WSOP Takes On Party / Borgata With A Tournament Twosome

Avatar April 3, 2015 1453 Reads
WSOP NJ Spring Poker Series

April is shaping up to be quite the month for tournament grinders residing in New Jersey.

Just days after Party / Borgata unveiled the final schedule for its upcoming online tournament extravaganza, the NJCOP II, WSOP NJ has revealed that it too, will be hosting not one, but two one-off MTTs series throughout April.

Like the NJCOP II, WSOP’s Spring Poker Series (April 12 – 19) and NJ Turnpike Series (April 19 -26) will overlap with the Borgata Spring Poker Open, to be held at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, from April 14- May 1.

The timing of the events is a clever maneuver on the part of WSOP, designed to take full advantage of the influx of out-of-state players in town for the live Open.

Spring Poker Series breakdown and NJCOP II comparison

The Spring Poker Series will consist of eight events, seven of which will be of the No Limit Hold’em variety, with the remainder a Pot Limit Omaha event.

Buy-ins run the gamut from the minuscule ($10) to the relatively hefty ($200), and in total a minimum of $100,000 in prize money will be awarded.

As has become the norm over at WSOP, the overwhelming majority of the events will permit rebuys and add-ons. It is presumed that WSOP has adopted this model in order to compensate for the limitations of New Jersey’s small market size.

Relative to the NJCOP II, the Spring Poker Series boasts its fair share of more appealing attributes:

  • Select events are targeted towards recreational players and grinders on a budget. Comparatively, the minimum benchmark to register for a NJCOP II event is set significantly higher ($50).
  • The Main Event winner is awarded a WSOP.com-branded championship ring.
  • The Series kicks-off two days before the Open’s inaugural event, and four days before the NJCOP II, rendering it an attractive warm-up for players looking to sharpen their MTT skills.
  • Event #1 of the Borgata Poker Open is expected to draw at least 4,000 entries. Presumably, a portion of this massive field will look to multi-table online and live tournaments. The Spring Poker Series is their best bet.

That said, the Series’ latter events coincide directly with NJCOP II tournaments. Thus, players utilizing mobile devices will be forced to choose between the two.

In most instances,  I’m guessing that Open players will prefer NJCOP events, reason being that the average grinder willing to shell out $500 or more on a live tournament will typically favor high buy-in events online, in so long as the guaranteed prize pool to buy-in ratio is substantial.

NJCOP Hold’em events feature a prize pool to buy-in ratio of at least 100:1, and in select instances, 500:1. I’d say that’s substantial enough.

An equivalent Spring Poker Series will also be held on WSOP Nevada.

NJ Turnpike Series geared towards casual players

For those lacking the budget to make the trek down the Garden State Parkway for the Open, or who’d rather distribute their online funds more evenly, there’s the NJ Turnpike Series.

The Series will kickoff immediately following the Spring Poker Series, and similar to the latter, will boast one event for eight consecutive days.

Buy-ins and guarantees will tend towards the small size, with admittance costs ranging from a paltry $1 through $20, and a total guaranteed prize pool of under $9,000.

Based on this, I’m hard pressed to imagine that the Series will hold much appeal to Borgata Open players, but I don’t think it was designed to.

Instead, the NJ Turnpike Series caters to the one demographic (and it’s a big one), that the NJCOP II does not – the average Joes.

As an added perk, players that finish in the top 100 on the Turnpike Leader Board will see their tournament fees refunded for each event played. While the monetary value of the refund is capped fairly low, achieving a top 100 spot shouldn’t prove all that difficult for players that register for most or all events.

Tournament traffic not proven to dramatically increase cash game liquidity

New Jersey operator efforts to cross-promote online and live tournament series has yet to have a significant material impact on cash game liquidity.

As per data collected from PokerScout.com, during the first week of the inaugural NJCOP last April, daily player counts on Party / Borgata only climbed 6%. Worse, liquidity was actually down during the early segments of January’s Garden State Super Series II.

What this tells us is that despite an increase in overall foot traffic, cross-promotional tournament events have failed to generate much interest in NJ online poker, beyond the tournament events themselves.

Which is too bad, because if history is any indicator, April should prove to be a down month for the market’s bottom line. Last April, cash game dropped 12% throughout the month, and month-over-month online poker revenues plummeted 19%.

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