NJSCOOP Success Shows Online Poker Making Strides in NJ


Online poker is making strides in New Jersey, at least from the perspective of online championship series.

The two-week PokerStars New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker concluded Monday with the total prize pool through 70 events having reached almost $1.5 million. Just $1.2 million was guaranteed.

Sure, there were some overlays. Nine to be exact. This included the $1,000 buy-in High Roller, the highest buy-in event on the schedule, which fell short of drawing enough high rollers to meet its $85,000 guarantee.

However, for the first time in three tries, including the inaugural New Jersey Championship of Online Poker and first NJSCOOP in 2016, the prize pool for the $500 buy-in Main Event exceeded its $200,000 guarantee. The event drew 435 entries, creating a $204,600 prize pool.

Sure, it didn’t come anywhere close to this year’s Spring Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars’ global site, but it was never expected to. That series saw a total prize pool of $93.8 million, making it biggest online tournament series in poker history. PokerStars NJ will surely be happy with setting the mark for the biggest tournament series in New Jersey’s own very short online poker history.

The key to the success of the $500 buy-in Main Event this time around has to be considered an increase in the number of ways players could satellite in. Hopefully PokerStars NJ will see this as a reason to continue down this path. The site failed miserably in its effort to host a live tournament series in New Jersey this past Fall, and a lack of marketing and online satellites leading up to the event has to be considered a large part of the reason why.

If PokerStars NJ is going to come back and try to host another live event in its PokerStars Festival series, or for that matter, another online championship series like NJSCOOP, it must realize how key a comprehensive online satellite program running well in advance of the series can be.

People love satellites, and would ultimately rather play online poker for pennies than big bucks. For proof, PokerStars NJ need only to look at the fact its biggest buy-in tournament failed to meet it’s guarantee, while the most successful event of the series was it’s $50 low buy-in Main Event, which drew a whopping 936 entries, more than 500 of which were unique players.

When PokerStars NJ performs a post-mortem on the 2017 NJSCOOP, there is little doubt they will see it as a success.

It’s right that they do, but its as important to to dissect the reason why. PokerStars NJ needs to learn from the site’s successes as much as its failures. If they can do that, and continue to focus on providing even more robust satellite programs for events online and off, online poker will only continue to make strides in the Garden State.

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Marty Derbyshire

Marty Derbyshire has been covering online gambling for various industry media outlets since 2007.

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