When we take a step back and look at all the positive influences PokerStars has had on the global online poker community, it’s easy to presume that the operator’s impending presence in New Jersey will have a similar effect. The market’s current status isn’t a great one, at least not from an NJ player’s point of view, but the arrival of the world’s largest and most popular brand could be a huge game changer in the Garden State. PokerStars has the potential to shepherd in better software and promotions across the boards, resulting in a more consistent rate of traffic for all who meet the challenge.
The TwoPlusTwo forums are an excellent source of relative consumer gripes, and software has been at the top of the list ever since New Jersey went live with its iGaming market in November of 2013; geo-location issues, lack of features, instability, etc., etc., etc. Despite the fact that veteran brands like 888 and Party Poker are involved, the software simply hasn’t been up to snuff with international standards, ostensibly attributed to the strict regulatory guidelines in the new US jurisdiction. But PokerStars software is second to none and, once released in New Jersey, is expected to be a superior product compared to all available brands.
The Party Borgata Network, WSOP NJ, 888Poker NJ and Ultimate Poker NJ have received plenty of warning that a huge rival is about to enter their midst, possibly as early as October. It’s safe to assume that they have programmers working round the clock to upgrade their respective online poker platforms before the other proverbial shoe drops. In all likelihood, the marketing teams behind these poker sites are being worked to the bone as well.
PokerStars has always been a fan favorite where promotions are concerned. From initial deposit bonuses to VIP rewards and exclusive tournaments, the PokerStars brand has cornered the market in other jurisdictions around the world. There’s no reason to believe they won’t bring the same level of intensity to New Jersey. Thus far, all of New Jersey’s online poker promotions have resulted in crests of traffic, pumping up the numbers during a promo, but falling back upon its conclusion. Competitors will be forced to run more consistent campaigns, as well as bolstering their VIP reward programs, if they wish to challenge the proven durability of the PokerStars brand.
Unfortunately, there is some level of uncertainty as to what PokerStars will bring to the table in the Garden State. The ring-fenced nature of the NJ online poker market presents hurdles, and while it’s nothing the operator hasn’t faced before, working with a comparably low populous of potential players and new regulatory framework will be a distinct drawback, just as it has been for the state’s existing operators. If PokerStars could tie in its most respected international tournament series, like the WCOOP, SCOOP and TCOOP, chances are every other network in New Jersey would simply fade away over time, but without cross-border player pooling, it’s not a realistic option.
PokerStars has an opportunity to deliver the same great VIP rewards system international players are privy to, easily the best program the global online poker community has ever known, but whether the New Jersey version will stack up is yet to be seen. It’s also unknown whether the operator will tie in satellites for its multitude of PokerStars sponsored live tournaments, including stops along the EPT, APPT, LAPT, PCA and UKIPT, just to name a few. It’s the little details like this that will ultimately determine the success of PokerStars and all other major players in the NJ online poker market.