Following on the footsteps of its casual-player friendly Spring Fever promotion, 888 Poker NJ has launched an offer that’s even more geared toward recreational players.
Weekend Warriors Challenges will reward players that complete undemanding poker and casino challenges with tickets to daily freeroll events. As an added perk, frequent participators will also gain access to a weekly freeroll with a $1,000 guaranteed prize pool.
The promotion appears to celebrate the advent of a new weekend tournament schedule on the site — also dubbed Weekend Warriors. Unlike the tie-in promotion, the new multi-table tournaments are not exclusive to 888 Poker, instead rolling out across the entire 888 — WSOP NJ network.
The network is trying to stave off the summer doldrums as online poker revenue took a small dip last month.
Weekend Warriors part 1: The freerolls
Regular NJ online poker players probably won’t be taken aback by the nature of the Weekend Warriors Challenge, as the site frequently hosts promotions that award freeroll tickets.
But the latest offer differentiates itself in one key way, and that’s the simplistic means by which players can accrue entries.
888 players can get their hands on $500 Weekend Warrior Freerolls tickets by completing one of the three following challenges:
- Play 50 cash game hands at stakes $0.02/$0.04 or higher
- Participate in poker tournaments with a total buy-in of $5
- Wager $5 in 888 Casino
Notice that challenges share two common threads, both of which should appeal to net-depositing players: the time and monetary investments required to earn a ticket are next to nothing.
To get the offer started, 888 is automatically awarding newly registered and returning players alike with one ticket to a $500 freeroll and a second to a $1,000 event. First time depositing players who use the promotional code “WARRIOR10” are also eligible for a 100 percent match bonus up to $888.
The $1,000 freeroll runs once a week, on Sundays at 4:00 PM. Players can earn an additional ticket by playing three $500 Weekend Warrior daily freerolls between Monday and Sunday.
All freerolls pay out in tournament dollars, and the top prize for the $500 freeroll is $100. Those who enter the weekend freeroll can win as much as $200 tournament bucks, and 99 others will receive prizes ranging from $1 to $100.
The promotional period for this offer runs from now until August 28.
Weekend Warriors part 2: New tournament schedule
The 888/WSOP NJ tournament lobby is undergoing a radical facelift. Effective July 15, 10 new tournaments with a total guaranteed prize pool of $110,000 will be made available to New Jersey online poker players.
From the looks of it, the Weekend Warrior tournaments will be replacing, not supplementing, the network’s weekend major schedule.
Here’s a rundown of the network’s new MTTs:
- $10,000 The Ultimate Warrior: $100 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament with re-entries available for three and a half hours. Begins at 6 p.m. local time.
- $5,000 Lightning Warrior: $50 buy-in turbo, with a 1:15 late registration and re-entry period. Kicks off at 8:30 p.m.
- $5,000 Warriors’ Opening Strike: $50 buy-in, three-hour late registration and re-entry period. Gates open at 4 p.m.
- $10,000 The Ultimate Warrior: Same format as the Friday tournament of the same name. 5 p.m. start time.
- $5,000 Lightning Warrior: Same start time and format as Friday’s Lightning Warrior MTT.
- $10,000 Warrior’ Opening Strike: A super-charged version of the Saturday MTT of the same name. Begins at 4 p.m.
- $50,000 The Ultimate Warrior: The highlight of the weekend is a $200 buy-in MTT with a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool. This event begins at 5 p.m. and allows for 3.5 hours of late registration and re-entries.
- $10,000 Fierce Warrior: $100 buy-in a 2:15 late registration and unlimited re-entry period. Gets underway at 7 p.m.
- $5,000 Lightning Warrior: Different day, same format and starting time as other Lightning Warrior MTTs.
The network’s current major schedule leans heavily on the re-buy and freezeout formats. This new look much more closely resembles that favored by competitors PokerStars NJ and PartyPoker NJ / Borgata.
Notice that the weekend’s biggest major now has a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool — up from $30,000 currently.
PokerStars and Party/Borgata also host weekly $50K guarantees with similar buy-ins. Whether or not the market can reasonably sustain three Sunday majors of this size remains a big question mark.
How is the New Jersey market faring this summer?
Despite the entry of PokerStars NJ in March, cash game traffic in New Jersey isn’t in a significantly better place than it was 12 months ago.
According to Poker Industry Pro (paywall) through PokerScout.com, current 7-day averages are hovering just under 300 players. That’s a sizable, but not wholly unexpected, departure from the 400+ players the market was averaging in late March and early April.
888/WSOP NJ has not weathered the storm particularly well, with cash-game traffic dipping 22 percent over the past month. PokerStars NJ liquidity has dropped 17 percent over the same time span, and volume on Party/Borgata has increased 4 percent.
Expect the new reload bonus on WSOP NJ and Weekend Warriors Challenge to drive a smattering of players back to the network’s ring games.
How Weekend Warriors will impact tournament turnouts is a bit more of a question mark, depending at least in part on player willingness to partake in weekend majors on 888/WSOP NJ that suddenly parallel those found on competing sites.