PokerStars Festival New Jersey Ushers In A New Era Of Live Poker Events

Posted By Steve Ruddock on October 28, 2016

[toc]Friday evening at Resorts Casino Hotel, PokerStars will kick off its first live poker tournament series in the United States in more than five years, with a special live/online satellite tournament for the main event of the inaugural PokerStars Festival New Jersey.

Resorts, the company’s New Jersey online gambling partner, will play host to the entire festival, which runs from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6.

PokerStars Festival New Jersey will not only mark the return of PokerStars’ live events to the US, it will also be the first installment of PokerStars’ newly-branded live events.

PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival break the molds

Earlier this year, PokerStars announced it would be blending its regional poker tours and tournaments into a two-headed global brand, PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events.

But these won’t be your older brother’s poker tournament series. PokerStars’ live events have evolved quite a bit since the last event they hosted on US soil, the NAPT Mohegan Sun tournament of April 2011.

The New Jersey Festival is more than just a poker series; it will have something for everyone, and will highlight the new direction PokerStars is trying to take its live events.

PokerStars is shifting focus toward entertainment and widening its audience with non-poker gambling and entertainment options, while trying to stay true to the company’s poker roots by putting on a first-class poker series.

Here’s how PokerStars detailed the shift when the new Festival and Championship events were announced:

“Today, PokerStars announced that beginning in 2017, all of its live events will fall under one of two tours, the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival. It’s a move that’s been in the making since the days the European Poker Tour broke out of European borders. Now, the full PokerStars EPT experience is going worldwide.

We are always thinking of how to bring the best experience to players, through the variety of tournaments we sponsor, the ease of finding information, how we communicate to players and media, and the overall experience on and off the felt.

The PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events are an enhancement of the existing PokerStars sponsored live tours, helping to take our vision for live poker to a whole new level.”

Skill-based games and a little gambool

From Monday, Oct. 31 through Friday, Nov. 4, you can test your skills for the low, low price of $10 by entering the StarsFun Miniature Golf Hole-in-One Progressive, StarsFun Arcade Basketball Shootout, or StarsFun Pinball Progressive.

And throughout the entirety of the festival, there will be $25 ($20 buy-in + $5 fee) roulette, blackjack, slots, and video poker tournaments in the StarsFun area.

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Special events at PokerStars Festival

Welcome reception

On the eve of the festival, PokerStars and Resorts will host a welcome cocktail reception and special satellite tournament for attendees.

At the reception, players will have the chance to sign up for a PS Live card ahead of the series. PS Live cards are required to play in any PokerStars Festival or Championship, but once you’ve signed up you can bring your card to any PokerStars event around the globe.

Poker celebrities

As is the case at most PokerStars events, plenty of Team PokerStars pros and ambassadors will be in attendance. And because this is the inaugural PokerStars Festival, it will be a star-studded affair, with even more poker celebrities than usual. 

Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Selbst, Chris Moneymaker, and Jason Mercier are among the players expected to be in attendance, plus Twitch streamers like Jason Somerville, Jamie Staples, and Randy Lew on hand as well.

Chad Brown Memorial Tournament

On Nov. 3, Negreanu will host the third annual Chad Brown Memorial Tournament, a $200 buy-in tournament with $100 rebuys. Fifty percent of each buy-in and rebuy will go directly to charity.

The tournament kicks off at 8 p.m., and will be preceded by a cocktail reception at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the tournament will help raise funds for the T.J. Martell Foundation for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research, which has separate funding specifically earmarked for sarcoma cancer research.

Sully Erna concert

On Nov. 5, former Godsmack frontman Sully Erna (who’s been known to play a little poker) will be playing a concert at Resorts, and PS Live cardholders will get 20 percent off admission.

RunItUp Day

Before the Erna concert, visitors should spend some time in the tournament area. That’s also RunItUp Day at the PokerStars Festival.

Jason Somerville will play host to a couple of RunItUp tournaments, as well as a poker seminar and a Q&A session.

The two RunItUp-specific tournaments are:

  • $300+$40 RunItUp 8 Game Championship
  • $3,000 RunItUp Survivor Tournament

And of course there’s the poker

The PokerStars Festival New Jersey will feature 40 tournaments during its seven days.

The highlights of the schedule are:

  • Oct. 30: A two-day, $2,000+$200 6-Max No Limit Holdem event.
  • Oct. 30: The two-day PokerStars Cup tournament with a $300+$40 buy-in.
  • Nov. 2: A two-day, $5,000+$300, 8-handed No Limit Holdem tournament.
  • Nov. 4: PokerStars Festival High Roller, played as an 8-handed No Limit Holdem tournament with a $2,000+$200 buy-in.
  • Nov. 5: A two day $3,000+$300 Deepstacks event.
  • The PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event. A four-day, $1,000+$100 buy-in event with starting flights on Nov. 1 and 2.

Image credit: f11photo /

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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