Since late 2013, the Borgata Casino Resort has been striving to build a stellar reputation for its New Jersey online poker operation – one to matches its longstanding supremacy as the ‘Live poker king of Atlantic City‘. It was a relatively easy task for more than two years, right up until PokerStars NJ launched in late March.
Despite being federally blacklisted from the US for nearly five years, PokerStars’ reputation among American online poker players is just as polished as ever; a fact that was immediately proven when hundreds of New Jerseyans flocked to PokerStars NJ the moment it went live.
But managers at BorgataPoker aren’t convinced that its new rival offers the best interactive card gaming experience around, and they are determined to spread that opinion among the state’s gaming masses.
A post on the official Borgata Blog by literary agent, Jack Sheffield, listed a number of reasons why players should continue to frequent the interactive arm of Atlantic City’s #1 live poker room. And before continuing, I have to commend the author for doing so in a tasteful manner so as not to disrespect the laudable distinction of PokerStars. Well played, Jack.
Borgata Keeping Up with PokerStars NJ
“With the emergence of PokerStars in the Garden State just a few weeks ago, some publications have argued that the best value is over at the new site, and that BorgataPoker.com is losing ground,” wrote Sheffield.
“But with a healthy mix of player-pleasing poker tournaments, satellites to the best land-based poker tournaments, and opportunities to win a piece of millions in prize money, that couldn’t be further from the truth.” He went on to contend that the numbers presented by media and some traffic tracking websites “haven’t told the whole story.”
According to the blog post, New Jersey’s first favorite is performing just as well as PokerStars NJ. Borgata’s weekly $50k GTD Sunday Major held on April 24th had no trouble meeting, and exceeding it’s guarantee, resulting in an overall prize pool of $54,800.
Not to undermine the competition, he admitted “PokerStars also exceeded its guarantee,” which he lauded as being, “Good news for online poker players in New Jersey!”
Online Poker Traffic Data Not Reliable
Traffic-trackers like PokerScout only provide data on the number of cash game players each major network attracts. As of right now – oddly enough – the Party/Borgata Network is at the bottom of the list, posting a 7-day average of just 85 players with 233 at peak hours. PokerStars has an average of 140 with a 328 peak, while the WSOP/888 Network is beating both of them with a 140 average and 364 peak.
But as Sheffield pointed out, such data isn’t accurate when online poker tournament players are left out of the equation.
Are Tournaments the True Judge of Popularity?
He believes the genuine popularity of tournaments relies not on the size of the buy-in or guarantee, so much as the interior structure, touching specifically on the topic of re-entry tournaments.
“Fans of re-entry tournaments have their choice to play in either a tournament limited to one re-entry, a tournament with unlimited re-entries, or both,” he said.
BorgataPoker restricts all of it’s re-entry tournaments to a single re-entry, which generally creates for a smaller field of competition in the long run. Their competitors at WSOP NJ, 888Poker and PokerStars NJ provide “unlimited re-entries within the late registration period,” which allows players with higher bankrolls to keep returning to the tables in the early stages, no matter how many times they’ve been eliminated.
Borgata seemed to be proudest of its performance in the that same Sunday’s Nightly $10k GTD, which drew 144 entries, raising the prize pool to $14,400.
“And here’s the most interesting part,” he wrote. “Borgata’s edition “actually beat PokerStars’ 7pm $10K tournament, which attracted 127 entries.”
A few days after his blog post was published, Jack was surely elated to find the next weekend’s results supported his theory of parallel supremacy with PokerStars NJ, at least where the Nightly $10k GTD on Sunday, May 1st was concerned. PokerStars $100 tourney attracted 166 entries ($15.2k), while BorgataPoker’s $109 version pulled in a comparable 159 buy-ins ($15.9k).
The $50k GTD Sunday Majors weren’t so analogous, though. PokerStars NJ pulled ahead last weekend with 343 entries to its $200, $50k GTD, paying $63,798. Borgata’s $215, $50k GTD fell in the ranks, pulling in 252 buy-ins; just enough to overlap the guarantee with $51,000.
Everyone’s a Winner! For now…
But all competitiveness aside, it is definitively clear that both BorgataPoker and PokerStars NJ have earned their rightful place in the New Jersey online poker market – at least where tournaments are concerned. The WSOP/888 network has engraved its name into the top of the cash game totem pole… at least for now.