The first major MTT series (Coast 2 Coast) since NJ, NV, and Delaware began sharing liquidity was an unmitigated success, with several events setting new precedents for the legal US industry.
Were the prize pools on par with those seen on the bigger international sites? No, but they do signal a bright future for major MTT series should just a few other larger states enter the mix.
Coast 2 Coast: by the numbers
Strictly in terms of the number of events the Coast 2 Coast series was a smallish MTT series, consisting of just 32 tournaments spread out over 10 days. Before shared liquidity a series of this size, especially on WSOP.com, would rarely offer more than a $500k guaranteed prize pool. The Coast 2 Coast series guaranteed a shade over $1 million.
And it blew that number away. In total, just under $1.4 million in prize money was doled out, with just a single event posting a smallish overlay. Fourteen events breezed by their guarantees by 40% or more.
Series highlights include:
- Event #1: The kick-off event generated a $42,644 prize pool, despite its affordable $30 buy-in. Top prize was over five-figures ($10,448), and an impressive 426 players signed up.
- Event #7: The series first Sunday Major offered a $100k guarantee for a $320 buy-in. It had little trouble eclipsing that, as 334 players created a whopping $150,600 prize pool.
- Event #14: The first of two high rollers ($1k buy-ins) saw 89 unique entries and 36 re-entries, making for a $119,375 prize pool. First place offered just over $34k.
- Event #28: Clearly, there is a demand for more Pot Limit Omaha events, as the sole PLO MTT on the slate beat out its modest $10k prize pool by nearly 70%.
- Event #29: WSOP.com took a jab at its competitors by offering a $200,001 guarantee for its $500 buy-in Main Event (most NJ sites offer $200k GTD for their Mains). It might as well have set the GTD even higher, as the Main drew a staggering 526 entries en route to one of the largest non-bracelet event prize pools in industry history: $245,642.
- Event #30: This budget event drew more players (704) and more rebuys/addons (1,907) than any other. $11 bought players a shot at a nearly $30k prize fund.
- Event #31: On the other end of the spectrum, the second high roller generated 106 entries and a $101,230 prize pool.
These figures are particularly impressive given that not all the tournaments were exactly amenable to working players, especially those living in NJ. To expound, a swatch of weekday tournaments didn’t get off until 9 pm EST. Couple this with the long late-reg times and it wasn’t totally uncommon for MTTs to last until 4 am.
One gets the impression that the Coast 2 Coast was a sort of live field test for the upcoming Online Championships, which will overlap with the live World Series of Poker and is WSOP’s flagship series.
Given the performance of Coast 2 Coast, it wouldn’t surprise if that series offers a multi-million guaranteed prize pool.
Shared liquidity benefits become evident
The Coast 2 Coast series marked the first time that players really felt the impact of shared liquidity between New Jersey and Nevada poker sites on the MTT front.
Yes, the NJSCOOP and NJCOOP on PokerStars NJ feature larger series guarantees, and generate larger prize pools, but they also consist of far more events. A look at the average prize pool per tournament for a few recent NJ series paints a more accurate picture.
Individual Coast 2 Coast tournaments averaged $43.6k per event, compared to just $17.4k and $19.3k for the two WSOP NJ/888 Poker NJ Poker Classics, respectively. The PokerStars NJCOOP fared somewhat better, with a $31.4k event average.
Projecting the Coast 2 Coast numbers over an 80-event series yields a $3.5 million prize pool, which would be far and away the largest in industry history.
What’s next for WSOP.com?
Traffic on WSOP.com should ramp up significantly over the next week, reaching an initial peak around the Colossus (June 4) and hitting a fever pitch right before the Main Event in mid-July. It’s not uncommon for online traffic to spike 40% during the summer, due primarily to the waves of poker tourists that park themselves at the Rio.
These spikes may be even more pronounced this year, as for the first time New Jersey players will be permitted to join in the fun. $15 million worth of guarantees, including access to four online bracelet events, should prove compelling enough to drive even some long dormant NJ players back to online poker.
On a downbeat, the exceptional Coast 2 Coast numbers may have been driven mostly by hype — after all, shared liquidity did just go live a few weeks ago. In the long run, players may demand better scheduling and site improvement before they click the “Deposit” button.
But at least for the next few months, attendance records for cash games and tournaments should fall on a near weekly basis. Enjoy the ride.