When online poker players in New Jersey logged in on March 21 of last year, they became the first Americans with legal access to the PokerStars platform in nearly five years.
With the launch of PokerStars NJ that day, the state’s nascent regulated online poker industry received an instant infusion of enthusiasm. The industry’s recognized leader had finally returned to the U.S. market following the infamy of “Black Friday,” and New Jersey’s player base was understandably excited for what would come.
The one-year anniversary of that momentous occasion is now upon us, making for the perfect time to reflect on PokerStars NJ’s progress thus far.
Using monthly revenue reports released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), one can trace the various upswings and downturns posted by PokerStars NJ during its first year of operation.
The site became an immediate hit with the Garden State’s well-established community of online grinders. One day after the launch, PokerStars NJ had eclipsed the Borgata / PartyPoker platform for second place on the cash game volume, per data maintained by iGaming traffic tracking site PokerScout.
Within the week PokerStars NJ had surpassed the WSOP / 888 partnership to claim the top spot on the state’s cash game volume leaderboard.
While organic cash game traffic was partly responsible for that rapid rise up the ranks, PokerStars’ famed promotional muscle was soon put to work.
On March 29, just over a week after opening its virtual doors, PokerStars NJ announced a special edition of its popular Spin & Go lottery-style mini-tournaments. For a buy-in of just $10, three players per table would “spin” the reels to receive a random prize multiplier, with a jackpot of $100,000 on tap until a fortunate trio cashed in.
It took nine months, during which time many local players soured on the Spin & Go experience, but in January of this year a player named “VaderWolf” scored the $100,000 win, while his two opponents pocketed $10,000 each.
From mid- to late-May the site played host to the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker (NJSCOOP), its first online tournament series in the state. The scaled down take on PokerStars’ globally popular SCOOP series provided another surge in player traffic, moving the site above the $1 million revenue plateau for the second straight month.
From there, however, revenue plunged sharply by nearly one-third during June, followed by a slight dip in July. That slump coincides with a slimmed down promotional schedule over the summer.
In October a second expanded tournament series – the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) – created renewed excitement for the site, and revenue once again climbed into the seven figures.
Over the next four months, revenue has seemingly stagnated at between $800,000 and $950,000 between November of 2016 and February of this year.
To celebrate the site’s one-year anniversary, PokerStars NJ is rolling out a full complement of promotions. Those include $50 in free play (using bonus code FREE50) for new depositors, and a Mega Cash Bonus for any depositors adding $30 or more – both running through April 2.
The CardHunt puzzle promotion awards up to $3,000 in cash for completing daily CardHunt poker puzzles.
Finally, on April 2 the Big Sunday promotion doubles the usual guaranteed prize pool for the Sunday Special tournament to $100,000, while all other tournaments that day will boost the prize pool by 25 percent.
Below you’ll find a full rundown of monthly revenue marks for PokerStars NJ’s first year:
PokerStars NJ First-Year Revenue Totals by Month, with Month-on-Month Change