WSOP Announces More International Stops Including New Event in Barcelona

The WSOp International Circuit recently announced new tour stops.

The World Series of Poker Europe may have wrapped last week, but the series’ international circuit rolls on. The WSOP International Circuit announced seven 2020 stops on Thursday including a new event in Barcelona and return to Paris.

Beyond those, four previous locations return including:

In total, the 2019-20 WSOP International Circuit will feature 16 different tournament stops this season.

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“We continue to see great interest and feedback in our International Circuit series,” WSOP international director Gregory Chochon said in a news release. “New markets have performed well and we’re continually searching for new locales to bring the WSOP experience to players in those regions.”

WSOP International Circuit features a busy November and December

With the announcement of the new tour stops, the WSOPI enters a busy stretch. That includes three stops beginning Dec. 14 on three different continents.

With an event also set for Dec. 6, the WSOPI will stage four stops over the next six weeks to close out 2019.  Upcoming stops include:

  • Nov. 14-22 – Holland Casino, Rotterdam
  • Nov. 14-22 – Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino, Aruba
  • Nov. 14-22 – Star Sydney, Australia
  • Dec. 6-14 – Punta del Este Resort, Uruguay

Mexico has become new ground for poker tours recently with the WSOP and WPT both making forays into the country. The WSOP is fresh off it first Mexican series, held in Monterrey.

The opening event attracted 1,511 entries and a $244,777 prize pool (4.7 million pesos). The main event featured a $1,033 buy-in (20,000 pesos) with Roberto Borrego taking home $175,701 (3.4 million pesos).

A quick look at the WSOP International

Like the American WSOP Circuit, the international tour features two qualifiers per stop for the WSOP Global Casino Championship. That event will be held in August 2020 at Harrah’s Casino Cherokee in North Carolina.

The Main Event winner and the Casino Champion win automatic entries into the season-ending event. The international portion is expected to contribute 32 qualifiers to the Global Casino Championship.

US qualifiers include 50 at-large point qualifiers plus 70 qualifying winners and Casino Champions.

As with the WSOPC, international winners are also awarded WSOP Circuit gold rings. Here’s a look at the remaining stops on the WSOPI:

Tournament DatesLocation
Nov. 14 – 22Holland Casino (Rotterdam, Holland)
Nov. 14 – 22Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino (Aruba)
Nov. 14 – Dec. 9The Star Sydney (Sydney, Australia)
Dec. 6 – 14Enjoy Punta del Este Resort (Uruguay)
Jan. 10 – 19Casino de Marrakech (Morocco)
March 5 – 23Sonesta Maho Beach, Casino Royale (St. Maarten)
April 9 – 19Casino Barrière Le Croisette (Cannes, France)
May 18 – June 1Club Pierre Charron (Paris, France)
May 30 – June 7Casino de Marrakech (Morocco)
June 11-21Casino Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)

Re-entry Tournaments Stoke Debate Among Players

Re-entry tournaments have drawn some debate recently among players.

With the World Series of Poker Europe wrapping up, a debate regarding re-entry tournaments has consumed social media in recent days. The debate has focused on whether allowing unlimited re-entries is good for poker.

Numerous players have weighed in on the issue. Daniel Negreanu has long been a critic of re-entry events, preferring the game’s old days when freezeouts were the norm.

The argument spurred comments and opinions throughout the past week. Some even offered ideas on possible changes to re-entry poker tournament formats.

The issue certainly seems to be top of mind for many with many weighing in with their own analysis.

Re-entry poker creates some differing opinions on fairness

The re-entry format has been the norm for most tournament events for several years now. Tours like the World Poker Tour make use of the format for a few reasons.

  • Prize pools – Many feel re-entries help build prize pools, and offer larger payouts, which players have come to expect.
  • Happier players – The theory is that players who travel the circuit regularly get more bang for the buck with re-entries. After spending money on travel, a chance to re-enter after an early elimination offers a chance to get back in action.

Critics argue that re-entry formats benefit well-financed pros. Players with more money can fire away until they build large stacks with a better shot to run deep.

Last December, Dylan Linde won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.6 million after firing five bullets. Those re-entries ran $10,400 each.

In an event that paid 126 players, Linde had to finish at least 24th just to make a small profit. Some players point to this type of bullet firing to show what’s wrong with the system.

Others argue re-entries are good for all involved regardless of poker status. The system is the same for everyone and players can decide what’s best for them.

“A good reg can get coolered too and have another chance,” poker pro Daniel Strelitz noted on TwitterOthers echo similar thoughts.

Criticism of the system and a few alternatives

Beyond simply favoring freezeouts and poker events with fewer re-entries, Negreanu thinks his return on investment is lower in these events.

“I believe this, but cannot prove it as fact: most pros who play a tournament with no re-entry option will have a higher ROI on that bullet than their first bullet if they are planning to reenter,” he Tweeted this week.

Kid Poker suggested paying out the number of players responsible for the prize pool rather than entries. A shorter number of payouts might help curb late registrations, he argues.

Others argued this top-heavy payout system would favor pros. Either way, Negreanu plans on adjusting his own tournament registration procedures in the future. 

One alternative idea is allowing fewer re-entries, maybe even a single extra bullet. Others favored smaller chip stacks for those who enter late or banning late registration altogether.

Some players don’t necessarily enjoy re-entry events. But they feel these can be good for recreational players when considering some pros’ expected value (EV). 

“The one good thing about it when top pros are playing re-entries at lower than their average buy-in, they tend to  play the re-entry period in a negative-EV fashion that is good for their opponents,” poker pro Ari Engel notes.

“Please don’t misunderstand – re-entries are awful, but this is one of the few good things about them for the perspective of the average player in the field, losing less money long run.”

Some tough choices when it comes to prize pools

Re-entries may be a challenge for some, but reduced fields could have a major effect on poker prize pools. Striking a balance that will still produce large payouts is a difficult needle to thread.

Some believe re-entries hurt recreational players’ chances in big events. But if prize pools diminish, would recreational players be as attracted to major poker tournaments?

Negreanu remains a believer in non-re-entry events, and believes fewer re-entries not only help recreational players but also pros. His argument is that pros tend to play better when they know there are fewer chances to get back in.

The Commerce Casino was set to kick off the LA Poker Open on Nov. 1. The property was taking a stab at finding a compromise between both side of the equation.

Players wouldn’t be allowed to re-enter in a starting flight in which they’ve been eliminated. These players could then enter another starting flight. There would also be no re-entry in one-day events.

The Commerce is attempting to find some middle ground and reach players who may favor fewer buy-ins. It will be interesting to see what players think, but the debate on the issue should continue.

A look at the WSOP in Las Vegas

The World Series of Poker has mostly been a holdout in keeping re-entries at a minimum in most events. It does offer some re-entry tournaments, including the gargantuan field record setters.

However, much of the series remain in the freezeout format or offer  limited re-entries. Here are some statistics from this summer’s 89-event series:

  • Freezeouts – 42 events including the Monster Stack, Mini-Main Event, and Main Event. These represented 46.6% of all bracelet events.
  • Single re-entry – 32 events, representing 35% of bracelet events.
  • Freezeouts and single re-entry – Combined, these made up about 80% of bracelet events.

Seth Palansky, Caesars/WSOP vice president of corporate communications, notes that the WSOP staff tends to be more conservative when it comes to re-entries. However, sometimes an additional entry can be favorable for certain events.

“When we analyzed our numbers and recognized, for example, that 44.7 percent of players in the seniors event made that the only WSOP event they played all summer, we decided adding a single re-entry to that event was favorable to all,” he says.

“If that is the one event you play and you run Kings into Aces early, you are going to want another chance to enter if you wish.”

The WSOP takes a nuanced approach, Palansky says, and doesn’t think about re-entries in isolation.

Other major considerations when scheduling events include starting: chip stack, level lengths, late registration periods, scheduled length of tournament, dealer costs, fees to pay dealers and staff, allocated dealers and staff, event location, number of events being run at the venue, venue objectives, length of series, and more.

Palansky believes the issue deserves more study in the industry beyond social media.

Striking a balance with more options

The WSOP has added more starting chips in recent years, generally with positive responses and record turnouts. Re-entries provide value for players by swelling prize pools and make it easier for operators to meet guarantees.

“There have been unintended consequences,” Palansky says. “Some have found the combination of re-entries and late registration as a way to gain an edge. Poker is all about exploiting edges or perceived value, but the other side of the coin is to understand whether there is a level playing field for all who enter an event.

“On one hand, someone re-entering seven times in an event means they have given all their chips to others seven times already. Those players receiving those chips are thrilled to get them. But when that eighth entry yields a deep run, some argue that the player ‘bought’ the result and had an unfair advantage.”

Some venues have become “addicted to re-entry,” Palansky says, as it provides better cost certainty and less risk. He argues re-entry has replaced some concurrent tournaments that could be scheduled. Palansky believes the WSOP has moved in the right direction.

“We feel at the WSOP in Las Vegas, we have struck the right balance,” Palansky says. “First off, we have a long tournament series with ample events and opportunities for everyone to either find or avoid individual events based on their preference.

“We at the WSOP feel the pendulum has swung too far with re-entries.  It’s important that everyone who enters an event has a chance to win that event. Certainly skill alters that and that’s okay – as in all of sports and competitions. But buying your way into the money is a concern. Re-entry has its place, it is just a matter of finding the right balance.”

Why 888Poker Should Grab Your Attention Right Now

888Poker is going all-out this year. The entire 888Poker Squad will be coming to Las Vegas to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WSOP, and there are some great WSOP packages up for grabs. 

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the most recognizable poker event in the entire world. Hundreds of thousands of players make a summer pilgrimage to the Rio in order to hunt for the famous gold bracelets.

888Poker has an existing connection to WSOP, in that the two sites share a network in New Jersey. So, it’s probably not a surprise that 888Poker is piggybacking onto the tremendous wave of interest that follows the annual tournament series.

However, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the World Series of Poker. So, the site is bringing its entire 888Poker Squad to Las Vegas to celebrate.

The Squad is a group of top notch 888 ambassadors. Its members include:

  • 2014 Main Event Winner Martin Jacobson
  • Poker announcer Kara Scott
  • Online poker legend Chris Moorman
  • Dominik Nitsche
  • Vivian Saliba
  • Ana Marquez
  • Sofia Lovgren

888Poker is offering exclusive qualifiers online to give players a shot at hanging out with this group of poker celebrities. There’s no doubt that the winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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888Poker Main Event Packages

888Poker is a WSOP Main Event sponsor again this year. So, the site is going to offer an exclusive Main Event package on its site.

The Squad package is worth $12,600 in terms of a cash value. It includes:

  • Main Event $10,000 buy in
  • 6 free nights at the luxurious Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas
  • $1000 for travel and expenses
  • Shuttle service back and forth to the Rio
  • Dinner on the first night of the Main Event
  • Vdara welcome session
  • 888Poker Live Kit
  • Meet and Greet with some of the top players in the world.

Some of the elite squad members will also host private training sessions as a cherry on top of the deal. The squad member prize winner that lasts the longest in the 2019 Main Event will also win a $12,600 package to the 2020 WSOP Main Event.

How to Qualify for the 888Poker Squad Packages

888Poker is awarding packages through the Sunday $1050 Main Event Package Qualifier tournament. This qualifier runs every Sunday at 20:30 GMT.

If $1050 is a little too much for your bankroll, don’t worry. There are multiple lower buy in events that can help get you on the road to the Sunday Qualifier. Some are even available for just 1 cent!

For instance, each day at 20:01 GMT there is a $16.50 satellite that can get you into the Sunday $109. In turn, the Sunday $109 event runs every Sunday at 17:12 GMT and guarantees 5 seats directly to the $1050 Main Event Qualifier.

The WSOP is back at the Rio and bigger than ever

After earlier speculation to the contrary, the WSOP will be back at the Rio again this year. The 50th WSOP begins on May 28 and runs until July 16.

A few new additions have been added to the WSOP lineup this year, including an event called the Big 50, which will commemorate the WSOP’s anniversary.

The Big 50 is a $500 buy-in no-limit event with a $5 million dollar guaranteed prize pool. First prize for this tournament will be a cool $1 million.

Even better, every player’s initial entry is rake free. The first flight for the Big 50 will occur on May 31. 

The WSOP expects record numbers again this year, due in part to sites like 888Poker running these great package deals. Make sure not to miss out and get into the action with 888Poker.

Three Things To Notice About The Schedule For WSOP Europe

While the countdown to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) itself is winding down, tournament officials across the pond are getting their ducks in a row. WSOP Europe has finalized its schedule for October and November, and three things stuck out about the upcoming series.

First, here’s the full series:

DateEvent #Event NameBuy-in (in Euros)Guaranteed Prizepool (in Euros) 
October 13, 20191The Opener No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A350220,000
October 14, 20191The Opener No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B350220,000
October 15, 20192Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed) - Flight A550100,000
October 16, 20193Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A1,350500,000
October 16, 20192Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed) - Flight B550100,000
October 17, 20193Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B1,350500,000
October 17, 20194Turbo Bounty Hunter No-Limit Hold'em1,100200,000
October 18, 20193Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold'em - Flight C1,350500,000
October 19, 20195Pot-Limit Omaha/No-Limit Hold'em Mix1,650200,000
October 20, 20196Platinum High Roller No-Limit Hold'em25,5001,000,000
October 23, 20198Diamond High Roller No-Limit Hold'em100,0005,000,000
October 23, 20197Pot-Limit Omaha2,200200,000
October 25, 20199Main Event No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A10,3505,000,000
October 26, 20199Main Event No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B10,3505,000,000
October 28, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A5501,000,000
October 29, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B5501,000,000
October 30, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight C5501,000,000
October 31, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight D5501,000,000
October 31, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight E5501,000,000
November 1, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight F5501,000,000
November 1, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight G5501,000,000
November 2, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight H5501,000,000
November 2, 201910Colossus No-Limit Hold'em - Flight I5501,000,000

There’s something for everyone

For a tournament series with only ten events, there is quite a bit of diversity in both game selection and buy-in. Even players on a tight budget can take a shot at winning a bracelet.

In fact, buy-ins for WSOP Europe begin at €350. From there, the cost to enter a tournament scales upward – all the way to a whopping €100,000.

However, no matter the buy-in level, every tournament guarantees a six-digit prizepool. Even the smallest WSOP Europe tournaments are a big deal.

There will also be three pot-limit Omaha tournaments available in October.  Two of these tournaments are pure PLO, and one of them features a round of each game.

Two high roller events round out the slate of tournaments. The big mama of these, the Diamond High Roller, requires €100,000 for each seat.

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The Main Event may not be as big as the Colossus

The Main Event at the American version of the WSOP is certainly the marquee event for the series. However, based upon the schedule, it’s not clear that the European counterpart shares that view.

There’s no doubt that the WSOP Europe Main Event is a doozy. The tournament features a €10,350 buy-in and a whopping €5,000,000 buy-in.

However, it’s hard to ignore the Main Event’s status as a warm-up act to the Colossus. The Colossus, a transplant from the American series, features an incredible nine opening flights.

These nine flights are spread across eight days. As a result, some players will wait more than a week (and into the following month) to play out the rest of the tournament.

The Colossus is also accessibly priced at €550. Anyone, more or less, can play.

In that, the Colossus is supplanting the Main Event as the great equalizer across the pond.

WSOP Europe may have found a home in Rozvadov

For the third year in a row, WSOP Europe will occur at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Tournament officials will host the event beginning on October 19 and finishing on November 5.

The return of the WSOP brand to Rozvadov cements the King’s Casino as one of the premier poker destinations in Europe. Its central location, near the German border between Prague and Munich, allows players to take easy trips from the entire continent.

“We are eager to return to King’s Resort in October for the 11th edition of WSOP Europe,” said WSOP Director Gregory Chochon, in a press release. “King’s Resort has become the center of the poker world in Europe and they are once again bolstering this series with €14 million plus in guarantees to ensure players find plenty of value and opportunity.”

Having a consistent location will also help to secure WSOP Europe’s place in the European poker scene. A permanent home for the Series will (hopefully) result in more players and bigger prizepools.

If you are planning a trip to play or watch the WSOP Europe, check either the WSOP site or the King’s Casino site for information. It’s definitely going to be a sight to see.

WSOP.com Online Bracelet Events Bright Spot In U.S. Poker Report

WSOP.com

The launch of U.S. shared online poker liquidity at the beginning of May was an exciting time for the U.S. regulated online poker community. There was hope that it would provide a much-needed boost to the number of cash game players and tournament entries.

And while the initial numbers looked good, it seems as if the excitement is beginning to fade. This week’s report is anything but glowing, although there are a few bright spots.

One of those bright spots is the fact the WSOP.com expects to post huge numbers for its remaining online bracelet events.

There are three more chances to earn some new jewelry in June on WSOP.com:

  • $565 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Handed on June 22 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 29 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $3,200 High Roller on June 30 at 3:30 p.m.

The key stories since our last report published on June 5 are:

  • Tournament players are keeping an eye on WSOP.com and the three upcoming online bracelet events
  • Tournament entries over the last six weeks are showing a declining trend for all three operators
  • PokerStarsNJ is trending down in tournament entries and peak traffic numbers, while average cash game players remain flat
  • partypokerNJ sees a glimmer of hope with a slightly upward trend line in peak cash game traffic while the rest of its outlook looks dismal

Now, let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending June 17, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

The major tournament poker story from the last two weeks is there really is no story. It seems players aren’t showing up online without a significant online tournament series or online bracelet event to lure them.

WSOP.com continues to top the $100,000 guarantee for its weekly Sunday tournament. In fact, the prize pool nearly doubled the guarantee on June 10. The overall trend line is heading in the wrong direction, however, excluding the online bracelet event on June 3.

On June 17, WSOP.com posted the lowest number of entries (by 100) since the launch of shared liquidity. This is concerning because there was really nothing major keeping players from playing online. It was Seniors weekend at the WSOP and Electric Daisy Carnival already passed through town which is the usual explanation for low turn out this time of year.

While WSOP.com continues to exceed its guarantees, PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are not so lucky.

The other major Sunday tournaments

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ failed to meet their guarantees in each of the past two weeks. For PokerStarsNJ, this is troubling because they just recently lowered their guarantee from $45,000 to $40,000. For partypokerNJ, they posted the largest overlay ($13,600) players have seen in quite awhile.

The question remains, where are all the poker players going? The apparent answer might be Nevada. The problem is it’s just not true.

Players can play online and live at the same time. Players also show up when a shiny gold prize is on the line.

Expect WSOP.com to once again to post huge tournament numbers as three online bracelet events will take place during the next two weeks.

As mentioned in our last report, there were technical glitches that kept most international players from registering. According to Bill Rini, head of online poker at WSOP.com for Caesars Entertainment those issues were identified and resolved.

Look for the upcoming online bracelet events to post record numbers as players vie for their chance at a coveted WSOP gold bracelet.

Tournament data for Sunday, June 10, 2018

WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 652 $100,000 $195,600 $95,600
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $40,000 Guaranteed 204 $40,000 37,944 -2,056
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 160 $40,000 32,000 -8,000

Tournament data for Sunday, June 17, 2018

WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly $100,000 NLH 345 $100,000 $144,300 $44,300
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $40,000 Guaranteed 174 $40,000 32,364 -7,636
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 132 $40,000 26,400 -13,600

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Cash games also appear to be losing steam six weeks after the launch of shared liquidity. Technically, WSOP.com is still showing a positive trend line because it got off to a great start, but the last few weeks have been anything but positive.

In our last report, WSOP.com posted a seven-day rolling average of 260. At the conclusion of this two-week period, it is posting an average of 240. While still ahead of the pre-player pool merge average of 210, that is a pretty significant drop.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ are seeing a similar drop in cash game players.

PokerStarsNJ is showing a flat trend, but still posted a loss of an average of 10 cash game players compared to the previous two-week period. After losing an average of 5 cash game players, partypokerNJ is showing a negative trend.

Peak traffic numbers also struggled to find some momentum over the last two weeks. partypokerNJ is the only online poker operator to show a positive trend line for the last month.

The slight rebound the three operators saw in our last report was all but erased in this one.

As mentioned, this past weekend was Seniors weekend at the WSOP. It was also Father’s Day and a good weekend for many players to take a mid-WSOP break and fly home. It’s hard to say if that impacted numbers but it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.

Factors that will impact U.S. regulated online poker in the coming weeks

The biggest story will continue to be WSOP.com and specifically, the three remaining online bracelet events. Also, watch for online satellites to just about every live and online WSOP event.

PokerStarsNJ or partypokerNJ will continue to tread water as the WSOP continues to dominate the poker scene.

U.S. online poker continues to try to build a solid foundation, but it’s not easy with only three states in the mix. Until more states come online, these reports will continue to be a mixed bag of news.

With legalized sports betting just launching in New Jersey, it is too early to tell if it will negatively impact the online poker scene. Expect mobile sports betting to launch sometime mid-July. Will gamblers turn to sports betting to get their online gambling fix? It is something to keep an eye on.

We will talk about those stories and more in our next U.S. regulated online poker report which will publish on July 3.

WSOP.com And PokerStarsNJ Setting Online Poker Records

old vinyl records

The dust is settling, and poker players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are settling into their seats.

It has been three weeks since New Jersey joined Nevada and Delaware in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. The combined player pool is beginning to show its power.

The key stories from the last two weeks:

  • WSOP.com hosted the tournament with the largest prize pool in regulated U.S. poker history
  • PokerStarsNJ hosted the tournament with the most entries – even surpassing WSOP.com’s marquee event in the Coast to Coast Classic
  • Cash game traffic is soaring on WSOP.com and showing only a slight decline on PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ
  • Peak cash game traffic is showing a declining trend across the board

Now that you’ve been briefed let’s take a look back at the cash game and tournament trends for the two-week period ending May 20, 2018.

U.S. Regulated online poker operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

WSOP.com hosted the Coast 2 Coast Classic from May 11 – 20. Holding a big tournament series following the combining of player pools was a smart move by WSOP.com. It encouraged poker players that hadn’t done so to create their new accounts and get online.

The series came with over $1,000,000 in guarantees and included 32 events. All but one of the events made their guarantees. This is something even the most popular series over the recent past have failed to do.

The big story, though, is the Coast 2 Coast Main Event. Its $200,001 guarantee was the largest guarantee in regulated U.S. poker – by $1. What’s more impressive is that it shattered the historic guarantee by posting a massive prize pool of $245,642.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ both held their regular $45,000 and $40,000 guaranteed Sunday tournaments, respectively.

PokerStarsNJ switched things up by hosting a half-off version on Sunday, May 20. The tournament drew 583 entries for the largest tournament of the two week period.

WSOP.com met its guarantees for both weeks, while PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ did not meet them on May 13. Both sites rebounded and exceeded their guarantees on Sunday, May 20.

Tournament data for Sunday, May 13.

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Overlay
WSOP $320 Coast 2 Coast Event #7 – $100,000 NLH 502 $100,000 $150,600 N/A
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 216 $45,000 $38,200 $6,800
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 175 $40,000 $35,000 $5,000

Tournament data for Sunday, May 20.

Tournament Entries Guarantee Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $500 Coast 2 Coast Event #29 – $200,001 NLH Main Event 526 $200,001 $245,642 $45,641
PokerStarsNJ $100 Half-Price Sunday Special, $45,000 Guaranteed 583 $45,000 $53,519 $8,519
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday $40,000 Guaranteed NLH 214 $40,000 $42,800 $2,800

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

Shared liquidity has only had a small impact on the cash game seven-day rolling average traffic numbers.

Before the merging of player pools, WSOP.com in Nevada and Delaware averaged 135 cash game players. New Jersey averaged 75 on the network. Since the launch, the combined number is 240. That number equals about 30 additional players on average logging into the site.

PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ have remained relatively flat post-liquidity with a seven-day rolling average of 85 and 50 cash game players, respectively. PokerStarsNJ posted a decline of about five players, while partypokerNJ posted a decrease of 10.

The big question at the beginning of the month was how a combined player pool on WSOP.com would affect PokerStarsNJ and partypokerNJ. Well, it seems like it is business as usual.

Peak traffic seems to be struggling a bit more than the average traffic numbers. There is a declining trend among all three operators following the merging of player pools.

WSOP.com’s negative trend line is most likely due to low peak numbers on May 18 and 19.

Nevada hosted Electric Daisy Carnival which historically draws players away from the tables. Additionally, the Las Vegas Knights were busy fighting for their spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. These events can easily explain the significant drop in peak traffic for those days.

Surprisingly, partypokerNJ had the best trend line of the bunch. Of course, it is a hollow victory with two outlier days for WSOP.com and two missing days of data for PokerStarsNJ.

Factors that will likely impact U.S. online poker in the coming weeks

In one week, crowds of poker players from around the world will descend on the Las Vegas desert for the 2018 World Series of Poker.

Four online bracelet events, online satellites, and the ability to play live and online at the same time will likely drive online traffic numbers higher for WSOP.com over the coming months.

Expect business as usual for PokerStarsNJ or partypokerNJ. It is unlikely for the sites to try and compete with WSOP.com during this time.

We will be reporting again on the U.S. online poker landscape on June 5.

The first online bracelet will be awarded to a combined player pool, and the WSOP will have a week’s worth tournaments under its belt.