After months of anticipation PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker website launched and went live in New Jersey on March 21. The launch is culmination of many years of campaigning to enter the U.S market after PokerStars was forced to exit the country in 2011 after the infamous Black Friday scandal.
The PokerStars site has been live for the last five days in New Jersey as the company was trying out a soft launch with restrictions on the number of players and hours of play. The soft launch was carried out to check if there were not software glitches and also to gauge feedback form online poker players in New Jersey.
The soft launch went smoothly with a maximum of 304 players logging in on Sunday night. Once approvals for its software came in from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Amaya Inc which is the parent company of PokerStars announced that the site was ready to go live as planned on March 21.
In a statement, David Baazov, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer Amaya said,
We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey. Working with our partner, Resorts Casino Hotel, we look forward to providing the most exciting, innovative and secure gaming experience to New Jersey
Morris Bailey, owner of Resorts Casino Hotel said that his company was proud to introduce another respected partner to the state. A number of TeamPro PokerStars such as Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst and Liv Boeree have expressed their support. Chris Moneymaker tweeted his support as well:
It's been a long damn time but finally it's back. Looking forward to heading to NJ in the morning to play on @PokerStarsNJ
— Chris Moneymaker (@CMONEYMAKER) 20 March 2016
PokerStars now offers a wide range of games including poker, blackjack, slot games, baccarat and roulette but only residents physically located in the garden state will be eligible to access the site. The PokerStars software has geo-location tagging to ensure that only players physically located within the state are given access to its online portfolio of games.
The launch has generated enormous interest and anticipation among poker fans. Many of the former PokerStars players in New Jersey have expressed excitement at being able to play on the PokerStars platform again.
Players who managed to access the PokerStars website during the soft launch have said that software is better than most of the other competitors in New Jersey offering them good speed and customization. New Jersey state gaming regulators have pinned a lot of their hope on the online poker giant’s reputation to revive the struggling online poker industry in New Jersey.