Garden State Super Series is just around the corner for NJ poker players

NJ Online Poker Update: WSOP Satellites Begin; Borgata GSSS Dates Announced

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Here’s a look at what’s new in the world of New Jersey online poker sites, as Borgata announces the dates of its next Garden State Super Series and World Series of Poker satellites launch.

WSOP / 888

Major changes/announcements: Online satellites for the 2018 WSOP in Las Vegas start this Sunday at WSOP NJ.

New tournaments: None.

Prize pool/Structure changes: None.

Upcoming online series: New Jersey Poker Classic II runs online Feb. 9-25 and is guaranteeing more than $800,000 over 57 events.

Upcoming live events: WSOP Circuit Event March 8-19 at Harrah’s in Atlantic City

Good news/bad news: While WSOP online still hasn’t brought back a nightly tournament of any substance, its upcoming online series has some very attractive offerings. Aside from a few events, the weekday events all start at 7 p.m. or after, which will give them the best chance of running.

Additionally, several weeks’ notice was given to the New Jersey online poker community by way of emails and social media, with marketing emails regarding tournament ticket giveaways being almost daily now. This is a huge improvement to getting no notice at all. Overall, it’s a very encouraging activity that WSOP is starting tournaments at reasonable times, putting together a diverse and abundant series and then actually notifying the players about it.

The start of online satellites into the 2018 WSOP events in Las Vegas this summer is also a very smart move by WSOP. Online satellites into live events are integral now more than ever for the poker economy and its future. The story of someone winning entry into a bigger tournament and having success does not get old and will always serve as the perfect marketing tool. We all should do everything possible to encourage sites and rooms to offer comprehensive and attractive satellite programs for higher buy-in live events.

Finally, is it too much to hope for an online tie-in with the Circuit Event stop at Harrah’s in Atlantic City next month?

Borgata / Party / PlayMGM

Major changes/announcements: Borgata announced the GSSS dates

New tournaments: None.

Prize pool/Structure changes: The Tuesday $215 buy-in/$7,500 guaranteed structure has been changed to match the nightly $10k structure. That will enable the tournament to finish earlier in the night.

Upcoming online series: Garden State Super Series (GSSS) $300,000 guaranteed, March 18-25, 2018.

Upcoming live events: Borgata Almighty Stack $250,000 guaranteed, Feb. 17-20; Saturday Series $100,000 guaranteed, March 3; Deepstacks Challenge $270,000 guaranteedm Feb. 21-March 2. All are at Borgata in Atlantic City.

Good news/bad news: We now have the dates more than a month in advance for Borgata’s upcoming GSSS series. That should help players plan to be in NJ for the series, even though the schedule is still in the process of being completed. Getting these dates out early as well as the aforementioned Tuesday night $215 tournament structure change are great examples of how Borgata listens to the players and their suggestions.

Additionally, approximately 50 players won entries online in satellites to the $600 buy-in/$2 million guaranteed opening event of the Borgata Winter Open in January. This type of mass entry into one single event is not being replicated anywhere else currently, yet it is such a powerful tool to strengthen the overall poker economy in the long run. I am always hopeful the other sites eventually will adopt a more far-reaching outlook beneficial to the greater good.

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Major changes/announcements: PokerStars has been awarding its 300 Platinum Passes to a variety of poker players online and live, winning and losing. PokerStars gives no notice, and it’s a complete surprise each time. Players have won passes in Prague, Italy and at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure so far in 2018.

New tournaments: None.

Prize pool/Structure changes: None.

Upcoming online series: TBA.

Upcoming live events: TBA.

Good news/bad news: The recent departure of several household named poker pros from Team PokerStars has a lot of people wondering what this means for the direction of online poker and many other issues that surround the industry. In the past few months, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier and ElkY have all severed ties for different personal and professional reasons. They aren’t the first to leave, and they likely won’t be the last.

Additionally, it seems like there is less money being paid these days to site pros. That is not necessarily a reflection on the local poker economy but more so an indication that the sites are choosing to put their advertising dollars elsewhere. Poker sites are likely looking for more of a hybrid poker player to represent them – someone who in addition to playing poker brings outside experience to the industry and has marketing, social media and public relations competency.

- Katie Stone is a professional poker player who lives in New Jersey. After moving to Mexico after Black Friday, she returned to her home state of New Jersey in 2014 when online poker became legalized there.
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