Short and sweet
The Winter Series this year fits 12 events into eight days, with a total of $325,000 in guarantees. Freeroll tournaments and $2.50 Spin & Go’s awarding event entry tickets for the series have been running since January 3rd.
Notable events include:
- Event 1: The kick-off tournament this Sunday, which features the most approachable buy-in of the Series- only $75 ($20,000 guarantee).
- Event 4: The High Roller event on Tuesday, buy-in is $1,000 with a relatively modest guarantee of $35,000.
- Event 7: Deep Hyper-Turbo tournament on Friday the 19th though tied for the smallest guarantee of the series ($10,000) it is likely to well exceed the expected number of players.
- Events 9 and 10: both Progressive Knockout tournaments, held on the 20th and 21st
- The $100,000 guarantee Main Event on Sunday the 21st, with its buy-in of $400 (except for those players lucky enough to win their invite from a Spin & Go this week).
Building on last year
This Winter Series shows only a humble expansion over the first iteration, featuring two additional events and an 18% total increase over the previous $275,000 in guarantees in 2017.
The Series last year ran amazingly well, with not a single event requiring an overlay, and paying out more than $366,000, exceeding the guaranteed prize pools by more than 41% (with the lowest guaranteed events outperforming by the largest margins).
This year’s Main Event is 33% larger than the previous, and becomes one of but a scant few online tournaments in New Jersey to guarantee $100,000 or more.
Spin & satty in
As noted, PokerStars will be hosting special $2.50 Spin & Go’s from January 3rd – 21st, where players can win direct entry into the Main Event. However, players shouldn’t necessarily bank on Spins as a reliable entry path, as they’ll only have a 0.185% chance of simply playing for a Main Event ticket, let alone winning.
Other possible multipliers for including 2x (75.88% frequency), 4x (21.485% frequency), and 6x (2.45% frequency). 6% will be collected for the rake, down from the usual 7%.
Cash game liquidity could possibly suffer next week as attention will be on tournament traffic, though it’s just as possible that the tournaments will drive early bustouts to the site’s ring games. According to PokerScout, current 7-day average cash game traffic on PokerStars NJ is hovering right around 120; tops in the New Jersey market and representing a pretty serious uptick over just a couple of months prior. The resurgence is presumably due to the seasonal liquidity surge that occurs during the cold winter months.
However, the overall trend for cash game traffic at NJ online poker sites remains downward, resulting in operators shifting more of their focus to small-to-mid sized tournament series.
From Tuesday onward the Winter Series coincides with this year’s World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open, which is expected to bring additional players from outside the area to Atlantic City. The overlap between the Winter Poker Open and the Winter Series was credited with part of last year’s success, though it should also be noted that PokerStars NJ has become very adept at running these small but lucrative series.
PokerStars has consistently set conservative goals and balanced buy-ins and guarantees to ensure ideal response from the limited market, efficiently gauging the expected participation levels to make these events very successful.
The Winter Series runs from January 14th to the 21st.