PokerStars' Americas Cup Of Poker To Host Its Live Final In The U.S. For The First Time Ever

PokerStars New Jersey Inaugurates Live Tournaments With The Americas Cup Of Poker

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The first live tournament organized by PokerStars since it launched in the regulated New Jersey online poker market is set to be the Americas Cup of Poker.

From June 23 to June 27, players from North and South America will fight for a share of the $100,000 prize pool at PokerStars’ partner, Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

Players from 12 continental American regions will be competing. To get their seat at the live event, they will have had to win through several preliminary online rounds of play.

In total, 60 players will take part in the live final, five from each of the 12 participating countries.

U.S. players get their chance at a seat as a member of Team USA, by putting in a top performance in the NJSCOOP tournament series, or by qualifying in the Americas Cup of Poker Freeroll to be held on May 29.

The event will be the eighth Americas Cup of Poker, and the first with a live final hosted in the U.S. This year, Team Canada returns to the competition after an absence of five years.

Andre Akkari, Team PokerStars Pro commented:

The Americas Cup of Poker has been growing for the last seven years and this year will not be an exception. This year not only sees an improved structure and more tournaments, but also a great live final in New Jersey to wrap up all the action. The question is will Brazil beat Argentina this time around or will it be the USA’s time to shine?

The first of many PokerStars live events in New Jersey

When PokerStars New Jersey launched in March, Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts commented:

We’re thrilled. We think PokerStars, as the worldwide leader in their space, is going to be great for our property, and we think it’s going to have a tremendous halo effect.

The arrival of PokerStars’ branded and promoted tournaments will produce more than just a halo effect, as a slew of new customers will be introduced to the delights of playing poker in a live casino.

A full schedule of local, national and international events will be created, and the Resorts Casino is creating a new poker room to host them.

$10 million PokerStars Live poker room is on its way at Resorts

Plans for a PokerStars-branded poker room at Resorts have been well in hand since late October 2013.

Back then, company spokesman William J. Pascrell III expected construction to begin as soon as the New Jersey license was awarded.

“As soon as the license is in hand, they’re ready to start building,” said Pascrell, adding, “PokerStars is committed to investing significant resources to put in a brand new poker room at Resorts Casino Hotel. In addition to the poker room, they are committed to driving traffic to Atlantic City through their marketing.”

New room for new customers

The new room won’t be ready in time for the Americas Cup of Poker, but Resorts will still be able to put on the event in its own fantastic gaming environment. The format of the event means that Resorts will see an influx of visitors from 11 American countries, almost all of whom will be new customers.

The Team USA contingent may also represent new customers, and with the benefit of a great experience, they are likely to return for more of the Resorts Casino experience—and tell their friends too.

This is the synergy that online operators and their live casino partners have built up in New Jersey. The introduction of online gambling has been a boon to the declining casino market in Atlantic City, providing casinos with access to many players who have never visited a live casino before.

The Borgata has made the most of its relationship with partypoker to promote and fill its own live tournament schedules. The partnership has benefited the Borgata by attracting new players and encouraging more visits and more spending from its existing clientele.

Will the addition of PokerStars live tournaments saturate the market?

Currently the biggest poker events held regularly in A.C. are at the Borgata. This year the Borgata Spring Poker Open finished on April 29, after 18 days of concentrated live poker across a wide spectrum of main and side events.

The main events included two $1 million guaranteed tournaments and a $500,000 guaranteed re-entry event.

The Borgata Winter Open, which ran through January, produced even bigger prize pools, including the $3 million guaranteed WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship.

Harrahs, the Golden Nugget, the Tropicana, and Bally’s also put on live events, but the Borgata is the clear market leader.

Who will win in the battle for market share

The advantage of partnering with PokerStars is that the online market leader can produce thousands of satellite winners to fill pretty much any tournament it wants to. Given the right marketing priority, PokerStars could channel customers from its worldwide player base to live events at the Resorts in New Jersey.

PokerStars live tournaments are not dependent on a local player pool, so the question of saturating the local market doesn’t really arise. The corporate issue for Amaya is relative return on investment from the live events it promotes.

It looks certain that some PokerStars events will be directed from their current homes towards Atlantic City, as is the case with the Americas Cup. But the relationship with Resorts is more likely to develop in the direction of adding new tournaments, and creating a rival to the Borgata based on the power of the PokerStars brand and its position in the New Jersey online poker market.

The Borgata isn’t likely to take the challenge lying down. The drawing power of the partypoker brand is not as strong as that of PokerStars, on the other hand, the Borgata brand is bigger in poker than the Resorts brand.

In the struggle for market share, the market will win. Players can look forward to great promotions, generous offers and an even better playing experience as the market leaders compete for their custom.

Image credit: Sean Pavone /

- A former founder of Poker Industry Pro and Head of Content at PokerNews publisher iBus Media, Joss Wood is a graduate in English from the University of Birmingham. Joss also holds a master’s degree in Organisational Development from the University of Manchester. His career path has taken him from the British Army, through business and finance to seven years as a successful professional poker player.
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