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Enjoy Legal Online Poker Games At PokerStars In Regulated States
There was a big buzz in the poker playing community when PokerStars returned to the US. The first site was in New Jersey in 2016, and another site launched three years later in Pennsylvania. PokerStars brings world-class software, an innovative range of poker games and generous player rewards and bonuses.
PokerStars’ sites are state-specific, which means that depending on your location, you’ll play against opponents from either PA or NJ. As a result, the player pools are smaller. Our detailed review of PokerStars covers everything from bonus deals to its game selection. You will also find details of the state-specific tournaments, including the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) and the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) below.
You can claim two bonuses as a new player at PokerStars:
$30 in free play (requires a minimum $20 deposit) with the bonus code FREE30.
A 100% deposit match, up to $600, with the bonus code STARS600.
PokerStars will release your $30 of free play in three increments. First, you get immediate entry to a depositors’ freeroll, then receive the first $10 in bonus money within 36 hours. Then, you get $10 more after seven days. Lastly, the remaining $10 in bonus money are Spin and Go tickets, which are phased over three days. You get 3x $1 tickets, then 1x $2 and 1x $5.
You can claim the $600 deposit bonus over three deposits within your first 60 days. You have to earn your bonus money by collecting Redemption Points in real-money games. You get $10 of your bonus for every 140 points you earn. There are 5 points for every $1 paid in either cash game rake or tournament fees.
These are generous and fast-clearing bonuses. Note that if you make a withdrawal before completing either bonus, you will lose whatever part of it was outstanding.
PokerStars offers a unique loyalty program called Stars Rewards.
It’s available at Fox Bet Sportsbook, and other Stars-branded online casino sites and poker rooms. Rewards are personalized, depending on the games you play. You earn prize “chests.” As you climb up the tiers of the Stars loyalty program, the colors of the chest change to represent greater value. You start with a blue chest and then move up to bronze, silver, gold, diamond and black.
You can open your chests at any point, which contain personalized rewards. If you regularly play tournaments, you may get a free ticket, if you play cash games you may get a bonus and so on. These chests are worth opening, especially as you get to higher loyalty levels. Here is the value of rewards for each tier:
Blue: 25 cents to $5
Bronze: 60 cents to $12
Silver: $1.50 to $30
Gold: $5 to $100
Diamond: $12.50 to $250
Black: $35 to $700
Promotions at PokerStars New Jersey/Pennsylvania
There are recurring and one-off promotions at PokerStars PA/NJ to incentivize regular players. There are leaderboard contests for multi-table tournaments (MTT) that award monthly prizes in Tournament Dollars, which you can use for future tournament buy-ins.
You will also find offers for Spin and Go tournaments, reload bonuses and freerolls that reward extra deposits. One-off deals can involve satellite qualifiers to live tournaments, online events like the NJCOOP and the PA version, or specials for new poker formats or holidays.
US PokerStars Sites: Navigate the PokerStars Software
You can access PokerStars’ US poker rooms through your desktop computer and mobile devices. For the full range of games, the desktop download is the way to go. You can play PokerStars on either your Windows or Mac computer. This gives you access to resizable tables, Spin and Go tournaments and Zoom poker. It also allows for easy multi-tabling.
PokerStars provides apps for both Android and Apple mobile users. Whether on a smartphone or tablet, you can play Sit and Gos and ring games while you’re out and about. The iOS and Android app include the geolocation technology needed to prove you are inside state lines.
Navigating the various game options at PokerStars’ clients is easy. Across the top are the key games: cash games, Zoom, Sit and Go, Spin and Go and tournaments. If there are special events, these will be under their own tab; otherwise, look under the “Events” tab.
Some filters let you select game types, buy-in levels and table sizes. For example, under “Cash Games,” you can choose no-limit hold’em, six-handed with small stakes buy-ins.
You now see the open tables, with stats showing pot size, players to flop and hands per hour. If you prefer, a quick-seat option will assign you a position automatically. Individual tables can be resized, tiled on your screen or stacked. They are smooth running, with options for chat, four-color deck and a toggle between showing your stack in big blinds or as dollar amounts. You can upload a picture to display at the tables.
Game Types Available at PokerStars
Since the state-specific player pools are smaller than the international version of PokerStars, which means some of the newer and more obscure games are not available, e.g., Swap Hold’em and Tempest.
You will find plenty of choice in the most popular game formats. Here is an overview:
Cash Games: PokerStars offers No-Limit Hold’em (NLH), Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), Omaha Hi-Lo and many other variations (including mixed games). Most of the action is at smaller stakes NLH and PLO.
Zoom: This is a fast-fold poker variant, which is designed to reduce the waiting time while other players finish hands. You join a pool of players and go to a new hand the moment you fold.
Spin and Go: Another faster poker game. These are three-handed tournaments, with random prize pools. You find out how much you are playing for after the game starts. It is possible to win 10,000x your buy-in. There are regular and (super-fast) “flash” versions with small stacks and rapidly increasing blinds.
Sit and Go: You will find a list of smaller tournaments, most of them single table (six or nine players), in this section. They start when enough players to fill the tables have joined. Turbo speed, 50/50 and regular speed variations are spread.
Tournaments: There are a huge selection of tournaments, running round the clock. Most are small stakes and NLH; however, re-buy, turbo and knockout events are popular. Sundays see the biggest prizes in both NJ and PA. Look out for the championship events for even bigger guaranteed prize pools.
PokerStars also offers home games. These allow you to set up private or public games or tournaments and invite your friends or colleagues to play.
Even though rival sites had a head start, PokerStars quickly made up ground in terms of traffic. They are now second to the combined WSOP/888 sites, which also have Nevada and Delaware traffic. With cash game peaks of more than 600 players, and many times this in the tournaments, PokerStars NJ offers plenty of action. Its NJ partner is Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.
The showcase event for NJ players is the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP). This is a series of online poker tournaments, with some giant guaranteed prizes, varied game types and structures. A big focus on satellite qualifiers ensures that players with smaller bankrolls get to take a shot at big money.
PokerStars in Pennsylvania
As things stand, the Pennsylvania PokerStars site does not share traffic with the New Jersey site. This type of sharing would bring substantial benefits to PokerStars’ players. PokerStars PA launched toward the end of 2019 by partnering with Mount Airy Casino for its PA license.
With 24-hour peaks of more than 1,500 cash-game players, this site has proven even more popular than the NJ version. There are many times this number of players focusing on tournaments.
Like in NJ, there are big online poker tournament events for PA players. The PACOOP offers everyone a shot at the big buy-in tournaments with huge prize guarantees via satellite qualifiers.
PokerStars Payment Options
To fund your account and take advantage of the two bonuses at PokerStars NJ and PA, you will need a secure payment method. PokerStars gives you a variety of choices for both deposits and withdrawals. You can even pay at the casino cage of Resorts Casino NJ or Mount Airy Casino PA.
Note that PokerStars will allow you to set deposit limits as part of their responsible gaming commitments. Where possible, the site will also ask you to withdraw from the same payment method from which you deposited.
Here are the ways to fund your US PokerStars account:
Cash at the Cage:
If you are in New Jersey, you can pay in person at the cage of Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. For Pennsylvania players, you will need to head to Mount Airy Casino. You can make withdrawals from your PokerStars account in both states.
This direct bank transfer format is also known as ACH. An approval step is necessary before this method becomes instant. You can use this option for both deposits and withdrawals.
This deposit method is popular due to the speed and simplicity of the process. It works exactly like making any online purchase. However, Mastercard will not work for withdrawals on PokerStars.
You can deposit into your account via your local 7-Eleven store using cash. Note that there are fees for using this service. It works for deposits only.
Once you fund your PayPal account, you can use the e-wallet for deposits and withdrawals at almost every legal US gambling site.
PokerStars Play+ Card:
You will need to apply first, and then fund it from your bank account. You can use this branded-prepaid card for both deposits and withdrawals at PokerStars and ATMs or in-store purchases.
This deposit method will work with major banks that support online bill pay. You link directly from the PokerStars cashier to your bank, initiating an instant payment. A Stars Transfer is for deposits only.
This electronic wallet is popular among poker players internationally. The third-party electronic wallet allows you to fund your Skrill account with your bank account and then use Skrill for deposits and withdrawals at PokerStars.
This works like PayNearMe. To use it, you print off a barcode from the PokerStars cashier and take it to a participating retailer, where you will be able to deposit with cash.
You can use both credit and debit cards on the Visa network for making a deposit at PokerStars. However, you cannot use it for withdrawals.
Security, Game Fairness at PokerStars NJ/PA
The games are fair and your funds are secure at legal, regulated US poker sites. Additionally, PokerStars segregates player balances from its operating funds. Furthermore, the operator is licensed and under the watchful eyes of the gambling control boards in NJ and PA, respectively.
Third-party testing guarantees game fairness at PokerStars. Using a random number generator (RNG) software, the games are tested and certified by Gaming Labs International, which is the gold standard of independent auditors.
Wrapping Up: Are US PokerStars Sites the Best Legal Online Poker Rooms?
With amazing software and innovative games, PokerStars may be considered the best. When the new sites opened in PA and NJ, they were welcomed by poker fans. While the player numbers do not compare with the international site, there are plenty enough opponents to make playing at the US PokerStars sites enjoyable.
When big events run, like the NJCOOP and PACOOP, the spike in player numbers is noticeable. You can qualify for the big prize tournaments in satellites, meaning everyone has a shot at the big money events.
Cash games now include Zoom poker with Spin and Go mini-tournaments giving you a shot at a huge jackpot. Whether you enjoy the innovative new games or prefer to grind out profits in a regular cash game, PokerStars has it covered.
New players get a generous double bonus, $30 in free play and deposit bonuses of up to $600. Once you start playing, Stars Rewards awards prize chests that are valuable bankroll boosters.
Check out your local PokerStars site in NJ or PA today.
| PokerStars NJ FAQ
Can I Play in the Sunday Million at PokerStarsNJ.com?
No. The famous $1 million guaranteed Sunday Million is part of the schedule of the international poker room. Inside NJ you can only play against other state residents, making the tournaments smaller. The equivalent is the $30,000 guaranteed Sunday Special. When online poker events such as the ‘NJCOOP’ run, you’ll find some big prize tournament action.
Does PokerStars New Jersey have Zoom Poker?
No. Once again this is a size issue, with not enough players the ‘pools’ which this fast-fold poker format rely are not possible. Once PokerStars are able to share players between states, Zoom should be available.
How Can I Change my PokerStars Screen Name?
Whatever name you come up with when you register is the one you will be stuck with. Make sure you don’t pick a name you might regret later.
Is the Deal Fair?
100% fair. While many (often bad) players complain that online poker is rigged, there is zero evidence that this is the case. PokerStars have dealt billions of hands (just hit the 40 billion milestone to be exact), and every test / audit and tracking database says the same thing – that the deal is random.
Is PokerStars NJ Legal?
Yes, this site is licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement under Resorts Casino B&M license. To legally enjoy online poker games, you must be 21+ and inside the state borders.
Is PokerStars the Largest New Jersey Poker Room?
This is the largest single poker room – though 888 / WSOP offer more games and tournaments. That is due to sharing of liquidity between 888 / WSOP in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. PokerStars currently only have their NJ site.
Is PokerStars Safe?
Yes. Some big brands with long records of treating their players well are involved in this poker room. SSL technology and separation of player funds are used. If you are worried about handing over your credit card information, there are plenty of alternative deposit options including PayPal, Neteller or even cash.