PokerStars has released the schedule for Winter Series in the New Jersey market.

PokerStars has released the schedule for Winter Series in the New Jersey market.

Starting on January 13 and running for eight days, the third edition of the Winter Series has a total of 15 tournaments with total guarantees of just above $300,000.

Buy-ins in this year’s Winter Series are on little on the higher side, starting at $75 and going up to $1000 for the High Roller event.

Guarantees Down

Compared to the last year’s Winter Series, the operator has increased the number of tournaments, but the overall series guarantees, as well as the average guarantee per event, have come down significantly.

In 2018, PokerStars guaranteed $325,000 across 12 tournaments with an average guarantee of $27,083 per tournament. This year, the total guarantees have come down to $303,000 despite three additional tournaments, and now the average guarantee per tournament stands at $20,200.

Notable Tournaments of Winter Series

The standout tournament of the series is, of course, is the Main Event which will once again carry a buy-in of $400 with unlimited re-entries. The guarantee has been dropped to $80,000 in this year’s edition. It will be played as a single day tournament on January 20.

Other notable tournaments include a $1000 High Roller on January 15, right after the $250 buy-in Super Tuesday. These two tournaments guarantee $25,000 and $18,000 respectively. On January 17, there is a $250 buy-in Thursday Thrill edition scheduled. It carries a $10,000 guarantee and will be played as the progressive knockout format.

Besides, a number of 4-max and 6-max tournaments are also part of the schedule. All except two will be played as No Limit Hold’em format and the remaining as Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) and the five-card version of PLO. Guarantees range from $7000 to $80,000.

Satellites for almost all the tournaments are already available on PokerStars New Jersey client. Buy-ins for the satellites start at $5. Players can also win Main Event seats via a special $2.50 Spin & Go.

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$20,000 in Additional Prizes

To promote the series, PokerStars is offering a further $20,000 in Winter Series tickets. Players who bust without cashing in the series will receive a ticket for an All-in Shootout freeroll awarding at least $1500 in tickets. These freerolls run daily from January 14 to 19. Furthermore, players who make a deposit of $30 using code “WINTER” before January 20 will receive a Main Event Depositor Freeroll. Players who finish in top 25 places earn an try to the $400 buy-in Main Event.

Timing of the Series

Unlike the other markets where Winter Series is usually scheduled around the Christmas period, Winter Series in the New Jersey market has always run at a time that (partly or wholly) coincides with the Borgata Winter Poker Open live tournament series.

The series by Borgata is one of the biggest tournament series of the year and is attended by players from across the world. This year it runs from January 15 to February 1. More than $7 million is guaranteed across 23 primary tournaments including the signature $3 million guaranteed Borgata Championship event that will be a part of the 17th season of World Poker Tour.

Considering the size and popularity of the series in the Atlantic City, it makes sense for PokerStars to schedule an online tournament series during this period.

Why are the Guarantees Falling?

2018 was not a great year for most of the online poker rooms operating in the New Jersey market. According to the data published by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) last month, operators in November collected a mere $1.56 million in revenue, falling below the previous low point of $1.6 million recorded in September.

On the other hand, online casino operators generated another all-time high, bringing in $25.4 million in revenue, which is 16 times more than the amount collected from online poker rake and tournament fees.

Cash game traffic for both PokerStars and partypoker NJ (which also includes Borgata Poker) network have dropped in 2018. Only WSOP.com and 888 network which comprise the All American Poker Network (AAPN) and the only network in New Jersey that is currently able to share player liquidity with other states saw an increase in the traffic as well as their revenues.

Both PokerStars and partypoker are hoping to launch their services in Pennsylvania, one of four US states to regulate online poker, though Pennsylvania has yet to actually go live. PokerStars was recently given approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to offer online poker, slots and table games in partnership with land-based casino Mount Airy. The launch is expected sometime early in 2019.

Winter Series in New Jersey runs from January 13 to January 20.