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The end-of-season World Poker Tour Championship is on the move. This year, the tournament will move across the United States from its old digs at the Bellagio in Las Vegas to the Borgata in Atlantic City. The action begins on April 21 and features the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, or NJCOP, running alongside it, giving players the chance to battle offline and online. Sign up for PartyPoker New Jerseyand sign up for Borgata Poker today. WPT President Adam Pliska commented in a press release that a change of scenery for the WPT Championship should provide a fresh start: "After 11 years in Las Vegas, we saw an interesting opportunity to shake things up and update our iconic Championship. With the move to New Jersey, the lower buy-in, and the support of PartyPoker, which is qualifying players online, we're giving players who may never have been able to join us for this prestigious event a chance to enjoy the ultimate WPT experience." New Jersey players will have a unique opportunity, as PartyPoker and Borgata Poker are qualifying players for the WPT Championship. There are three ways to score a WPT Championship seat, including a 64-player Heads-Up Shootout on April 13 at 4:00pm Eastern Time, three freezeouts the same day that range in buy-in from $100 to $2,000, and a Last Chance Qualifier on April 17. The Borgata has been the site of five of the six largest WPT events ever, including Season X's Borgata Poker Open, which drew 1,313 entrants, and January's Borgata Winter Poker Open, which attracted 1,229 entrants. First place in the WPT Championship is guaranteed $1.35 million. This year, the tournament boasts a more affordable $15,400 buy-in. One PartyPoker official told PocketFives that the WPT Championship represents "one of the best TV poker events in the world and the crown jewel of the WPT." The same source added, "Making the WPT Championship a success in New Jersey would be great for all of us: for PartyPoker, for Borgata, and for the New Jersey poker landscape." Last year, David "Chino" Rheem won the WPT Championshipand earned $1.1 million, defeating Erick Lindgren heads-up in a final table that also included PocketFiver David Davidp18 Peters, who finished sixth. The 2013 WPT Championship, which had a $25,500 buy-in, drew 146 entrants. The NJCOP runs from April 19 to 27, concurrently with the WPT Championship, and has a $500 High Roller on April 27 that guarantees $20,000 to first place. The NJCOP will shell out at least $600,000 total across 15 events. Sign up for PartyPoker New Jerseyand sign up for Borgata Poker today. You don't have to be a New Jersey resident to play on either site; instead, you just need to be physically located in the Garden State. Best of luck to all PocketFivers entering the WPT Championship and NJCOP! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
The PartyPokerNetwork experienced serious technical difficulties with the Garden State Super Series and other tournaments on Sunday night. One of the most anticipated weekends in New Jersey online poker, therefore, ended in great disappointment. The GSSS was set to host six tournaments on Sunday with a combined guaranteed prize pool of $370,000. This would have been among the most money up for grabs on any given weekend since regulated online poker launched in New Jersey back in November 2013. Midway through Event #12, which had a $200,000 guarantee, play stopped, leaving many to wonder what happened. Tournaments scheduled to launch at 6:30pm ET were paused and not running. At 7:19pm ET, PartyPoker started sending out a series of Tweets, with the final one coming at 8:49pm ET stating that all tournaments had been cancelled and refunds were to be given out: [Tweet]...[/Tweet] Many New Jersey Poker players expressed their frustration with the technical issues that were taking place. As per Party's cancellation policy, the way the payouts were calculated was as follows: "Players still in the tournament will be refunded the amount that would have been awarded to the next player to be eliminated from the tournament. 50% of the remaining prize pool will be distributed equally between the remaining players, and 50% will be distributed on a percentage basis according to each player's chip count. The remaining players will also be refunded their entry fee." No refunds are given to players who were eliminated before the cancellation of the tournament. On PocketFives, players have been speaking out as to how Party can make up for the technical failure during the GSSS in our New Jersey poker community. One player said, "They can fix it by turning next week's $75,000 Guarantee into a $250,000 Guarantee." Another player suggested, "$200,000 guaranteed freeroll next Sunday for all players who played in the $200,000 this week." Other than issuing refunds, there has been no other announcement made by PartyPoker. There is still a week's worth of events remaining in the GSSS. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
The biggest news story last week was the licensure of PokerStars in New Jersey. When the site will launch isn't clear, but what we do know is the world's largest online poker room returning to the US for the first time since Black Friday will have major ramifications for the industry. The Snowball Effect One of the major effects of New Jersey officials licensing PokerStars has to do with the prospects of the site getting licensed in other states, current or future, that will allow online gambling. As PokerNews' Chad Holloway put it on Twitter, "Going to be hard for opponents & legislators to argue bad actor after PokerStars passed the rigorous & unprecedented DGE review process." Nevada and Delaware are the only two other states that allow internet gambling right now, but Pennsylvania, California, New York, and others could follow suit. Already licensed in the US, PokerStars could have a leg up on its competition. One state we won't see PokerStars in, for at least the short-term, is Nevada. Reporter Jon Mehaffey said on Twitter, "NV regulations have a tainted asset clause. That keeps PS/FTP out of NV. The Amaya sale didn't change that." Other states could include "bad actor" clauses in their regulations as well. Rising Tide in New Jersey Rather than poach all of its competitors' customers in New Jersey, PokerStars could grow the market in the Garden State. Global Poker Index's Alex Dreyfus explained, "Amaya/Pokerstars is very cautious to develop the market size of NJ and not just poach others' customers. Other states will look at that. Therefore, AYA/Stars need to bring innovation and moves that will enlarge the market. That's why it's unlikely to go live in Q4." Dreyfus has predicted a 2016 launch for PokerStars in New Jersey, while others have reasoned that November or December is likely. Current operators in New Jersey include PartyPoker and 888 Poker. Compacts-A-Plenty PokerStars' presence in New Jersey could lead other states to seek compacts with New Jersey to share liquidity. As the Poker Players Alliance said on Twitter, "Many ask if PokerStars in NJ means [New Jersey playing with the] worldwide player pool. It does not (for now), but I believe it makes NJ an attractive compact partner." The legal framework is not currently in place in New Jersey for players to compete with the global pool, but that could change in the future. Nolan Dalla said of the timeline of other states coming online and forging compacts, "[It] will be some time before pacts with other states. PA/NY possible within 18 months. Then dominoes tumble." We'll keep you posted on the latest news related to PokerStars' return to the US. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.