Regulated PokerStars Soft Launch in New Jersey
Part two of the PokerStars NJ Launch Series Here.
It had been 1,796 days since that fateful Friday, April 15, 2011. The wait is over New Jersey. PokerStars has returned, albeit to a much smaller audience and player pool.
As a resident of New Jersey and a former PokerStars player, I jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first to log in on March 16th at 4:00 PM.
I was also one of the first to log in to the previous online poker sites in New Jersey – 888, Betfair, Borgata, Party Poker, WSOP and Ultimate.
During that soft launch in November 2013 it was an unknown. How easy would it be to sign up? How good would the software be? How hard will it be to deposit? What type of promotions would be offered? How about the rake back? What games will be offered? And a myriad of other questions?
Little would we know of all the pitfalls and pratfalls that we all would take to get to this point in regulated poker? The major hurdle has always been the customer service aspect, or more precisely the lack of customer service.
Of course there have been inordinate amounts of software glitches, marketing missteps and major tournament indecisions. All of you that have been there from the beginning know what I mean. If you want to see the turmoil, checkout the New Jersey Internet Poker threads on Two Plus Two for the last 2 ½ years.
Enough history, let’s look at the challenge at hand. I received an e-mail a few weeks ago that directed me to www.pokerstarsnj.com and “shortly after 16:00 ET on March 16, you’ll be able to download the new PokerStars NJ software.” Not happening at 4 PM, 5 PM.
Tried to find the link to the download, but it was nowhere to be found. After numerous attempts, gave up, and went to Two plus Two Forum. Poker players going to other poker players for help.
PokerStars New Jersey has started correctly. Dylan, the PokerStars rep on “Two plus Two” set up the “Official New Jersey Thread” a few weeks ago. Let the communication begin.
At 4:02 PM “Max Cut” posted “/client/download/”. Thank you Max Cut. Most knew to add this to www.pokerstarsnj.com, and this directed us back to 1998. No fancy pictures, just text. The thread blew up, and the questions rained down.
(Note: If you check out the site today, the introduction is pictures et al, and more recognizable 2016 form – much easier. It pays to wait.)
I can unequivocally say that after I was able to start the signup process, it went smoothly. It helped that I remembered the previous 6 times that I input information on New Jersey Regulated sites.
PokerStars prompts were clear and if you aren’t in hurry – meaning “read the directions”, the setup is simple. For those that are squeamish about giving your SS number, at this point of setup, only the last 4 digits are requested. Deposits will be another subject.
I retained my “old” PokerStars name. I had been occasionally playing the play money site in order to play games other than NLH that dominates the current sites, so it remained active. (I know, Omaha is available).
I was lucky enough that on Black Friday I did not have any cash or unused points or tokens to make it difficult to make a decision – new user name or retain – that others are struggling to decide. Simply retained.
So, establishing a player identity was fairly simple. It did take a little time for the software to download. It did take a little time to read a few directions, policies, etc. But, after the few glitches, there it was – PokerStars – tournaments, cash games, sit’n’gos, etc. – especially the 8 game mix that was a passion back in the day.
In the next installment, I will explain the “Deposit” options, promotions and game play. During the soft launch there are limited times of operation, and a maximum of 500 players allowed for testing. See you at the tables!