PokerStars Plays It Safe With NJCOOP 2017, And That’s A-OK


The biggest tournament series in all of New Jersey online poker is poised to make a very welcome return.

That’s because market leader PokerStars NJ has unveiled the schedule for the NJCOOP 2017, slated to kick-off on September 30 and culminate on October 16.

This will mark the second running of the NJCOOP, which debuted last October — just months after PokerStars NJ flipped over the open sign in New Jersey.

And although this year’s iteration is no bigger than last’s (it’s arguably a bit smaller), there are still plenty of reasons for NJ poker grinders to celebrate its return.

More events, same guarantees

The NJCOOP 2017 will guarantee $1.205 million across 46 distinct events, with buy-ins running the gamut from $50 – $1,000. The Main Event, scheduled for October 14 – 16 and consisting of two Day 1 flights, will guarantee $200,000 for a $500 entry fee.

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If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Last year’s NJCOOP also guaranteed approximately $1.2 million, and boasted a similar range of buy-ins. The only real noticeable difference is that the first NJCOOP featured just 43 events.

What this means is that the average guarantee for this year’s series is going to be slightly smaller, but the difference is pretty marginal. For the sake of exactness, the average guarantee for the NJCOOP 2017 will be $26,195.

That’s still pretty hefty, although it is something of a downer that only one event will guarantee six-figures.

Beyond the Main Event, notables include:

  • Event #5: $250 buy-in, $85,000 guarantee Sunday Special SE
  • Event #24: $350 buy-in, $80,000 guarantee Sunday Special SE
  • Event #28: $500 buy-in, $30,000 guarantee PL Omaha High Roller [6-Max]
  • Event #30: $1,000 buy-in, $80,000 guarantee High Roller

Game diversity on full display

To date, one of the primary strengths of the NJCOOP and its companion series the NJSCOOP is that they offered alternative format players a fair amount of options. Thankfully, the NJCOOP 2017 will continue in this tradition, sporting a diverse array of Stud, Omaha, and Mixed Games events.

In total, nine alt. format events pepper the schedule, accounting for roughly one-fifth of all events. The majority of these events carry healthy guarantees, ranging from $10,000 at the low end, to $30,000 at the high.

In addition, PokerStars isn’t keeping its NL Hold’em tournaments boring, with numerous one-off formats on display including Progressive Super KO, Win the Button, the the casual-oriented Bubble Rush. The occasional tournament will even feature no late registration, which has become something of a rarity these days.

Getting in on the cheap

When it comes to qualifying into NJCOOP 2017 events, players will have a few affordable and creative options.

Beginning September 14 and running through October 15, PokerStars NJ will be running special NJCOOP Spin & Go’s, whereby players who ante up $4 will have a chance of playing for a NJCOOP Main ticket valued at $500.

Granted the odds of having the reels land on the jackpot prize are pretty low (1.85%), but not so small that the goal becomes unattainable. And the 7% rake is on par with the site’s regular Spin & Go’s.

In addition, PokerStars is awarding anyone who busts a NJCOOP short of the money with a consolation prize. The prize: a ticket to a freeroll awarding at least $1,500 in tickets, which can be used to buy-in directly to future NJCOOP events, or for NJCOOP satellite purchases.

Individual top prizes for these freerolls run the gamut from a $100 ticket to a $500 Main Event ticket, depending on the date of the freeroll.

Worth noting, is that Events #3, 13, 25, 45, and 46 are excluded from this Second Chance Freeroll offer, as they either do not adhere to traditional payout structures or take place on the series’ final day.

Expectations for the NJCOOP 2017

Whenever PokerStars NJ has held a prestigious tournament event, its monthly revenue took a very positive turn.

Discounting its first full month of operation, when novelty and excessive promotional spend skewed the numbers, PokerStars NJ has averaged $860k per month in revenue since launching in New Jersey. In August, the site took in $821,901.

During months when either the NJCOOP or NJSCOOP has run, that average swells to just over $1.04 million, representing a 21.2% uptick.

More importantly, the NJCOOP represents a rare opportunity for NJ players to play in numerous high-profile MTTs on a daily basis. Unfortunately, competitor WSOP/888 NJ rarely offers more than the smallest of one-off series’ while Borgata/Party/playMGM has backed off after its Garden State Super Series experienced numerous technical disasters.

Given this, we should witness a rare win-win scenario in New Jersey next month, where PokerStars reaps increased revenue and temporarily increased market share, and players get to grind out multiple five-figure guaranteed tournaments every day for several weeks.

And if history is any indicator, most NJCOOP tournaments will sail by their guarantees, creating even larger prize pools.

It’s just too bad PokerStars NJ didn’t push the series guarantee to even bigger heights — but we’ll manage.

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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