New Jersey Poker Classic Highlights Strong Promotional Rollout From WSOP NJ/888

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Be it to celebrate the forthcoming online poker compact between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, the legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania, or simply in acknowledgement of its fourth anniversary in New Jersey, WSOP NJ / 888 Poker NJ is pulling out all the stops this November.

The network has rolled out what appears to be some of its most attractive offers to date, highlighted by a 38-event MTT extravaganza that will pay out at least $500,000.

It’s not the most grandiose series we’ve witnessed in New Jersey, but given the network’s track record of shying away from big guarantees, it comes off as quite the unexpected surprise.

Here’s more on the series, including some exclusive promotions on WSOP NJ.

New Jersey Poker Classic

Throughout the New Jersey market’s infant years, it was Borgata and eventually PokerStars that gambled on top-flight tournament series. Borgata has since backed off on its $1 million+ guarantees, leaving only the NJSCOOP and NJCOOP on PokerStars as the industry’s truly worthwhile series.

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For WSOP NJ/888 tournament grinders, they were best off traveling to Nevada during the summer months to play in the WSOP NV Online Championships. Other than that, their best option was to play in the New Jersey equivalent, which only guaranteed roughly $250,000 across dozens of events.

Well, from the looks of it, the game is changing. In a surprise move, WSOP/888 has announced a half-a-million dollar series that features multiple five-figure guarantees, and culminates in a rare $100,000 GTD from the operator.

Highlights of the New Jersey Poker Classic, which will run from November 10 through November 20, include:

  • On Sunday, November 12, the site will host a $320 buy-in, $65,000 guarantee — the questionably named Sunday Biggy. This will be followed by the Sunday Spectacular, which will also run on November 12, and features a minimum $30,000 prize pool ($500 entry).
  • On November 14, the series will honor its high-rollers with a $1,000 buy-in, $50,000 guarantee.
  • The weekend of November 18 stands to be the biggest of the series, with a $25,000 GTD scheduled for that Saturday, and the $100,000 Main Event ($500 buy-in) slated for Sunday, November 19.

What’s interesting here is that over the past few years, WSOP NJ/888 hasn’t offered much in the way of mid-to-high buy-in special events. The change of heart suggests a larger paradigm shift, which could be a direct result of New Jersey recently forging an interstate compact with Nevada. WSOP.com is the only operator that currently supports an operation in both states.

NJOnlineGambling.com asked WSOP Head of Online Poker Bill Rini why the network decided to go ahead with a high-profile MTT series. He offered this:

Nothing stays still forever.  We’re always looking at ways to add a little excitement to the schedule and we thought this series was something unique that would add value to the players.

For all its strengths, the series is not without its shortcomings, namely that all but two of the 38 events are No Limit Hold’em events, with the remainder spread over Pot Limit Omaha. The two PLO events only feature guarantees of $8,000 and $3,000.

Also disappointing is that there only appears to be a smattering of freezeouts. In fairness, the New Jersey market is too small to consistently pair freezeouts and high guarantees. Still, the over reliance on rebuys and re-entries may turn off the budget conscious shopper.

The train to value town

Speaking of budget friendly, WSOP NJ has rolled out myriad exclusive promotions, some of which are directly designed to get players involved in the NJ Poker Classic, and others, to help improve overall cash liquidity on the site.

  • Poker Classic Freeroll: Players who play in any NJ Poker Classic tournament and don’t cash in at least one will receive entry into a freeroll that awards tickets to the $100,000 GTD Main Event.
  • Anniversary Celebration: WSOP NJ is bringing back its signature anniversary bonus this November, which also happens to be the biggest offered by any NJ operator. From November 10 – 25, players that opt in using the bonus code CHEER1123 will receive a 100% match up to $1,123. The bonus clears at a 20% rakeback rate.
  • Anniversay Celebration pt. 2: From 11:23 am on November 20 through the same time on November 21, players will earn double loyalty points (APPs).
  • APP Leaderboards: From November 7 – December 4, grinders that earn APPs will also win leaderboard points. The top 30 weekly earners will divvy up a $2,500 prize pool. Only Silver+ and lower loyalty members are eligible, rendering this an attractive promo for part-time players.
  • Happy Hours Calendar: Players will earn double APPs from the prime time hours of 8 pm – 12 am. Or they can trade in that option for their chance at up to $100 in cash.

Measuring the impact on revenue

Generally speaking, top flight tournament series’ are a way to drive both player liquidity and revenue along an upward trajectory.

In October 2016, when PokerStars and Borgata  hosted $1 million+ guaranteed series’ in tandem, NJ online poker revenue shot up 24.9% year-on-year.

We anticipate last month’s revenue will represent the high point for 2017, as October featured the second annual running of the NJCOOP.

It’s unlikely that the NJ Poker Classic will have as profound an impact as the NJCOOP, as it’s both a smaller and less anticipated series. Still, the event should propel revenue above last November’s disappointing mark of $2.083 million.

More importantly, it signifies a bright future — one where a combined WSOP network across New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and probably Pennsylvania is able to consistently pump out series that dish out $1 million or more to players.

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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