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WSOP.com Poker Review: All the Thrills of Vegas…From Home??

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WSOP.com Brags

✓ Most traffic in licensed NJ + NV poker
✓ Windows, Mac, iOS, Android Compatible
✓ PayPal supported
✓ Robust tournament + satellite schedule

WSOP.com Beats

x Uncertain future for shared liquidity
x Mobile doesn't have all games
x Weak casino and no sportsbook
x Website "Not secure" according to Chrome

 

WSOP.com is the best licensed NJ & NV site for:
poker room traffic
tie-ins with WSOP bracelet / circuit events

 

The WSOP.com New Jersey poker room brought what's probably the most widely respected brand in the industry to the NJ online market when it opened in November 2013. Perhaps it is the very prominence of the WSOP name that's responsible for the fact that this room now has more player traffic than any of its instate competitors. Meanwhile, the Nevada version of the site utterly dominates the licensed landscape, its former rivals Ultimate Poker and RealGaming Poker having shut down several years ago.

Of course, it also doesn't hurt that the All American Poker Network that houses WSOP.com is the only operator to benefit from the multi-state online gaming compact, which combines the player pools from Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey into one cross-border poker ecosystem. No other internet room for regulated USA poker offers service in more than one state as WSOP's network does.

Still, these factors are only enough to rank WSOP.com as the 27th largest venue for online card games in the world. Thus, there are many reasons why this provider may perhaps serve well as a secondary site for dedicated poker fans while they put in their serious action elsewhere.

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Much as with the other legalized internet gaming destinations in the United States, this one permits people to sign up for new accounts, make deposits, and request cashouts from elsewhere while reserving actual gameplay only for those physically present within the borders of New Jersey and Nevada. This does include visitors as well as residents of these two states.

The WSOP.com NJ platform is operating under the auspices of its parent company, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, in conjunction with software provider 888 and physical casino partner Caesars Atlantic City. It's duly licensed to offer online games by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

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WSOP.com Cash Game Selection

The range of stakes supported at this room is fairly expansive, running from $0.01/$0.02 up as high as $100/$200 for NLHE, $25/$50 for PLO, and $5/$10 for PLO/8. Moreover, there are fixed limit Hold'em and Limit Omaha Hi-Lo tables spread from $0.05/$0.10 to $200/$400. Rounding out the cash game lobby are Stud ($0.02/$0.04 - $10/$20) and Stud/8 ($0.02/$0.04 - $5/$10).

One curious detail about the blind level structure at WSOP.com is that there's no $0.02/$0.04 or $0.02/$0.05 level in any game other than Stud. Nano-stakers who are moving up in the ranks of big-bet poker must jump from $2 buyin games to $10: not a big concern for most users but perhaps a bit discouraging for those all the way at the bottom of the food chain.

Six-max and nine-handed table sizes permeate the lobbies for the various games (except for stud, which employs industry-standard eight-seat tables). However, in NL Texas Hold'em at $0.50/$1.00 and higher, you can only play six-handed games. There's no heads-up cash game poker of any kind on offer. Here's some action from a 9-handed NL Hold'em ring game on WSOP.com:



Microstakes Cash Game Action at WSOP.com NJ

We've already mentioned that this room shares traffic on the All American Poker Network with several partners in different states. There are a few important caveats: NLHE $100 and higher, along with PLO, PLO/8, and SNG traffic above $10, are COMPLETELY SEPARATE from the rest of the network. That is, WSOP.com maintains its own segregated player liquidity in mid/high-stakes Hold'em and a few other formats.

Fortunately for Caesars (the owners of the WSOP trademark), there's enough participation from users to make WSOP.com the network operator with the highest overall player counts. Adding its ring-fenced games to the network-shared tables, it handily beats its fellow NJ sister site, 888poker, in overall poker room liquidity.

The traffic patterns on this site appear to be concentrated around $0.25/$0.50 NL Texas Hold'em. You'll see between 10 and 20 games running at this level during peak hours, perhaps half as many at $0.50/$1.00 and $0.10/$.20, tapering off to a game or two at $0.01/$0.02 on the low end and $2.50/$5.00 at the other side of the scale. Sometimes higher action runs – at $5/$10, $10/$20, and $25/$50 – but these games tend to be shorthanded and to break up quickly.

There are typically a dozen or more PLO games populated during prime time with action as high as $3/$6 and occasionally higher. For split-pot PLO, you'll find perhaps as third as many tables, and $1/$2 or $2/$4 is generally the biggest game around in PLO/8.

The Stud lobby (for both Hi-Only and Hi-Lo), the LHE section, and the LO8 listings are virtually deserted. We did observe a few individuals playing these games but only rarely.

WSOP.com SNGs

The sit n' goes here extend from $0.25 buyins at the bottom to $200 at the top. NLHE, PLO, and PLO8 are all displayed among the matches you can register for though some varieties of poker are not supported at all speeds and buyins. The three table sizes are heads-up, 6-player, and 9-max, which is more or less standard. Full-ring SNGs feature all three speeds: normal, turbo, and super turbo. Six-max games remove the normal speed (except, oddly, in PLO8 where it is retained). HU games exist at all three speeds.

As far as what people are actually playing, you'll see most of them concentrated at levels between $1 and $25 with 9-player turbo NLHE contests by far the most popular. Still, there's a fair amount of action in several other formats, like Heads-up Hold'em and 6max PLO8. It's not uncommon to find more than 20 simultaneously running sit-n-goes during evenings and weekends.

WSOP.com Blast Poker

WSOP's take on lottery-style SNGs, Blast Poker warrants some close attention because it has important differences that separate it from most other lottery poker products.

First of all, it's a four-handed contest rather than the typical three-player affair. Second, there's a Blast timer that begins a countdown when the game starts, and after the allotted time elapses, all players are all-in every hand until a winner is determined. The Blast timer ranges from 6 minutes to 12 minutes depending on the multiplier.

Five multiplier values exist: 2x, 5x, 10x, 100x, and 10,000x. The multiplier is randomly chosen before the competition starts. The prize pool for 2x games is winner-takes-all, but starting as low as 5x, the runner-up receives a prize. At the 10x and 100x levels, the top three get paid while at 10,000x, all four participants receive something.

This unusual setup has both its advantages and drawbacks. The 2x multiplier is a terrible result when buyins have been paid by four people rather than the more common three. On the other hand, the multiplier distributions in this format see the 5x number come up around 40% of the time: much higher than in competing products. The inclusion of mandatory all-in hands when the play has reached a certain stage blunts the edge of superior players. Yet, by this point in the game, stacks are probably shallow enough that even the best cardsharks have just a tiny advantage, and the benefits of concluding play quickly probably outweigh the tiny amount of expected value that's sacrificed to the all-in gods.

There are five buyin levels for Blast: $0.10, $1, $5, $15, and $30. The multiplier frequencies for each buyin have been adjusted to alter the effective rake, which runs from 10% in the $1 games down to 6.67% for the $30 Blasts.

WSOP.com Tournaments

Though it's but a fraction of the size of its offshore competitors, the honchos at WSOP.com have crafted a very compelling MTT lineup that allows it to punch well above its weight in this department.

MTTs at the NJ WSOP SiteSome of the Big-Guarantee Tourneys on WSOP.com

Just look at the $320 Sunday tournament, which pays out no less than $100,000 in prizes. This is well beyond the reach of the other NJ online poker rooms, and it's even in the same ballpark with what mainstream unregulated sites can offer. It's the identical size as the Ignition $100,000 Gtd though a bit smaller than the Winning Poker Network's Sunday Special $150K Gtd event. The key to WSOP's ability to host such a lucrative Sunday Major undoubtedly lies in the fact that it's able to combine the liquidity of its Nevada and New Jersey player bases.

As impressive as this is, it's not the most intriguing part of the WSOP.com tournament possibilities. Because of this room's unique position, it can synergize with the World Series of Poker in ways that other operators simply don't have the wherewithal to accomplish.

There are online events that award 100% legitimate WSOP gold bracelets to the champions. In addition, WSOP Circuit rings can be had as well as satellite entries to prestigious live poker events. These are attractive selling points to New Jersey poker enthusiasts although the recent Department of Justice reinterpretation of the Wire Act means that these exciting features may have to eventually be removed from WSOP.com's NJ offerings.

Of course, many other tourneys beckon even if you're not interested in the above big-ticket diversions. The buyins start as low as $0.10, and there are many tournament guarantees to be sampled at different price points.

Playing a Tournament at WSOP.comMTT Table at the WSOP.com Poker Room

WSOP.com Mobile Poker

Besides Windows and Mac OS X downloads, WSOP.com also provides apps for use with mobile systems. There are three separate apps: one for iPhone, another for iPads, and a third for Android users.

This mobile poker room has a subset of the cash games you'll find in the regular lobby. To be specific, only NL Hold'em and Limit Hold'em can be played from a phone or tablet. Furthermore, the highest blind level shown is $2.50/$5.00, which omits some of the higher stakes that are contained in the desktop version of the software. You cannot pick what table you wish to sit at; instead, you fiddle with three sliders to specify your preferences, and the software moves you automatically to an appropriate seat.

The sit-and-go interface allows you to select your desired speed, table size, and buyin, and then it brings up a matching game. However, some of the combinations that you're allowed to select don't correspond to any SNGs that are actually spread by the site. When you attempt to register for an invalid combination, you'll see a message like the following:

Selection Invalid on MobileThe Window That Appears on WSOP Mobile When You Choose a Game That Doesn't Exist

The tournament lobby is much better and features almost the entire range of MTTs that are run by the room, including guaranteed events, satellites, freerolls, et cetera. The only tourneys missing are the few PLO contests that the site hosts.

The Blast Poker section is fully complete, and all five buyin options are listed. Here's a Blast Poker game that we played on our smartphone:



Mobile Blast Poker Lottery-Style SNG

Many poker companies provided limited mobile functionality at first, but they then tend to add elements until the smartphone and tablet experience corresponds closely to what users enjoy on their desktops. This is just what Ignition and Bovada did when they added tournaments and sit n' gos to their mobile offerings. We're therefore somewhat disappointed that WSOP, which has been active in New Jersey and Nevada for more than five years, still omits some games from its mobile poker client.

WSOP.com Cashier

There are a number of channels through which you can make a deposit to your WSOP.com account. They're all clearly shown in the cashier:

WSOP.com New Jersey CashierMaking a Deposit at WSOP.com in New Jersey

Besides PayPal, Neteller, ACH, Visa, and MasterCard, which we assume our readers are familiar with, there are a couple of options that you might not have encountered yet in your internet poker adventures.

PayNearMe is an arrangement whereby you bring a printed voucher along with cash to any one of 7,500 7-Eleven retail locations. The money is then transferred to your poker account.

Cash at Cage is pretty self-explanatory. It refers to bringing cold, hard cash to the cage at an affiliated casino along with your photo ID. After just a few minutes, the funds will be added to your online balance. In New Jersey, players can utilize Cash at Cage at one property: Caesars Atlantic City. In Nevada, they can bring their money to the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, Caesars Palace LV, Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas, or the Paris Las Vegas Casino.

When it's time to request a withdrawal, PayNearMe and credit card are not valid instruments for receiving your cash. All the other deposit processors are available for payouts.

Overall, the cashier is one of the strongest aspects of this site especially compared to others that are not regulated by a state governing body. Getting in good with the authorities does confer certain advantages, which we would have been remiss not to have pointed out. Of course, this cozy relationship between government and corporations has other downsides, which we don't have the space or inclination to really delve into right now.

WSOP.com Promotions

Rather than just trading on its illustrious name and resting on the laurels of its past success (*ahem* The Stars Group *cough*), the WSOP online room does quite a bit to draw in new clients and retain existing customers. There are so many promotional specials that we've decided to only inform you of the most important and valuable of them:

Welcome Bonus: 100% up to $600

Upon making your initial deposit at WSOP.com, you'll be rewarded with a 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus. For every 50 Action Poker Points you collect, which corresponds to $25 in rake and tourney fees, you'll get a $5 credit applied to your real money balance. This is a rakeback value of 20%: nothing really too thrilling but not too bad either. You have 90 days to work off as much of the bonus as you can, after which all remaining unearned bonus will expire. You'll also get entry into $100 freerolls every day for a week.

Poker Rewards

Poker Rewards is effectively a rakeback scheme that delivers greater and greater value the higher you climb in the ranks. For every Action Poker Point you gain at the tables (pay $1 in rake/fees to get 2 APPs), you'll also gain a number of WSOP points depending on your ranking in the program. You can then exchange these WSOP points for cash at a rate of 100 points = $1.

The levels in Poker Rewards, requirements to achieve, and effective rakeback percentages are as follows:

  • Player, 0 APPs in a month, 0% RB
  • Bronze, 200 APPs in a month, 8% RB
  • Silver, 750 APPs in a month, 20% RB
  • Elite, 1,500 APPs in a month, 25% RB
  • Champions Club, 20,000 APPs in a year, 32% RB

The initial tiers are worth puny rakeback returns, but starting at just 750 APPs/mo. ($375 rake), regular players will start to see a significant kickback on their play. The Action Poker Points you gather can also be linked to your Caesars Rewards card to improve your VIP status at brick-and-mortar Caesars properties around the country.

SNG Leaderboards

Every week, the top sit-n-go* performers split up a prize pool of $1,000 with $250 going to first place, and a total of 15 winners get paid. As long as you finish in the top 50% of a sit n' go, you'll receive points, and the better your results and the higher the buyin, the more points you'll get.

* Two-player, Blast, and satellite sit & gos are excluded from this promotion.

WSOP.com NJ Casino

Though it's hardly mentioned at all on the WSOP online poker web page, there is a WSOP casino attached to the poker room. In truth, it's really called the “Rio Casino,” probably because there's just about zero connection between the World Series of Poker and traditional casino slots and table games. Be that as it may, the Rio is a reasonable choice of naming because the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino is where the annual WSOP summer festival occurs.

You can open up the online casino through the “Extra Games” menu item in the poker software. This is strictly a web-based casino with a lineup of just over 220 titles available to users in New Jersey. The vast majority of them are slot machines, but there are a few card and table games along with a handful of video poker machines.

The Rio Casino at WSOP.com NJThe WSOP.com Rio Casino Opens in Your Web Browser

As a temporary diversion from the poker action, the Rio Casino will probably serve adequately. But if you're a serious casino gambling maven, then you'll likely feel that there isn't enough variety here to keep you satisfied. In that case, we advise you to play at an offshore online casino for Americans instead.

WSOP.com Sportsbook

Sportsbetting, in both brick-and-mortar and virtual forms, has appeared in the Garden State as a consequence of the Murphy v. NCAA Supreme Court case, which overturned a decades-old federal prohibition on betting on sports. Sadly, though, WSOP.com has not pursued licensure for this activity in New Jersey, and so you cannot place sporting wagers with your poker account.

Nevada has allowed people to bet on sports online for close to a decade, but in order to do so, you have to first verify your account in-person at a physical sportsbook. Caesars does have a few participating books that permit people to register offline and then place bets through an app, but none of them are associated with either the WSOP brand or the online poker site of the same name.

If you want to be able to play cards and bet on sports online using a single account in New Jersey, then it may prove worthwhile for you to examine WSOP.com's sister site, 888poker, which does have a sportsbook and a poker section. Or for a broader palette of betting possibilities, check out our list of leading U.S.A.-friendly online sportsbooks.

WSOP.com Final Thoughts

While we can't in all honesty say that WSOP has “knocked it out of the park” in New Jersey, it has certainly hit at least a double. It's the busiest of the NJ internet poker rooms, and it has a tournament schedule that cannot be matched by any of its state-regulated competitors. The new player bonus is decent, and the ongoing value returned by the Poker Rewards club is nothing to sneeze at. Meanwhile, in Nevada, WSOP.com is pretty much the only game in town as far as regulated internet poker is concerned.

New Jerseyites and Nevadans have a restricted palette of offshore poker entities that are willing to accept their custom, perhaps in part due to the strong tactics engaged in by the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement and NV Gaming Control Board. The DGE even liaises with its counterparts in other parts of the world, like Australia, to put the hurt on any firms that it believes to be circumventing local gambling laws. Given the limited avenues for real money gaming available, WSOP.com may be a winning solution for some NJ and NV citizens.

Yet, it's probably a good idea to explore other options too. WSOP.com's reign at the top of the NJ licensed poker scene could turn out to be short-lived. Recent changes in the way the Department of Justice views the Wire Act may spell an end to shared cross-border liquidity and online bracelet opportunities for New Jersey players. It's probably best for you to find one or two reputable NJ-unlicensed poker sites to play at also. That way, you'll be mostly sheltered in case anything happens to reduce the viability of the NJ legalized internet poker economy.

Bracelets and other synergies with World Series of Poker brick-and-mortar events will almost assuredly remain intact for Nevada customers regardless of any Wire Act shenanigans. Yet, should the Nevada player pool become separate from that in NJ as a result of DoJ tomfoolery, it will have a very adverse effect of traffic and the number of games available. We advise Nevada's residents to consider their NV offshore poker options so that they're prepared for any eventuality.

If you don't live in New Jersey or Nevada, then WSOP.com will probably only be relevant to you if you plan on visiting either state in the not-too-distant future. If you fall into this category, then by all means, sign up for a WSOP.com account. But you'll undoubtedly want to seek greener pastures for your everyday poker sessions while you're not traveling. Check out our U.S.A. internet poker guide for assistance in selecting a trustworthy place to call your online poker home.

WSOP.com Is a Licensed NJ Online Poker Room

WSOP.com Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about WSOP.com that we haven't addressed above, then look below for the possible answers:

In the “Beats” section, you put 'Website "Not Secure" according to Chrome.' What's this all about?

In this day and age, almost every reputable website uses https, which is the secure version of the hypertext transfer protocol that the World Wide Web is built upon. However, many of the pages on the WSOP.com domain are still coded in legacy http form, which could potentially put your sensitive personal data at risk. When you visit certain URLs managed by this poker site, your browser will give you a warning, like this "Not secure" message that appears in our Google Chrome browser:

Chrome Message About Insecure WSOP.com Site

This is really an irresponsible oversight on the part of the webmasters at WSOP.com. Https technology isn't some newfangled or expensive commodity. It can be implemented on virtually every website (such as the ProfessionalRakeback site itself) for a trivial investment in time and money. Thus, this omission by WSOP is quite amateurish and worrisome.