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As was the case for the network’s two previous online series, the GSSS II (January 11 – 25) will coincide with a live WPT event at the Borgata.
Read the full schedule here.
The GSSS’ maiden voyage was marred by a server blackout that caused the cancellation of the Main Event. A smooth-sailing follow-up could go a long way towards restoring New Jersey player confidence in the brand.
So, how did Party / Borgata do?
The GSSS II bears a strong resemblance to September’s predecessor (which itself borrowed heavily from popular ROW tournament series such as the PokerStars–hosted WCOOP):
As it’s done in the past, Party / Borgata requested draft schedule feedback from posters on its dedicated Two Plus Two forum.
Only this time around, the majority of player suggestions are reflected in the finalized schedule.
A few examples:
Other changes may garner mixed reactions:
While the GSSS II is clearly Party / Borgata’s most well-conceived tournament series to date, the scheduling is a bit hit or miss.
The GSSS II is set to kick off two days (Sunday, January 11) before the Borgata Winter Poker Open gets underway.
All fine and good, but considering how regularly Party / Borgata replaces its flagship Sunday Major ($50k GTD) with a six figure guarantee, a $75,000 guaranteed prize pool feels like a bit of a let down.
Better is the placement of the Main Event, which coincides directly with Day 1a of the WPT Winter Poker Open Championship ($3,500 buy-in, $3 million GTD).
Normally I’d argue against this type of apparent scheduling conflict. But consider two things:
It’s disappointing to see the highest guarantee dropped by 25%, especially now that the New Jersey market is in the midst of a moderate resurgence.
Finally, the two hour gap between Saturday’s events is a bit oft-putting. The network’s apparent reluctance to encourage multi-tabling continues to befuddle me.
But ultimately, any minor gripes I may have are more than offset by kudos for the improvements made and overall strength of the schedule.
That’s the highest it’s been since early May, and represents a 18% month-over-month gain.
Some of these gains can be attributed to seasonal factors, but that doesn’t account for why the network is outpacing its closest rival WSOP.com, despite the latter’s stronger December promotional schedule.
It’s conceivable, even likely, that the widespread approval of Party’s revamped nightly tournament schedule and reconfigured payout model are the driving forces behind the liquidity gains. If so, the stage is set for the GSSS II to become the most successful tournament series in New Jersey to date.
The GSSS is also an opportunity for the network to counter any lingering doubts that its NJ software cannot handle increased server loads.
On the flip side, any software-driven disturbance will cause irrecoverable damage to the Party Poker NJ / Borgata brand, and paves the way for the prospective union of WSOP.com and us.888poker.com to claim the title of market share leader.
In short: the fate of the GSSS II hinges on the network’s ability to run a smooth series.