Here's The SCOOP On What's Happening At PokerStars New Jersey

PokerStars NJ Releases Draft Schedule For SCOOP, Adds New Game Stakes

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Less than three weeks post-launch, and already big changes are afoot on PokerStars NJ.

The operator has released a preliminary schedule for its upcoming Spring Championship of Online Poker, and has added a throng of new game stakes to the client, including a new Spin & Go buy-in level.

Here’s a rundown of the changes.

$25 buy-in Spin and Go

The most notable addition to the client is the inclusion of a $25 buy-in Spin and Go.

Until recently, the most New Jersey online poker players could ante up was $10 per match, compared to $100 on dot-com and between €50 – €100 in other ring-fenced markets.

The tremendous number of Spins being played in NJ was apparently reason enough for PokerStars to close that gap.

As is the case with existing price points, 7 percent of the $25 buy-in will go toward the rake. Also in parallel, the top multiplier is set at 1,200x and the odds of spinning the largest prize pool ($30,000) are 3 in 100,000.

However, recent history suggests that it won’t be long before PokerStars NJ temporarily lifts the top prize.

The site is currently hosting $100,000 Spin and Go Special Edition, a promotional event which doesn’t necessarily enhance the value of playing $10 Spins, but does increase the top multiplier to 12,000x.

The prospect of a $250,000 payday would undoubtedly hold even more appeal.

Higher stakes added

As per PokerStars Dylan on the operator’s dedicated Two Plus Two thread, PokerStars NJ has added a bevy of higher stakes games, across multiple formats.

Full rundown of new stakes as follows:

  • NLHE and PLO: $10/$20 and $25/$50
  • PLO H/L: $5/$10
  • Limit Hold’em: $30/$60, $40/$80 and $100/$200
  • 8-Game: $20/$40, $40/$80 and $100/$200
  • Stud: $20/$40 and $40/$80
  • Stud H/L, Limit Omaha H/L and Razz: $3/$6, $5/$10, $10/$20, and $40/$80

These recent additions should all but solidify PokerStars’ position as the place to play higher stakes and alternative formats, as other NJ operators mostly limit their offerings to low-to-mid stakes NLHE, PLO and PLO8 games.

SCOOP draft schedule released

PokerStars will be hosting its first major tournament series in May. The NJ version of the SCOOP will bear some similarities to its dot-com counterpart, in that events will be spread across multiple formats and buy-in tiers, and often span multiple days.

As it stands, the SCOOP will consist of 27 events, split into low and high buy-ins. The majority of events are of the NHLE variety, but PLO, 8-Game, Stud and PLO H/L are all represented.

Buy-ins range from $5 on the low end up to $1,000 for the 6-Max NLHE High Roller event.

Of particular note, is that Event #24 is a Zoom (fast-fold) tournament. MTTs of this variety have yet to run in the NJ market, nor is the Zoom cash lobby currently populated.

As for the Main Event, it will take place on the final day, and be a standard format NLHE event with a $500 buy-in.

The SCOOP will span two full weeks, including three Sundays, although official dates have not been set yet. Event guarantees have also yet to be revealed, and the schedule itself is subject to change. Any amendments are likely to be a reflection of player feedback, as PokerStars NJ is currently surveying the community for its thoughts.

So far, the main pushback against the SCOOP has had little to do with the schedule itself, but the timing. Several players have requested that the NJ SCOOP not overlap with the dot-com SCOOP, so that they may play both.

There have also been a few rumblings over the frequency of low buy-in, two day events.

View the preliminary schedule here (week 1) and here (week 2).

Also worth noting is that PokerStars NJ has recently added a Multi-Table Tournament Leader Board promotion, which awards the top 60 tournament grinders a share of a monthly $7,500 prize pool. This should provide extra incentive for players to partake in SCOOP events – not that it’ll probably be necessary.

Where does PokerStars stand in NJ?

At last count, PokerStars controls just under 42 percent of the cash game market, and since its entry on March 16, total industry liquidity has grown by 38 percent. This, per data collected by Poker Industry Pro via

The market appears to have reached a stabilization point, as liquidity, both on a per operator and industry level, hasn’t moved much in the past seven days.

I expect the latest changes on PokerStars to only have a marginal impact on cash game traffic, with the slight losses incurred by the inclusion of a new Spin & Go tier somewhat offset by the addition of higher stakes.

As for the tournament front, PokerStars NJ is making a strong play to become the premier site for MTT series, a distinction that presently belongs to Party/Borgata.

Whether it takes over may hinge on how aggressive its SCOOP guarantees are.

- 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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