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Michigan poker players won’t have to wait long at all for their first major tournament series.
It was only about three weeks ago that PokerStars launched in Michigan. Now, the site is just about to kick off the Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP), with $1 million in guarantees spread across 60 events.
The timing is unusual and will likely be unique to this inaugural edition. In New Jersey, PokerStars’ longest-standing US site, there are two Championship series each year: NJCOOP in the fall, and NJSCOOP in the spring. Its Pennsylvania site has followed suit, and there’s no reason to believe Michigan won’t do likewise once it has settled into regular operations.
MICOOP will run for 17 days, starting this Saturday, February 20, and continuing through March 8. The Main Event takes place on the final Sunday, March 7, and guarantees a $125,000 prize pool on a $300 buy-in. As is customary for PokerStars, it is accompanied by a Mini Main Event, with a $50 buy-in and a $35,000 guarantee.
The promotions surrounding MICOOP are also standard for PokerStars’ US operations. Satellites for the series are running already, starting at $2. There is also a Main Event Depositor Freeroll on March 7, with 35 seats up for grabs. You’ll receive an entry to that if you deposit $30 or more using bonus code MICOOP, any time between now and then.
Finally, there are Second Chance Freerolls running daily throughout the series. You’ll earn an entry to one of these any time you bust out of an event without cashing. Prizes for these consist of tickets to subsequent events so you can try your luck again.
The full series schedule can be found at the bottom of this article.
As mentioned, the usual time for a series like MICOOP would be in the fall. Last year, the Pennsylvania series – PACOOP – ran from September 19 through October 5, and NJCOOP followed from October 10-26.
If the goal in Michigan was to match those other states as closely as possible, the obvious choice would have been to start with a Winter Series. PokerStars hosted concurrent versions of this in both NJ and PA this year, from January 21 to 31.
The answer is probably a combination of two factors. Most importantly, the Winter and Summer Series are both small compared to the Championships. Their total guarantees are usually about half as large.
PokerStars may not have wanted to start in Michigan with less than a $1 million series. However, that’s what it guaranteed in Pennsylvania for Winter Series, and if it set that expectation, players may then have been let down if guarantees for the Spring Championship in Michigan didn’t match those in Pennsylvania.
Another factor may have been uncertainty in the timing of the launch. The Michigan Gaming Control Board was at one time aiming to get iGaming off the ground in October or November. Based on that, PokerStars had probably begun internal preparations for MICOOP to run shortly after the other fall Championships. When the launch date got pushed back into January, they may not have wanted to start that work over again, as the Winter and Summer series have a somewhat different structure to them.
Based on state population and site traffic, future series at PokerStars Michigan will probably more closely resemble Pennsylvania than New Jersey. The converse is true for this initial MICOOP, however.
NJCOOP guaranteed the same $1 million, spread over 54 events compared to Michigan’s 60. On the other hand, PACOOP had just 50 events, and $1.5 million guaranteed, for a considerably higher per-event average guarantee than either of the other states. Main Event guarantees are also identical for NJ and MI, at $125,000 apiece, compared to $200,000 in Pennsylvania.
This is despite the fact that PokerStars Michigan currently has the highest traffic of the three. It has at times been filling over 1000 cash game seats, compared to a prime time peak of about 800-900 for Pennsylvania, and only around 300 for New Jersey.
The reason for this is probably a combination of PokerStars’ conservatism and the timing of the series. The company presumably intends to run the Michigan Spring Championship of Online Poker (MISCOOP) in April or May, alongside or just after the Spring Championships for the other states.
Tournament fatigue among players is a real phenomenon. PokerStars may not have felt confident in running two full-sized Championships less than three months apart, particularly in a new state with an unfamiliar player base.
In terms of game makeup, Michigan’s schedule is similar to the other states. It consists mostly of 48 No-Limit Hold’em events, mixed in with the following alternatives:
The schedule includes nine Knockout events, which is similar to PACOOP, but 16 Turbo or Hyper tournaments, which is more like NJCOOP. All three states have an even split between short-handed and full ring tournaments.
|Feb-22||8 PM||$50||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$15k|
|Feb-23||9 PM||$50||5-Cd. Dr.||Turbo||$3k|
|Feb-25||9 PM||$30||5-Cd. PLO||6-Max Turbo||$3k|
|Feb-26||8 PM||$100||NLHE||Big Antes||$7.5k|
|Feb-26||8:30 PM||$150||NLHE||6-Max Turbo||$10k|
|Feb-28||2 PM||$100||NLHE||8-Max Marathon||$25k|
|Feb-28||7 PM||$50||PLO||8-Max Turbo||$5k|
|Mar-1||8 PM||$100||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$25k|
|Mar-2||9 PM||$50||Stud H/L||-||$5k|
|Mar-3||9 PM||$100||NLHE||6-Max Turbo||$10k|
|Mar-5||6 PM||$10||NLHE||6-Max Rebuy||$10k|
|Mar-5||9:30 PM||$20||NLHE||6-Max Turbo||$5k|
|Mar-6||7 PM||$50||NLHE||6-Max Turbo Zoom||$15k|
|Mar-7||2 PM||$50||NLHE||8-Max Marathon||$10k|
|Mar-7||5 PM||$300||NLHE||Main Event||$125k|
|Mar-7||6 PM||$50||NLHE||Mini ME||$35k|
|Mar-7||7:30 PM||$200||NLHE||6-Max Turbo||$20k|
|Mar-8||9 PM||$20||NLHE||HU Turbo PKO Zoom||$10k|