PokerStars’ Official Launch in New Jersey Happens on Monday, March 21
Today marks the official launch of the PokerStars brand in New Jersey. Monday, March 21 is the first time in nearly 5 years US players could gamble at the world’s top online poker site legally. On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice seized the PokerStars US-facing domain and indicted several of its executives. That day came to be known as Black Friday in the American online gambling industry.
March 16 was the soft-launch for PokerStars, but Monday the 21st is the official date when operations begin. Former PokerStars customers have been discussing the launch on social media sites since the rollout was launched in mid-February.
Availability Is Key
Robert Lively, who gambled on PokerStars for years before Black Friday, said he’s been playing cards for 38 years of his adult life. Time commitments make it hard to set aside time to play cards with friends anymore, so online poker is a way to enjoy poker night while juggling other commitments.
Lively praised the ability to gamble online, saying, “I do not get to play live poker nearly as often what I would like. Online poker is always going — it’s the availability.”
Online Poker’s Flexible Schedule
Craig Rubinstein, another New Jersey resident, cited having a similar experience. Rubinstein said online gambling allows him to enjoy some quiet time with a hobby he enjoys, while maintaining a family life.
Rubenstein said, “I am a dad of seven- and five-year-old boys and can’t play as many live tournaments as I would like. This gives me the ability to play them on a daily basis, and works around my schedule.”
Gambler Praises Tournament Selection
Matt Sullivan, a Philadelphia resident who plans to make trips into New Jersey in order to gamble on the PokerStars site, said he is thrilled with the news. Poker players in other US states cannot gamble online at PokerStars, but any resident of the United States can register an account on the site and play once they are inside the borders of New Jersey.
Mr. Sullivan said, “I think the return of PokerStars is great. Above anything, name recognition will hopefully boost the activity of online poker in New Jersey. It’s a shame that on some of the current sites traffic is so low, and I think PokerStars has the capability of dramatically increasing traffic on the tables.”
Like many US players, Sullivan said he enjoys the many playing options on PokerStars. An online card room is not like an online casino or sportsbook, which does not require other gamblers to participate. Poker sites need a sizable player community, because they need to fill tables 9-full with gamblers who play at different bet limits, on different poker variants, and in different types of events.
Various Gaming Options
For instance, players have the option for major tournaments with hundreds or thousands of players and guaranteed prize pools, smaller events played on weeknights or weekends for people without 8 hours to gamble, and turbo events which might take an hour. Gamblers might want to play in a freezeout, a type of event in which each player starts with the same size set of chips. Lose your chip stack and you’re out of the event. Other events allow “rebuys” — a second set of chips. Still other events allow “add-ons”, which let a player replenish their chip stack before they bust out.
Beyond that, gamblers have the option to play in “ring games”, which isn’t an event or tournament at all. Instead, the player gambles until they tire of the fun. They can leave the table at any time, no matter the size of their chip stack. Because ring games allow a more flexible gaming schedule and they are similar to the cash games people play offline, this is a popular wing of a poker site in itself.
PokerStars’ Big Player Community
To offer the full range of games, it helps to have a large poker player community — especially given the fact gamblers might be playing anytime in a 24-hour cycle. PokerStars has a player community 4 or 5 times the size of its next-biggest competitor, so gamblers on the site are given the biggest range of play options.
Matt Sullivan told Poker News, “The best aspect of online poker is the availability of tournaments with so many structures. On top of that, the time commitment is great for more casual players. I don’t mind sitting and playing a live tournament for 12 hours, but a majority of people want to be able to finish a tournament in a few hours.”
Geno Raman’s Opinion
Geno Raman, a former online poker player who became a pro poker player, said he still considers the online game a great way to bet on cards. Mr. Raman cited the lower expense of online gambling tournaments, as well as the ability to play in the privacy of his home.
Mr. Raman said, “Tournaments are also more affordable online and there is a ton of value to be had for your dollar. But most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to have my dog Ace on my rail. He is one of my biggest fans.“
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