PokerStars NJ will hope to have worked out the kinks from first try in AC
Online Poker Report

PokerStars Is Taking Another Shot At An Atlantic City Live Event

PokerStars NJ AC tournament
PokerStars has announced it will be hosting another live tournament in Atlantic City this fall, despite a disappointing turnout for its inaugural PokerStars Festival last year.

This time around, PokerStars will be debuting its MEGASTACK tournament format in the US.

The tournament, dubbed the Sunday Special Live, will play out over three days, from Oct. 6-8 at Resorts Casino. The signature tournament features a $220 buy-in with a hefty $100,000 guarantee. Ancillary tournaments may also be added to the schedule alongside the Sunday Special Live tournament, as was the case at a prior MEGASTACK in London.

“We are excited to host the first-ever Sunday Special Live New Jersey, and we look forward to welcoming players to the property for an exciting gaming experience,” said Resorts Casino Hotel President and CEO Mark Giannantonio in a press release.

This one is for the little guys

The MEGASTACK is a new format PokerStars introduced in European markets earlier this year. It’s squarely aimed at attracting casual poker players.

MEGASTACK events solve two of the key problems that keep amateur players from entering tournaments: cost and time commitment.

Once again, this tournament has a $220 buy-in and takes place over a single weekend. The cost is certainly within most poker players’ budgets, and since it takes place on a weekend, there’s no need to take time off from work.

The Sunday Special features multiple day one flights, on Friday and Saturday, and allows players to reenter. Sunday is day two. There is no day three, so there’s no need to call in sick or book a weeklong trip.

Pros are welcome in AC, too

With PokerStars putting a $100,000 guarantee on the $220 buy-in, expect plenty of East Coast grinders and pros to pencil in a weekend trip to New Jersey.

And as always, Team PokerStars will likely be well-represented.

“PokerStars MEGASTACK is the perfect opportunity for players to enjoy a great live poker experience at an affordable buy-in to see if they can turn a MEGASTACK into a mega prize,” said Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker. “Players can expect an awesome poker experience and more importantly get together with friends to play poker while having fun.”

If at first you don’t succeed …

The MEGASTACK event is PokerStars’ second crack at a live tournament series in Atlantic City. The turnout for the first iteration was something of a disappointment.

Last October, Resorts hosted a PokerStars Festival stop. The ten-day series was well-run, and PokerStars and Resorts pulled out all the stops. Unfortunately, a congruence of events kept attendance down.

Among the issues with the 2016 PokerStars Festival New Jersey were:

  • The timing, a week before the Borgata Poker Open and off-peak season for Atlantic City.
  • First announced in August, there simply wasn’t enough time to properly market a full tournament series and run an appropriate number of online qualifiers.
  • Following its European model, PokerStars didn’t place guarantees on the events, something to which US players are accustomed.
  • Resorts’ lack of an on-site poker room, eliminating the opportunity to run satellite events and side games.

PokerStars seems to have corrected several of these missteps:

  • The MEGASTACK was announced more than a month sooner than the 2016 PokerStars Festival;
  • Has a $100,000 guarantee attached;
  • Is a much smaller buy-in, so PokerStars can award more online satellite seats, which can be won for as little as $0.50; and
  • PokerStars didn’t bite off more that it can chew, as this time around it’s an affordable tournament(s) held over the course of a single weekend, instead of a week-plus series.
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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.