Borgata Poker Bonus Code & Review March 2023
Borgata online poker room operates in New Jersey via a partnership with bwin.party, and it is live in Pennsylvania.
Borgata is licensed and regulated by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
In New Jersey, Borgata Poker uses the same software and shares players with partypoker NJ, but the two sites offer some unique promotions and rewards.
Borgata Poker offers new users up to $75 in free play and a 100% deposit match up to $1,000 using bonus code POKPLAY.
Up To $75 In Free Tournament Play With Deposit 100% Deposit Bonus Up To $1,000 Shared Player Pool With PartyPoker Great Promotions Available In NJ & PA
Borgata Poker Bonus Code March 2023
|⭐️ Borgata Poker Bonus Code:||POKPLAY|
|🤑 Deposit Bonus:||Up To $75 In Free Tournament Play|
|💰 Deposit-Match Bonus:||100% Deposit-Match Up To $1,000|
|🃏 Borgata Poker Shared Player Pool:||BetMGM Poker and Partypoker|
|🎰 Borgata Poker Land-Based Partner:||MGM Resorts International|
|🇺🇸 What States Allow WSOP.com:||NJ & PA|
|✅ Promo Code Verified For:||March 2023|
Borgata poker combo welcome bonus worth up to $1,075
Deposit Bonus 100% up to $1,000 + $75 in tickets
How Borgata Poker Works
- Enter the bonus code POKPLAY when signing up
- You get a 100% deposit match for up to $1,000
- You also get up to $75 in tournament tickets
- The clear rate of the BorgataPoker.com deposit match bonus is 14x
- The Borgata’s opening deposit bonus expires 120 days after the first deposit.
- Bonus Money is released in 10% increments (a deposit of $20 is cleared in $2 increments, while a deposit of $600 clears in $60 increments).
With a ceiling of $1,075, BorgataPoker.com’s opening bonus is comparable to other opening bonuses from poker sites.
Another nice aspect of the Borgata’s opening bonus is that it clears in increments based on the amount deposited (in 10% chunks), making it the most individualized bonus out there. It’s also great that you get 120 days in which to clear the bonus.
To clear the full $1,000 from Borgata Poker you’ll need to accrue 14,000 iRP’s.
Free $75 in tournament tickets
Your initial deposit also determines how many tournament tickets you will receive. We’ve broken it down right here.
Borgata Tournament Ticket Breakdown
- Deposit $10-$499: You’ll be given $25 in tickets, one $20 and one $5.
- Deposit $500-$999: You’ll be given $50 in tickets, one $20, three $10s and two $5s.
- Deposit $1,000 or greater: You’ll be given $75 in tickets, two $20s, three $10s and one $5.
The tournament tickets are set to expire two weeks after you receive them.
Simply put, the Borgata Poker welcome bonus is one of the better ones around. From the 100% deposit match to the free tournament tickets, there really isn’t anything to complain about. Just remember to sign up with Borgata AND use the Borgata Poker code POKPLAY.
Promotions change up from time to time. Here are examples of promotions Borgata runs:
- The Grind: Earn as little as 100 iRPs per month to reap the rewards of Borgata Poker’s tiered rewards promo. Top grinders who generate $25,000 or more in rake and entry fees per calendar month will receive a total of $4,500 in cash and prizes – that’s the equivalent of an 18% cashback deal.
- Tournament Leader Board: Play and perform well in qualifying tournaments and watch yourself shoot up the tournament leaderboard rankings. Each and every month, BorgataPoker.com is awarding a combination of tournament dollars, tournament entries (both land-based and online), and cash to the 30 players who consistently prove their mettle in the MTT arena. Total promotional value equals $7,800.
VIP Rewards Program At Borgata Online
What You Get At Borgata Poker
- Borgata’s VIP scheme is worth anywhere from 1% to 15% cashback depending on the level you have attained and the method you use to exchange your points.
- Players can convert their points into cash, bonuses, comp points at the Borgata, or exchange them for merchandise or tournament tickets.
Borgata’s online VIP scheme is called iRewards, and is a tiered VIP scheme where the more you play the higher your rewards level. To increase your rank in the program you will have to reach monthly thresholds (or a quarterly threshold for Black Label Plus).
Here is a look at the five different levels of the iRewards Program and what it will take to achieve each rank:
- Red Label: 0 iRp’s (every player begins at this level)
- Red Label Plus: 150 iRP’s each month
- Silver Label: 650 iRP’s each month
- Black Label: 2,500 iRP’s each month
- Black Label Plus: 15,000 iRP’s in a quarter (three month period)
You will earn 2 iRP’s from BorgataPoker.com for every $1 you contribute to the rake.
Unlike some programs, each level in the iRewards scheme seems fairly attainable. Consider that it only takes $1,250 in contributed rake to maintain Black Label status; a number that equates to roughly 1,000 to 5,000 hands per month depending on the stakes and formats you play.
Of all the VIP programs out there, iRewards one of the largest selection of redemption options (only PokerStars NJ offers more), letting players convert their points into tournament entries, prize-packages, or merchandise in the iRewards online store. In addition to turning their iRPs into tournament tickets, buying packages at the Borgata or purchasing merchandise, Borgata offers three ways for players to turn their comp points into cash.
You can convert comp points to:
- Comp Dollars usable at the Borgata Hotel
- A bonus
Here is a look at the cashback conversion rates for those three option at each level in the iRewards program:
Red Label Conversions
- Borgata Comp $ = 10% cashback
- Bonus Dollars = 2% cashback*
- Cash = 1% cashback
Red Label Plus Conversions
- Borgata Comp $ = 11% cashback
- Bonus Dollars = 4% cashback*
- Cash = 2% cashback
Silver Label Conversions
- Borgata Comp $ = 13% cashback
- Bonus Dollars = 8% cashback*
- Cash = 3.2% cashback
Black Label Conversions
- Borgata Comp $ = 14% cashback
- Bonus Dollars = 11% cashback*
- Cash = 4% cashback
Black Label Elite Conversions (Quarterly Tier)
- Borgata Comp $ = 15% cashback
- Bonus Dollars = 15% cashback*
- Cash = 5.3% cashback
*Keep in mind you’ll need to clear the bonus so this return is not absolute
For complete details on the VIP program and current promotions, visit BorgataPoker.com.
Borgata Online Poker Details
Players can access the Borgata’s online poker room in the following ways:
- Downloadable client: Primary client offers the most games and features for New Jersey online poker players.
- Browser-based client: Java-based client offers access to same game lineup but lacks some peripheral features. Chrome no longer supports Java plug-ins, so players are best off accessing this version of the client via Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer.
- Mobile: Borgata has had a mobile app since early 2014, and of course it has had many iterations. The mobile version of the software is available for iPad and iPhone, as well for Android.
Borgata shares its player pool with partypoker and BetMGM poker. That means players at one site see the same games and opponents as someone at the other – only the branding, promotions and a handful of tournaments offered to players differ.
Games Available At Borgata Poker
Currently Borgata Poker offers cash games, SNGs and multi-table tournament play. You can choose from NLHE, Limit Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, PLO, and Omaha Hi-Lo at Borgata online.
Cashiering At Borgata Online
With the addition of 7-Eleven PayWith Cash and a prepaid card option, the Borgata cashier now ranks among the best in the industry.
- Instant e-checks
- Visa/MasterCard credit/debit
- Online Banking Transfers
- Borgata PrePaid Card
- 7-Eleven PayWithCash
- Cash at the Borgata casino cage (NJ)
Instant e-checks are still one of the fastest and most efficient ways of transferring funds onto your Borgata online account.
But if you don’t have a checking account then one of Borgata’s second-tier deposit methods – namely Neteller, Skrill or the pre-paid option – are probably your best bets.
Visa and MasterCard transactions are also an option, although attempts to load via credit and debit cards are often met with rejection. This has more to do with the issuing bank’s antiquated gaming policies than it does with Borgata.
Of course if you live near the casino, there’s no faster way to get your funds online than to load them directly at the cage. 7-Eleven PayWithCash is also a serviceable option for players who prefer person-to-person transactions, and don’t live near Atlantic City.
- Instant e-checks – transfers to your bank account three to seven business days after processing
- Borgata PrePaid Card – once processed, withdrawals will hit your pre-paid account in about two to six hours
- Checks by mail – delivered to your mailbox in five to seven days, on average
- Neteller – funds are cleared in three business days or less
- Skrill – low fees and quick turnaround times (2-3 days) render Skrill the third-party payment method of choice
- Cash at the cage – this person-to-person exchange usually takes a maximum of 20 minutes
Borgata’s withdrawal times are by no means the fastest, but what they lack in speediness they make up for in consistency. You can also add “convenience” to that list, as unlike WSOP.com and 888, you won’t need to upload copies of your personal documents before making a withdrawal from Borgata’s online poker room.
Reviews Of Borgata Poker
Traffic: Borgata now shares lead with WSOP
The partial merger of WSOP and 888 brought those sites into the front of the pack in New Jersey in terms of cash game traffic.
But that traffic surge didn’t come at the expense of the Borgata, which still retains a healthy cash game lobby and what remains the largest overall tournament lobby in New Jersey.
Here’s a snapshot of the activity you’ll find at Borgata’s online poker room:
- Cash games: Several dozen ring games during peak weekday hours, concentrated primarily in the NLHE 6-Max games with stakes ranging from $.01 / $.02 – $5 / $10. Some full-ring NLHE tables at lower stakes. PLO cash games are available but less frequent than on WSOP.Not much traffic for other variants.
- SNG: Sit and Go traffic at Borgata is generally around the 10-20 active SNG level at peak traffic times. Like cash games, the majority of SNGs are lower-stakes NLHE.
- MTT: The Party / Borgata network maintains the lead in the multi-table tournament lobby, with the largest fields and biggest guarantees, making the room a must-try for poker tournament players.
Grade: C+ (C+) (last review grade in parenthesis)
Value/Promotions: Borgata Offering Less Than In Past
Much like partner PartyPoker, Borgata’s promotions appear to be transitioning away from poker and toward casino.
This comes as a great surprise, as the majority of poker players on the Party NJ network prefer playing on Borgata. One imagines that the site would want to do something to retain its recreational player base.
Instead, Borgata’s poker promotional page is a near barren wasteland, consisting of one recurrent rakeback promo and an Ultimate Entertainment Package promo that benefits exactly four players per month.
Two promotional offers stand out at Borgata:
- Both Borgata and Party offer frequent Spot Bonuses (match bonuses on deposits ranging from 50 – 100% up to $100).
- Borgata’s The Grind promo allows the highest volume players to earn an additional 18% in rakeback, although realistically it’s difficult to earn anything above 12%.
A few notes on rakeback at Borgata:
- Black Label Elite – Borgata’s top VIP tier – lets players exchange rewards points for cash bonuses at a rate of $.15 per $1 of rake/fees.
- Factor in The Grind promo and even players who hit a relatively modest 2,000 iRPs monthly will book 11% extra rakeback.
Grade: C (B)
Software: Old Issues Remain, New Ones emerge
Since September’s major software update, there’s been little in the way of positive news for the Party / Borgata software platform.
MFC errors continue to plague the site, and reportedly impacted several players during the recent GSSS II. The problems seem worst during:
- High-traffic periods like the GSSS.
- When players are playing more than four tables.
Beyond that pressing matter, players also have to contend with myriad bugs and a lack of features that would befuddle anyone used to a standard online poker platform from the international market.
The addition of tournament support to the mobile client is a bright spot on the software front.
Grade: D- (D)
Customer service issues persist
I’ve written at length about the structural deficiencies in the Party / Borgata approach to support. In short:
- Response times are far too long.
- Response quality is far too low.
- Resolutions to common problems appear inconsistent and are often plagued by poor communication.
Grade: D+ (D-)
Overall: Too many outstanding flaws, not enough improvement
It would be one thing if the customer service and platform issues at Borgata were balanced by promotional value, traffic or other positive features.
But that’s not the picture that’s emerging for Borgata poker in New Jersey.
Grade: C- (C)
Traffic: Borgata Remains The NJ Leader
The Borgata / Party NJ network currently controls a 43.6% cash game market share, a 2.6% improvement over July. But in terms of overall traffic, activity at the network has dropped dramatically since then.
Here’s a snapshot of the traffic levels for various games and formats at Borgata:
- Cash games: During peak weekday hours, players can expect to find anywhere between 40 – 50 ring games running, the vast majority of which are NLHE 6-Max games with stakes ranging from $.01 / $.02 – $5 / $10. PLO cash games run with less frequency than they do on WSOP.com, and O8, Fixed Limit and 7-Stud games are virtually nonexistent.
- SNG: Players will find an average of 15 active SNGs at peak times, with the majority running at lower-stakes NLHE.
- MTT: Borgata’s schedule remains one of the most active in NJ, but it’s starting to thin out as participation dies down. Overlays are becoming a more regular occurrence. NLHE dominates the standing tournament schedule.
Grade: C+ (B-) (last review grade in parenthesis)
Value/Promotions: Borgata Delivers For Poker
Borgata has settled into a habitual rhythm of offering exclusive freerolls and increased rakeback opportunities. Network partner Party has tilted its promotional efforts more toward the casino side of things.
From a strategic standpoint, the network’s approach makes sense, as BorgataPoker.com has always been the preferred choice of the Garden State’s poker community.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that unless you’re a new player or simply have to have New Jersey Devils tickets, there is little good reason to preference nj.partypoker.com over Borgata Poker.
A few notes on rakeback at Borgata:
- Upon reaching Black Label Elite – Borgata’s highest loyalty tier – players can exchange their rewards points for cash bonuses at a rate of $.15 per $1 contributed in rake and entry fees. That falls way short of industry standards.
- However, after factoring the additional rakeback generated by the site’s The Grind promo, even players who earn a relatively modest 2,000 iRPs a month will be entitled to 11% extra rakeback.
On a somewhat brighter note, the industry’s falling traffic margins have had a noticeably positive effect on MTT value.
Back in February, tournament overlays on Party / Borgata were nonexistent. By June, they were sporadic. And now they’re utterly abundant – not quite Ultimate Poker (R.I.P) ala March abundant, but certainty enough that players with a keen eye for value have taken notice.
Grade: Party C (B), Borgata B (B-)
Software: Long-Standing Issues Yet To Be Addressed
A major, feature-rich software update in September raised hopes for continued improvement in the Party / Borgata poker platform.
But a subsequent server crash that resulted in the mid-game cancellation of GSSS Main Event undermined that positive momentum. And, in the wake of those issues, disconnects and geo-location failures have become more common – at least anecdotally.
Other basic issues such as …
- Slow loading times.
- Friends lists.
- Notification bugs.
- Cash game wait lists.
… have yet to be addressed.
And Borgata / Party’s mobile apps still aren’t MTT ready.
Grade: D (C)
Customer Service: GSSS fiasco resolution lone bright spot
Following the GSSS server crash, Borgata / Party offered a thorough explanation and an apology for the problems.
That was an outlier – otherwise, Party / Borgata’s customer service department is as miserable as its ever been.
Throughout my stint as MTGSUSA PocketFives Player Panel moderator, I asked the panel to report on their dealings with customer service.
They unanimously confirmed that getting a satisfactory answer out of a CS agent was an effort in futility.
Not only do the network’s representatives have little understanding of the game (one panelist mentioned that he had to explain to an agent what a “big blind” was), but they’re often unaware of recent policy changes.
Players I’ve spoken to indicate that email queries are rarely addressed. And the outcome when they are is usually unsatisfactory.
Grade: D- (D-)
Overall: Too many outstanding flaws, not enough improvement
Save the handful of bright spots mentioned above, you could argue that Borgata / Party actually moved backwards, not forwards, in the first year of regulated online poker in New Jersey.
The upshot: Borgata / Party is a network in pressing need of a series of major software upgrades and a complete overhaul to its customer service approach.
Grade: C (C+)
Traffic: Borgata sees lead decline
All NJ online poker sites have seen traffic drop over the last few months. But Borgata’s online poker room has been hit harder than some of the competition.
The market share for Borgata has dropped as well. The room once controlled some 50% of the market for online poker in New Jersey, and is now closer to 40% of the total play.
What can you expect with the current traffic levels at BorgataPoker online?
- Cash Games: Players should expect to find anywhere from 40 – 70 ring games running during peak times. Most popular games: NLHE 6-Max. Active stakes range from $0.01 / $0.02 up through $3 / $6 and occasionally $5 / $10.
- SNG: The SNG lobby is typically home to a peak number of about 20 simultaneous games. The recent addition of the Sit & Go leaderboards could help to boost that number.
- Tournaments: Turnouts have also plummeted for tournaments. The Borgata’s weekly Major – the Sunday $50k – rarely hits the guarantee, making it unlikely that Borgata will offer a higher guarantee anytime soon.
Grade (last review grade in parenthesis): B- (B)
Value/promotions: Opening bonus leads the way
Borgata Poker offers new players at the site a 100% match bonus of their first deposit, with a max bonus of $1,000. Details:
- The clear rate of the BorgataPoker.com opening bonus in New Jersey is equivalent to a 50% cashback/rakeback deal.
- The Borgata’s opening bonus expires 45 days after the first deposit.
- Bonus Money is released in 10% increments (a deposit $20 is cleared in $2 increments, while a deposit of $600 clears in $60 increments).
Borgata recently added Sit & Go Leaderboards. From now until August 10, SNG grinders on Borgata and Party will be playing for their share of an additional $2,000 in cash per week.
Other promotions of note include Borgata’s The Grind.
Borgata’s player loyalty program is severely lacking. The top reward for players who hit the highest tiers: 15 percent cashback bonus or a paltry 5.3 percent direct conversion.
Grade: Party B (C), Borgata B- (C+)
Software: Improving, but slowly
Since my last review, there have been some positives and negatives to report.
Positive: Players can now view individual tables on Borgata. And adding SNGs to the Android app for Borgata is a win.
Negative: Players are still waiting on simple upgrades such as wait lists. And client stability / functionality remains inconsistent on enough levels to frustrate players – even those now conditioned to accept some level of baked-in frustration when playing at regulated online poker sites in NJ.
Grade: C (C-)
Customer Service: Almost nowhere to go but up
CS at Party / Borgata has improved incrementally since my last review:
- Player voices are being heard by the room. And that feedback is translating directly into changes in the lobby.
- Chat and phone response times have improved.
But major hurdles to effective customer service remain:
- Staff appears under or untrained.
- Getting support resolutions for even trivial issues is wildly inefficient.
- Upgrades to the software aren’t documented or communicated well to players.
- The general position following a failure on the part of the room is a defensive, almost combative posture (see: 50k Guaranteed debacle).
Grade: D- (F)
Overall: The best needs to get better
Borgata leads the New Jersey online poker market, but that lead is precarious. And it’s threatened by not only competition from WSOP.com and the impending entrance of PokerStars into NJ, but by self-inflicted wounds at Party / Borgata.
Without a substantial push to address some of these fundamental issues, it won’t be long before my review focuses on what Borgata can do to reclaim – as opposed to simply hold – their spot at the top of NJ’s online poker ladder.
Grade: C+ (C)
NJ.PartyPoker.com and BorgataPoker.com comprise the same network and share liquidity across most games formats. As such, they will be treated as one entity, except where otherwise noted.
Traffic: Party / Borgata sustains staggering losses
Cash-game traffic on Party Poker NJ is down nearly 30 percent over the past six weeks, with the average number of players online during peak hours down from approximately 1500 last month to 1100 – 1300 in April.
Players can expect to find anywhere from 80 – 90 cash game tables running on weeknights, most of the NLHE variety. Stakes range from $.01 / $.02 to $25 / $50 with the majority of active tables featuring blinds in the $.50 / $1 to $2 / $4 area.
As a mode of comparison, six weeks ago it wasn’t uncommon to find over 100 concurrent cash games running. But the last time I’ve seen Party NJ reached the century mark was minutes before it awarded the grand prize for its 30,000,000th hand promo.
Sit & Go volume is also down, with an average of 30 low-to-mid stakes 6-max games running at peak hours, as compared to over 50 two months prior.
For the most part, Party’s daily tournaments meet or exceed their guarantees, but overall, entry numbers into the network’s biggest weekly event – the $50k guarantee – is trending downward.
On two occasions, Party NJ replaced its $50k with a $100k. The site’s first venture into the land of six-figures was widely successful, drawing a record-breaking 768 runners. The second, not so much.
There are a multitude of speculative reasons as to why Party / Borgata stomached such significant traffic losses, but suffice to say, the network’s biggest issues can be at least partially attributed to laziness. More on this later.
Despite all this, Party / Borgata still boasts the highest traffic and market share of any NJ-based poker site, and that’s still worth something.
Grade (last review grade in parenthesis): B (A-)
Value/promotions: Party NJ boasts big top prizes, little else
In terms of final table payouts, Party / Borgata boasts the largest weekly prizes, with at least one player walking away with a $10,000 payday each week. That being said, their tournament payout structures are still flatter than what most regulars would like to see.
Party’s high player volume functions as a double-edged sword. The network rarely fails to meet the guarantees for its daily tournaments. That’s normally a good thing, but considering that almost every other NJ site is forced to lay money out of their own pockets, it lessens the overall value to be had by playing in a Party NJ tournament.
That wouldn’t be so bad if Party / Borgata did anything to differentiate itself from the pack in terms of player kickbacks. But for the most part, the network’s promotions are unimaginative in nature.
Borgata offers a $1,000 first-time deposit match bonus, which is leaps and bounds better than Party’s own paltry $100 new player bonus. Most of the network’s other promotions come off as contrived and underwhelming.
Both Party and Borgata should be recognized for their recent efforts to bridge the gap between themselves and the Borgata’s brick and mortar casino via cross-promotional tournaments. And the upcoming NJCOP should provide a much-needed boost to network traffic, if not the entire state’s iGaming market.
Yet, it’s difficult to look past the network’s high rake/entry fees, and low rakeback bonus structure (15 percent at highest tier on Borgata, 10 on Party), and assert with confidence that the network offers good player value. It doesn’t.
And the introduction of new features that only affect hardcore players, such as Party’s Paladium Lounge, does little to rectify the underlying issue.
Grade: Party C (B-), Borgata: C+ (B)
Software: Technical issues abound on Party / Borgata
The worthiness of a gaming site should be determined by its ability to provide a exemplary playing experience, not its looks.
There’s no denying that Party Poker NJ and its sister site are both modernistic and sexy, but beneath the surface lies the ugly truth – Party’s software is a riddle of bugs and non-optimized code.
It’s utterly confounding how, despite markedly lower traffic, the software continues to suffer from a variety of crippling issues. Just to name a few:
- Loading times on faster computers exceed 20 seconds, and that’s if the program loads at all. Client hangups often force players to reopen the log in screen.
- The Friends tab is prone to load inaccurate data from months prior.
- Sub-menus often fail to properly display graphics.
- No table selection. I realize this is by design, but it’s been one of the most persistent complaints among regular players.
- Server failures beyond geolocation errors. A good example would be the technical difficulties suffered on March 9th, forcing a chip-chop among the final twelve players of the $50k.
Oh and lest I forget, Party’s mobile application is a bare-bones hack job, hardly worthy of serious consideration.
Like most, I initially marveled at Party’s redesign. But now that its underlying ugliness has been unveiled, I marvel no more.
Grade: C- (B-)
Customer service: They can’t even spell P-O-K-E-R
If I were to apply the age old adage “if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all” to Party NJ’s customer service team, this section would be devoid of words.
Slow, uninformed, and curt, the team’s most glaring flaw is its lack of empathy. Player concerns are often brushed aside, even those worthy of being addressed.
For instance, several individuals in my inner poker circle called in to inquire as to why their match bonuses expired. After waiting an exorbitant amount of time to be connected to an operator, they were abruptly informed that the bonus expires after a mere two weeks.
Generally speaking, I’m a staunch advocate of reading the fine print, especially when it comes to poker promotions. But Party’s reps should at least have the common courtesy not to direct blame toward its customers, which is exactly what happened. “You should have known better” is not an appropriate response.
Even worse, the network’s representatives possess little knowledge of poker. One would think that a working knowledge of the game would be a prerequisite for serving as an agent for an online poker site.
Factor in the hour-long wait times and frequent issue escalations, and it becomes clear that Party’s customer service is hardly worthy of a passing grade.
Grade: F (D-)
Overall: Party must go back to its roots
There’s a reason why Party Poker was once the number one poker network in the United States, and it had little to do with its special events. Should the network continue to ignore the underlying issues with its software, tournament schedule and customer service team, I would expect traffic numbers to fall off into the abyss.
As the most recognizable poker brand and brick and mortar casino in NJ, the Borgata, in accordance with its online poker partner bwin.party, needs to set the standard to which all other poker sites aspire, and fast.
Grade: C (B-)
For the purposes of this review we’ll group together PartyPoker and BorgataPoker.com, as they share the same interface, player base and weekly tournament schedule.
Promotions vary between the two partners, but not so much that the sites would benefit from being viewed as two separate entities.
Traffic: The numbers don’t lie, Party / Borgata still reigns supreme
Fans of PokerStars will be disappointed to know that tournament and cash game turnouts on PartyPoker pale in comparison to their pre-Black Friday counterparts. Given New Jersey’s relatively small population compared with the majority of the free world, that’s to be expected.
That being said, Party still brings in a decent number of poker enthusiasts, and regularly fulfills its relatively lofty guarantees.
Cash games run 24/7, which can’t be said about most other NJ-based sites, and Sit and Go’s fill up on a somewhat reliable basis.
Peak weekday numbers:
- Expect approximately 1200 – 1500 players to be online on any given night.
- The majority of cash games are of the NLHE variety. Stakes range from $0.01 / $0.02 up to $5 / $10 and occasionally $25 / $50.
- About 70% of cash games are 6-max. The remainder are either full ring or heads-up.
- After an early-January peak of 277, 7-day cash game volume averages are at approximately 210 and trending downward.
- On any given night over 100 simultaneous cash games will be running, 90% of them NLHE, ~10% PLO and perhaps 1 or 2 7-Stud.
- Nightly tournaments typically draw anywhere between 40 and 250 players, with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $100.
- Upwards of 50 SNGs, all of which are either 6-max or heads-up, will be running simultaneously. Stakes run the gamut from $0.10 through $50.
Sunday’s turnouts tend to be somewhat better. On its busiest day, I’ve seen nearly 7,000 players online, but those days have seemingly passed.
And thanks to recent changes to its Sunday 50k Guarantee, expect the week’s largest tournament prize pool to regularly eclipse $60,000.
One point of contention is that Party’s nightly tournament schedule is largely uneven. Most tournaments feature $1-$10 buy-ins, occasionally $20. The next jump up is to $100. What about the mid-stakes players?
At least the issue is being partially rectified, as evident by Party’s Daily Majors page.
Value: Biggest payouts, but lowest equity
Players can expect nearly all of PartyPoker’s guarantees to be met, including those for its higher buy-in tournaments. Overlays are nearly nowhere to be found, SNG fees are on the high side and cash game rakes are not quite offensive.
What that ultimately suggests is that Party boasts bigger prize pools than its competitors, but less value.
In keeping with its casual friendly motif, Party pays out an astounding 20%, or more, of its tournament fields. That’s good news for players satisfied with a min-cash, but terrible for players who rely on their big scores to be, well, big.
That being said, the bar for quality has been set fairly low, especially at the smaller stakes. Players who limp every hand, 10x raises pre-flop – that sort of thing is more common than what I would normally expect.
Then again, some of the same guys that play in my weekly home game did mention that they recently created an online poker account. Names will be held in private.
Promos: More value to be had on Borgata
Party’s promotions are rather lackluster. New depositors are entitled to a measly $100 match bonus, and the newly launched Dream Seat Series is a mere novelty promo.
Perhaps the best thing going for Party right now is its clever Remission Bonus promo, which grants special bonuses to those finally receiving remittance from FTP. Think of it as Party’s way of saying “Regulated poker is good.”
Promos are where Borgata Poker truly differentiates itself from its big brother. Forays like Mega Missions and a first-time deposit match up to $1,000 are two firm examples of how Borgata does a little bit more to attract players looking for a greater return on their investment.
On a side, both PartyPoker and Borgata Poker are making a concerted effort to promote their fast-forward variant. Problem is, fast forward poker relies heavily on traffic – a 7-day average of ~200 cash game players just isn’t going to cut it.
Software and Service: Geolocation somewhat improved, customer service bottoms out
PartyPoker’s sleek, newly redesigned interface looks significantly better than it functions. Latency issues plague the client, graphics sometimes fail to populate correctly and icons often need to be clicked multiple times before a page loads properly.
As far as disconnects due to geolocation issues, they’re noticeably down. Certain players still experience problems, but they’re far less prevalent then they were just a couple of months back.
Unfortunately, the same praise cannot be granted to Party’s customer service department, which is abysmal. It’s bad enough that it takes upwards of an hour to reach someone, but when you finally do, the representative will often tell you how you’re the one causing the issue.
After my first phone session with Party’s representatives, I was nearly convinced that someone was playing a cruel joke on me. After my second, I promptly called the state’s DMV and Unemployment offices, thanking them for the “short” wait times.
Live chat isn’t much better, nor are the answers to common questions offered by Party’s representative on its Two Plus Two forum.
But at least when I requested a cash-out by check, it arrived in a very timely fashion. I would have requested an instant e-check, but apparently, that’s not allowed unless you already made a deposit via the same method.
Party / Borgata are still the go-to sites for players seeking bigger paydays. They’re also far more aesthetically pleasing than other poker sites. And SNGs, MTT, and cash games are found with relative ease. Yet its laggy software, poor customer service, and pedestrian promotions could be contributing to its steadily declining numbers.