PACOOP Guarantees $1.5M, Generates $2M In Prize Pools

PokerStars Finishes On A Strong Note With PACOOP 2020, Turning Attention To New Jersey Next

The second annual run of PokerStars’ Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) is in the books. It was, by and large, a modest success, with only a few wrinkles.

Running from Sept. 19 through Oct. 5, PACOOP took place much earlier this year than last. The 2019 series took place in December. There wasn’t an opportunity to hold it earlier, as the site itself had launched only a month before. This year’s timing, prior to the equivalent New Jersey series in October, will probably be the norm in the future, as it creates more balanced spacing with the Summer and Winter Series.

PokerStars set the total guarantees for the series at $1.5 million. That’s higher than last year’s series but lower than the $2 million guaranteed for the Spring Championship (PASCOOP) in April, when traffic was at an all-time high due to cancellation of sports and closure of casinos nationwide.

Even so, PASCOOP did manage to clear the $2 million mark in prize pools, although just barely. In total, PokerStars distributed $2,039,133 to players across 50 events, while collecting $158,182 in rake.

The Main Event guaranteed $200,000 and drew 1,013 entries for a prize pool of $283,640. This year’s new Phased event also performed well. It guaranteed $50,000 on just a $50 buy-in and drew 1,892 entries across its starting phases for an $86,086 prize pool.

PACOOP by the numbers

Compared to other operators, PokerStars is generally fairly conservative in setting tournament guarantees. Across its sites, the average event in a typical series tends to beat its guarantee by something in the range of 25% to 50%, and few events overlay. PACOOP was a typical series by those measures, though not uniformly so.

On the whole, events performed better relative to their guarantees as the series went on. There are also indications that, although turnout for weekend events was higher than on weekdays, the difference may not have been as great as PokerStars expected.

Here are some illuminating stats from the series. You’ll find the full, event-by-event breakdown at the end of this article.

  • Average guarantee: $31,180
  • Average prize pool: $40,622
  • Average entries:
    • Unique: 292
    • Re-entries: 134
    • Total: 426
  • Largest margin by which a prize pool exceeded the guarantee: 74.4%
  • Largest overlay: 20%
  • Average amount by which prize pools exceeded the guarantee…
    • in final third of series: 38.6%
    • prior to that: 26.1%
  • Average amount by which prize pools exceeded the guarantee…
    • on Sundays: 17.1%
    • on Saturdays: 29.5%
    • Monday to Friday: 39.3%
  • Number of events with overlays…
    • on Sundays: 4
    • on any other day: 1
  • Total dollar value of overlays: $8,036

Next stop, New Jersey

The dust settled in Pennsylvania on Monday, as the final table of the Main Event played out alongside a trio of smaller wrap-up tournaments. Things will be quieter now in the Keystone State until it’s time for the Winter Series. Last year, that took place in late January, though it may be moved up this year as a result of the earlier timing for PACOOP.

Now, though, it’s time for PokerStars players in neighboring New Jersey to get some attention. NJCOOP kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 10, with the usual $1 million in total guarantees. It will consist of 54 events and wrap up on Oct. 26.

Its schedule is a bit more varied than Pennsylvania’s. There are few vanilla, full-ring NLHE events, and many more with short-handed tables and turbo structures and twice as many Progressive Knockouts. H.O.R.S.E. and Badugi are also on the menu, as well as two big ante tournaments.

Turnouts will be lower in the Garden State, as reflected in the guarantees. Not only is there a lower population and competition from other sites, but also, New Jersey players may be suffering from a bit of tournament fatigue. It’s barely been two months since the biggest and most expensive online tournament series in the history of legal US online poker, namely the WSOP Online Bracelet Series. Players in New Jersey were able to join their peers in Nevada for that, but those in Pennsylvania were left out. NJCOOP may not seem like as big of a deal as PACOOP in comparison.

Days of PokerStars’ PA monopoly are numbered

PACOOP, like previous Pennsylvania poker series, benefited from being the only game in town. It may well be the last time that PokerStars holds that advantage, however.

Since PokerStars launched last November, there’s been plenty of speculation as to how soon it can expect some competition. In recent months, it has looked increasingly likely that we’ll have an answer soon.

For one thing, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) indicated over the summer that MGM/Roar Digital would soon get its licensing hearing as a qualified gaming entity. That would allow partypoker to launch in the state, as it now operates in partnership with MGM thanks to the latter’s joint venture with partypoker’s parent company GVC.

However, it now looks like partypoker might only be the third poker room in the state. 888 Holdings received its license at last week’s PGCB meeting, which could mean WSOP will arrive in Pennsylvania first. Although WSOP is owned by Caesars, which already operates in Pennsylvania, it’s 888 that provides the poker platform.

WSOP has previously indicated that Pennsylvania is a low priority for now because the PGCB refuses to consider shared liquidity with other states until the Wire Act battle is settled. However, 888 obtaining its license in order to launch an online casino may change the calculation, as it means one less step is involved in getting the poker room off the ground as well.

Full series results

Here are all 50 events from this year’s PACOOP and how they fared in terms of attendance and prize pool.

EventBuy-inGuaranteeTotal EntriesPrize Pool
1: NLHE (Nightly Stars)$100$50K632$58,017.60
2: NLHE (8-Max)$50$30K808$36,764.00
3: NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Deep)$100$35K347$35,000.00*
4: NLHE (6-Max)$50$20K434$20,000.00*
5: NLHE (8-Max, Progressive KO)$150$30K274$37,729.80
6: NLHE (Sunday Special)$100$100K1,117$102,540.60
7: PLO (6-Max)$100$15K191$17,533.80
8: NLHE (8-Max, Supersonic)$50$10K265$12,057.50
9: NLHE (6-Max, Hyper, Prog. KO)$50$30K805$36,627.50
10: PLO8 (8-Max)$75$12K215$14,673.75
11: NLHE (Super Tuesday)$200$40K325$60,450.00
12: NLHE (Mini Super Tuesday)$20$15K1,042$18,964.40
13: NLHE (8-Max)$150$15K171$23,546.70
14: NLHE (6-Max, High Roller)$500$50K169$79,430.00
15: NLHE$150$15K190$26,163.00
16: NLHE (Progressive KO)$200$40K286$53,196.00
17: NLHE (Progressive KO)$20$20K1,249$22,731.80
18: PL 5-Card Draw (Turbo)$100$10K87$10,000.00*
19: 8-Game$200$15K93$17,298.00
20: NLHE (6-Max, Turbo)$150$20K226$31,120.20
21: NLHE (8-Max, Deepstack)$100$35K478$43,880.40
22: NLHE (Saturday Speedway)$50$15K478$21,749.00
23: NLHE (8-Max Marathon)$100$35K365$35,000.00*
24: PLO (8-Max, Turbo)$100$10K112$10,281.60
25: NLHE (6-Max)$150$25K196$26,989.20
26: NLHE (Sunday Special)$100$100K1,077$100,000.00*
27: NLHE (Progressive KO)$200$35K210$39,060.00
28: NLHE (Supersonic)$75$12K202$14,241.00
29: NLHE (4-Max)$200$25K225$41,850.00
30: PLO (6-Max, High-Roller)$500$25K76$35,720.00
31: NLHE (Hyper)$250$40K288$68,400.00
32: NLO8 (8-Max)$100$10K168$15,422.40
33: NLHE (6-Max, Turbo)$30$20K944$25,771.20
34: NLHE$200$30K184$34,224.00
35: Stud Hi/Lo$100$10K110$10,098.00
36: NLHE (Progressive KO)$250$40K268$62,444.00
37: NLHE$150$20K203$27,953.10
38: FLHE (6-Max, Turbo)$200$10K67$12,462.00
39: NLHE (Hyper-Turbo)$200$15K102$19,380.00
40: NLHE (6-Max)$300$40K181$50,680.00
41: NLHE (6-Max)$75$20K415$28,323.75
42: NLHE (Turbo, PKO, Deep)$100$25K475$43,605.00
43: NLHE (Main Event)$300$200K1,013$283,640.00
44: NLHE (Mini Main Event)$50$40K1,157$52,643.50
45: NLHE (Progressive KO)$100$30K346$31,762.80
46: PLO (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo)$100$10K111$10,545.00
47: NLHE (Supersonic)$75$10K223$15,721.50
48: NLHE (Wrap-Up)$100$35K586$53,794.80
49: NLHE (8-Max, Phase 2)$50$50K1,892$86,086.00
50: NLHE (6-Max, Deep, Hyper)$100$15K248$23,560.00
- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for Online Poker Report, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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