On the same day PokerStars is set to soft launch in New Jersey, 888 Poker has announced a new online poker promotion, dubbed ‘Spring Fever Giveaway’ that will see the site giveaway some $300,000 in cash and prizes, including PlayStations, Beats headphones, GoPro cameras, and 888 merchandise, over the life of the promotion.
The lengthy Spring Fever Giveaway starts at midnight on March 16 and will run through June 19.
Daily and weekly freerolls
The key components of the promotion include a daily $1,000 cash freeroll tournament and a weekly freeroll tournament with $3,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.
Here’s a look at the prize packages that will be awarded in the $3,000 weekly freeroll tournament (the prize-pool for the $1,000 daily freeroll is made up entirely of cash):
|1||Sony PlayStation 4||$666|
|3||Beats by Dre Headphones||$300|
|4-23||888poker Baseball cap||$18|
|58-117||888poker playing cards||$9|
All 888 players in New Jersey will receive two tickets to the $1,000 daily freeroll and one ticket to the $3,000 weekly freeroll at the start of the promotion.
Furthermore, additional tickets can be won by completing daily missions at the site. For example, players participating in three daily $1,000 freerolls over the course of a single week will receive an entry into the $3,000 weekly freeroll.
Players can earn additional entries into the daily $1,000 freeroll tournaments by accomplishing one or more of the following missions each day:
- Earning 1 status point in poker;
- Participating in poker tournaments with a total buy-in of $5; or
- Wagering $10 in the 888casino.
In addition to a freeroll ticket, all players completing one of the above missions will also receive a “daily surprise,” which will be awarded at random. Prizes range from an additional daily freeroll ticket (about a 1-in-2 chance) up to $1,000 cash (about a 1-in-1,000 chance). The eligible prizes and the prize distribution depends on each player’s status in the 888 VIP Program as follows:
|49.5%||$1,000 Spring Fever Freeroll ticket|
|25%||$10 Casino Freeplay|
|5%||$10 cash bonus|
|11%||$10 Tournament ticket|
|5%||$30 Casino Freeplay|
|1%||$30 cash bonus|
|1%||$30 Tournament ticket|
|2%||$100 Casino Freeplay|
|0.5%||$100 cash bonus|
|0.1%||$1,000 cash bonus|
Non MVP Players:
|67.147%||$1,000 Spring Fever Freeroll ticket|
|10%||$1 Tournament ticket|
|15%||$5 Casino Freeplay|
|5%||$5 cash bonus|
|2%||$10 Tournament ticket|
|0.5%||$30 Tournament ticket|
|0.2%||$30 cash bonus|
|0.1%||$55 Tournament ticket|
|0.05%||$50 cash bonus|
|0.002%||$100 Tournament ticket|
|0.001%||$1,000 cash Bonus|
Will the promotion help 888 fend off PokerStars?
The timing of 888’s new promotion, the Spring Fever Giveaway promo happens to coincide with the soft launch of PokerStars in New Jersey, was lost on no one.
The question is, will the promo help 888 stave off PokerStars? The entry of PokerStars is expected to not only bring new players into the online poker folds of New Jersey, but also cannibalize existing online poker operators.
The Spring Fever Giveaway promotion does little to improve loyalty, as players can simply take full advantage of the promotion and still have plenty of time and incentives to play at other sites. Furthermore, large-field freeroll tournaments aren’t overly appealing to poker players outside of very casual players.
If 888 is using the promotion as a means to counteract PokerStars they would do well to consider a prolonged Happy Hour period that would be more appealing to consistent players (who are far more likely to be discerning about the positives and negatives of different sites) and perhaps keep them from jumping ship to PokerStars.
Still, 888, and their sister site WSOP.com, seem better positioned than Borgata and PartyPoker, if for no other reason than the uncertainty currently swirling around Borgata’s future platform plans and GVC’s (the new owners of bwin.party) licensing uncertainty which prohibits direct contact between bwin.party’s New Jersey offices and GVC headquarters. Taken together, these issues somewhat hamper Borgata and PartyPoker from offering a similar, long-term promotion to counteract the addition of PokerStars.
WSOP.com also has a strong, national brand, and with the World Series of Poker tournament series just a couple months away, the WSOP.com and 888 sites will be jam-packed with players trying to qualify for a trip to Las Vegas.
For all of these reasons I feel PokerStars will have more of an impact on PartyPoker’s and Borgata’s online poker sites than it will on 888 and WSOP.com.