One year of PokerStars New Jersey and more to come
Yes, it's been nearly a month since the official PokerStars NJ one-year anniversary, and we're still celebrating.
Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein was there for the year of festivities.
"It was a hint of things to come and a reminder that PokerStars will be running more live events in the US as online poker gets legalized one state at a time," he said. "It seemed like the players who traveled to these events took some ownership of what was going on and wanted to help bring online poker back to the level it once was in the US."
You have to understand, for those of us who spent our formative PokerStars years in the USA, the return of PokerStars to American soil was a seriously big deal. Few have been as successful as Vanessa Selbst.
"Everyone was just so happy to finally have PokerStars back in the USA. There was a certain infectious enthusiasm about poker among the players that was really exciting," she said.
This time last year, we were still reeling from the launch as we planned for Jason Somerville's Run It Up Resorts Rumble, an event that showed just how much excitement there was.
Jennifer Shahade was among the people there for both the launch and the Run It Up event.
"I had such a great time at the New Jersey Launch. Atlantic City is just an hour away from where I live in Philly, so it was great to be able to hop in a car and play on PokerStars. At the Run It Up Resorts Rumble in May, I was struck by the pure passion so many of the attendees have for poker," she said.
Since that time, PokerStars NJ hosted the NJCOOP, the largest tourney series in the history of that state's online poker efforts. VaderWolf, a PokerStars NJ player, hit a $100,000 Spin & Go jackpot. That's not to mention the first PokerStars Festival series and other online events.
"I really enjoyed the PokerStars Festival in Atlantic City in November. I was eight months pregnant at the time, and got second place in two tournaments, including the Chad Brown Memorial," Shahade said. "I had such a great time playing short handed, meeting PokerStars NJ players, celebrating Halloween there, and strolling the boardwalk."
Though the live events drew quite a bit of excitement, the online efforts picked up quickly, too.
Selbst said, "I'm really surprised at how quickly the cash games grew. Within weeks there were several high stakes PLO games going regularly, which means I can go play whenever the mood strikes. It's just great to be back in my home state and playing poker online without having to leave the country. Plus, getting to play Sunday tournaments while watching NFL...that's the dream."
Daniel Negreanu echoed the sentiment. He said, "It had been so many years since I had the opportunity and it was really fun and brought back a lot of memories as to why I enjoyed it so much. It's so convenient and I can play high stakes in my underwear!"
Now, what's to come after the first year? Stay tuned, friend. Stay tuned.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.