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Poker in New Jersey

Introduction

Population: 8,882,000

Capital: Trenton

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

State Name Abbreviation: NJ

Time Zone: UTC-4

Casinos with Poker

  • Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
  • Golden Nugget Atlantic City
  • Tropicana Casino Atlantic City
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
  • Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino

New Jersey is a very important place in the world of gambling. That is where Atlantic City, the “Las Vegas of the East Coast” is located.

On November 5th, 1974 the residents of New Jersey voted on a ballot measure during the midterm elections. The vote was to determine whether or not the Garden State would legalize casino gambling. Unfortunately, the motion against gambling won decisively with 60% of the vote.

Two years later, however, during the general election where Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford, the citizens of Atlantic City alone were posed the same question. They, on the other hand, embraced the gambling industry and voted to allow casinos in their town by a slim margin.

Back in the 1970’s, only Nevada had legal land casinos in the US outside Atlantic City. That is how Atlantic City became the gambling center of the East Coast in the United States.

New Jersey was also an “early adopter” of online gambling. After all online poker rooms were shut down in the US due to the infamous Black Friday events in April 2011, New Jersey was among the first states to legalize internet poker in 2013.

However, this state was also involved in one of the biggest legal battles the gambling world has seen. Borgata Casino’s lawsuit against poker legend Phil Ivey went on for years and years until the settlement between the parties in 2020. The famous Jersey gambling house was trying to collect the $10.1 million Ivey and his partner won at their baccarat table using edge-sorting, a method they deemed to be cheating.

Famous New Jerseyan Poker Players

Tom Dwan, aka “durrrr”, from Edison, NJ is one of the most revered online poker players in the history of the game. He was one of the players who would battle on the nosebleed stakes cash tables on Full Tilt in the late 2000’s while hundreds would “rail” for him.

He also appeared on classic poker TV shows such as Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network. He’s won $3.4 million in live tournaments. However, his reputation is somewhat tainted by his unfinished challenge against Daniel “Jungleman” Cates.

High roller crusher Dan Smith is from the Garden State as well. He has cashed for $36.7 million in live tournaments, the 5th most in poker history, as of writing this.

Tom Marchese has cashed for an outstanding $19.136 million in live tournaments. In December 2014, he came in 2nd in the $100K NLHE event at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.575 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.

Scott Blumstein won the biggest poker tournament every year, the WSOP Main Event in 2017. He bested a 7,221-player field and won no less than $8.15 million.

 

– Playing Live Poker in New Jersey –

   Live Poker Legislation in New Jersey

As we wrote in our intro, casinos have been legal in Atlantic City since the 1976 referendum. The referendum brought about the 1977 Casino Control Act.

In June 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill 4111 which legalized sports betting, horse race betting, and land casinos in other parts of the state as well.

Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. In addition, the NJ Department of Justice has a Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Both of these are state government entities.

  Live Poker Venues in New Jersey

We’ve mentioned the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in our intro – regarding their infamous lawsuit against Phil Ivey. However, they’re also a famous poker venue with robust cash game and tournament selections.

Their cash tables offer Limit and No Limit Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, Stud, and mixed games. The stakes go from $1/$2 all the way up to $5/$10 for NLHE, $20/$40 for Limit HE, and even $500/$1,000 (!) for mixed games.

As for tournaments, they run smaller daily tourneys and host big poker festivals as well. The buy-ins for their daily events are between $100 and $230. On top of that, they hosted series such as the MGM East Coast Poker Tour, the Borgata Deepstack Challenge, and – the best known of them all – the WPT Borgata Poker Open.

Evidently, buy-ins in these events go way above the “usual” $300. For example, the 2020 Borgata Open had a $5K high roller event.

The Golden Nugget has a venue in Atlantic City as well, with a poker room running 24/7. They have NLHE cash tables at $1/$3 and $2/$5 stakes; as well as PLO cash tables on $3/$6 stakes.

The Tropicana Casino Atlantic City also has a year-round poker room. They have two daily No Limit Hold’em tournaments: one starts at 11:15 AM and one at 7:15 PM. Both have a $40 buy-in plus a $10 “entry fee” – it is unclear what function the latter sum is, possibly the rake.

US President Donald Trump used to own a “joint” in this town as well: it used to be called Trump Taj Mahal. In 2017, the building was renamed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and is still in operation with a poker room today. You can also play your favorite card game in Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino.

 

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in New Jersey –

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Golden Nugget Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino Atlantic City

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Bally's Atlantic City Hotel & Casino

  Online Poker in New Jersey

New Jersey passed a bill legalizing online gambling within the state in January 2011. However, it’s a legal requirement for the online casino to have their servers located in Atlantic City.

In November 2013, over two years after Black Friday, the Garden State became the third (behind Nevada and Delaware) to open up a legal and regulated online poker market as well. Currently, you can play on such major online poker sites from Jersey as PokerStars, 888, WSOP.com or Ignition Casino.


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