Borgata Poker Slowly Ramps Up The Prestige Of Its Flagship GSSS Series


Fans of Borgata Poker are growing excited as the recently announced Garden State Super Series Spring 2018 Edition is now less than a month away. The series promises a fairly solid week of MTT activity from March 18th to March 25th. Guaranteed prize pools combine up to $365,000 spread out over 17 events.

Schedule impression

As usual, the week of tournaments in the GSSS build to its focal point of a $100,000 Guaranteed Championship Event on Sunday, the 25th. This Main Event has a buy-in of $320 and will allow up to three re-buys. Also, as it has in the past, Borgata is awarding a courtesy invitation to the Main Event for the top three finishers of each of the first thirteen events.

Other noteworthy tournaments include:

  • GSSS #2: A No-Limit Hold’em on the first day with a buy-in of $215 and a guaranteed pool of $60,000.
  • GSSS #5: Low buy-in NLH event, only $55 to enter with a guarantee of $7,500.
  • GSSS #12: The only other $55 event, and the only Pot-limit Omaha tournament in the schedule. Guarantee is $5,000.
  • GSSS #16: High-Roller NLH. $1,060 to enter, $50,000 guaranteed.

Players can access the GSSS from any of the three Borgata network skins, including playMGM poker and Party Poker.

Return to form

Borgata’s semi-annual Garden State Super Series has grown subdued after the disastrous GSSS V series in 2016, which was plagued with technical problems and poor attendance. The site scaled subsequent series down to more modest goals, but this current iteration seems to have a renewed optimism. Last spring’s GSSS had an identical Main Event, but the other ten events only brought the total pool up to $265,000.

The 38% increase in guarantees over 54% more events indicates that Borgata has somewhat restored its confidence in the spring series. This is also in spite of the fact that the fall 2017 series, also $375,000 guaranteed, had only mixed-success.

Borgata would certainly have scaled back again if it were not secure in their belief this week of tournaments will outperform the fall results.

The spring landscape

As the paradigm for online poker in New Jersey has changed, tournament series like these have become increasingly important to boost revenue and combat low cash game liquidity.

The Borgata/Party Poker/playMGM shared network consistently lags behind WSOP/888 and PokerStars NJ in third place in cash game liquidity while the other two frequently trade positions for the top spot. However, Borgata has recaptured second place from WSOP on the most important front of them all, the revenue front. And a lot of its surge has to do with its revitalized tournament schedule.

For Borgata to retain its position and gain ground on PokerStars it will have to continually push the envelope, but not too hard. We feel the GSSS structure represents a solid balance.

Other operators are pushing tournament series even harder. PokerStars NJ focuses heavily on major tournament series, while WSOP did only focus on smaller series, but recently changed all that by running a New Jersey Poker Classic series in November and another this month with $800,000 in total guarantees. That series completes on February 25th, giving it only a small amount of overlap with PokerStars’ Turbo Series which has over $250,000 in guarantees from February 22nd to March 4th.

This timing is fortunate for Borgata, as it will allow the GSSS to land in a quieter period where it can shine without too much tournament competition. PokerStars’ major spring series, the NJSCOOP, has not yet announced details for 2018 but it typically runs in May. WSOP may choose to again run the Spring Poker Series it has in the past, but these have been in April and in any case have not had total guarantees over $100,000 since 2015.


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