For most consumers, poker is ultimately about the experience. The motivations and desires of the mythical “recreational” poker player have been the subject of more op-eds and Twitter debates than I can possibly count, but most of us at least agree that the reasons why so many fell in love with the game during the Poker Boom go well beyond a desire to win money.
Particularly when it comes to poker tournaments, the thrill of competition may well outweigh the possibility of life-changing money.
Winning live events is many players’ ultimate goal
Many people get into this game with the dream of playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event, the world’s most famous poker tournament. But that dream is hard to realize for a number of reasons. The biggest reason it’s hard is that the buy in is $10,000, and that’s a lot more money than the average person can afford. The cost of travel adds even more to what it takes to take a shot at the Main.
There are lots of other live events, all around the globe and all across the cost spectrum.
But the key to the excitement that centers around any particular tournament or series is the prestige attached to coming out on top. That’s what gets players entering satellites and what brings in the big TV and live stream audiences.
Thus, the pinnacle of the poker experience, for many amateur/recreational players, is finding a way into one of these prestigious events and somehow winning it.
MEGASTACK combines prestige and accessibility
No company has spent more time and energy seeking to understand this psychology than PokerStars, a company that has effectively functioned as the R&D wing of the poker tournament industry for most of its history.
Still the world leader in online poker and most popular NJ poker site, The company behind the European Poker Tour and numerous live poker events around the world is trying out something new with its MEGASTACK series, and it’s coming to Atlantic City in October. PokerStars’ licensing partner, Resorts, is hosting the event October 6th-8th.
The concept is simple: deep structures and small buy ins. Deep structures are often preferred by competitive poker players, including players who are not professionals. Small buy ins are preferred by all kinds of people for obvious reasons, mainly that they make the tournament available to a much wider variety of clientele, the kind that doesn’t go around risking $1,000 or more in a single event.
PokerStars is hoping that branding the series this way will add the kind of prestige that comes with winning a major big buy in event, while remaining accessible to the masses who can afford – or satellite into – a $220 buy in tournament.
The right audience to build PokerStars NJ
Online poker in New Jersey has stalled somewhat in 2017, and it may be the right time to try and reach some new eyes. Holding a live event as part of a new series, accessible via online satellites and with a generally low buy in, could bring new players into the fold at Stars. At the very least it should put their brand in front of more of the kind of eyes they need to build their traffic and the overall NJ market.
After all, NJ online poker isn’t especially attractive to high rollers, and it probably never will be unless the state combines its player pool with markets outside of New Jersey. But PokerStars NJ could be attractive to the exact demographic that would aspire to play in and win a tournament like the MEGASTACK.
I see this as an ambitious and hopeful experiment by PokerStars to rekindle the flames that powered poker tournaments for so many years, and New Jersey just might be the place where it takes off.
2017 Atlantic City MEGASTACK Details
|Dates||October 6-8, 2017|
|Location||Resorts Casino Hotel|
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