At The Halfway Point, The PokerStars NJSCOOP Is Making The Grade

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With all the attention on the Sunday Million Anniversary: Take 2 and its staggering $11.26 million prize pool, this year’s ambitiously expanded NJSCOOP tournament series on PokerStars New Jersey hasn’t gotten many headlines.

Given the impressive performance of the $1.3 million+ online poker series thus far, perhaps it should have.

Consistent triumph

The series, which kicked off on April 14 and runs through April 30, has overwhelmingly exceeded expectations thus far.

In the 46 events hosted to date there have only been a smattering of overlays, with a number of tournaments beating out their guarantees by 20% or more. And as of last Sunday, $787k in prize money had been issued, putting the NJSCOOP fimly on pace to award at least $1.5 million total.

Of course, as always, exceeding guarantees is not an exact measure of tournament excess. But given the expanded scope of this year’s NJSCOOP — it’s the largest MTT series PokerStars NJ has run to date — the early results speak extremely well.

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Series highlights include:

  • Event #2-H: One of the kickoff events, a $200 buy-in deepstack event, made the grade, shattering its $20k prize pool ($31,248) with top prize taking home over $6.3k.
  • Event #4-H: An augmented Sunday Special with a $75k prize pool drew 284 entries en route to a $79.5k prize pool.
  • Event #9-H: The also enhanced Super Tuesday SE saw 185 players create a $43.1k pool, vastly exceeding the $30k GTD.
  • Event #21-H: Last Sunday’s highlight event was the biggest to date, with a $350 buy-in and an $88.9k prize pool.

Non NLHE events providing solid value

While some non No Limit Hold’em events are faring well, others are offering overlays.

The first blemish in the series was event 11-L (8-Game 6-Max tournament). 11-L missed its minimum benchmark by nearly $1.8k before fees, and the final entry tally of 126 was by far the lowest of any of the lower tier tournaments in the series, which have averaged hundreds of entries.

The deciding factor seems to have been the $50 buy-in, the highest of any of the L-tier events. The entire purpose of the lower tier is to attract the low rollers, who may have been reluctant to splurge on the unique format.

Other events that came up short of their guarantees included both the high and low versions of Event #17, which was a HORSE event, and the low version of Event #22, spread over 5-Card Pot Limit Omaha. A Marathon NLHE event (#19) missed the mark for both its low and high versions, suggesting that NJ players aren’t huge on smalish tournaments with 15 minute blind levels.

Still, it is also somewhat worth noting that by this point in last year’s NJSCOOP there had already been comparatively more events which failed to meet their guarantees, further indicating that this year is poised to outperform (barring any major slip-ups).

Events still to come

Of the other remaining tournaments 27H High Roller with its massive $65,000 guarantee is still one of the highest anticipated.

The remaining four Progressive Knockout events should also prove telling, since the choice to include so many was seen as a bit of a concern for some online poker fans.  However, the KO events run thus far have been marked successes, with last Sunday’s low event drawing an impressive 415 entries.

It will also be interesting to see how the next $50 lower-tier event 21-L Sunday Special SE performs, or the ironically planned 27-L (a lower-tier High Roller event) with its $100 buy-in.  The only other $50 L-tier tournament is, of course, the 2-day Main Event 37-L, which should be a resounding success.

Together the two main events account for nearly 20% of the cash prizes in the series, not even counting the additional value of the Platinum Pass package for the winners of each event. Last year the lower-tier Main Event exceeded its guarantee by 42%, though the high-tier version only just barely did so at an excess of 2% ($204.6k prize pool).

Several Main Event ticket freerolls and satellite ticket giveaways still remain for the exciting culmination of this series.

The biggest series…so far

With WSOP NJ/888 Poker NJ poised to start sharing liquidity with WSOP and 888 branded sites in Nevada and Delaware on May 1, it likely won’t be long before the NJSCOOP 2018 loses the distinction of NJ’s biggest online poker series.

In previous years, the WSOP Online Championships series — which historically has overlapped with the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas — offered somewhere in the vicinity of $250k guaranteed. By contrast, its Nevada counterpart was much larger ($860k GTD in 2017).

This year, it’s very likely WSOP will celebrate the US’s first significant interstate compact with a series eclipsing at least $1.5 million, and maybe much more, spread across 100 or more events. And that’s not even counting the four online bracelet events, all of which NJ players will be able to participate in.

Ryan is a seasoned writer with several years of expertise in poker and online gaming. He is also an aficionado of advantage gambling and a general lover of statistics with a keen interest in strategic probability.

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