Anyone who knows anything about online poker knows that PokerStars is the leader in the global market. Statistics show the operator attracts more than 14,000 players at any given time. Aside from the fact that it offers an arguably superior software platform and other features, the ability to draw so much action is attributed to the fact that PokerStars is available in so many regions where internet gaming is largely (and legally) accepted.

Just imagine for a moment if PokerStars were available in America. Not just the state’s where online poker has been authorized (Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey), but all 50 states. Prior to Black Friday, that was the case, and PokerStars was averaging closer to 90,000 players at that time. And that was just PokerStars. Thousands of Americans were visiting other offshore poker sites as well.

Why does this matter? Because that information gives us a gauge to judge by when considering how many Americans could and would play online poker, if given the legal option and a compelling environment to do so. The number would easily soar towards, if not into, the 6-figure range.

Caesars Palace Las VegasBut right now, online poker operators in those three states are struggling to draw traffic to the virtual tables. Gary Loveman, former CEO and current Chairman of Caesars Entertainment (the parent of Caesars Interactive, which operates in Nevada and New Jersey), believes the ring-fenced nature of online poker in America has everything to do with it.

New Jersey has a few hundred players on board, while Nevada and Delaware share networks that attract less than 200 players. All told, there is an average of less than 1,000 online poker players visiting authorized poker sites in the US.

In a recent interview with Las Vegas National Public Radio station KNPR, Loveman shared his view of the internet poker market in America. He is certain that, once other states jump on board the regulatory band-wagon, the market will expand immensely. As for why the growth of current markets has stalled, Loveman offered his opinion on that matter as well.

“I think it stalled in part because we don’t have a sufficient population of people from other states playing to make the offering as compelling as it needs to be. This is one of the great frustrations of the years I’ve been in this industry,” explained Loveman. “That something that is so intellectually straightforward has been so difficult to execute. The idea that Americans cannot legally play poker online… strikes me as almost crazy.”

Loveman thinks the regulation of online poker in other states will eventually take off at a rapid rate, but not until something seemingly unrelated occurs—when the NFL decides sports betting should be permitted.

Historically, American professional and amateur sporting leagues have opposed sports betting, but Adam Silver of the NBA altered his stance late last year. “And once the NFL moves to the point where they in fact favor this,” said Loveman, “I think you will see a federal action that legalizes sports betting, somehow defined at the federal level and virtually every state will participate.”

With sports betting being a predominantly online activity these days, Loveman said, “Once that Rubicon has been crossed, I think poker will very naturally fall in because it has an awful lot of similarities to fantasy sports.”

The spring and summer months have always been slow periods for the global internet poker economy, but some regions—particularly New Jersey—have clearly struggling more than others. For the month of June 2015, the NJ online poker market suffered the lowest yield since the state introduced regulation in 2013.

NJ Online Poker Revenue Down Again in JuneLast month, the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported that NJ online poker operators harvested just $1.83 million. That figure represents a 46.8% drop compared to the state’s all-time high of $3.44 million generated in January 2014.

Diminishing player traffic—and consequently, revenue—is expected around this time of year. The iPoker industry endures a seasonal drop in activity all over the world. But the NJ online poker market has more reason for concern when comparing last month’s revenue to that of a year ago. June 2015 bears a 10% decrease compared to the same month’s figures in 2014.

In fact, aside from the relatively steady months of February and March, New Jersey has witnessed a perpetual month over month decline in internet poker revenue.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, regulators in the Garden State are enjoying a continuous boost from the online casino market. That division nearly struck 10-figures in June, reaping $9.83 million; a staggering 83.38% more than NJ online poker sites.

NJ Online Poker Market’s Leaders

There is some confusion among which network actually leads the NJ online poker market. If we go by revenue, the Party Borgata Network is at the forefront. Based on cash game traffic numbers from tracking website PokerScout, however, it’s WSOP/888 that leads the pack.

There are only two internet poker networks operating four sites in the Garden State. Party Borgata operates and, while Caesars Interactive’s and share they’re players on WSOP/888.

When comparing NJ online poker revenue, Party Borgata is on top with 51.8% of the market share, while WSOP/888 follows right behind with 48.2%. In terms of traffic however, WSOP/888 appears to have a significant lead of 170 average cash game players, compared to just 110 on Party Borgata. One would have to surmise that Party Borgata is drawing more tournament traffic, and/or higher stakes players to the virtual felt.

NJ Online Poker / Casino Markets Combined

When balancing the books for both NJ online poker and casino markets in June, Party/Borgata remained on top by claiming 29.6% of the Garden State’s overall iGaming market share. Caesar’s Interactive came in second with 22.6%. Tropicana and Golden Nugget, which operate online casinos only, trailed close behind with 21.95% and 21.64% respectively. Another casino-only operator, Resorts’ grade was negligible, managing to grasp just 3.43%.

New Jersey Still Awaiting PokerStars Entry

At this point, there’s only one thing that can truly turn the NJ online poker market around, and that’s the eventual introduction of PokerStars. The world’s largest internet poker site, owned by Amaya Gaming, is still waiting for a ruling from state regulators on whether a license will be granted, and according to Amaya CEO David Baazov, it could happen as early as Fall 2015.

PokerStars entry should have an immense impact on the Garden State, raising awareness ten-fold and giving existing operators significant reason to become more competitive with their promotions and tournament offerings.

It’s also worth noting that Amaya Gaming is currently in negotiations to acquire and its many interactive gaming assets, including its operations in New Jersey.

Update: Confirmed this morning, July 17, 2015, 888 Holdings has won the bid for, agreeing to a $1.4 billion buyout of the company and all of its assets.

The online poker and casino gambling revenue report for February 2015 has been released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. While it’s clear that internet poker is on an alarming decline compared to last year’s results, it’s also worth noting that, despite the cash game traffic results, the Party Borgata poker network is still the leader in New Jersey.

Party Borgata Poker Network leads WSOP/888 in New JerseyWhen and 888Poker teamed up in January by pooling a portion of their player bases across certain cash games and tournaments, it appeared that the newly formed WSOP / 888 network was primed to take over the top spot in New Jersey’s online poker market.

According to current statistics from traffic tracking website PokerScout, WSOP/888 is averaging 200 players at the cash tables over a 7 day period, while the Party Borgata poker network is averaging only 150. That information would lead many to believe that WSOP / 888 would easily overtake the market as the #1 gross revenue generator in the Garden State. But the latest revenue reports indicate otherwise.

The NJ DGE’s revenue report shows that PartyPoker and Borgata Poker (collectively the Party Borgata Network) reaped $1,103,501 from interactive peer-to-peer gaming (i.e. online poker rake and tournaments fees). Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which operates as the license holder for and 888Poker, generated $942,154.

Together, New Jersey’s online poker market produced $2,045,655, with Party Borgata owning 53.94% of the market share. WSOP / 888 made up for the remaining 46.06%. In terms of cash game traffic, though, the numbers look quite different, with WSOP / 888 leading at 57.14% of the market share, and the Party Borgata poker network trailing with 42.86%.

How Party Borgata Poker Network retains #1 Rank

There are only two reasons why Party Borgata would remain on top, despite having lower cash game traffic than its sole network rival in New Jersey. The most likely cause would be a stronger interest from the online poker community in Party Borgata’s tournament schedule.

The network has a larger selection of well-structured tournaments that offer higher guaranteed prize pools than WSOP / 888, and the majority of them are networked across both PartyPoker and Borgata Poker. WSOP and 888 only chose to network a small number of their largest weekly guarantees, which are still collectively lower than those presented by Party Borgata. The highest Sunday GTD at WSOP / 888 generally fluctuates between $25k and $35k, while Party Borgata offers a minimum Sunday $50k GTD, often increased to $100k GTD.

The only other factor that could cause such a seemingly opposing result in New Jersey’s online poker leadership is the value of the players taking part at the cash tables. If PartyPoker and Borgata Poker are drawing more high volume, high stakes players than WSOP / 888, it would reason that the network would collect more from cash game rake than their competitor, despite having the lower traffic numbers.

Revenue Reports Good & Bad News for New Jersey

When comparing February’s online poker revenue to January 2015, the numbers don’t look good at first. Jan 2015 brought in $2,299,426 ($1,283,746 or 55.83% from Party Borgata, $1,015,680 or 44.17% from WSOP / 888). In Feb 2015, the total was down 11% to $2,045,655.

However, if we negate the fact that February had 3 less days than January, calculating the daily average instead, the results look more like this: $74,175 per day in January, $73,059 per day in February. That equates to a mere 1.5% differential, and should be a lot easier for New Jersey regulators to swallow.

Where the largest discrepancy lies is the comparison between February 2015 and February 2014. Last year at this time, the Garden State’s online poker revenue totaled $3,109,203. Overall, the internet poker market has seen a disturbing decline of 28.3% in year-over-year results.

On a positive note, online casino revenue in New Jersey is still running strong, accounting for approximately 4x more than online poker. When both online poker and casino revenues are combined, the DGE reported a total internet gaming win of $10.4 million in February 2015, up 0.9% from $10.3 million in February 2014.

The World Series of Poker has been a staple of the industry for 45 years, paving the way for evolution in the game of poker around the globe. This year’s announcement of a revolutionary WOSP Online Bracelet Event is a huge leap into the modern technological age, but not one that everyone agrees with. And according to some sources, the original structure for the event announced last month may be changed before the 2015 WSOP gets underway.

2015 WSOP Online Bracelet Event 64Never before has the WSOP awarded a gold bracelet in any forum except live poker tables at the designated venue in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2015 WSOP will change all that as organizers announced the summer schedule in February, including a historical milestone – an online bracelet event set to take place on

The online tournament is slated for July 2nd as Event #64 on the 2015 WSOP schedule. With a buy-in of $1,000 to the NLHE tournament, the original structure was devised to bring the final two players out of the online realm and onto a live table at the Rio on July 3rd.  Due to concerns about timing and a potentially short televised end to the highly anticipated online bracelet event, organizers are hoping to change the final table format.

According to PokerFuse, WSOP organizers have sought the permission of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to alter the final table arrangement. Instead of televising a heads-up finish on July 3rd, they want push it to July 4th, making the 3rd a “travel day” so that final tablists who aren’t already in easy traveling distance to Las Vegas have time to make it to the Rio. They would also prefer to have the final six players enter the live stage, rather than just two.

“We had concerns initially of getting the players to the Rio the next day to play out the event live,” said Caesars Interactive VP of Corporate Communications, Seth Palansky. He explained that they’ve “decided that July 3 will be a ‘travel day’ in essence for any players not in proximity to Las Vegas. As such, we will play the final table on July 4 now. This allows us to increase the live portion to six players and know we can get them all to the Rio in time.”

WSOP officials are declining all requests for comment for the time being. A spokesperson said that no comments will be issued regarding the proposed changed to the 2015 WSOP online bracelet event until the Nevada Gaming Control Board makes its decision.

Positive/Negative Responses to a 2015 WSOP Online Bracelet Event

The reaction from professional poker players regarding the first ever online bracelet event at the 2015 WSOP have been mixed.

One prominent supporter of the interactive transition has been Greg Merson, winner of the 2012 WSOP Championship. Merson called the online bracelet event his “favorite part of the schedule” this year. “Online has been a big boost for the game and rewarding the industry with a bracelet is amazing,” explained the former WSOP champ.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are players like 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Trevor Pope. “I think the WSOP online event is going to be quite overrated,” criticized Pope. His largest gripe seemed to be that serious online poker players prefer to multi-table, stating that “I personally won’t be playing the online event because I will just get too bored playing one table myself…”

Pope went on to condemn the requirements for participating in an online bracelet event compared to a live structure. Throughout history, the WSOP has been “a poker series played at the casino where all you need is a ‘chip and a chair’ as they say, but this is putting a whole new spin on that because now you need a good computer, reliable Internet, a place to play, and probably some good tracking software.”

In the end, though, Pope admitted that he could be wrong, and that the 2015 WSOP online bracelet event could have “a huge turnout” and help to “push online poker in the right direction.”

For the next three days, online poker players in New Jersey can win a $3,000 prize package that includes a seat in the WSOP Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. Online satellites began at yesterday and will continue through March 1, guaranteeing a minimum of 1 prize package per day.

Win a $3k seat in 2015 WSOP Circuit Main Event BaltimoreThe World Series of Poker Circuit series got underway in Baltimore, Maryland on Thursday with the first of 12 events in the series. But those who already made the trip to partake in the opening tournaments will be missing out on the chance to win a seat into the WSOP Circuit Main Event next weekend. That’s because poker players will have to be physically located in New Jersey in order to win one of the multiple $3,000 prize packages from

The online poker room is hosting a $30 WSOP Circuit Qualifier, with Re-buys and Add-ons ($27.30 + $2.70 each) every evening at 6:00pm sharp until Sunday, March 1. At least one player will win a $3,000 prize package to the Main Event in each day’s online satellite.

The total number of prize packages awarded will depend on the level of participation. For every $3,000 in the prize pool (every 110 players registered), another $3k prize package will be awarded.

Each WSOP Circuit prize package will include the $1,675 buy-in for the WSOP Circuit Main Event, automatically submitting the winner’s entry fee and name for pre-registration. However, winners are responsible for complete the registration process in person prior to the start of the Main Event.

The remainder of the $1,325 prize money will be deposited into the winner’s online poker account at This money can be used at the poker site or withdrawn, whichever the player wishes. However, winners are responsible for all travel expenses, accommodations, meals, etc.

The WSOP Circuit Main Event is scheduled for two Day 1 flights; Friday, March 6th and Saturday, March 7th, both starting at 12:00 noon on their respective days. It is up the each winner to decide which day they prefer to register for.

The Main Event will take place at the Horseshoe Casino located at 1525 Russell Road in Baltimore, Maryland. The eventual winner of the tournament will receive a WSOP Circuit Ring, along with an automatic invitation to compete in the WSOP Circuit National Championships coming up in May.

WSOP Circuit Satellite Terms

Prizes are non-transferable, so those who can’t make it to Baltimore next weekend should abstain from participating in the online poker satellites this weekend. However, it should also be noted that members in New Jersey can win more than one satellite and prize package.

According to the terms of the promotion, if any single player wins more than one satellite qualifier, will deliver the first prize package per the original conditions. Any other winnings will be paid as $1,675 (the amount of the Main Event buy-in) in online tournament tickets, and the other $1,325 in cash (via the player’s online poker account). Tournament tickets will be awarded in segments of 8x T$200, 1x T$50 and 1x T$25.

New Jersey’s online gambling market has been active for 15 months now, and after consistent reports of sluggish growth, it seems the industry’s revenue generation is finally staying on a northbound track. For the second month in a row, the interactive gaming win is up, including a substantial boost in online poker revenue.

nj-online-poker-revenueFor the month of January 2015, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported a total internet gaming win of $11,567,337. That figure translates to an 8% increase, up from $10,736,118 in December’s report. Of that, $9,267,911 came from the state’s online casino operators, while the other $2,299,426 was derived from peer-to-peer gaming (i.e. online poker operations).

Clearly, casino style gambling is more popular – and more profitable – than online poker games, but this month’s unwritten award for rate of growth goes to the latter. Internet casino win rose 6.38%, while online poker revenue grew 10.45% month over month.

Party Borgata Network leads in Online Poker Revenue

There are currently four online poker operators pilfering their virtual wares in New Jersey – Party Poker NJ, Borgata Poker, 888Poker and WSOP NJ. Party Poker and Borgata Poker are licensed to the Borgata Atlantic City, sharing their player bases on the aptly named Party Borgata Network. 888Poker and, although both licensed under Caesars Interactive and using the same 888-branded software, didn’t not begin sharing their player bases until last month.

With that in mind, only Borgata (Party/Borgata Poker) and Caesars (WSOP/888 Poker) are reporting online poker revenue. In that regard, Party Borgata still maintains a solid lead, representing $1,283,746 (55.83%) of the total peer-to-peer yield for January. WSOP/888 are slowly catching up though with a total of $1,015,680 on the month (up from $949,432 in December 2014).

WSOP NJ / 888Poker lead New Jersey in Cash Game Traffic

In terms of cash game traffic, however, and 888Poker are now cornering the New Jersey market. After partially combining their player bases in mid-January, the Caesar-licensed operators finally edged out the Party Borgata Network as the most popular poker site in New Jersey. According to PokerScout, Party Borgata currently averages 150 cash game players, while WSOP/888 have climbed to 220 players on a 7-day average.

Helping to keep Party Borgata on top in the online poker revenue counts was last month’s second running of the Garden State Super Series (GSSS II). The online poker series ran from January 11th through the 25th of the month, drawing in a plethora of players to participate in the 69-event, $1 million guaranteed series.

Remarkably, and 888Poker held no events of that caliber last month, yet still managed to see a small increase in online poker revenue. As such, it will be interesting to see just how well Party Poker NJ and Borgata Poker perform in February compared to WSOP and 888Poker when no major online poker events are on the table.

The biggest guaranteed events for New Jersey online poker players in February are the Sunday Majors. Again, Party Borgata has the better offering with a $100k GTD at 5:00pm every Sunday, but WSOP and 888 are working their way up, having increased the Big Sunday from $35k to $50k for last weekend’s Feb 15th rendition. Whether the prize will remain the same this coming Sunday is yet to be seen.

For the last 13 months, the Party Borgata network has led New Jersey’s online poker market in cash game traffic. WSOP NJ was able to creep up behind its rival a few times, but it wasn’t until this last weekend that the Caesars-owned poker room finally took top billing. Not only that; 888’s All American Poker Network (AAPN NJ) skipped ahead into the 2nd spot.WSOP NJ leads online poker cash game traffic in New Jersey

After maintaining such a strong lead since The Garden State’s iGaming market first went live in November, 2013, the last place Party Borgata expected to be was on bottom. But after New Jersey’s online poker industry was reduced to just three competitors late last year, that’s exactly where the former leader ended up over the weekend.

As for why Party Poker and Party Borgata (collectively Party Borgata) have fallen behind, there are a few factors that can be taken into account. First and foremost, on Monday, January 12, 2015, New Jersey’s and 888Poker initiated a partial merger of their player bases. Secondly, Party Borgata’s most avid members haven’t been especially happy with the software. We’ll discuss more on those issues in a moment, but first…

Current Online Poker Traffic Stats

If we review the Garden State’s online poker cash game traffic over the last nine days, we see a significant change in 7-day averages. We’ll start with Monday, January 12, 2015—the day player pooling first began between WSOP NJ and 888Poker—then proceed to the following Friday, four days later, and finally today’s current stats, another four days down the road.

Note that the following results are derived from the traffic tracking statistics of PokerScout.

NJ Online Poker Traffic Stats since WSOP/888 Merge
Network Jan 12 Jan 16 Jan 20
Party Borgata 160 150 160
WSOP NJ 95 140 190
888Poker 90 130 170


WSOP/888 Player Pooling a Huge Success

WSOP NJ and 888Poker NJ are both powered by 888 software, but unlike Party Poker and Borgata Poker (both powered by, the two chose not to pool their players from the start. Last week, all low-limit cash game tables were pooled between WSOP and 888. A series of GTD tournaments were also shared, including $130k worth of each sites largest daily and weekly majors.

Negative Feedback for Party Borgata

For the last few months, ever since a major update to the software in September 2014, an MFC Error has been plaguing the online poker network. It mostly affects grinders and players who have multiple tables and/or programs open, particularly when tournament announcements pop up, causing the online poker room to crash. Players generally report other errors within the software upon relaunch, such as the inability to see hole cards.

A fix to the problem was promised on January 5, but no update occurred. Again, a fix was expected during the “week commencing 12th Jan”, as per Party_Rep ‘Colette’ on the TwoPlusTwo forums. But again, no update occurred. Instead, on Friday players were told that previous updates in December were meant to fix the MFC errors—(obviously, that didn’t work)—and that technicians are still working to find “the root cause”.

Players were once more asked to contact customer support with their account information and complete details of any further errors. Members have been justifiably outraged, including many who experienced repeated errors during the site’s GSSS II online poker series. All in all, while traffic is currently on par with last week’s early-week results, once the GSSS II is completed, there could be a lot more New Jersey players making the switch to WSOP NJ and/or 888Poker.

WSOP is dominating the regulated online poker industry in Nevada, but has held the respectable position of #2 in New Jersey since the market went live in November 2013. Competition has driven WSOP to increase its Action Club VIP loyalty rewards program, and it’s giving most online poker players in both states something to rejoice about. As has become the norm in today’s internet poker industry, recreational players are the real target.

The overhauled Action Club includes a series of additional tiers, including a new Copper level that requires just 2 Action Player Points (APP) to reach. The online poker site previously required 10 APP in a month to reach the first tier of the VIP program, termed Bronze status. With 2 APP earned for every $1 contributed to the rake at cash games, or $1 in tournament fees paid, even the most recreational of players should have no trouble reaching the required monthly minimum to earn loyalty rewards at

To achieve Bronze status, a player will now need to earn 40 APP in a month, but a Copper+ level was thrown in between with a 20 APP requirement to achieve. A Bronze+ was also supplemented, requiring 100 APP in a month’s time. Silver status still necessitates 200 APP, Gold 400 APP, Platinum 1,200 APP and Diamond 3,500 APP. The former Silver+, Gold+ and Platinum+ levels were removed.

Online poker players will still need to reach the Silver level or above to receive WSOP Points, which can be converted to cash at a rate of $1 for every 100 points (1,000 point minimum to redeem), but other rewards are available to those who play just enough to reach to lowest tiers. And with the minimum 2 AP requirement now available, that should include a lot more members of the Nevada and New Jersey online poker rooms.

All players who earn at least 2 – but less than 200 – APP in a month will receive exclusive invites to monthly Action Club freerolls. Not to leave anyone out, even players who don’t reach a status of any level can participate in the weekly $250 freeroll tournaments.

WSOP Annual Rewards

The yearly rewards levels received a slight augmentation as well. A new Super Elite level was snuggly fitted between the original Elite and Super Seven statuses. Previously, Super Seven members were entitled to a competitive rakeback of 35%. That figure has dropped to 30%, but realistically speaking, it shouldn’t affect too many people since it requires 400,000 APP in a year’s time.

On a brighter note, the new Super Elite status (250,000 APP) will give standard Elite members (50,000 AP) a much more reasonable goal to shoot for, and increase their rakeback rewards from 20% to 25% in doing so.

On the whole, WSOP’s loyalty rewards aren’t all that impressive, but it’s definitely an improvement. Plus, the Action Club correlates with the land-based casino rewards of Caesars Entertainment properties, known as Total Rewards. All Action Club points earned at the online poker room are added to a player’s Total Rewards membership (if they have one), and for land-based players who reach Platinum, diamond of Seven Star status in the Total Rewards program, they can request their status be transferred to the online Action Club.