Borgata Ramps Up The Aggression (Slightly) For the GSSS Fall Edition


It’s not the PokerStars NJCOOP, but Borgata Poker (along with network partners PartyPoker and playMGM) is offering up a notable MTT series of its own this October.

Last week, the network announced the Garden State Super Series Fall Edition, a 14-event tournament extravaganza with a series guarantee of $375,000. The series will commence on October 15 and run through October 22.

Bigger, but not big

Compared to early iterations of the GSSS, which often guaranteed $1 million or more spread across dozens of events, the Fall Edition is notably subdued. Yet, it still marks a modest expansion over last spring’s very cautious GSSS Spring ’17, which guaranteed just $265,000 across 11 tournaments.

The Spring ’17 edition was more or less a success, helping to restore the credibility of a brand that suffered widely in the aftermath of the last fall’s massive GSSS V, which both underperformed and was hamstrung by technical failings.

With some of its swagger back, Borgata appears ready to up the ante, although just a little. Highlights of the upcoming series include:

  • Buy-ins that range from $20 to $1,060, with most guarantees falling in the $5,000 to $25,000 range.
  • The kickoff event is essentially an amped up version of the network’s biggest Sunday major, except instead of guaranteeing $40,000 for a $215 buy-in, it will pay out at least $60,000.
  • The network is hosting a special $50,000 guarantee to celebrate the entry of playMGM into the fold. This event (GSSS #12) will also feature a $215 buy-in.
  • October 22 will see the running of the Main Event, which will guarantee $100,000 for a $320 buy-in.

Most of the events are spread across the No Limit Hold’em tables, with only one PLO event (GSSS #8). Given the commitment by PokerStars to offer more mixed game format tournaments, the lack of variety comes off as somewhat disappointing, especially given that the PLO MTT will only guarantee a paltry $5,000.

Also worth noting is that most of the tournaments will allow for three re-entries. This has the simultaneous effect of putting budget conscious amateurs at a distinct disadvantage (although it’s not as disadvantageous as if the re-entries were unlimited) while allowing the network to offer larger tournament guarantees.

If anything, it’s surprising that the guarantees aren’t larger. As is, Borgata erred on the side of conservatism, with most tournaments requiring fewer than 100 total entries to meet their minimum benchmark, while the Main Event will necessitate less than 350 entries.

Players incentivized to play preliminary events

As an added perk, Borgata will be awarding the top three finishers of the Events #2 – #10 preliminary events tickets into the $320 Main, bumping up the value of the tournaments by nearly $1k.

In addition, GSSS #1 will see all final tablists receive a Main Event seat, virtually ensuring that the event will sail by its relatively modest $60,000 guarantee.

Players that don’t want to ante up the buy-ins for GSSS Fall Edition events can parlay their way in via a multitude of qualifiers. Already the network has posted Main Event Mega Satellites, which guarantee seats to the top five finishers, as well as other satellites that guarantee seats to the Main Event and the October 15 kickoff event.

Satellite buy-ins start at just $5.

October poised to be a big month

October is shaping up to be the most exciting month of the year for the struggling NJ online poker industry, thanks primarily to the running of several top flight tournaments.

Already, the NJCOOP is making waves, with all but one of the first 13 events coasting by their guarantees, and highlighted by last Sunday’s $86,909 prize pool for NJCOOP-05: $250 NL Hold’em Sunday Special SE. The NJCOOP will run through October 16, and guarantees $1.2 million+ across 46 events.

Operators should also have something to cheer about this October, as big MTT series’ tend to temporarily inflate revenue. Last October, when the debut of the NJCOOP butt heads with the GSSS V, the industry pulled in nearly $2.4 million in gross gaming revenue — a figure it hadn’t seen since PokerStars launched that March, and one it hasn’t come close to matching since.

Not to mention, the advent of cooler weather should see some casual players return to the virtual green felt.

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Robert is a veteran writer and analyst for the gambling industry, with a particular focus on the emergent US online gambling market. An avid poker and gambling enthusiast, Robert offers unique perspectives from both the vantage point of the player and industry professional, and is fit to cover a broad spectrum of topics.

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