PokerStars in Soft Launch Mode in New Jersey
Work productivity is down this week in New Jersey and not just because the NCAA basketball tournament is underway (though that is the cause for the bulk of work absences and long lunches this week). There may be a few hundred other people in the Garden State who haven’t gotten much done the last couple days, either, as PokerStars has gotten up and running in New Jersey for the first time. The poker site’s “soft launch” period began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday before the site transitions to the planned full launch on Monday.
The soft launch is a limited test run, a way for both PokerStars and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to make sure everything is going fine and to identify any kinks that may need to be ironed out before officially going live next week. The regular PokerStars client is being used, so it is unlikely that there will be any issues with the software. What Stars and the DGE are probably keeping the closest eye on right now is geolocation, player verification, payment processing.
When online poker sites first launched in Nevada and New Jersey, there were problems with all of these things. Players near the borders of the states often weren’t allowed online because the software thought they were outside of the state and many credit cards weren’t being accepted, for example. Over the last couple years, though, most of the problems have been solved, and reports are that it is so far, so good at this point.
The first three days of the soft launch, PokerStars will only be up for part of the day. On Wednesday and Thursday, PokerStars New Jersey was only available from 4:00pm until midnight. Today, that time frame has been expanded, as it has been up since 8:00am and will once again shut down at midnight. This weekend, though, PokerStars will run 24 hours a day. That is not a full launch yet, though, as PokerStars is capping the number of players that can be online at one time at 500.
As mentioned, things have gone just fine so far. There have been a couple minor software hiccups, but nothing out of the ordinary. Reports are that geolocation and payment processing has been good, though PayPal is not a payment option yet.
PokerStars is also offering two great deposit bonuses (or as I like to call the plural of bonus: bonii). For low-rolling casual players, PokerStars is giving those who deposit $20 or more a $40 bonus, a $10 Spin & Go ticket, and a $5,000 freeroll ticket. For everyone else, or for recreational players who plan on depositing more, there is a 100% match bonus up to $600 with a great release rate equivalent of 50 percent on every dollar spent ($10 release for every 100 VPP). It’s up to the player which one they want, but clearly the latter bonus is best for those who will deposit a decent amount of money and plan on playing regularly. Complete info and bonus codes can be found on PokerStars’ site.
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