Yesterday marked the first day of what looks to be the most significant online poker series in any of the three regulated United States markets to date: the Garden State Super Series (GSSS). As the name would imply, the GSSS is open to players located within New Jersey’s state borders; it will be held on the Party Borgata Network, which is comprised of BorgataPoker.com and nj.PartyPoker.com.
The Garden State Super Series will run for two weeks, will consist of 60 tournaments, and will feature one million dollars in guaranteed prize pools. Its format will be similar to that of PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) in that there will be 20 event types, each split into three distinct tournaments with low, medium, and high buy-in levels. For example, tonight’s GSSS Event #3 will be a Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Max Re-Buy event with $5, $20, and $50 buy-ins. The three tournaments will have start times staggered by half an hour, as looks to be the case for all the events in the series, except for satellites. It is not known why exactly the tournaments are staggered instead of running concurrently, though it could just be to allow players to evaluate how they are doing in one tournament before deciding to enter either the medium or high buy-in versions. It could potentially just be to spread out player traffic, as well.
The Garden State Super Series Main Event, interestingly, takes place in the middle of the schedule. It will be held this coming Sunday, September 14th, and is your typical No-Limit Hold’em tournament. The 5:00pm start time middle buy-in tournament looks like it is considered “the” Main Event, with a $200 buy-in, a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool, and $50,000 guaranteed for first place. The $50 low buy-in and $1,000 high buy-in both have smaller overall guarantees and no guaranteed first prize dollar amount.
It should be interesting to see how the GSSS goes, as there is a fine line between having attractive, yet manageable guarantees and being way too overambitious, especially in a ring fenced market (even if New Jersey is easily the largest of the three states with legalized online poker). Just ask the Seminole Hard Rock how over-guaranteeing a prize pool went.
PokerStars, in particular, will likely be watching the Garden State Super Series very intently, as it is expected to be the next entrant into the New Jersey regulated internet gambling market. We all know that PokerStars likes to do it up big; the GSSS may serve as a guideline for the world’s largest online poker company, since it will almost certainly want to make a big splash when it gets up in running in New Jersey
Players can make both online poker account deposits and withdrawals in person at the actual Borgata casino in Atlantic City. While this option is of course handy for someone who would rather hand over money or chips to a human being rather than sending credit card information over the series of tubes, it could be especially helpful to those who score big wins in the GSSS. Those people, if they are conveniently located to the Borgata, could make quick withdrawals of large sums of money without worrying about the machinations of various online accounts and transfers.
The complete Garden State Super Series Schedule can be found at poker.theborgata.com.