NJCOOP: PokerStars To Guarantee $1.2 Million Across 43 Events
Online Poker Report

NJCOOP Preview: PokerStars One-Ups The Competition With The Largest NJ Online Poker Tournament Series To Date

pokerstars njcoop biggest series in nj
Less than one week after Party/Borgata’s GSSS V assumed the mantle of “NJ’s largest online poker event”, PokerStars NJ one-upped its rival with the announcement of the first annual New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP).

The NJCOOP, slated for October 15 – 31, will guarantee $1.2 million across 43 events, surpassing the guarantee of the GSSS V by $50,000. It will culminate in a two-day Main Event that will issue at least $200,000 to NJ online poker players.

With the announcement, PokerStars has issued a clear message to its opponents — that when it comes to prestigious tournament series’ in New Jersey, it will not be outdone.

Full schedule here.

PokerStars, aggression be thy name

Compared to the already ambitious NJSCOOP — hosted by PokerStars NJ in May — the NJCOOP is worlds more aggressive.

On it’s own, a guarantee boost of $100,000 (the NJSCOOP guaranteed $1.1 million) may not seem like much. And it wouldn’t be, hadn’t PokerStars slashed the number of events from 54 to 43. Taken together, it looks like PokerStars will have a lot more ground to cover:

  • The average guarantee for a NJCOOP event will exceed $27,900, compared to $20,750 for the average NJSCOOP event and just $15,500 for the GSSS V.
  • Average buy-in amounts too, will be significantly higher, as PokerStars has dropped the Low/High tiered mechanic harnessed by the NJSCOOP in favor of a single buy-in tier.

As to what those buy-ins will be, most will hover in the $50 – $300 range. They’ll be a few outliers — a $1,000 buy-in High Roller comes to mind — but they’re few and far between.

With the buy-in structure revamp, it appears PokerStars is attempting to target its core customers in New Jersey — namely, poker professionals and enthused recreational players.

Beyond the aforementioned changes, the NJCOOP will largely resemble the NJSCOOP:

  • The Main Event will span two days and feature a $500 buy-in. It will kick-off on the final Sunday of the series, October 30.
  • No Limit Hold’em events dominate the schedule, but alternative games such as PLO, Triple Stud, 5-Card Omaha and 8-Game are all represented.
  • Game formats vary widely, from fast-fold (Zoom) and Heads-Up, to the rarely seen Big Antes and Speed-Down.

It’s worth noting that the Main Event will coincide with the inaugural PokerStars Festival at Resorts AC. Intersecting land-based and online events was a strategy heavily utilized by Party/Borgata in the industry’s early days, but one that it has since abandoned after less than stellar results.

No lack of incentive

Players on PokerStars NJ will be highly incentivized to roll the dice in October, as the operator is hosting a variety of NJCOOP satellites and other events revolved around the series:

  • Cash satellites to the Main Event are already running twice daily. PokerStars promises more qualifiers, with “satellite tournaments through to larger tournaments starting from just $1.” A StarsCoin Satellites tab has also been sectioned off in the PokerStars NJ lobby.
  • In true Stars fashion, the operator will be hosting special $2.50 Spin & Go’s, with the top prize a $500 Main Event ticket. The odds of spinning a top multiplier are 0.1125 percent.
  • The top 15 NJCOOP players will divvy up $10,000 in tournament dollars as part of the NJCOOP Leader Board. Points are awarded on a sliding scale, with all cashing players receiving at least one point for their efforts.

If that weren’t enough, anyone who participates in one of five pre-selected NJCOOP events will receive a ticket to an All-in Shootout, where the four top finishers will win a PokerStars Festival Main Event ticket, valued at $1,100.

In total, 20 tickets will be awarded, for a promotional value of $22,000.

The qualifying events are:

  • $100 Nightly Stars – Event #1
  • $250 Sunday Special SE – Event #4
  • $100 No Limit Hold’em [Speed-Down] – Event #8
  • $100 No Limit Hold’em [Progressive Super KO] – Event #12
  • $350 Sunday Special SE – Event #21

Players who register for the same event more than once will not be awarded multiple tickets.

Oct. revenue could be tremendous, at least on paper

After an early summer swoon, NJ online poker revenue was back on the up-and-up for August, with operators generating $2,173,488 in gross gaming revenue.

September has historically been a bit of a letdown month. But recent PokerScout cash game trends, and a strong promotional push by operators suggest that September revenue might just hold steady, at least on a day-by-day basis.

In either case, October is shaping up to be a monumental month for the industry, with two major tournament series’ combining to guarantee $2.35 million. Just the rake from these events alone will pad revenue by a couple hundred thousand. And that’s forgetting the strong possibility of increased cash game and Spin & Go revenue.

That being said, there’s a big difference between gross gaming revenue and profit. If the ambitious series’ end up producing mass overlays — a distinct possibility — then the reported tallies will still look high, but the margins may fall into the red.

In this scenario, it becomes unlikely that we’ll be seeing even more aggressive forays in 2017.

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Robert DellaFave
- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several online poker publications and dreams of one day programming a poker simulation clever enough to beat the pros. Read more by following @DivergentGames on Twitter.