PokerStars Casino is up next in MetroPlay’s search for New Jersey’s best online casino. Our casino review series is looking for casinos that offer the best mix of bonuses, easy sign-ups and deposits, and interesting and exciting games. The winner will rank well in all the facts and specs, but additionally during our casino review will need to offer a clean, intuitive, enjoyable experience for players.
PokerStars is the latest offering from a brand that has been around for years as a poker-only site and has re-emerged with a new site they brought to the New Jersey gaming market in 2016. PokerStars Casino is one of a few online casinos that offers a virtual poker room and a sportsbook all in one integrated site. They operate under the Resorts gaming license.
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The process to create an account and download the software for PokerStars was one of the most complicated and time consuming of any online casino. You can’t simply create an account and start playing, you have to first download and install their program. This is unique from any other online casino, where the game lobby opens in your browser. But there are many more steps. You have to copy the program once installed and place it in your applications folder before it can properly run. Even then, I experienced significant delays in loading the program. Once the program is successfully installed on your hard drive and in the correct folder, you can then create an account. Unlike most sites, you only have to create a username and password when you create an account; you are not asked for personal info at that time. This allows you to give it a shot with play money.
Match Deposit Bonus — PokerStars Casino has a three-part welcome bonus. They match your first deposit of at least $25 at 100 percent, up to $500. They match your second deposit 100 percent up to $500 and you get a Mystery Chest with a potential slot bonus up to $500 that can be used to play on slots. The third deposit also is matched 100 percent up to $500 and you get another Mystery Chest with a slot bonus of $500. To withdraw any bonus money or winnings from the bonus, players must earn three redemption points per $1 of bonus money.
When you sign in to the game lobby, you are given a prompt for $30 in free play when you make a first deposit of at least $20. The free play includes Spin & Go tickets to their poker tournaments.
Stars Rewards — This is the rewards program at PokerStars Casino. Earn StarCoins reward points every time you play real money games. As you collect more points, you win a Mystery Chest with rewards including free play. The more points you earn, the higher your progress bar increases and the more rewards you earn including free play. There are three ways to redeem your StarCoins reward points:
• Cash rewards — Redeem points for cash.
• VIP Store — Redeem points for gifts in their VIP store, including electronics.
• VIP Tournaments — Players can use their points to enter tournaments on the poker site.
• Instant eCheck — Bank transfer. Instant deposit; available for withdrawal.
• Skrill — eWallet. Instant deposit; available for withdrawal.
• Visa/MasterCard — Deposit funds into your account using a credit or debit card. Instant deposit; not available for withdrawal.
• Neteller — eWallet. Instant deposit; available for withdrawal.
• PokerStars Instant Online Banking — Online bill pay with your bank. Instant deposit; not available for withdrawal.
• PayNearMe — Deposit funds into you online account at a local 7-Eleven. Instant deposit after approval; not available for withdrawal.
• Cash at cage — Deposit funds or withdraw winnings at the cashier at Resorts in Atlantic City.
• PokerStars Play+ Card — Personalized card. Instant deposit; available for withdrawal.
Note: There is no check by mail option.
Make sure you go to PokerstarsCasinoNJ.com and not PokerStars.com; that is their European site. After spending so much time downloading the software and going through the involved setup process, I was eager to see the site, but I found it disappointing and disjointed. You can’t access much of the site’s information, like promotions, from the game lobby; you have to go back to the browser. A new screen opens every time you do an action, such as depositing money or playing a new game. It’s frustrating, takes time and creates a messy experience. The site also offers few game options and no progressive jackpots. A note about their support: The site could not verify my location, so I was directed to a geolocation expert, but that too wasn’t working. I was finally able to contact someone and play, but if it wasn’t for this review, I might have given up.
PokerStars does offer a “play money” option on their site. However, and this is significant, they only give you a limited number of play chips before you must purchase more play money. This stands out, because other New Jersey online casinos typically allow unlimited free play.
Blackjack: Eight types are offered.
1. Classic Blackjack – Table minimum 10 cents; maximum $1,000.
2. Atlantic City Blackjack – Two versions. Table minimum $1-$25; maximum $1,000-$25,000.
3. European Blackjack – Two versions. Table minimum $1-$25; maximum $1,000-$25,000.
4. Premium European – Table minimum $5; maximum $2,500.
5. Premium Atlantic City Blackjack – Table minimum $5; maximum $2,500.
6. Double Deck Atlantic City Blackjack – Three versions. Table minimum $10, $50, $100; maximum $200, $1,000, $2,500.
7. Double Deck Blackjack – Three versions. Table minimum $10-$100; maximum $200-$2,500.
8. Blackjack – Table minimum 50 cents; maximum $500.
Heads Up Hold’em: Two versions. Table minimum 10 cents-$2; maximum $200-$250.
Roulette: Only one type is offered, European Roulette with European rules. Table minimum 10 cents; maximum $200.
Video Poker: Five types are offered.
1. Jacks or Better
2. Deuces Wild
3. Joker Poker
4. Double Bonus
5. Double Double Bonus
Slots: Only 92 titles offered, no progressive jackpots.
No live dealer games.
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PokerStars Casino has a long road ahead to become a top online casino in New Jersey. With so many problems downloading the software and creating an account, and a lack of games and progressive jackpots, it’s not a site I can recommend for the user looking for a top gaming experience. It’s likely only players loyal to the PokerStars brand and who use their poker room would want to play on their online casino.