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PokerStars Introduces Improvements but New Jersey Must Wait

PokerStars is making some big changes, but the site’s New Jersey launch is still on hold until 2016. (Image:

PokerStars became a leading poker site for many reasons. One of them being a willingness to adapt.

In an effort to re-emphasize the fun and social aspects of playing poker, PokerStars has announced some interesting changes to its platform.

The first initiative the company will take is to simplify the reward system and VIP Steps programs currently offered.

Players will now be able to track their FPP progression in real-time as they climb up the new VIP Steps program.

Helping out the Little Guy

PokerStars is making changes that will be helpful to recreational and inexperienced poker players.

In a recent press release, the poker site hinted at eliminating the use of Heads-Up Displays (HUDs).

“PokerStars also plans to roll out new policies that will reinforce the fundamental elements of human competition by limiting certain software programs that may provide an unfair advantage to some players,” the company said.

A HUD gives a poker player valuable statistics on an opponent. Professional poker players won’t like this new feature because they use HUDs to gain a significant advantage over the competition.

For years, poker pros have been using HUDs and other player tracking software to find out information about opponents. The information they can get about another player includes profit/loss totals, ROI, and even details on how frequently an opponent bets/calls/raises/folds in certain situations.

Using a HUD or player tracking software makes it easier for pros to make decisions.

Eliminating HUDs won’t make it impossible for pros to win, but it will help level the playing field and could attract more recreational poker players to the site.

Most skilled poker players will be upset, and understandably.

But PokerStars is making these decisions based on what is best for Amaya Inc., the poker site’s parent company. Attracting more casual players is good for Amaya’s business.

Not Ready for New Jersey Launched

After fighting long and hard, PokerStars recently announced an agreement to re-enter the United States market, this time legally. However, only those located in New Jersey will be able to play.

Many had hoped PokerStars would be ready to launch in New Jersey before the end of the year, but that won’t happen.

PokerStars and partner brand Full Tilt Poker are required to hand over all unclaimed balances to New Jersey residents that previously played on the sites by December 28. Players will have until that date to claim their funds.

Customers that don’t collect by December 28 will forfeit the money to the state. Since Amaya is required to give players until the last few days of the year to claim outstanding balances, PokerStars and Full Tilt won’t be ready to launch until the start of 2016.

It’s a new era for online poker. PokerStars and Full Tilt are slowly but surely re-entering the US market, and arguably the most popular poker site of all-time is making changes.