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NJ Online Poker Guide: 2020 Update

Learn how to play poker online and find the best online casinos for poker with our expert guide. From the basics of the game to intermediate strategy, our Online Poker Guide has got you covered. We also have recommendations for the best online casinos for poker, with a complete list of all the casinos that offer legal online poker. 

With our 2020 update to the New Jersey Online Poker Guide, we let you know about the latest casinos to offer online poker, the latest tips from experts, and advice on how to use your bonuses to your best advantage.



Find the Best Online Poker Sites

Our guide provides a complete overview of everything you need to know get started playing online poker. But if you know how to play and are just looking for our recommended Best Sites, we give our recommendations here. For a complete list of all legal online casinos offering poker, look at the list of online poker casinos toward the bottom of this article. 

What Makes a Poker Site the Best?

We judge our best poker site based on:

  1. User Experience
  2. Selection
  3. Bonus and Promotional Offers
  4. Legality

User Experience

If you can't access a website, if the app crashes, or if the graphics are so bad you can't see what you're doing, that makes for a bad game. Accessibility, speed, graphics, and generally non-problematic programming have to do with the user experience. As technology improves and there is more competition among online casinos, there is no reason to put up with a poor online casino. 

Selection

Next, you'll want to find the specific game you're looking for. If Texas Holdem or Jack or Better is your game, selection may not be as important as user experience. After all, most online casinos that offer poker have these games.

But if you're looking for higher stakes or Aces and Faces poker, your options will be limited. Also, if you're the kind of player who likes to play a few kinds of poker, you'll want a casino with a good selection of online poker games.

Bonus and Promotional Offers

Registration bonuses let you start out ahead of the house, plain and simple. If you can find $20 or more in no deposit bonus cash for poker, and couple that with a matching deposit bonus, you give yourself a great head start. 

Bonus dollars can take the sting out of a loss and give you some cushion while you're learning a new game or new format. By taking advantage of a casino's registration bonus, you automatically increase your bankroll and decrease the house edge. 

Legality

Last, it is important that your online poker site is legal, and that means it must be hosted within a state where online casinos are legal (such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Delaware).

Illegal, off-shore sites are increasingly being denied recognition by credit card companies. And worse, they leave you without legal support if they abuse you.

You can read about legality at the end of this article. 

Our Top 5 Recommended Online Poker Sites

You can read more about each of these casinos in the List of New Jersey's Online Poker Sites below. 

1. SugarHouse

SugarHouse is a great all 'rounder. They've got a good game selection, nice online interface, and a killer matching deposit bonus. They'll meet you dollar-for-dollar up to $250. And while that might not sound as impressive as some other casinos, there is only a 1x wager requirement. That is as good as you'll ever find, which is why SugarHouse is our top recommendation. 


SugarHouse $ 250 bonus.

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2. Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget has been raking it in over the past couple of years, and they're sharing their success with some nice bonuses for new customers. They're offering up to $1,000 in matching deposit money, which is great. But the game selection at Golden Nugget is outstanding, as is their software. These are the reasons why Golden Nugget is leading the online casino market in New Jersey.


Golden Nugget $ 1,000 bonus.

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3. Borgata

The biggest casino in Atlantic City brings you a great selection of games and good user experience for your online poker. Get started with their offer of $20 in bonus dollars (10x wager requirement)  $600 on matching deposits, with a super low wager requirement of only 20x.


Borgata Online $ 20 signup bonus + $ 600 bonus.

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4. BetMGM

With over a dozen types of poker games and a great user interface, BetMGM is gaining a lot of fans in New Jersey. They start you off with a generous $25 no deposit bonus just for signing up, plus offer a $1,000 matching deposit bonus. 


BetMGM $ 25 signup bonus + $ 1,000 no wagering bonus.

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5. 888

888 is one of the first casinos that ever came on the map, and by teaming up with Harrah's and World Series of Poker, they are one of the best places to play poker in New Jersey. By clicking on the link below, you'll get $20 in bonus money plus up to $2,000 in a matching deposit bonus. An awesome user experience is also to be enjoyed at 888. 


888 Casino $ 20 signup bonus + $ 2,000 bonus.

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Online Poker Basic Strategy

Basic poker strategy teaches you to make the best decisions based on 1) the hand you're dealt, 2) your position, and 3) decisions made by other players.

All casino games involve an element of luck, but online poker also involves a significant amount of strategy. That's why you always see the same players at the finals in the poker tournaments: they have a good strategy. Let's look at some of the best strategies to get you winning video poker!

Know your Winning Hands

One of the most important aspects of winning in poker is to be sure that you know the order of winnings hands for the game you're playing. You need to be sure that you know what you're working toward and the likelihood of others being able to beat your best hand.

For example, Straights beats 3 of a Kind and 3 of a Kind beats two pair in Texas Holdem and Jacks or Better, which might be against your initial thought. There've been many games won based on the high card alone, so you can turn a nothing hand into a winner if you know your winnings. 

Know Your Position

It is crucial to know the advantages you have based on your position at the table. If you're playing in the late position, you stand to make more money here, so pay to win.

When you’re out of position, you don’t know what’s will happen after your play—you might get bluffed or raised. Many bad things could happen. In short, if when you’re out of position, stay on your toes and keep your guard up. Generally, this is the time to play tight and rely only on strong hands. 

While there's some debate among expert players and statisticians, they all agree on the first 3 strongest hands to start with:

  1. AA
  2. KK
  3. QQ

Most would put A-K suited next. After that, your highest pairs enter in again to make your strongest beginning hands:

  • JJ
  • 10 10 
  • 9 9

 Even if you're out of position, these are going to be strong hands. Being in a position with a strong hand just makes it stronger!

Come Out Strong

One of the primary ways players lose games that they could have won is by not playing aggressively enough. Many players are good at playing defensively, and if you're out of position, that's the right way to play. But if you're in position, i.e., at the back end and close to the button, you need to be on the offense. 

You might also want to keep in mind this word of advice: "If it’s good enough to call, it’s good enough to raise."

When to Fold in Poker

Many poker players, particularly new players, want to stay in the action. Unfortunately staying in can be expensive if you're not playing smart.

In reality, you should only be playing no more than 20% of your hands. That means you should not play at least 80% of your hands. 

If your a beginner, and don't have a limitless supply of money, you should be playing tight. That means only play your best hands. If you start out with one of those big pocket pairs (10-10 - AA), then, by all means, try to play it through. But if you're dealt a weak hand, you're better off to fold and watch the action.

Watching is Learning to Win

But just because you're out of the action, that doesn't mean you can switch off. Be sure that you're actively watching: assess what's happening on the table, put yourself in other players' shoes, try to determine the weaker and stronger players, and keep in mind how your hand might have played out had you continued. 

Learning poker even after you've folded is a valuable exercise. It gets you more familiar with your table and poker in general. 


Poker Intermediate Strategy

Intermediate poker strategy builds upon the basics. You'll want to play in accordance with the order of hands and learn to bluff (selectively) if you're playing against other actual players. 

Play toward the Order of Hands

At its most basic level, you are playing to make the strongest hand possible in poker. Below is a list of the order of the strongest hands. Your steps go as follows:

  1. Assess your hand (both your hole cards and the shared cards).
  2. Determine what is the strongest hand you can build based on the order below
  3. Discard any cards that are not building toward that strongest possible hand. 

That's simple enough. Let's say you're dealt 4♣ and 6♥, and the shared pile shows 2♠, 4♦,5♠, 7♦, and 10♥. What is the highest hand you can make?

You'll see you already have a low pair (two 4s). Sounds useless, right? Actually it's #16 on the chart, meaning it beats at least 20 other hands. So even though you can make 4♣,4♦,5♠,6♥,7♦ (#21. 4 card Straight with no high cards below), you will want to work with that pair of 4s. That low pair (#16) beats that 4 card Straight (#21). And if you're you're dealt another 4, you'd be even better placed with 3 of a kind (#7). 

In fact, even if there were more impressive looking cards in the pile, say 4♦,5♠, 7♦,10♥,Q♦, this would give you a  4 card Straight with 2 high cards (#17). Still, you'd still discard your 6. You're already stronger with the pair of 4s, and you might turn that into a triple. 

Poker Order of Hands


List of New Jersey's Online Poker Sites

SugarHouse

  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Jacks or Better
  • Triple Play Draw Poker
     

SugarHouse $ 250 bonus.

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BetMGM Poker

This site launched under Borgata’s casino license in 2017 with software provided by well-known iGaming provider GVC. BetMGM Poker caters to about a third of New Jersey’s online poker traffic, sharing tournaments, games, bonuses, and rewards with other sites on this network.

  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Regal Poker
  • Double Double Regal Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Five Play Draw Multi Hand Poker
  • Jacks or Better
  • Regal Jester Poker
  • Regal Jacks or Better
  • Regal Poker Deluxe
  • Texas Hold’Em Bonus Poker
  • Triple Play Draw Multi Hand Poker
     

BetMGM $ 25 signup bonus + $ 1,000 no wagering bonus.

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WSOP / 888Poker

This poker room is one of the most recognized brands. The World Series of Poker (WSOP NJ) launched in 2013 and since has been one of New Jersey’s best online poker sites. WSOP.com partnered with 888poker in 2015 to create the current network, which is operated by Caesars.

After Gov. Chris Christie signed an agreement with Nevada and Delaware to enter New Jersey into the Multi-State Gaming Alliance, the network began pooling with other states. Soon the site became America’s largest legal online poker site.

Poker games offered:

  • All American Double Up
  • Deuces Wild Double Up
  • Jacks or Higher
  • Joker Wild Double Up
  • BLAST Poker Double up
  • Texas Holdem
  • Omaha Hi
  • Omaha Hi/Low
  • Seven Card Stud Hi/Low
     

888 Poker $ 20 signup bonus + $ 1,500 no wagering bonus.

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Borgata

Borgata offers a great selection of online poker games:

  • Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Elite
  • Double Regal Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Game King Bonus Poker
  • Game King Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Game King Jacks or Better Poker
  • Jack or Better
  • Jester Poker
  • Regal Poker
  • Regal Poker Deluxe
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
  • The Game King Double Bonus Poker
  • Triple Play Draw Poker

Borgata Online $ 20 signup bonus + $ 600 bonus.

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Ceasars

  • 100 Hand All American
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Five Play Draw Poker Multi Hand
  • Jacks or Better
  • Jester Poker
  • Regal Poker
  • Tens or Better

Caesars Casino $ 10 signup bonus + $ 300 bonus.

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Golden Nugget

  • Aces & Faces
  • All American Poker
  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Jacks or Better
  • Jester Poker
  • Triple Play Poker
  • Tens or Better

Golden Nugget $ 1,000 bonus.

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Harrahs

  • 10s or Better
  • Deuces Wild (2s Wild)
  • Jacks or Better

HarrahsCasino.com $ 10 signup bonus + $ 300 no wagering bonus.

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Tropicana

  • Deuces Wild
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Game King Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Three Card Poker
  • Triple Play Draw Poker

Tropicana Atlantic City $ 100 cashback.

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Virgin

  • Deuces Wild
  • Game King Bonus Poker
  • Game King Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Jacks or Better
  • Pai Gow Poker

Virgin Casino $ 100 no wagering bonus.

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Party Poker / Borgata

These sites operate from the same online poker network under Borgata’s well-known Atlantic City casino. With high-quality software provided by Bwin.party, the platform is a safe and reliable place for players to participate in legal online poker games.

Party Poker offers the following games:

  • Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Elite
  • Double Regal Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Game King Bonus Poker
  • Game King Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Game King Jacks or Better Poker
  • Jack or Better
  • Jester Poker
  • Regal Poker
  • Regal Poker Deluxe
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
  • The Game King Double Bonus Poker
  • Triple Play Draw Poker

PokerStars

PokerStars has an interesting history in the US iGaming market. In 2012, the company was charged a $731 million fee for violating the UIGEA. PokerStars was eager however to re-enter the online gambling market in America and step into New Jersey - despite competitors’ strong efforts at keeping the company away from their market. PokerStars pushed against competitors and battled lawsuits for a long time until they finally announced a $10 million plan with Resorts AC. Resorts would launch a PokerStars-branded poker room on their casino floor.

Since the launch of PokerStars in New Jersey, Resorts AC has hosted poker events like the PokerStars festival, bringing tons of players to the tables. There are popular online tournaments as well including the well-known PokerStars NJCOOP. Taking it a step further, PokerStars even sponsors some of the US poker pros who stream online constantly.

Pala Poker

This online poker network still has some distance to cover before it can catch up to its NJ online poker competition. The saturated legal online poker market is a tough place to be for online poker sites.

A partnership with Pala Interactive and Borgata Casino AC took place in 2014. This led to an online casino and later to online poker. The site remained separate from Borgata’s online poker site, operating on a proprietary platform. 

  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Five Play
  • Jacks or Better
  • Triple Play

Scores

  • Bonus Poker
  • Deuces and Jokers Wild
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Game King Double Bonus Poker
  • Jacks or Better
  • Triple Play Draw Poker

Betfair

  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker
  • Triple Play Draw Poker
  • Two are Jacks or Better

Mohegan Sun

  • All American 100 Hand
  • Aces and Faces Power Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Five Play Draw Poker Multi Hand
  • Jacks or Better
  • Regal Jester Poker
  • Regal Poker Deluxe
  • Tens or Better
  • Triple Play Draw Poker Multi HandJacks or Better

Resorts

  • Bonus Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Jacks or Better Poker

Partnerships

Borgata operates PartyPoker, BetMGM, and Borgata. Pala Poker also operates under Borgata.

Harrah's holds the license for WSOP.com and 888Poker.

PokerStars holds a partnership with Resorts AC.

Online poker sites noticed a drop in online gambling traffic once PokerStars entered the market. As a result, online poker players have noticed better promotions, more poker events and an increase in game quality and options.

Legal Online Poker

The Federal Wire Act - also known as the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 - limited online gambling in the past by preventing betting companies from transmitting information via wire communication. This law was passed to target organized crime through interstate gambling. However, at the time of its birth, online gambling did not exist.

Today, the internet relies on interstate wire communication to function, therefore this law had some jurisdiction over online gambling.

In 2006, The US Department of Justice (DOJ) went even further and passed the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which restricted banks from processing transactions from online gambling operators outside of the US. This law effectively pushed out major online gambling companies through threats of money laundering and illegal gambling charges. Many of the best online poker sites for US players were pushed out of the country because of this legislation - including PokerStars, a prominent name in the industry.

Later the DOJ released a re-modification of the Federal Wire Act, hence stating that interstate transmission of wire communication which had no relation to sports betting, would not pertain to this law. This new version of the Federal Wire Act, passed in 2011, excluded online poker from its limitations, therefore making it possible for states to pass their own legislation regarding the activity.

Online Poker Makes a Comeback

Online poker sites successfully found ways to weave around the complicated roadblocks dealt out by the UIGEA. Once the new Federal Wire Act passed in 2011, several states moved forward with online poker legislation. It is now legal in these states to participate in regulated, legal online poker. Three states even signed agreements to work together, sharing online gambling pools.

In order to move forward with legal online poker, states were required to come up with new legislation. Delaware came first with the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act. This was passed in 2012, allowing for the legalization of online casino games, including online poker.

Nevada took the next step in 2013, authorizing online poker licenses. The first regulated, legal online poker site in the US was launched that same year in Nevada.

New Jersey legalized online gambling soon after, authorizing its land-based Atlantic City casinos to operate online poker sites under their licenses.

In 2017, Pennsylvania took the reigns and began its process of regulatory matter in order to become the fourth state legalizing online poker.

Online gamblers can now participate in legal online poker in several US states.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online poker legal in New Jersey?

Legal online poker has seen a jump in popularity since its legalization in the US. With more competition comes higher quality. Right now online poker players can find the best online poker sites for US players right here in New Jersey.

There are currently seven legal online poker sites in New Jersey operating under four NJ poker networks. These poker sites are licensed through Atlantic City’s land-based casino licenses.

Do I have to be located in New Jersey to play with an online casino?

State-regulated online poker sites do not require players to be residents of New Jersey, however, one must be present within state lines in order to legally play. New Jersey's online poker sites have mobile gaming apps that allow users to play poker on the go within New Jersey state borders. 

Online poker rooms in the state of New Jersey include:

Borgata
PartyPoker
PokerStars
888Poker
Pala Poker
WSOP.com
BetMGM Poker


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