What To Expect From Party/Borgata's GSSS IV

Garden State Super Series IV Preview: Party/Borgata Ups The Ante For NJ Poker Players

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Beginning on February 28, Party/Borgata will host the fourth edition of New Jersey’s premier online tournament series: the Garden State Super Series.

This time around it appears the network has opted for a best of both worlds approach, combining the aggressive $1 million guarantee and more comprehensive schedule (62 events) of the first two iterations with the higher average buy-ins of the widely successful GSSS III.

What results is a flurry mid-to-high stakes tournament action bound to appease most NJ grinders in what could be a swansong for the network.

Like the GSSS III, but super-sized

Expansiveness aside, the GSSS IV bears a striking resemblance to its immediate predecessor.

  • Like the GSSS III, the GSSS IV will span two entire weeks, including three Sundays.
  • Buy-ins will range from the budget friendly ($20) toward the high side ($1,060), with the majority falling in the $55 – $215 range.
  • No Limit Hold’em events once again dominate the schedule, but PLO, O8, 7-Stud and Fixed Limit Hold’em are all represented, constituting approximately 20 percent of the schedule.
  • Formats range widely, from 6-Max to Speed Down, Bounties and Turbos.
  • The GSSS IV will not overlap with an Open event at the Borgata.
  • Just like last time, the Main Event will fall on the final Sunday (March 13) and will guarantee $150,000 for a $215 buy-in. Also like before, it will be a re-entry event.

Speaking of re-entries, nearly all GSSS IV events will offer players the chance to fire multiple bullets. The series has been headed in this direction for a while, but re-entries have never been more prevalent than they are for the GSSS IV.

It’s presumed that this measure was taken to ensure that most, if not all, tournaments meet their guarantees.

Going further, there are a couple of other noteworthy differences between October’s GSSS III and the upcoming series:

  • The number of events has been inflated from 43 to 62, with at least three events per day on weekdays and between 5 – 7 on weekends.
  • The series guarantee has also swelled, from $800,000 back up to its former point of $1 million. However, due to the increased number of events, the average guarantee per tournament is down to approximately $16,100 from $18,600.
  • The frequency of $500+ buy-in events has doubled from two to four.

Will the GSSS IV make the grade?

Despite the ambitious guarantee and packed schedule there is good reason to believe that the network will turn a tidy profit on the series.

  • Party/Borgata is working with a proven formula, adapting the buy-in range and formats from the revamped GSSS III – a series that shattered many of its guarantees, while only posting a few small overlays.
  • According to the presser from Borgata, the tournament structures and payout tables have been improved. Given the network’s questionable decisions in the past, this one could go either way, but I’m more inclined to think they’ll get it right.
  • It’s likely that player confidence in the brand is on the rise, as the third iteration of the GSSS went off without any major technical gaffes. The same cannot be said about the first two.
  • High rollers appear to be more prevalent on Party/Borgata than on WSOP/888, suggested by the former’s higher revenue totals despite significantly lower cash game traffic.

Most importantly, network liquidity is higher now than it was in October. According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout average cash game traffic at the beginning of the last GSSS III was 122. It has increased by 20 percent since – a byproduct of seasonal trends.

That being said, on days where six or seven $50+ buy-in tournaments are packed into a few hours, I can see the network struggling to garner enough interest. It’s a small concern, and one that’s partially offset by the high prevalence of satellites and re-entries, but a potentially impactful one.

The GSSS IV will begin at 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 28 with five tournaments guaranteeing $115,000, including a special edition $75,000 GTD version of the $215 buy-in Sunday major.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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