And that’s saying a lot for the multi-table tournament series.
Following what was by all accounts a disastrous GSSS V, which was plagued by mass overlays and the cancellation of the series’ biggest events, Borgata/Party slashed the guarantee of the series’ latest iteration by more than 75 percent.
Despite the network’s newfound penchant for conservatism, four out of the first seven events resulted in overlays and negative site revenue for the operator.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the tables turned. And for a few days, Borgata/Party vaguely resembled its former self.
Recapping the GSSS Spring ’17
With the GSSS Spring ’17, it appeared that Borgata/Party was trying to turn a new page. This was evidenced not only by the changeover to a leaner, more focused series. But it came via a rebranding tweak — the GSSS is no longer a numbered series.
Unfortunately, the early turnouts were the same old, same old for the network.
Series sputters in early going
The series got off to a fair start, with Event No. 1 – $10,000 Six Max Hold’em attracting 116 entrants in creating an $11,600 prize pool. But the going quickly got rough:
- Event No. 2 – $50,000 NLHE was a complete flop, drawing only 201 entrants, and coming up nearly $10,000 short of its guarantee. Back in the day, Borgata/Party used to run this tournament on a weekly basis, and it consistently made the grade.
- Event No. 5 – $10,000 NLHE Rebuy was the most successful of the series’ early tourneys. But the $13,450 prize pool was mostly a byproduct of player willingness to throw around chips. There were just 71 unique entries, but 152 rebuys and add-ons.
- The Heads-Up (Event No. 6) and PLO (Event No. 7) events were low points for the series. Both posted overlays of more than 20 percent, despite their relatively modest guarantees.
A late resurgence
With only four events left, the situation was looking pretty dire.
But players began showing up in droves for the series’ final weekend. Perhaps it was because of the inclement weather, the more attractive guarantees or the fact that PokerStars NJ was hosting some big MTTs of its own. Event Nos. 9, 10 and 11 all exceeded their guarantees handily.
However, the most impressive performance was put forth by Event No. 10 – $100,000 Guaranteed NLHE Championship Event. Of late, Borgata/Party has struggled mightily to meet the guarantees of its six-figure events. So this event’s $108,900 prize pool was a refreshing change of pace.
Even the weekend’s other aggressive event (Event No. 11 – $50,000 NLHE High Roller) came up just one buy-in shy of surpassing its minimum benchmark. That’s not bad for a tourney with a $1,060 price tag.
GSSS Spring ’17 still outshined by PokerStars
Despite the late comeback, the GSSS Spring ’17 couldn’t hold a candle to a similarly sized multi-table tournament series running on PokerStars NJ.
The site’s NJ City Series — part of a month long string of 1st Anniversary promotional events from PokerStars — performed admirably nearly across the board. Granted, two of the series’ 10 events posted modest overlays, but four other events beat out their guarantees by 40 percent or more.
The Main Event ($400 buy-in, $50,000 guarantee) also made the grade, cruising by its guarantee by nearly $15,000, or 30 percent.
In total, the NJ City Series created a prize pool of over $201,000, beating out its guarantee of $150,000 by more than a third.
PokerStars also continues to ravage Borgata/Party on the revenue front, where it constantly averages around a 40 percent market share, compared to just under 30 percent for Borgata/Party.
What’s next for Borgata/Party?
The late vote of confidence in the GSSS Spring ’17 series was significant enough that Borgata/Party may attempt slightly larger tournament series in the future. That being said, we do believe that the network’s days of hosting $1 million extravaganzas are decidedly in the rear-view mirror.
Instead, look for PokerStars NJ to do most of the heavy lifting in NJ, and for Borgata/Party to ride its coattails with supplementary series, much the way PartyPoker does when PokerStars runs an MTT series on its international site.
Should Borgata/Party continue to rebound, a $500,000 guaranteed series might be in the pipeline. But site liquidity and player confidence has probably slumped too far for the network to try any higher.