You can also now qualify online in NJ for the World Series of Poker.
Online Poker Report

NJ Online Poker Update: PokerStars Turbo Series Starts, GSSS Schedule Is Out

GSSS 2018

Here’s a look at what’s new in the world of New Jersey online poker sites, including PokerStars‘ NJ Turbo Series, WSOP satellites and the announcement of the Garden State Super Series schedule.

WSOP / 888

Major changes/announcements: WSOP satellites have begun.

New tournaments: Online satellites for the 2018 World Series Of Poker in Las Vegas are currently running every Sunday.

Prize pool/structure changes: none.

Upcoming online series: New Jersey Poker Classic II is running online Feb. 9-25 and is guaranteeing more than $800,00 over 57 events.

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

Good news/bad news: The online NJ Poker Classic II has so far has been great. They have been good events that have all run, with the exception of this Tuesday’s event that started earlier than the others, at 6 p.m. This timeslot has shown over and over to be a terrible weekday start time for NJ online poker sites and was further proven when WSOP NJ ran a deep-stack series a few weeks ago that saw exactly zero events run due to them all starting too early. It’s puzzling behavior, unless it was a trial to see if the early start times would stick in NJ for future events. This is my only explanation for why they would continue to schedule tournaments at times they won’t run.

Another issue that recently arose, at least in my household, was that if players win multiple satellite seats to a target tournament, you cannot use tournament tickets for re-entry. This seems downright incompetent. A perfect example is a recent $1,000 buy-in/$50,000 guarantee. The prize pool ended up being around $54,000, which slightly clears the guarantee. But why not enable the prize pool to grow by allowing players to re-enter using tournament tickets?

Additionally, WSOP does not run very many $1k events online, so the opportunity to use any extra tickets is undefined. This seems counterproductive from all angles but thankfully can be easily fixed by either 1) allowing players to re-enter using tournament tickets, or 2) converting any unused tournament tickets to tournament dollars at the end of the series if no other event with the same buy-in is being offered anytime soon.

WSOP still has not brought back a nightly tournament. However, a great opportunity would be to run the same satellites that take place on Sundays. With a low buy-in of $30 and a low guarantee of about $2,000, it seems like this would be a safe bet as a nightly event. It would drive more traffic to the site as well as get more satellite winners into the live WSOP events. It’s a win-win.

A few weeks I asked if there would be a live/online tie-in for the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s in Atlantic City next month. I was rewarded a few days later with a promotional email announcing the “first ever” WSOP online $365 Circuit Event… in Nevada. When I inquired about this happening in NJ, I did not receive a response.

Borgata / Party / PlayMGM

Major changes/announcements: The Garden State Super Series schedule is up online and will run March 18-25, 2018.

New tournaments: Old School Tournament $35 buy-in/$750 guaranteed; no late registration, one re-entry.

Prize pool/Structure changes: None.

Upcoming online series: GSSS $365,000 guaranteed March 18-25, 2018.

Upcoming live events: Borgata Saturday Series $100,000 guaranteed March 3; Borgata Deepstacks Challenge $270,000 guaranteed Feb. 21-March 2.

Good news/bad news: Borgata’s GSSS schedule looks great and features 17 events with over $365k in guarantees. Borgata’s ongoing effort to preserve a healthy poker environment is evident by limiting each event to three re-entries. The nightly $10k will run alongside all GSSS events rather than instead of, which is always good news. Additionally, in past GSSS events when players have leftover tournament tickets for buy-ins not regularly offered, Borgata converted the tickets into tournament dollars.

Tuesday’s new Old School Tournament is a $35/$750 with no late registration and only one re-entry. Current Borgata online players heavily supported the tournament after the site proposed it. It seems that some players like the option of getting back to how things used to be: no late registration and no re-entry. This is certainly not the direction poker tournaments are headed. You would be hard-pressed to find any tournaments offering no late registration or ones that only allow one re-entry. This is just a great example of how Borgata listens to the players, regardless of the scope.

PokerStars

Major changes/announcements: PokerStars has awarded 35 of 300 Platinum Passes (tickets to the $9 million added Players Championship) to a variety of poker players online and live, winning and losing. PokerStars gives no notice and it’s a complete surprise each time. It has awarded passes to players online, in Prague, London, Brazil, China, Manila, Italy and at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure so far in 2018.

New tournaments: None.

Prize pool/Structure changes: None.

Upcoming online series: Online Turbo Series runs Feb. 22-March 4

Upcoming live events: TBA.

Good news/bad news: The online Turbo Series is an action-packed schedule offering several different types of tournaments throughout 28 events and over $250,000 in guarantees. Poker Stars has long been the leader when it comes to testing new tournament types and variants. It’s great to see them include such variety in the NJ market. Exposing poker players to different formats not only helps players improve but also introduces players to games they may not have heard of or played before. Offering these new formats while also assigning decent guarantees to them is classic PokerStars.

Pala Poker

Major changes/announcements: New daily tournament schedule.

New tournaments: None.

Prize pool/Structure changes: The $30 rebuy/$2,000 guarantee now guarantees just $1,000.

Good news/bad news: Pala tweeted a few weeks ago about a new tournament schedule which simply meant they were slashing their current schedule. It looks like they have reduced the number of daily tournaments by more than half to six.

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Katie Stone
- 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.