There is a lot of uncertainty in New Jersey and across the country, as states react in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Measures include the canceling of most sporting events, the closing of schools, and cities under quarantine or putting curfews in place.
Schools are scrambling to transfer learning online, people are grocery shopping through apps, and poker tournaments are shifting from card rooms to the virtual felt.
WSOP.com moves poker tournament online
On Friday, we reported on our PlayNJ live blog that the World Series of Poker canceled its upcoming circuit events.
The WSOP’s announcement impacted Harrah’s Atlantic City, which was in the middle of hosting a WSOP Circuit tournament. The Main Event was in progress when the WSOP suspended it.
The company, to its credit, quickly switched gears and created an entire online poker tournament series to keep players playing in a safe environment: their home.
It is quite impressive how quickly the online tournament came together.
The first two events kicked off this weekend and crushed their guarantees.
Event No. 1, $320 NLH Double Stack with a $50,000 guarantee finished with 409 entries for a total prize pool of $171,000.
That was followed by Event No. 2, $215 NLH Monster Stack, also with a guarantee of $50,000. The final prize pool settled at $188,200 from 720 entries.
It’s been since last summer’s WSOP online bracelet events that NJ online poker has seen such massive prize pools.
Besides New Jersey poker players, the tournament series is open to players in Nevada and Delaware. It is worth noting that Delaware players have been ineligible to participate in WSOP online circuit events until now.
There are 16 more events on the schedule. The series couldn’t be timed better to help provide a little escape for poker players.
WSOP Circuit Super Series schedule
|Date||Time PST||Event||Buy-in||Guarantee||Total Entries||Prize Pool|
|Mar. 14||4:00 PM||1 - NLH Double Stack||$320||$50,000||570||$171,000|
|Mar. 15||2:00 PM||2 - NLH Monster Stack||$215||$50,000||941||$188,200|
|Mar. 16||4:00 PM||3 - NLH Deep Turbo||$215||$50,000||669||$133,800|
|Mar. 17||4:00 PM||4 - NLH High Roller (6-Max)||$1,000||$75,000||290||$276,950|
|Mar. 18||4:00 PM||5 - NLH||$215||$50,000||859||$171,800|
|Mar. 19||4:00 PM||6 - NLH||$320||$50,000||720||$217,800|
|Mar. 20||4:00 PM||7 - PLO 6-Max||$215||$30,000||454||$90,800|
|Mar. 21||4:00 PM||8 - NLH Double Stack||$320||$75,000||826||$247,800|
|Mar. 22||5:00 PM||9 - NLH Monster Stack||$525||$150,000||636||$318,000|
|Mar. 23||4:00 PM||10 - NLH Freezeout||$250||$30,000||473||$110,209|
|Mar. 24||4:00 PM||11 - NLH BIG $500||$500||$75,000||314||$247,977|
|Mar. 25||4:00 PM||12 - NLH||$215||$50,000||541||$168,800|
|Mar. 26||4:00 PM||13 - NLH 6-Max||$320||$75,000||402||$201,900|
|Mar. 27||4:00 PM||14 - NLH Turbo||$250||$50,000||422||$149,460|
|Mar. 28||4:00 PM||15 - NLH||$320||$75,000||473||$219,300|
|Mar. 29||5:00 PM||16 - NLH Main Event||$525||$200,000|
|Mar. 30||4:00 PM||17 - NLH Knockout||$300||$30,000|
|Mar. 31||4:00 PM||18 - NLH Grand Finale HR||$1,000||$75,000|
Is the 2020 World Series of Poker still taking place?
Knowing there would be many questions around this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, WSOP.com Editor-in-Chief Seth Palansky issued a statement.
“As it relates to the summer WSOP in Las Vegas, we are monitoring COVID-19 developments very carefully and it is scheduled to be held as planned.”
The WSOP has big plans for this year’s event. It will reward more than 100 gold bracelets. New Jersey poker players will have the opportunity to play in 14 online bracelet events, the most in its history.
PokerStars NJ boosts its online poker guarantees
PokerStars NJ also saw a rise in online poker play this weekend. It responded by boosting its Sunday Special guarantee by $10,000.
Its guarantee of $25,000 has been the standard for more than a year, only changing when it is part of an online tournament series. We saw that with the Winter Series in February.
The $35,000 guaranteed Sunday Special on March 15 ended with 137 players rebuying 79 times for a total of 216 entries. While the $40,176 prize pool wasn’t as impressive as what happened on WSOP.com, it is still nice to see.
It is worth mentioning that all of PokerStars NJ’s Sunday majors exceeded their guarantees this past Sunday, several by triple.
Live tournaments moving to online poker platforms
Also, in response to concerns around COVID-19, the World Poker Tour (WPT) postponed or canceled several poker tournaments around the world.
As a result of the changing landscape, the WPT is partnering with partypoker for the first-ever WPT Online Series to be held from May 10-26.
It is unlikely that New Jersey players will have an event of its own and playing on the global platform is not an option.
But it would not be surprising to see more NJ poker platforms host big online tournaments as more and more people opt (or are required) to stay home to wait things out.
NJ online casinos are the place to be
As more and more people are staying home and self-distancing, digital forms of entertainment will be in demand. That is evidenced by the surge in online poker tournaments over the weekend.
Undoubtedly, NJ online casino gambling will also see a surge in activity as people wait out the coronavirus pandemic from the comfort of their home.
When this article was published, Atlantic City casinos were still open for business.
It would not be surprising, however, to learn early in the week that Gov. Phil Murphy is ordering them closed. Several states have already done just that, including:
Several casino properties in Nevada and Pennsylvania are also closed.
Social distancing for an unknown period of time will be a challenge; however, it is the right thing to do. Everyone must protect our most vulnerable citizens and ease the burden on our health care systems.
Finding new sources of entertainment that replace your typical routine will be key to getting through this challenging time with your sanity intact. Thanks to technology, there are plenty of options.