PokerStars Officially Returns to the United States

Date: 2016-03-18
Author: Jason Glatzer

Cards are in the air.  PokerStars just made its return to the United States, with players in New Jersey now playing on the online poker room which many believe has the best poker software in the world.
On April 15, 2011, otherwise known throughout the poker world as Black Friday, the US Department of Justice targeted PokerStars, along with other major sites in Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet.  All four sites left the US market.
Regulated online poker began in New Jersey in late 2013, when it became the third state to offer real money online poker games.  PartyPoker and 888 Poker were the two main software providers in the state, with many begging that PokerStars be allowed back in the marketplace.
Late last year, this was granted, and a soft launch began on March 17, 2016.  The soft launch is limited to just 500 players at a time, but for the most part players in the Garden State who want to check out the site can do so.  A full launch of PokerStars in New Jersey is scheduled after the weekend on Monday, March 21.
The software has the same look and feel of the worldwide software.  However, there are some differences compared to what US players were used to before Black Friday.
For example, PokerStars upgraded its software to a brand new version offering a few new features.  Also, while the lottery-based Spin & Gos are very familiar to players around the world, they are new to players in the US.  These games proved to be some of the most popular ones during the soft launch, with players hoping to play for a potential 1,000-times prize pool.
Other aspects of the software remain the same.  Ring games are offered in a variety of games up to limits of $5/$10.  Multi-table tournaments in a variety of formats are already available, albeit with lower guarantees than what was available to US players before Black Friday since the poker room is only available to players that are playing from New Jersey, whose population is under nine million people.
The fast-fold Zoom Poker is also part of the offerings, as are casino games.  There are also plenty of sit and gos to choose from.  However, several players complained that these games weren't kicking off due to a lack of liquidity.
Something else to note is that the most popular third-party software packages, including Hold'em Manager 2 and PokerTracker 4, are already compatible with the new PokerStars client.  They are fully legal and we recommend that you use a poker tracking database while playing to be able to profile your opponents properly and assist in your multi-tabling.

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