Somerville And Other PokerStars Pros To Rumble At Resorts NJ (And Stream It, Of Course)

Jason Somerville And Other PokerStars Team Pros To Run It Up From Resorts AC

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For the first time since going live in the New Jersey online poker market last month, PokerStars will be hosting a tie-in event with its land-based partner.

Run it Up: Resorts Rumble, to be held at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City on May 14, is a full day event featuring at least a trio of Team Pros – including none other than original Run it Up warrior Jason Somerville – the state’s first “onlive” tournament, and a bevy of other planned activities.

Players registered with PokerStars NJ will have multiple avenues of entry into this exclusive event, none of which will require a sizable upfront investment.

Run it Up: Resorts Rumble overview

Among the activities listed on the event’s promotional page include:

  • Appearances by Somerville, 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris MoneyMaker, Barry Greenstein and more
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • An “onlive” poker tournament, where players sit together at physical poker tables, but compete online
  • An exclusive VIP Club Live Party, to be held at the Landshark Bar & Grill 

As far as who else may show up to the event, smart money may be on Vanessa Selbst, who like Somerville and MoneyMaker has helped promote PokerStars NJ by streaming it on Twitch.

Given the event’s lineup and scope, Run it Up: Resorts Rumble will arguably go down as the biggest cross-promotional event between an online site and its brick and mortar counterpart in regulated NJ iGaming  history, with the possible exception of Party/Borgata’s Next Poker Millionaire Event, held way back in February 2014.

Ways to participate

PokerStars NJ is pulling out all the stops to make Run it Up: Resorts Rumble a titanic event, so much so, that players may find it difficult not to qualify.

Currently there are two primary ways to gain admission.

Run it Up: Resorts with VIP Club Freeroll

The freeroll will be held at 5:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, May 1 and will award the top 50 runners with cash and a pair of event tickets. Additionally, those lucky enough to land in the top 5 will win a VIP package.

Full prize distribution as follows:

  • 1 – 5: $200 and a VIP package
  • 6 – 9: $100 and two event tickets
  • 10 – 15: $50 and two event tickets
  • 16 – 25: $20 and two event tickets
  • 26 – 50: $10 and two event tickets
  • 51 – 120: $5

Any funds won will be credited straight to the winner’s PokerStars NJ account, with event ticket winners receiving notification via email.

As for the VIP packages, they include two nights accommodation at Resorts Hotel and Casino (May 13 – 15) and tickets to the VIP party.

In order to earn an entry into the freeroll, players must either:

  • Play one real-money hand at any stake level, or enter one real-money tournament.
  • Or claim a ticket by making a qualifying deposit of $10 or more using the promotional code VIPCLUBNJ between April 18 and April 30.

It’s worth noting that the VIPCLUBNJ promo acts as a reload bonus, meaning that players who use it while making their first deposit will lose out on their choice of the 100% match up to $600 or the Free50 first deposit offer.

Thus, it is recommended that players either use the code for their second deposit, or complete what amounts to very simplistic challenges.

Purchase tickets with StarsCoin

Those who have reached SilverStar (minimum 500 VPPs in a calendar month) loyalty status or higher can purchase tickets directly from the PokerStars NJ VIP Store.

Tickets cost 1,000 StarsCoin – equivalent to $10 – and grant entry for the purchaser and a guest.

As an added perk, all StarsCoin proceeds will have their cash value donated to the Autism Speaks charity foundation.

Where does PokerStars stand in New Jersey?

After a subdued start, PokerStars has significantly ramped up its promotional spend. Run it Up: Resorts Rumble is just the latest in a long line of events, having been preceded in the past couple of weeks by two Spin & Go promotions and the introduction of a multi-table tournament leader board.

However, the combination of tournament-focused promos, the seasonal downwind and decreased media attention have taken their toll on the site’s cash game liquidity. According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout, cash game averages are currently hovering around 140, down from approximately 180 on April 1.

Not to mention, the operator now only holds the narrowest of leads over competing network WSOP/888 (128 cash game average).

While Run it Up: Resorts Rumble will probably not increase the overall number of players frequenting NJ online poker, it could push a bit more of the action to PokerStars.

Conversely, the upcoming SCOOP, increased monetary liquidity from freerolls, and the continued introduction of new game formats5-card PLO will hit the cash game lobby on April 19 – are likely to have a more notable impact.

Thus, expect PokerStars to maintain, and possibly widen its lead, throughout April and into the early summer – although it appears as if the race for cash game supremacy in New Jersey is going to be a prolonged dogfight.

Image credit: f11photo /

- 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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