The world’s largest poker site is back with a live tournament series on United States soil for the first time in years. Starting on October 29, PokerStars Festival New Jersey kicks off with 40 events to be played in a weeklong span at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
As part of this series, PokerStars is partnering with Team Pro Jason Somerville and Run It Up for what will be an exciting collection of tournaments that are aiming to build off of his previous Run It Up series held in Reno, NV. One of the elements that separates Somerville and his Run It Up events from other festivals is the availability of mixed game events that are not usually as prominently featured at other tournament series.
Known for his popular Twitch stream, Somerville has leveraged that viewership into promoting non-Hold‘em games on his stream and in the live setting.
“I’ve been playing poker for a decade and after a while, Hold‘em can get boring. There’s a fun in playing many different games,” Somerville said about his interest in new forms of poker.
Somerville said he first noticed that playing mixed games appealed to a large audience when 27,000 viewers tuned in to watch him compete in a PokerStars WCOOP Stud Hi-Lo event in September 2015, one of the largest totals at that time in the history of Twitch.
Since then, Somerville has incorporated a variety of mixed game events into his Run It Up series and is now bringing that atmosphere to New Jersey.
“Mixed games tend to elicit more conversation at the table and elicits a camaraderie among players. They draw a different type of crowd that is there to have more fun and to create a fun atmosphere,” Somerville said.
In addition to the mixed game events, there will be some celebrities in attendance at the festival highlighted by Tyson Apostol and ‘Boston Rob’ Mariano, both of Survivor fame.
Somerville has come to know both quite well over the years and notes, “fans like hanging out with them and they are the perfect people to bring to New Jersey.”
When planning the inaugural “Run It Up Reno” series, Somerville envisioned the series being centered on the best possible playing experience for those attending. Survivor was in season at that time, which worked out well for Somerville’s design. “Who better to watch Survivor with than actual survivors?” Somerville exclaimed.
Despite his reality show fandom, Somerville has no intention to step into the wilderness in the near future.
“There’s not really time for adventure in my life. I’m happy to be on the couch, for the most part. I’ve spent almost 1,100 hours streaming this year and am focused on that for now,” said Somerville.
With his nightly stream still going strong as ever, Somerville doesn’t plan on putting the brakes on anytime soon and perhaps venture toward more live poker.
“I love streaming, it’s easy for me to do. Every day I wake up and I go to bed and satisfied. Live events are way more tiring. [They] are major party gatherings that build the community and personal relationships that we can’t do more of online,” said Somerville.
The PokerStars Festival New Jersey will be an especially busy one for Somerville as he plans on playing live events while also streaming with a few special guests scheduled to appear. Somerville says he will be streaming PokerStars team pros Chris Moneymaker, Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier all individually during the weeklong festival.
On Saturday, November 5, Somerville will host “Run It Up Day” which is set to include events like a poker seminar to be presented by Somerville, a Q&A and the $300 buy-in Run It Up 8 Game Championship. Somerville says he loves interacting with his fans and doing Q&As noting how much enjoys the open conversation element. With a laugh, Somerville said, “I must answer more questions than anyone on the planet.”
With a full week of great events and activities lined up, PokerStars Festival New Jersey will look to set the pace for future PokerStars events to be held in the United States.
“People are going to be there to have a good time and will have the chance to meet PokerStars pros. This is an experience rather than just a normal poker tournament,” said Somerville.