PokerStars NJ Takes A Turn In The Fast Lane With Its Inaugural Turbo Series


On the heels of its successful Winter Series, PokerStars NJ has opted to try something new in the US market: a tournament series dedicated exclusively to turbo tournaments.

The Turbo Series 2018, announced recently without much forewarning, is a 28-event MTT extravaganza that will run from February 22 through March 4.

Players familiar with Stars’ dot-com site will recognize the event as a bite-sized version of the former Turbo Championships of Online Poker (now also known as the Turbo Series), which kicked off over there on February 18.

Fast and furious

Beyond the fast-paced theme, there are a couple of attributes unique to the Turbo Series 2018 that differentiate it from other series on PokerStars NJ.

  • The guarantees trend somewhat lower, starting at $5k and topping out at $25k. On the flip side, the buy-ins are mostly on the affordable side, ranging from $15 to $250.
  • No Limit Hold’em and Omaha variants (PLO, NLO8, PLO5) are the only game types represented.
  • There is an absolute ton of MTT formats represented, however, ranging from traditional turbos and hyper-turbos, to short-handed forays, Win The Button, Big Stacks, and Progressive KOs. Very few tournaments are alike.

In total, the series will guarantee $271k, making it one of the smallest named series to run on PokerStars NJ since it debuted in March 2016. The recently concluded Winter Series guaranteed $325k across just 12 events, and the annual NJCOOP and NJSCOOP generally feature $1 million+ prize pools.

Series notables

As noted, the Turbo Series 2018 offers a little bit of everything (except long blind levels). Here’s a glance at a few of the more appealing tournaments on the slate:

  • Event #1: $150 buy-in, $15k guarantee. This traditional turbo appeals due to its lofty guarantee relative to most other events.
  • Event #3: One of just two NL Omaha H/L tournaments. Interesting because we normally don’t see this game type represented in New Jersey. $50 buy-in, $5k guarantee.
  • Event #4: $100 buy-in, $7.5k guarantee. The first of three Progressive KO tournaments.
  • Event #16: $15 buy-in, $5k guarantee. This 3x turbo event boasts the cheapest buy-in of any Turbo Series tournament. Unlimited rebuys are available for the first 90 minutes, so expect something of a free-for-all.
  • Event #19: $250 buy-in, $15k guarantee. This is the most expensive tournament on the schedule; features a deep starting stack but only 3-minute blinds.
  • Event #26: $100 buy-in, $25k guarantee. The Main Event is a bit odd in that the price of entry is lower than many of the other tournaments. It follows that the guaranteed prize pool is somewhat underwhelming.

Big turnouts or overlay alert?

The guarantees are set so conservatively that we don’t see a lot of overlay value emerging. It’s plausible that some of the wackier events like Bubble Rush or the Omaha events may boast a small overlay, but they’ll hardly be anything worth writing home about.

That being said, there’s tons of other value to be had. Turbo tournaments tend to attract a good number of players, from casuals to pros and everything in between. This is particularly true in markets that are based in just one time zone, as working players concerned about MTTs running into the wee hours of the morning will be able to end their grind at a reasonable hour.

Not to mention, PokerStars NJ is running a good deal of satellites, and not just to the bigger events. Already, we see sattys popping up for the first four events and the Main, with buys starting at just $2. It’s presumed that all events will offer players this alternative entry path.

Tournaments taking over NJ

On a closing note, we note that recently the NJ market has really upped its tournament game, with major series running across the three major networks on a near monthly basis. WSOP NJ/888 Poker NJ will close the book on its $800k NJ Poker Classic II this weekend, and Borgata Poker has just announced its Garden State Super Series Spring 18 (begins on March 18).

We don’t exactly know why NJ operators are placing so much more emphasis on tournament series. It could be a reflection of the industry’s dwindling cash game traffic, or it may be that the industry is preparing its servers for bigger events once New Jersey begins sharing online poker liquidity with Nevada and Delaware. In either case, we’re liking what we see.

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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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