Can PokerStars NJ “SCOOP” Up Another Win For New Jersey Online Tournament Poker?

April 27, 2017
Can PokerStars NJ “SCOOP” Up Another Win For New Jersey Online Tournament Poker?

PokerStars NJ has released the schedule for what could arguably be the biggest tournament series in NJ online poker history.

The second annual NJSCOOP will hit NJ computers, tablets and smartphones beginning on May 6. The series will run for 17 days and span 35 events, with each event featuring a “low” and “high” buy-in tier.

PokerStars has found much success on the tournament front, with the inaugural NJSCOOP putting forth a strong performance. The NJCOOP set new standards of excellence in the market.

But can lightning strike a third time? From the looks of it, there’s no reason to think it won’t.

Breaking down the NJSCOOP

The second running of the NJSCOOP represents a modest expansion over the series’ first iteration. Last year, the series featured 54 total tournaments. This time around there will be 70, with buy-ins running the gamut from the very low ($10) to $1,000.

In addition, the series guarantee increased from $1.1 million to over $1.2 million ($1,206,000 to be exact). The NJCOOP, which made its debut in October 2016, boasted a nominally higher guarantee.

Series highlights include:

  • Event #1 High NLHE [Nightly Stars]: $100 buy-in freezeout featuring a $15,000 guarantee
  • Event #3 High NLHE [Sunday Special SE]: $300 buy-in freezeout, $85,000 guarantee
  • Event #21 High NLHE [4-Max]: A special shorthanded tournament features a $300 buy-in and a lofty $40,000 guarantee
  • Event #24 High NLHE [6-Max]: The highest buy-in tournament on the schedule ($1,000) goes extra big, guaranteeing $85,000
  • Event #32 High NLHE [Main Event]: One of only two NJSCOOP events slated for two days, Event #32 High boasts the series’ largest guarantee at $200,000
  • Event #32 Low NLHE [Main Event]: The poor man’s Main Event will feature a rich $30,000 prize pool, all at a $50 price point

Pot-limit Omaha, and other mixed games fans will be pleased to know that the NJSCOOP schedule features ten non-hold’em events. That’s 29 percent of the total events on the schedule.

Not really that aggressive

There’s no denying that the NJSCOOP is a big tournament series. But it’s not PokerStars NJ’s most aggressive.

In October, the NJCOOP offered a very similar guarantee spread across just 43 events. The average tournament guarantee for that series clocked in at over $28,200 — for the NJSCOOP it’s just $17,200.

Even last year’s NJSCOOP featured a higher average tournament guarantee, $20.4k.

The good news is that we are seeing more budget-friendly price points for the NJSCOOP than for any high-profile tournament series PokerStars NJ has run to date. Twenty-one out of the 70 events have buy-ins of $20 or less. And those are direct buy-ins, not qualifiers.

[i15-table tableid=20717][i15-table tableid=19346]

Will the NJSCOOP make the grade?

Given the series’ more modest individual guarantees, and PokerStars NJ’s past performance hosting these types of events, we’re of the mind that the second NJSCOOP will coast by its guarantee, perhaps by a significant margin.

  • The NJCOOP was an unequivocal success, with even the worst performing event falling short of its guarantee by less than 5 percent. The best events beat out their minimum benchmarks by 50 percent or more.
  • Last year’s inaugural NJSCOOP was also quite successful, with a strong majority of events meeting their guarantees.
  • The NJSCOOP will not be in direct competition with a high-profile series from Borgata Party, meaning the wealth should be concentrated on PokerStars NJ.

However, there are a few variables that could potentially work against it:

  • PokerStars NJ is mired in a bit of a slump. According to Poker Industry Pro via PokerScout, the site is sitting on an average of approximately 100 concurrent cash game players. Then again, in the lead up to the NJCOOP it was averaging about the same.
  • The NJSCOOP is a more casual-friendly series than those that came before it. This could work in favor of PokerStars. But it is worth noting that the site relies on a lot of regulars, who may be turned off by some of the low buy-ins, and particularly the lower guarantee-to-buy-in ratios.
  • The last weekend of the NJSCOOP runs dangerously close to the kickoff of the 2017 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Still, all in all, the good outweighs the bad.

The one event that may struggle to meet its guarantee is the Main Event High, as the two previous times PokerStars NJ has tried to host a $200,000 guaranteed tournament, it came up short — just short, but short nonetheless.

Satellite in starting now

There is no dearth of ways to qualify for NJSCOOP Main Event.

  • Special $4 Spin & Go’s are running, where the grand prize is a NJSCOOP Main Event High Ticket valued at $500. Odds of “spinning” a jackpot multiplier: a little less than two in a thousand.
  • Players that play just one real money cash game hand, or buy into any tournament will qualify for a weekly Main Event freeroll. First place wins a seat into the Main Event High, while all other final table participants will win a Main Event Low seat ($50 value)
  • All players who play in Events 3,6,18,21 or 27 (low or high) will receive a ticket to an All-In Shootout, which will award $8,000 world of satellite tickets to the NJSCOOP Main Events.
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