The East Coast is home to some of the biggest tournament series and events in the country, with regionally-based casinos rolling out massive guaranteed events on a nearly month-to-month basis. Over the next few weeks, though, save for a few WSOP Circuit stops, that live tournament schedule takes a short break before the spring, but for players in New Jersey, the action isn’t slowing down.
That’s because the partypoker and BorgataPoker Garden State Super Series just returned with another massive slate of action, offering over $1,000,000 in guaranteed prize pools across 62 events that are going to run throughout the next few weeks. The first GSSS Sunday has just passed and for Jamie Kerstetter, the break in the live schedule is certainly welcomed.
The partypoker Team Pro admits that the early live schedules, where most events start at either 11 AM or noon, can be tiresome, especially when juggling an online schedule that, hopefully, lasts late into the night. She’s hoping that she’s able to recharge over the next month before heading back on the live tournament circuit that picks back up before the summer.
“Online keeps poker fresh for me. I’m excited to hang around in my PJs with Crouton the puppy and grind online without having to travel anywhere.” She adds that one form of poker, in short, can get “dull”.
Dull isn’t exactly how you’d describe the fourth version of this GSSS schedule, one that includes massive guarantees and buy-in levels that every player can afford. Along with a revamped satellite schedule, this is the first GSSS to not run alongside a Borgata Poker Open series.
“I think partypoker was a little hesitant to guarantee big prize pools the first time GSSS ran without a WPT alongside it, but it turned out to be a huge success.” she said. “The first Sunday was a huge success and it looks like all the guarantees will be met, even in some of the bigger buy-in events like the $500 and $1,000 events.”
That could mean some softer fields in those events as well, as players aren’t traveling from across the country or world and logging on in New Jersey, something Kerstetter isn’t upset about. She also realizes that this series, not only for her but everyone in New Jersey, is an opportunity to make some, as she calls it, “serious money”.
Unfortunately, that money didn’t come in this weekend. “I had an unsuccessful first Sunday,” Kerstetter said bluntly, adding, “Not only did I bust out of the Parx $1,600 on Day 2 to get home in time to play a full schedule, I also only cashed in one event.”
“I should have just let Crouton walk all over my keyboard and I’d probably have had better results,” she joked, referencing her new puppy. If Kerstetter’s PocketFives GSSS draft team had a name, ‘Crouton’ would likely be involved as well. She was a team captain, as the New Jersey online community came together for second GSSS online draft to up the stakes on an already massive series. This year, the draft was run auction-style and Kerstetter admitted that seeing the parallels between a player’s playing and drafting style was interesting.
“I like to think I was pretty TAG. I bid on a few people to start and spent a good chunk on a couple players I really wanted, but was able to pick up some cheap sleepers at the end,” she said, adding, “I think I ended up with a really good team.”
That team is made up of Chris Horter, Alex Queen, Vinny Pahuja, who is coming off a Parx Big Stax XV 500 victory, Alex Jim and a handful of other PocketFives members. Their captain admits that they had a rough first weekend, but it’s a long series and she’s confident that they can take down the $150 per player prize that is winner-take-all at the end of the series.
Regardless of how the GSSS goes, Kerstetter is going to enjoy the next month at home doing what she loves, which is online poker. She’ll get back on the road towards the end of the spring, playing some regionally-based WSOP Circuit stops and then most of the Run Good Series in the Midwest after that. Clearly, the grind doesn’t stop, but at least for this month, there is a pretty stacked event to play in the comfort of her own New Jersey home.