PokerStars PASCOOP Set for April Amid Traffic Spike
Pennsylvania had a unique start to launching its regulated online poker industry late last year. And it is getting a unique boost in its numbers this month.
Despite numerous operators obtaining licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to offer online poker, many of them launched online casino games last summer without poker offerings. In November 2019, more than two years after Pennsylvania officially legalized internet gaming, one site launched – PokerStars PA with partner Mount Airy Casino.
PokerStars PA dominated the market with no competition. The site started strong in November and December, garnering revenue that outdid the New Jersey market in its entirety. Revenue started to dip a bit in January and February, though there was no drastic downswing, merely what seemed to be a settling of the market.
Enter the coronavirus pandemic.
Traffic has spiked for PokerStars PA. And there is no better time, then, to announce the first-ever Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) for April 4-20.
Poker in a Pandemic
As the coronavirus spread quickly in the western and eastern portions of the United States in the past several weeks, casinos and card rooms closed. State and local governments issued stay-at-home orders and restricted public gatherings.
Many poker players who were able relocated to a state with online poker as a state-regulated option. Nevada and Delaware each have the WSOP/888 option, and New Jersey offers a handful of poker sites. And Pennsylvania has PokerStars.
This led to a significant spike in traffic for all of the states. PokerStars PA started to see its numbers rise in mid-March.
PennBets recorded the number of players on PokerStars in Pennsylvania at various times leading up to today.
–November 2019, first days, peak prime-time hours: 700
–November 2019, third week, peak hours: 1,000
–November 2019, third week, average traffic: 425
–January 2020-February 2020, peak hours: 1,000-1,500
–January 2020-February 2020, average traffic: 300-400
–March 22, Sunday peak: 3,600
–March 23, Monday traffic at 11am: 1,024
–March 23, Monday traffic at 2:30pm: 1,867
–March 23, Monday traffic at 4pm: 2,073
–March 23, Monday traffic at 8pm: 3,112
–March 23, Monday traffic at 9:30pm: 3,390
— Eric Raskin (@EricRaskin) March 25, 2020
Sunday Poker in PA Soars
The above numbers give insight into the total number of players on the site at any given time, whether in cash games, SNGs, or MTTs.
Sunday tournament number provide a different perspective. PocketFives offered some March 23 tournament numbers for the major PokerStars Pennsylvania action:
–$100 Sunday Special with $75K GTD: 1,149 entries, $105,478.20 prize pool (38% increase over previous week)
–$30 Sunday Warm-Up: 835 entries, $22,795.50 prize pool (42% increase over previous week)
–$50 Sunday Supersonic: 198 entries, $9,306 prize pool (10% increase over previous week)
The results from Sunday, March 29, show the continuing upswing, though there may be some leveling off:
–$100 Sunday Special with $100K GTD: 1,356 entries, $124,480.80 prize pool (18% increase)
–$30 Sunday Warm-Up with $15K GTD: 864 entries, $23,587.20 prize pool (3% increase)
–$50 Sunday Supersonic with $75K GTD: 228 entries, $10,716 prize pool (15% increase)
Not just the cash game traffic, but turnouts for tournaments over on @PokerStarsPA also accelerated over the past 2 weeks.
The Sunday Special on March 15 with a boosted guarantee of $50,000 attracted 830 entries to build a prize pool of $76,100.https://t.co/bDVEbUXjmd
— pokerfuse (@pokerfuse) March 25, 2020
From PACOOP to PASCOOP
PokerStars PA hosted its first major tournament series late last year; it began less than a month after the site launched. The Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) started on November 30 and ran through December 16, 2019. There were 50 poker tournaments on the schedule and $1 million in prize pool guarantees.
In the end, these numbers emerged:
–$1.55 million in total prize pools (27% over updated $1.225 million guarantee)
–12,612 tournament entries in 50 events
–$300 PACOOP Main Event with $125K GTD drew 640 entries, $179,200 prize pool (43% over guarantee)
Now, PokerStars PA is prepared to offer the first Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP). It is set to run April 4-20 with 50 events and $2 million in guarantees.
The series will open with a variety of No Limit Hold’em options on the first day, each with two buy-in levels. April 4 will offer:
–$100 NLHE Nightly Stars – PASCOOP Warm-Up ($50K GTD)
–$10 NLHE PASCOOP Warm-Up ($10K GTD)
–$50 NLHE ($35K GTD)
–$5 NLHE ($6K GTD)
–$200 NLHE 6-Max Turbo Progressive KO ($25K GTD)
–$20 NLHE 6-Max Turbo Progressive KO ($10K GTD)
There will be some PLO, 8-Game, and Stud tournaments interspersed throughout the series, as well as deepstacks, hyper-turbos, escalating antes, and other variations.
On April 19, the Main Event will take place in two forms:
–$300 NLHE Main Event ($200K GTD)
–$50 NLHE Main Event ($50K GTD)
Action will then wrap the following evening with a lot of NLHE action and the finale, which will be a NLHE 6-Max Hyper-Turbo with $150 and $15 buy-ins and $20K and $5K guarantees, respectively.
The full schedule is on the PokerStars PA website.
With $2 million in guarantees, #PASCOOP begins April 4!
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) March 26, 2020
Satellites and Freerolls
PokerStars PA will be running satellites online for many of the events with more offered for the Main Event.
For that Main Event, in addition to qualifiers throughout April, there will be a massive Main Event Depositor Freeroll held on April 19. All players who deposit $30 or more using the bonus code “PASCOOP” will receive a ticket to the freeroll. The 50 top-finishing players in the freeroll will win seats to the $300 buy-in Main Event.
During the PASCOOP, any player in any tournament who busts from the tournament before the money bubble bursts will win a ticket to a PASCOOP Second Chance All-In Shootout Freeroll. These will run daily with a $1K prize pool each between April 5 and April 20.
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