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[caption width="640"] Jamie Kerstetter lives in New Jersey but makes a point to travel around the country and take part in the tournament circuit. (WSOP photo)[/caption] This month alone, there are tournament series going on across all regions of the country. For starters, the LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles is nearing its World Poker Tour Main Event, and West Palm Beach, FL just finished playing host to the World Series of Poker Circuit. In between both of those destinations sits Blackhawk, CO and the Golden Gates Casino. Hundreds of players made their way “up the mountain” to play in the Heartland Poker Tour event with New Jersey’s Jamie ‘mmmWawa’ Kerstetter among them. The newest member of the BorgataPoker.com roster makes her way across the country year-round to play in tournaments and uses poker as a vessel to see new places. A former lawyer, Kerstetter says she enjoys the freedom that poker gives her to travel after she first started gaining air miles as an adult. “The most alluring thing for me (and probably for most people who hate their jobs) was free time and the autonomy to make my own decisions. But I also enjoy being able to make some last minute impulsive trips when I get the itch to go somewhere new,” said Kerstetter. “I used to experience pangs of homesickness when I traveled, but lately I get bored very quickly when my life is routine at home and I enjoy planning the next trip.” The new year has been a busy one for Kerstetter with trips to Oklahoma and Colorado along with a stint in New Jersey already on her odometer. As a means of saving on expenditures such as hotels, poker players will travel together in pairs and Kerstetter’s travel companion for most of the last full year has been fellow New Jersey pro, Chris Horter. Horter has accompanied Kerstetter to a few stops this year and the two made waves on social media last year as they made their way cross-country in an RV from New Jersey to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. Accompanied by their dog, Crouton, Kerstetter, and Horter chronicled their trip across America’s heartland and had their relationship grow as a result. [caption width="640"] Kerstetter's dog, Crouton, plays the role of co-pilot with NJ online pro Chris Horter. (Submitted photo)[/caption] “It's definitely a bonding experience to deal with the ups and downs of planning trips and spending 24/7 with each other. We're already planning another cross country adventure and taking a different route to hit up new campgrounds and hikes this time around.” Kerstetter has become known for her work off the felt and inside the broadcasting booth as live streams have grown in popularity in the past few years. Most of the streams she participates in are at The Borgata but her first time participating in commentary came in Venice, Italy which Kerstetter also claims is her favorite place that she has traveled to during her career. “I had the time of my life at WPT Venice. The fear of being in a new place by myself where I didn't know anyone and didn't know the language led to some serious anxiety at first. Getting over that and then exploring the city, making a lot of new friends, and getting to try out commentary for the first time was a huge growth opportunity for me.” Given how many travel destinations there are to choose from on the poker calendar, Kerstetter says the things that bring her back to places a second time are the field quality, how well the tournament is run, and if the “location offers something unique that I can't get at home.” Kerstetter is often on the move and she keeps her Twitter followers plenty abreast of where she is headed next. As the poker season shifts toward the spring, there are many tournament stops to visit and it’s a safe bet that Kerstetter will be on the grind searching for new treasure.
It’s finally official. The weeks of rumors have finally been put to rest as PokerStars is scheduled to put their platform to the real money test on Monday, November 4 and will become the first online operator to offer online poker in Pennsylvania. For PokerStars, the soft launch testing period should take two days before it is officially approved. Once it is, poker players in the Keystone State can get back to their online grind. For a little while at least, PokerStars will be the only operator in Pennsylvania. However, it is just a matter of time before they have competition for the nearly 13 million potential players in PA. Here's a look at the online poker operators that could be next to join PokerStars in the Pennsylvania market. [ptable zone="NJ Online Poker Promos"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] WSOP.com One of the most obvious choices to do battle with PokerStars is Caesars Entertainment’s online arm of the World Series of Poker, WSOP.com. Currently the leading online poker room in New Jersey, WSOP.com is powered by 888 software and partnered with Harrah’s Philadelphia, another property of Caesars. World Series of Poker officials have remained tight-lipped about their plans on entering Pennsylvania. When they do, it should only be a two-day testing process for them based on the fact that they already have up-and-running online sites elsewhere in the U.S. WSOP.com would bring a number of exciting opportunities for players in Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, the ability to satellite into live World Series of Poker bracelet events would be a significant draw, especially in the summer months leading up to the Main Event. In addition to their satellites, WSOP.com offers its own online poker series with big guarantees including seasonal Online Championships as well as Online Circuit Events where players can win an actual ring. Party Poker partypoker’s parent company, GVC, has a deal in place with Valley Forge Casino Resort that would bring the well-known poker brand to PA. Like WSOP.com, partypoker already has a presence in New Jersey, where it shares a player pool with BorgataPoker.com and BetMGM.com. This means that whenever they decide to schedule a soft launch period, it too will only require two days of testing. Going live in Pennsylvania looks to be a piece to a larger puzzle for partypoker. Earlier this year, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved partypoker for an online poker license in Nevada. Currently, there is only one operator in Nevada, WSOP.com. The low population of three million makes it tough for the market to support multiple online poker sites. If partypoker has its sights set on taking over the #1 spot in the U.S. they would need to leverage the same multi-state compact that bolstered WSOP.com. At the same time, they will be looking forward to a time when Pennsylvania may also join the states that have legalized and regulated online poker. Dark Horses partypoker and WSOP.com are two of the most recognizable brands in poker today. But inside the state of Pennsylvania, there are some very popular poker entities that could decide to enter the market. Parx Casino is well-known for its massive Big Stax tournaments and large live poker room. They have also paid the steep $10 million fee to be able to offer online gaming. They are already offering sports betting and online casino games. Should the market warrant it, Parx could leverage their brand to expand into online poker. Rush Street Gaming is the owners of SugarHouse and their interactive arm could bring online poker to PA. Rush Street is already well-known in the poker scene with its televised live cash game Poker Night In America.
On the back of an impressive February, New Jersey online grinder Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon has returned to the top of the USA Online Poker Rankings. After spending the past two months in the #2 spot, Kwon (4,516 PLB points) seemingly doubled-down his efforts in February. He increased his volume and picked up a total of 69 cashes, earning more than $86,000 in the month. Of those results, 12 were PLB-qualifying scores including his spotlight score in the February 26 edition of the WSOP.com’s $25,000 NLHE High Roller where he finished as the runner-up for $9,283 and 149.82 PLB points. That came just days after he made a final table run in the WSOP.com’s $50,000 Monthly Sunday where he earned $6,150 and 103.64 PLB points. In February, Kwon booked 25 four-figure scores in the month and 21 total podium finishes. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] That’s what it took to surpass David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman (4,459), who dropped one spot to #2. Like Kwon, Coleman spent the majority of the month grinding online, posting 48 total cashes for a total of just over $57,000 in earnings. Coleman kicked off the month with a runner-up finish in the February 5 edition of the BorgataPoker.com Mega $535 Tuesday for $5,060 and 100.06 PLB points. Days later he posted what would be his high score for the month with a second-place finish in the WSOP.com’s $30,000 Weekly Sunday for $7,902 and 138.23 PLB points. His recent results have helped him climb to be the #85-ranked player in the world. Michael ‘JohnnyDrama’ Haberman Jr. (4,076) jumped up three spots to take over the #3 spot in the US Online Rankings. Haberman had a fast start to February with a victory in the PokerStars NJ Sunday Special for $4,450 and 127.21 PLB points. Then he went on a tear during the WSOP.com Winter Online Championships, taking home three titles. His first came in Event #3 (NLHE 4-Max) where he earned $9,440 plus 188.99 PLB points. Five days later, he went the distance in Event #18 ($15,000 NLHE Turbo Deepstack) for another $5,516 and 142.00 PLB points. His biggest score of the month arrived with his third Winter OC title as he outlasted 353 entries of Event #43 ($30,000 NLHE Special Sunday Deepstack) for $11,932 and another 218.47 PLB points. All in all, Haberman finished the month earning over $62,000 on 54 total cashes and climbed to a career-high ranking of #124 in the world. Longtime New Jersey grinder Jon ‘itsmejon’ Borenstein jumped up one spot to #4 this month after taking all of January off. He returned to the online tables in mid-February to pick up 15 total cashes including a victory in Event #22 of the Winter OC ($10,000 NLHE Knockout) for $4,191 and 153.07 PLB points. Helping him in the rankings, eight of his 15 cashes were PLB-qualified scores. Completing the top-5 for February is Vladimir ‘Donate_here’ Alexandrov, who steps back a single spot to #5. A good part of the reason Alexandrov moved back is simply a lack of volume. The New Jersey resident took the better part of the month off, recording just eight total cashes. However, he booked a big score by taking down the February 19 edition of the BorgataPoker.com Mega $535 Tuesday for $6,765 and 143.18 PLB points. U.S. Online Poker Rankings Top 10 RANK PLAYER PLB POINTS 1 Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon 4516 2 David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman 4459 3 Michael ‘JohnnnyDrama’ Haberman Jr. 4076 4 Jon ‘itsmejon’ Borenstein 3815 5 Vladimir ‘Donate_here’ Alexandrov 3805 6 Dan “centrfieldr” Lupo 3782 7 Jason ‘JLaw’ Lawhun 3400 8 Michael “Gags30” Gagliano 3381 9 tc_ownz 3250 10 Brian 'bexel' Sherrier 3228 ‘Bamatide88’ Continues His Silver State Reign It’s another month on top of the Nevada Rankings for Tanner ‘Bamatide88’ Bibat (2,756 PLB points). Bibat put in a solid month of grinding in February, picking up six PLB-qualified cashes over the course of 17 total results. His spotlight score came early in the month when he finished as the runner-up in February 2 edition of the WSOP.com $15,000 Weekly Saturday for $3,140. Nevada Online Poker Rankings RANK PLAYER PLB POINTS 1 Tanner 'Bamatide88' Bibat 2756 2 David ‘bewater’ Goodman 2389 3 Jed ‘JCHAK’ Hoffman 2328 4 Ian ‘APokerJoker2’ Steinman 2136 5 prdawg420 2078
No one can know for sure when the World Poker Tour will be back in New Jersey to offer poker players another shot at a live WPT title. However, later this month online players in the Garden State can battle for an actual WPT trophy in the WPT Online Poker Open powered by partypoker US Network. On Sunday, June 28 the World Poker Tour, BorgataPoker.com, and partypoker are teaming up for an exclusive online event just for players in New Jersey. The $400 buy-in, $300K Gtd WPT Online Poker Open not only promises the winner a hefty payday but also an official WPT Champions’ Trophy, an invitation to a World Poker Tour VIP experience in Las Vegas, and an $11,000 package that includes entry into the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas plus $600 in cash to pay for expenses. “WPT and partypoker US Network are coming together to provide the New Jersey network of online players the opportunity to compete in a world-class event and take part in a familiar WPT experience,” said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the WPT in a press release. “We look forward to our first event with partypoker US Network and a great start to a long term partnership.” The $400 WPT Online Poker Open Main Event takes place at the end of a week filled with twelve prelim events. Buy-ins for the prelim events start at just $5 and scale up to the $320 Black Chip Bounty tournament. In addition to the prelim events, the series is holding a number of direct satellites to the Main Event as well as the ability to phase into the Main Event with buy-ins of $45. Of course, in order to participate a player needs to physically be located inside of New Jersey. From there, they can choose their platform of choice between any of the partypoker US Network clients including BorgataPoker.com, BetMGMPoker.com, or partypoker’s own NJ client. “We continually strive to offer opportunities for players to enjoy the game they love on a safe, secure, and hassle-free network,” said Ray Stefanelli, Director of Poker for partypoker US Network. “We are excited to combine the prestige of WPT with the offering of our poker network to provide a championship-caliber event to players in New Jersey.” WPT Online Poker Open Schedule [table id=52 /]