The long awaited merger seemingly went off without much of a hitch. Of the isolated problems that were reported, they were promptly addressed by WSOP.com on Twitter.
Prior to the merge, we had learned a great deal about what WSOP had in store for its online players this summer, including but not limited to, bigger daily and Sunday guarantees, daily freerolls, and a revamped (and markedly improved) loyalty program.
Now, WSOP.com went ahead and upped the ante even further, celebrating the official launch with the appropriately titled Coast to Coast Classic series, an MTT extravaganza that guarantees some of the largest prize pools in the US regulated online poker market to date.
From New Jersey to Nevada
The Coast to Coast Classic, slated to kick off on May 11 and run through May 20, is a 32 event series that promises to pay out just north of $1 million.
While that’s certainly not the biggest MTT series guarantee we’ve seen of late — that distinction belongs to the recently concluded NJSCOOP on PokerStars NJ — it is one of the most aggressive, with each individual tournament guaranteeing at least $10,000.
The tournaments will be available to players on WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey, as well as players on 888 branded sites in Delaware. We have confirmed that 888 Poker NJ players will not be able to participate.
There’s no lack of notable events on the schedule. A few of the most attractive include:
- Event #1: $30,000 GTD kick-off event with just a $30 buy-in. Rebuys and add-ons are permitted.
- Event #7: $100,000 guarantee with a $320 price of entry. Runs on May 13 at 6 pm EST.
- Event #14: The highest buy-in event on the slate ($1,000) will feature a $85k GTD. Re-entries are permitted for this 6-Max tournament. May 15 at 8 pm EST.
- Event #30: $200,001 Main Event, with a $500 buy-in and unlimited re-entries allowed. Runs on May 20 at 6 pm EST.
- Event #31: The second high roller ($1,000 buy-in) will feature a smaller guarantee of $60,000. Kicks off on May 20 at 8 pm EST.
The peculiar $200,001 price point for the Main is largely by design. Previous Main Events in the NJ online poker market have generally topped out at $200,000, with many of them (like last week’s NJSCOOP Main Event) offering an overlay.
The addition of an extra $1 is symbolic in that it signals a future where WSOP/888 and not PokerStars will now host the largest tournaments in the legal US space.
Stepping it up
Also of note is the series guarantee of $1.014 million. As mentioned, the guarantee is not as lavish as those seen on PokerStars NJ, where it’s not uncommon for a series to offer $1.2 – $1.3 million in guaranteed prize money. However, these series generally feature a far greater number of events, and therefore a much smaller average guarantee per event.
The Coast to Coast Classic is the first standard series supported by WSOP.com to award a minimum $1 million prize pool. WSOP NJ had been scaling up to this figure prior to the onset of shared liquidity, having recently hosted the successful NJ Poker Classic II in February.
That series smashed its $800k guarantee en route to paying out over $1 million in prize money.
While the Coast to Coast Classic appears to be a well conceived series, there are a couple points of slight concern.
Namely, the fact that most of the MTTs start in the 6 – 9 pm range EST may not entirely resonate with Nevada players, who might not be able to get home from work on time to get in on the action.
Likewise, NJ players may find the 9 pm starting times too late. Although in WSOP’s defense, most of the later MTTs are of the turbo variety — good thinking.
That said, it’s hard to think of a much better solution. When one is dealing with two markets separated by a three hour time gap, scheduling MTTs to fit everyone’s preferences is an effort in futility. It’s a problem WSOP is going to have to simply deal with going forward.
Another small downer is that there is only one non-No Limit Hold’em tournament on the schedule. One of the primary benefits of sharing liquidity across markets is that it conceivably opens up more game stakes and formats for players. It would have been nice if WSOP.com played to this benefit by offering more than one Pot Limit Omaha MTT.
Lastly, we do wish 888 Poker players would have been able to get in on the action. Really, right now it’s difficult to see any major incentive to play on 888 over WSOP.com, and this feeling will likely persist throughout the summer. Here’s hoping that 888 Poker cooks up some promotions or tournament events of its own.