PokerStars Finishes On A Strong Note With PACOOP 2020, Turning Attention To New Jersey Next

PACOOP 2020 PokerStarsPACOOP 2020 PokerStars

The second annual run of PokerStars’ Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) is in the books. It was, by and large, a modest success, with only a few wrinkles.

Running from Sept. 19 through Oct. 5, PACOOP took place much earlier this year than last. The 2019 series took place in December. There wasn’t an opportunity to hold it earlier, as the site itself had launched only a month before. This year’s timing, prior to the equivalent New Jersey series in October, will probably be the norm in the future, as it creates more balanced spacing with the Summer and Winter Series.

PokerStars set the total guarantees for the series at $1.5 million. That’s higher than last year’s series but lower than the $2 million guaranteed for the Spring Championship (PASCOOP) in April, when traffic was at an all-time high due to cancellation of sports and closure of casinos nationwide.

Even so, PASCOOP did manage to clear the $2 million mark in prize pools, although just barely. In total, PokerStars distributed $2,039,133 to players across 50 events, while collecting $158,182 in rake.

The Main Event guaranteed $200,000 and drew 1,013 entries for a prize pool of $283,640. This year’s new Phased event also performed well. It guaranteed $50,000 on just a $50 buy-in and drew 1,892 entries across its starting phases for an $86,086 prize pool.

PACOOP by the numbers

Compared to other operators, PokerStars is generally fairly conservative in setting tournament guarantees. Across its sites, the average event in a typical series tends to beat its guarantee by something in the range of 25% to 50%, and few events overlay. PACOOP was a typical series by those measures, though not uniformly so.

On the whole, events performed better relative to their guarantees as the series went on. There are also indications that, although turnout for weekend events was higher than on weekdays, the difference may not have been as great as PokerStars expected.

Here are some illuminating stats from the series. You’ll find the full, event-by-event breakdown at the end of this article.

  • Average guarantee: $31,180
  • Average prize pool: $40,622
  • Average entries:
    • Unique: 292
    • Re-entries: 134
    • Total: 426
  • Largest margin by which a prize pool exceeded the guarantee: 74.4%
  • Largest overlay: 20%
  • Average amount by which prize pools exceeded the guarantee…
    • in final third of series: 38.6%
    • prior to that: 26.1%
  • Average amount by which prize pools exceeded the guarantee…
    • on Sundays: 17.1%
    • on Saturdays: 29.5%
    • Monday to Friday: 39.3%
  • Number of events with overlays…
    • on Sundays: 4
    • on any other day: 1
  • Total dollar value of overlays: $8,036

Next stop, New Jersey

The dust settled in Pennsylvania on Monday, as the final table of the Main Event played out alongside a trio of smaller wrap-up tournaments. Things will be quieter now in the Keystone State until it’s time for the Winter Series. Last year, that took place in late January, though it may be moved up this year as a result of the earlier timing for PACOOP.

Now, though, it’s time for PokerStars players in neighboring New Jersey to get some attention. NJCOOP kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 10, with the usual $1 million in total guarantees. It will consist of 54 events and wrap up on Oct. 26.

Its schedule is a bit more varied than Pennsylvania’s. There are few vanilla, full-ring NLHE events, and many more with short-handed tables and turbo structures and twice as many Progressive Knockouts. H.O.R.S.E. and Badugi are also on the menu, as well as two big ante tournaments.

Turnouts will be lower in the Garden State, as reflected in the guarantees. Not only is there a lower population and competition from other sites, but also, New Jersey players may be suffering from a bit of tournament fatigue. It’s barely been two months since the biggest and most expensive online tournament series in the history of legal US online poker, namely the WSOP Online Bracelet Series. Players in New Jersey were able to join their peers in Nevada for that, but those in Pennsylvania were left out. NJCOOP may not seem like as big of a deal as PACOOP in comparison.

Days of PokerStars’ PA monopoly are numbered

PACOOP, like previous Pennsylvania poker series, benefited from being the only game in town. It may well be the last time that PokerStars holds that advantage, however.

Since PokerStars launched last November, there’s been plenty of speculation as to how soon it can expect some competition. In recent months, it has looked increasingly likely that we’ll have an answer soon.

For one thing, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) indicated over the summer that MGM/Roar Digital would soon get its licensing hearing as a qualified gaming entity. That would allow partypoker to launch in the state, as it now operates in partnership with MGM thanks to the latter’s joint venture with partypoker’s parent company GVC.

However, it now looks like partypoker might only be the third poker room in the state. 888 Holdings received its license at last week’s PGCB meeting, which could mean WSOP will arrive in Pennsylvania first. Although WSOP is owned by Caesars, which already operates in Pennsylvania, it’s 888 that provides the poker platform.

WSOP has previously indicated that Pennsylvania is a low priority for now because the PGCB refuses to consider shared liquidity with other states until the Wire Act battle is settled. However, 888 obtaining its license in order to launch an online casino may change the calculation, as it means one less step is involved in getting the poker room off the ground as well.

Full series results

Here are all 50 events from this year’s PACOOP and how they fared in terms of attendance and prize pool.

Event Buy-in Guarantee Total Entries Prize Pool
1: NLHE (Nightly Stars) $100 $50K 632 $58,017.60
2: NLHE (8-Max) $50 $30K 808 $36,764.00
3: NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Deep) $100 $35K 347 $35,000.00*
4: NLHE (6-Max) $50 $20K 434 $20,000.00*
5: NLHE (8-Max, Progressive KO) $150 $30K 274 $37,729.80
6: NLHE (Sunday Special) $100 $100K 1,117 $102,540.60
7: PLO (6-Max) $100 $15K 191 $17,533.80
8: NLHE (8-Max, Supersonic) $50 $10K 265 $12,057.50
9: NLHE (6-Max, Hyper, Prog. KO) $50 $30K 805 $36,627.50
10: PLO8 (8-Max) $75 $12K 215 $14,673.75
11: NLHE (Super Tuesday) $200 $40K 325 $60,450.00
12: NLHE (Mini Super Tuesday) $20 $15K 1,042 $18,964.40
13: NLHE (8-Max) $150 $15K 171 $23,546.70
14: NLHE (6-Max, High Roller) $500 $50K 169 $79,430.00
15: NLHE $150 $15K 190 $26,163.00
16: NLHE (Progressive KO) $200 $40K 286 $53,196.00
17: NLHE (Progressive KO) $20 $20K 1,249 $22,731.80
18: PL 5-Card Draw (Turbo) $100 $10K 87 $10,000.00*
19: 8-Game $200 $15K 93 $17,298.00
20: NLHE (6-Max, Turbo) $150 $20K 226 $31,120.20
21: NLHE (8-Max, Deepstack) $100 $35K 478 $43,880.40
22: NLHE (Saturday Speedway) $50 $15K 478 $21,749.00
23: NLHE (8-Max Marathon) $100 $35K 365 $35,000.00*
24: PLO (8-Max, Turbo) $100 $10K 112 $10,281.60
25: NLHE (6-Max) $150 $25K 196 $26,989.20
26: NLHE (Sunday Special) $100 $100K 1,077 $100,000.00*
27: NLHE (Progressive KO) $200 $35K 210 $39,060.00
28: NLHE (Supersonic) $75 $12K 202 $14,241.00
29: NLHE (4-Max) $200 $25K 225 $41,850.00
30: PLO (6-Max, High-Roller) $500 $25K 76 $35,720.00
31: NLHE (Hyper) $250 $40K 288 $68,400.00
32: NLO8 (8-Max) $100 $10K 168 $15,422.40
33: NLHE (6-Max, Turbo) $30 $20K 944 $25,771.20
34: NLHE $200 $30K 184 $34,224.00
35: Stud Hi/Lo $100 $10K 110 $10,098.00
36: NLHE (Progressive KO) $250 $40K 268 $62,444.00
37: NLHE $150 $20K 203 $27,953.10
38: FLHE (6-Max, Turbo) $200 $10K 67 $12,462.00
39: NLHE (Hyper-Turbo) $200 $15K 102 $19,380.00
40: NLHE (6-Max) $300 $40K 181 $50,680.00
41: NLHE (6-Max) $75 $20K 415 $28,323.75
42: NLHE (Turbo, PKO, Deep) $100 $25K 475 $43,605.00
43: NLHE (Main Event) $300 $200K 1,013 $283,640.00
44: NLHE (Mini Main Event) $50 $40K 1,157 $52,643.50
45: NLHE (Progressive KO) $100 $30K 346 $31,762.80
46: PLO (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo) $100 $10K 111 $10,545.00
47: NLHE (Supersonic) $75 $10K 223 $15,721.50
48: NLHE (Wrap-Up) $100 $35K 586 $53,794.80
49: NLHE (8-Max, Phase 2) $50 $50K 1,892 $86,086.00
50: NLHE (6-Max, Deep, Hyper) $100 $15K 248 $23,560.00

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