Pala Poker was established by the Pala Band of Mission Indians, who also run the Pala Casino Spa and Resort in California.
Pala operates under the Borgata’s gaming license number, NJIGP 15-001, which allows it to offer legal online poker action to players in New Jersey. The poker room’s games are fully compliant with all New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement regulations.
PalaPoker does not share its player pool with other operators.
PalaPoker’s welcome package
$50 sign-up bonus
|Free Play Bonus (No Deposit Required)||$10 Free|
|Bonus On First Deposit||100% Match Up To $500|
|Best Game: Return-To-Player||Blackjack|
|Best Games For Clearing Bonuses||Blackjack, Featured Slots With Rewards Multiplier|
|Land-Based Casino Partner||Borgata|
Pala Poker offers a free $50 bonus to anyone who registers a new account — no bonus code or deposit required. Fifty dollars may sound like a lot; however, most of that can only be used to play bingo and casino games. Only $15 can be used for poker play, and that too is further split into chunks:
- $10 can be spent purchasing tickets for multi-table and Sit’n’Go tournaments.
- $5 can be used to play any of the poker room’s cash games.
The $10 tournament bonus is not redeemable and cannot be withdrawn. The $5 cash bonus can be withdrawn at any time and comes with no official restrictions; however, Pala Poker recommends it be used for actual real money play. An unused bonus will expire 30 days after issuance.
Please note you will not be eligible for this promotion if you have previously registered an account with PalaBingo.com or PalaCasino.com.
100 percent up to $500 on your first deposit
Make a minimum first deposit of $10, and Pala Poker will double your payment. The maximum bonus is $500.
For example, if you deposit $70, you’ll receive a $70 bonus for a total deposit of $140. However, if you deposit $1,000, your bonus will be capped at $500, for a total of $1,500.
The bonus will be released into your bankroll in $5 increments, with each increment requiring 1,250 Status Points (SPs). Since you will earn 50 SPs for every dollar paid in cash game rake and tournament fees, you’ll need to pay $25 to release a single $5 bonus chunk. This translates to a 20 percent rakeback — a decent offer by industry standards.
You will have 90 days to meet the above requirements.
Why play at PalaPoker?
- Welcome packages: Pala Poker’s $15 no-deposit bonus and up-to-$500-first-deposit-matching-bonus are generous, and the release requirements are fair.
- Banking: At Pala, players can deposit and withdraw using a variety of instant payment methods, including PayPal, eCheck, credit cards, and Neteller. Cash payments can be made too, either at 7-Eleven stores or Borgata cashier cages.
- Responsive live chat support: The poker room’s live chat support team is helpful and responsive. They answer all questions quickly and professionally, without making you feel like you’re intruding. They’re comfortable answering multiple questions during a single chat session.
Where can Pala Poker improve?
- Cash game selection: As of Aug. 27, 2017, Pala Poker’s cash game selection is limited to a few Texas Hold’em games and one Pot Limit Omaha table. Sit’n’Go games are sparse. This is understandable given the poker room is only a few months old; however, it will need to change quickly if Pala is to attract new players.
- Opening hours: Pala Poker is currently in its public beta testing phase. As a result, the poker room is open only between 3 p.m. and midnight (EST). That’s definitely unusual in the online world, where having 24/7 access to gaming platforms has become ubiquitous. However, this restriction should be lifted as soon as the software is out of beta.
The Pala Poker lobby is available in three versions:
- A a downloadable application is available for Windows and Mac computers. It requires a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 and 2GB of RAM to run.
- A mobile app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. Download instructions are available on Pala Poker’s website.
- A web-based version of the app can be accessed from any Flash-enabled browser
All three applications look and operate almost identically to one another and offer the exact same selection of games.
The poker room suite is available on iOS and Android devices. iPad and iPhone owners can download the app directly from the app store. Android device owners must navigate to the Pala Poker website, tap “Download & Play,” and follow the download link available on that page.
Once downloaded, the application takes approximately 15 seconds to launch on an iPhone 6, and only slightly longer on a Samsung Galaxy S8. The application feels responsive, and tables load in 20 seconds or fewer.
The Pala mobile app features the same cash games and tournaments available through the browser and desktop applications. You can make deposits and withdrawals without ever exiting the app. Most account settings can be changed there as well. However, you’ll be redirected to the Pala Poker website if you attempt to change your password.
Play money at Pala Poker
Pala Poker’s fun money offering is extremely limited.
There’s one Pot Limit Omaha SnG, one NL Texas Hold’em SnG, and three or four cash game tables. Unfortunately, given that the poker room’s activity peaks at 60 to 70 players, there’s not much action to be had at any of the play money games.
How to register an account
You can register an account by navigating to Pala Poker’s website and clicking “sign up” in the top-right corner. You must be 21 years old and a US citizen to join.
Make sure to have your Social Security Number at the ready. You’ll need to provide it during account registration. If you don’t have a SSN, or if the poker room is unable to verify it, you will be asked to send in a photocopy of a valid ID.
As per New Jersey internet gaming regulations, you must be physically present in New Jersey to play any of Pala Poker’s real-money games. You are free to initiate deposits, withdrawals, and browse the room’s games from any location.
Deposits and withdrawals
Multiple banking options are available at Pala Poker, most of them instant and free.
Available deposit options include:
- Visa and Mastercard
- Pala prepaid card
- Online banking
- Borgata casino cage
PayPal, Neteller, eCheck and Online Banking are the fastest and most reliable payment methods. Mastercard and Visa are great too, as long as your bank is willing to process gambling-related transactions. If your Visa/Mastercard card is rejected, try using it to top up a Pala prepaid card and then using that to make payment.
Only verified PayPal accounts can be used to deposit, and you can only use one PayPal address per PalaPoker account. When making a Borgata casino cage deposit, you’ll be asked to present a valid driver’s license or other government-issued ID. Most deposit methods carry a minimum transaction size of $10.
Available withdrawal methods include:
- ACH (eCheck)
- Borgata casino cage
- Pala prepaid card
- Check by regular mail
ACH and check by mail are the safest options for large transactions. If you choose to withdraw at a Borgata casino cage, remember to initiate the withdrawal from your cashier and to wait for confirmation of fund availability prior to visiting the casino.
Withdrawals take two to seven days to process, with PayPal and Borgata cashouts being the fastest. Avoid check by mail if you’re in a hurry.
Pala Poker’s stakes are quite limited. Micro-games are not available, with cash games starting at $0.10/$0.25 for both Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. High-stakes players will be disappointed too, as the poker room does not offer anything beyond $1 and $2 stakes.
Sit’n’Go games don’t fare much better, with only $5, $10, and $20 tournaments available. MTT buy-ins for the vast majority of scheduled tournaments only go as low as $0.50 and as high as $10. A couple of freerolls are available as well.
Overall, stakes seem to be geared towards recreational players. Still, the poker room lacks any micro-cash games, such as $0.01/$0.02, leading us to wonder about Pala Poker’s intended target audience.
Game availability is another area where Pala Poker is lacking.
Cash game enthusiasts can only play No Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Stakes range from $0.10/$0.25 to $1/$2. All tables are six-handed. There are no heads-up or full-ring games available, unfortunately.
NL Hold’em Sit’n’Go tickets can be bought for $5, $10, and $20. There’s also one PLO SnG with a $5 buy-in. All are six-handed.
Things look better for multi-table tournament enthusiasts. Pala Poker hosts approximately 15 tournaments on any given day, seven days a week. As of Sept. 27, 2017, all tournaments are in either No Limit Texas Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha formats, with the former comprising over 90 percent of the total.
MTTs are played between 4 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. EST. Most tournaments have a guaranteed prize pool between $50 and $250, with buy-ins ranging from $0.50 to $10. Some of the more popular tournaments include:
- $50 Gtd Hyper Turbo — A No Limit Texas Hold’em freeroll with a guaranteed $50 prize pool. Hosted every Monday, starts at 4 p.m.
- $50 Gtd Deepstack — $0.50 buy-in, $50 guaranteed. This six-handed NL Hold’em tournament is played every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
- $100 Gtd Turbo Rebuy PLO — A six-handed pot limit Omaha tournament hosted every Wednesday. Starts at 7 p.m. $2.50 buy-in.
- Nightly $250 Gtd Turbo — A stab at the $250 guaranteed prize pool will cost you $10. No Limit Texas Hold’em. 8 p.m. every Friday.
Player perks at Pala Poker
Pala’s rewards program underwent a major overhaul in mid-September 2017.
You will earn Status Points (SPs) by playing cash games and tournaments. For every one dollar you spend in rake or Sit’n’Go/MTT fees, you’ll be awarded 50 SPs. Accumulating SPs will allow you to level up your account. There are five levels available:
- Privileges: Default level. Zero SPs required
- Pearl Privileges: 1,500 SPs
- Gold Privileges: 7,500 SPs
- Platinum Privileges: 25,000 SPs
- Elite Privileges: 250,000 SPs
You will receive a $100 and a $500 cash bonus for reaching Platinum and Elite privileges (respectively).
Additionally, the rewards program lets you accumulate Rewards Points (RPs). While RPs don’t contribute toward leveling up an account, they can be redeemed for cash at an exchange rate of 5,000 RPs per dollar. How many Reward Points you earn depends on your account level:
- Privileges and Pearl Privileges: 4 RPs per SP earned.
- Gold Privileges: 6 RPs per SP
- Platinum Privileges: 8 RPs per SP
- Elite Privileges: 10 RPs per SP
How much rakeback can you expect from all this? Let’ us examine two different scenarios:
Scenario #1: Recreational poker player
You pay Pala Poker $100 in rake and tournament fees. Since every dollar is worth 50 Status Points, you’ll receive 5,000 SPs in total, which will elevate your account status to Pearl Privileges.
Unfortunately, there are no bonuses associated with levels below Platinum. However, since Privileges and Pearl Privileges accounts also earn four Reward Points per Status Point, you’ll additionally earn 20,000 RPs, which you can exchange for $4 in cash. This translates to 4 percent rakeback – a very poor offer compared to other New Jersey online poker rooms.
Scenario #2: High-stakes regular player
You pay $5,000 in rake and fees, earning you 250,000 Status Points and elevating your account to Elite Privileges. A $500 cash bonus will be credited to your name. Additionally, you will have earned multiple Reward Points on your way up to Elite:
– 4 * 1,500 = 6,000 RPs (as a Privileges player)
– 4 * 6,000 = 24,000 RPs (as a Pearl Privileges player)
– 6 * 42,500= 255,000 RPs (as a Gold Privileges player)
– 8 * 200,000 = 1,600,000 RPs (as a Platinum Privileges player)
This yields a total of 1,885,000 Reward Points. At an exchange rate of 5,000 RPs per dollar, you can redeem your RPs for $377 in cash. Add the $500 you earned for achieving Elite Privileges status and you end up with $877, or 17.5 percent rakeback. It’s a decent offer, but nothing special.
Additionally, as long as you maintain Elite Privileges, you’ll earn 10 RPs per accumulated Status Point. In other words, you’ll receive 500 RPs for every dollar paid in fees and rake, amounting to a 10 percent rakeback deal.
- Small-stakes recreational players will receive approximately 4 percent rakeback.
- Players who achieve Elite Privileges will receive back 17.5 percent of all rake and fees paid on their way to Elite.
- Elite Privileges account holders will receive 10 percent rakeback on all rake and fees paid in the future.
In addition to the welcome packages discussed earlier, Pala Poker offers the following two promotions.
Receive free tournament tickets after making a deposit using promo code FREETICKETS. You’ll be awarded one $5 tournament ticket for a deposit of $24 or less, and one $10 plus one $5 dollar ticket for a deposit of $25 or more. You may take advantage of this promotion only once and must use your ticket(s) within 30 days.
Additionally, Pala is home to the Free Daily $1,000,000 slot game. You’ll get one free spin per day and a chance to win the main prize or one of multiple secondary prizes ranging in size from $1 to $1,000.
PalaPoker player tools
Pala Poker offers a set of tools designed to help players control their compulsive gambling problem. Maximum deposit limits can be reduced on demand to help control spending. Players can exclude themselves from logging into their poker accounts by initiating a self-exclusion protocol
Deposits and withdrawals can be made from the mobile, desktop, and downloadable applications. Most account settings can be changed through the mobile app as well. However, some options can only be modified via Pala Poker’s website. The “account” page displays total accumulated Status Points and Reward Points, as well as active bonuses. Players can also request complete hand histories from that same page.
Withdrawal and deposit limits can be viewed in the cashier.
All connections to and from the poker room servers are encrypted. Credit card details and passwords are stored in hashed form and cannot be viewed, even by poker room personnel. Pala Poker employs 128-bit SSL encryption and multiple firewalls to protect the integrity of its systems, and the site’s fraud-detection department actively looks for suspicious activity.
You will receive an email every time you log into your account, helping you detect unauthorized access. Additionally, you can choose to enable two-factor authentication to receive a one-time password every time you attempt to log-in. This password will be required to access your account.
Pala Poker Online Casino Review
The Pala Poker online poker site is the newest entry into an already packed New Jersey online poker market. PalaPoker.com has its own software, standalone network and ideas about what will amount to success for the site. In fact, operator Pala Interactive appears more interested in using the New Jersey market as a chance to prepare for legal and regulated online poker in other states. That said, there's a generous welcome bonus, plans to grow both its cash game and tournament offerings, and little doubt its worth it for New Jersey online poker players to at least try it out.