PokerStars offers excellent deposit bonuses for new players. On the flip side, the New Jersey online poker room lacks any meaningful recurring and short-term promotions.

The VIP program translates to one of the best rakeback deals in the industry. Only PartyPoker matches or exceeds its value. While cash game action is sparse, the poker room’s tournament offering is the best in New Jersey.

Overall, we recommend PokerStars to recreational poker players in general, tournament players in particular.

Bonuses for new players

Players who register a new PokerStars NJ account can take advantage of the following promotions:

$30 in free play

Deposit at least $20 using promo code FREE30 to receive a $30 bonus, divided into chunks:

  • $20 for cash games
  • $10 in Spin & Go tournament tickets

For payments of exactly $20, the offer translate to a 150 percent bonus – an exceptional offer for recreational players looking to make a small deposit. Unfortunately, PokerStars does not offer a “no-deposit” bonus, which is a shame considering other poker rooms in New Jersey do.

Here’s the bonus release schedule:

The $20 cash game bonus is credited in two halves. The first one releases within 36 hours of depositing. The second one appears seven days later.

The $10 for Spin & Go tournaments includes:

  • Three $1 tickets
  • One $2 ticket
  • One $5 ticket

Bonus funds are not subject to any official wager requirements. As such, players can, theoretically, withdraw them at will. However, if PokerStars determines that a player’s sole motivation behind registering an account was to abuse the offer, they may terminate the account and prevent any withdrawals.

When it comes to small deposits between $20 and $30, this offer is unmatched in New Jersey.

First deposit bonus

Depositing at least $10 using promotional code STARS600 awards a bonus equal to the deposit size, up to a maximum of $600. Considering PartyPoker and 888 Poker offer $1,000 or more, this may not sound like a good offer – until one considers the details.

Players can max out the value of this promotion over three consecutive deposits, as long as they do not withdrawal in-between. For example, depositing $250 awards a $250 bonus. That means an additional $350 are up for grabs, and players can claim them over the next two deposits by entering the same promo code as before.

We feel this promotion has recreational poker players in mind, most of whom are unlikely to ever deposit $600 in a single transaction.

Additionally, bonus funds release at a rate of $10 per 100 VIP Player Points. Since players earn 5.5 points for every $1 paid in rake and fees, the cost of releasing a $10 chunk is slightly above $18. This translates to a little above 55 percent rakeback, which is unmatched by other New Jersey poker rooms.

Note that players have four months to meet all bonus release requirements.

Overall, we consider PokerStars’ first deposit bonus to be the best in NJ for recreational players, and the second-best overall, outdone only by PartyPoker’s offer, which is an up to $1,000 bonus with release requirements that translate to 50 percent rakeback.

Other promotions and offers

PokerStars’ selection of recurring and seasonal promotions is very disappointing compared to other New Jersey poker rooms, both in terms of selection as well as the value of individual offers. We recommend checking out WSOP Poker and PartyPoker for much better deals.

PokerStars NJ loyalty program

PokerStars VIP program awards players 5.5 VIP Player Points (VPPs) for every dollar paid in fees and rake. Earning VPPs allows players to complete milestones, called steps. These in turn allow them to level-up their account. The total number of steps at a given level varies:

  • BronzeStar: 20
  • ChromeStar: 25
  • SilverStar: 20
  • GoldStar: 20
  • PlatinumStar: 15
  • Supernova: infinite

The number of VPPs required to complete a single step also varies. The points range from five for BronzeStar steps, all the way to 400 for Supernova steps.

Completing steps additionally awards StarsCoins, which can be converted to cash and tournament entries at a rate of 1,000 coins per $10. The number of StarsCoins which can be accumulated by completing all steps at a given level are as follows:

  • BronzeStar: 169
  • ChromeStar: 1,365
  • SilverStar: 6,400
  • GoldStar: 15,350
  • PlatinumStar: 26,600
  • Supernova: infinite

When players advance to a new tier, all VPPs accumulated throughout the previous tier contribute towards their placement in the new tier. For instance, if completing all BronzeStar steps requires 100 VPPs in total, and if each ChromeStar (the next tier after BronzeStar) step requires 20 VPPs, players are instantly placed in ChromeStar step six. This is because the requirement for completing the first five ChromeStar steps is already satisfied.

Rakeback value

Considering the total number of StarsCoins players can earn at each tier, as well as the number of VPPs required to complete all steps at that same tier, we calculated the following maximum rakeback:

  • BronzeStar: 9.2% – requires $18 in fees
  • ChromeStar: 15% – requires $91 in fees
  • SilverStar: 17.5% – requires $364 in fees
  • GoldStar: 21% – requires $727 in fees
  • PlatinumStar: 24% – requires $1,091 in fees
  • SuperNova: flat 28% rakeback

These offers are excellent compared to what most New Jersey competitors have. For some perspective, readers should note that obtaining 15 percent rakeback at WSOP NJ requires $1,750 in fees, compared to PokerStars’ $91.

The only poker room that offers better rakeback is PartyPoker, where only $25 are required to receive 15 percent rakeback. It is also where more serious players with $1,000 in paid rake can receive up to 30.7 percent.

PokerStars NJ cash game availability

Cash game variety at PokerStars is the best in New Jersey:

Texas hold’em

Stakes range from the micro $0.01/$0.02 to the serious $25/$50. However, the vast majority of active games are those with blinds of $1/$2 and lower. There are rarely any active high-stakes tables running. Almost all games are in no-limit six-max format.

Omaha

Omaha games start at $0.01/$0.02 and go all the way up to $40/$80. Available varieties include Hi/Lo and standard, most of which are pot-limit format. However, a handful of no-limit and limit games also run during peak hours.

Other games

PokerStars’ table game selection also includes:

  • 2-7 Triple Draw ($0.50/$1 to $40/$80)
  • Five Card Draw ($0.05/$0.10 to $0.25/$0.50)
  • 8-Game Poker ($1/$2 to $100/$200)
  • H.O.R.S.E.
  • Limit Badugi

Since PokerStars NJ does not share a player pool with any international platform, activity at the cash game tables is very low throughout the day. Tables with the most action are no-limit Texas hold’em micro stakes. Everything else is hit and miss.

PokerStars NJ tournament availability

PokerStars excels in the tournament department, offering better variety and entertainment than any other New Jersey poker room.

Multi-table tournaments

With tens of tournaments scheduled every day, PokerStars is the perfect New Jersey poker room for any MTT enthusiast. The majority of tournaments start between 1:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. ET. There is a wide range of buy-ins available, starting at a beginner-friendly $0.10, all the way up to $1,000.

Examples of the most popular tournaments include:

  • KO Fever: With an entry of $15 and a guaranteed $1,000 prize pool, this is one of the most popular no-limit Texas hold’em tournaments on the entire network. Blinds increase every six minutes, and first-place pays out around $150, depending on the number of participants.
  • NLHE $200 guaranteed: As the name implies, the tournament features a guaranteed $200 prize pool. Players are allowed to purchase add-ons as well as unlimited re-buys. The cost of entry is $3.
  • Nightly Stars: A popular choice among more serious players. The$100 buy-in gives players a chance to win a portion of the guaranteed $10,000 prize pool. The event features unlimited entries and a typical first-place prize of between $1,800 and $2,200.
  • The Sunday Majors: This weekly Sunday series comprises five tournaments, each with a higher buy-in than the one before it.
  • Satellite tournaments: PokerStars additionally hosts a plethora of cheap satellites, which allow players to win entries to more expensive tournaments.

Overall, MTT’s comprise the bulk of the action on PokerStars is taking place right now.

Spin & Go’s

A type of lottery Sit & Go, Spin & Go’s are three-handed tournaments with a 500-chip starting stack. The admission fee ranges from $1 to $25.

Here’s the interesting part: the total tournament prize pool is randomly determined before the first hand. Prizes range from two to 1,000 times the buy-in size. Unfortunately, the chance of landing the largest multiplier is only 1 in 100,000. Players should instead expect a prize pool of 2x to 5x their buy-in in the vast majority of cases.

Sit & Go tournaments

These are 2-10 player tournaments with no scheduled start time. The first hand automatically deals once all seats are taken. Due to the small number of participants, they typically takes between 10 and 60 minutes to play out, making it an ideal choice for poker players without much time on their hands.

PokerStars offersSit & Gos in both no-limit Texas hold’em and pot-limit Omaha formats. Buy-ins range from $0.25 to $500 for NLHE, and $1 to $500 for PLO. The majority of these tournaments are six-handed.

Players can choose between Turbo and Hyper-Turbo modes, which vary from one another in how quickly the blinds increase.

PokerStars NJ legal situation

PokerStars’ real-money games are only available to individuals located in New Jersey. However, players from other states and countries are still allowed to log-in to their accounts, deposit and withdraw, and modify settings. Additionally, all of PokerStars’ play money games are available to players worldwide.

PokerStars is fully compliant with New Jersey regulations. It operates under e-gaming license NJIGP 15-008. Its brick-and-mortar casino partner is Resorts Atlantic City.

Deposit methods

PokerStars accepts payments through all the popular deposit channels, except for PayPal. We hope this changes in the near future. Available options in the meantime include:

  • MasterCard and Visa
  • ACH
  • Cash deposits
  • PokerStars Play+ Card
  • Neteller
  • Skrill

While credit cards may sound like the ideal deposit option, banking organizations frequently decline players’ transactions. This has nothing to do with PokerStars and everything to do with internal bank regulations. We recommend ACH and e-wallets (Neteller and Skrill) as the fastest and most reliable online payment options.

Cash deposits are available through PayNearMe (7-Eleven store deposits) or casino cage (deposits at Resorts Atlantic City casino cage). Players should remember to bring valid identification.

The minimum deposit size is $10. For very large deposits in the tens of thousands of dollars, ACH and casino cage are the safest choices.

Withdrawal methods

Players can withdraw money from their bankrolls using any of the following:

  • ACH: Reliable and free
  • Skrill and Neteller: Money sent directly to your e-wallet
  • Casino cage: Available at Resort’s land-based Atlantic City Hotel & Casino.
  • PokerStars Play+ Card: A prepaid card players can use anywhere that accepts a standard Discover card. Cannot be redeemed for cash.