begin. As long as one is 21 years of age or older and located within New Jersey’s boundaries, he or she can start playing right away.
Internet poker rooms don’t close in the twilight hours or for holidays like many land-based locations. They’re instead open 24 hours a day.
This constant availability ensures NJ players can enjoy poker whenever the urge strikes them. They also don’t need to worry about being forced to stop playing when the casino closes.
Ability to multi-table
Poker sites in New Jersey offer the ability to multi-table, which involves playing multiple poker tables simultaneously.
Multi-tabling is great for successful players who want to increase their edge. It’s also nice for those who crave more action than a single table can provide.
Micro stakes available
The lowest no-limit stakes offered in Atlantic City are $1/$2. NJ sites go even lower by featuring $0.01/$0.02 no-limit tables.
These micro-stake games are popular among recreational players who want real money action without assuming much risk.
Free online poker
Poker sites allow visitors to play for free as long as they’re registered members. Players receive play-money chips that they can use to compete in these games.
Free internet poker doesn’t offer the same competition and intensity as the real money version, but it can be a relaxing way to enjoy the game and try out a poker room’s software.
Types of real money poker games
New Jersey used to feature a limited selection of variations. PokerStars changed this situation, though, when they entered the market.
PokerStars offers the most extensive variety of games:
- Texas Hold ’em
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- Pot-Limit Omaha
- Eight game
- 2-7 triple draw
- Seven-card stud
- Lottery-style Spin ‘n Gos
Other sites offer a basic mix of Texas Hold ’em, seven-card stud and Omaha. The stud games don’t typically get much action across the board.
Real money cash games begin at $0.01/$0.02 and go up to $100/$200. Most players stick to the lower stakes, ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $1/$2.
WSOP NJ gives players a chance to compete in online WSOP tournaments, with each event offering a coveted gold bracelet.
No deposit options for real money poker rooms in NJ
A no deposit bonus awards real-money funds just for completing account registration. Players don’t need to make a deposit to claim these offers.
No deposit bonuses are quite rare in online poker, but multiple New Jersey sites offer these deals. WSOP.com and 888 Poker provide no-deposit deals worth $10 and $20, respectively. The site will credit the bonus money to a your account as soon as you have successfully registered.
You can’t cash out your bonus until you’ve met through the play through requirements. To do this, you will need to earn loyalty points. Poker sites offer loyalty points based on the amount of rake a cash game takes in or the tournament fees you pay.
Best bonus offers for real money players
Each New Jersey poker site offers a welcome bonus to entice new customers, but not all of these deals are created equal.
Here are the best offers of the bunch.
888 Poker NJ
The 888 Poker bonus features a 100% match bonus of up to $1,500, plus $20 free.
The $20 no deposit bonus is split up as follows:
- $4 for cash games
- $6 in tournament tickets
- $10 in casino funds
The cash and tournament tickets expire seven days after a player places his or her deposit. Players can withdraw winnings from the no-deposit bonus immediately; however, they must release the original bonus funds by earning three status points for every dollar.
Players earn one status point for every $0.50 paid in cash-game rake or tournament fees. They therefore only need to spend $1.50 in rake to get each bonus dollar.
The 888 match bonus truly stands out, because it’s the largest one in the market. Players receive the funds in $10 increments whenever they collect 100 bonus points. They earn one bonus point for every $0.50 paid in tournament fees or cash-game rake.
Players are essentially paying $5 in rake/fees to unlock every $1 (100 / 10 x 0.5). This rate is equivalent to a 20% rakeback deal, which isn’t great in comparison to other NJ sites.
However, the key reason to choose 888’s deal is the sheer size of the offer. High-volume players should consider depositing enough to take advantage of the maximum $1,500 bonus.
The WSOP.com poker bonus is a 100% match bonus of up to $1,000, plus $10 free and tickets to seven different $100 freerolls.
The $10 no deposit bonus is available for both cash games and tournaments. Players must meet one-time wagering requirements on this offer before cashing out.
Match bonus funds are cleared by earning Action Player points, which are loyalty points at WSOP.com.
Here’s how players can release the bonus:
- $1 for every 10 Action Player points, up to the first $10.
- $5 for every 50 points, up to the next $50.
- $10 for every 100 points, for the remainder of the bonus.
Players have 60 days from their first deposit to release as much of the bonus money as possible. Anything left after two months will expire.
PokerStars gives players a choice between one of two bonus options:
- $30 in free play
- A 100% match bonus of up to $600
One must deposit $20 to claim the $30 in free play. Low-stakes players should consider this deal, given that it amounts to 150% rakeback.
The 100% match bonus of up to $600 doesn’t look so impressive when pitted against the 888 and WSOP offers, but players only need to pay $2 in rake for every $1 in bonus funds. This rate works out to an outstanding 50% rakeback deal.
New PokerStars NJ customers also receive 1 million play-money chips and a ticket to the “$5,000 Depositors Freeroll.”
How to deposit and cashout at real money sites
New Jersey poker sites collectively offer a large amount of deposit and cashout methods. ACH, credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets and cash at the casino cage are all available.
Credit cards are an easy way to fund an online poker account. The catch, though, is that credit cards reject deposits at a higher rate than any other banking option.
Playing internet poker for money is perfectly legal for those at least 21 years and older, but Visa and Mastercard are still apprehensive about approving gambling-related transactions.
ACH is the gold standard for depositing at NJ sites. This option, which transfers funds from a player’s checking account, is easy to use and doesn’t require fees.
E-wallets, like Neteller and Skrill, are popular because they can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. The downside, however, is that e-wallets carry high processing fees.
Cash at the casino cage also lets players deposit and withdraw money. You must physically visit the Atlantic City casino associated with the poker site to do so.