PokerStars NJ’s Live Event In Atlantic City Turns Into Second Bad Beat

Updated on September 21, 2022
New Jersey PokerStars live events


For as popular as PokerStars’ online tournaments and sit-and-go games are in New Jersey, its two live events in Atlantic City have been busts by most accounts.

Low turnout plagued PokerStars’ live MEGASTACK poker series Oct. 6-8 at Resorts Casino Hotel, marking the second consecutive live tourney disappointment. This most recent weekend event was divided into the Sunday Special Live main event and the no-limit deep-stack “Cheap and Deep.”

Overlays on both PokerStars NJ tournaments

PokerStars’ main event tourney on Oct. 7 boasted $100,000 in guaranteed prize money, and four different starting flights competed.

Sunday Special Live drew 409 entrants and, when multiplied by the $220 buy-in, the total prize pool generated by entrants was $89,980, resulting in an overlay of $10,020. The picture was pretty bleak on the deep-stack side. The event brought in less than half of the guaranteed $25,000 purse.

PokerStars’ own Chris Moneymaker won the deep-stack tourney while Egg Harbor Township’s John Monahan won the Sunday Special Live.

Why is PokerStars struggling with live events in NJ?

It’s up for debate why PokerStars is having a hard time filling seats at live tournaments.

Maybe players aren’t going simply out of inconvenience and cost. Atlantic City is the only location in the state with casinos — a November 2016 referendum kept it that way.

Players in northern New Jersey may find the drive south too far, particularly considering the amount of money they’d spend on gas, a hotel stay, and food for the weekend, not to mention buy-ins. Why drive two hours to a tourney when they can play from the comfort of home?

In that sense, PokerStars’ online popularity in the state may very well be working against its live tournaments.

Another factor could be the amount of money that can be won online versus in person. PokerStars’ September/October tournament series featured 46 online events with more than $1 million in prize money. The biggest event on that schedule, purse-wise, was the Oct. 15 NL Hold ’em Main Event, which had a $200,000 prize pool.

Multiple factors hampered first tournament

While there haven’t been any theories as to why the most recent PokerStars event didn’t perform as expected, experts in the industry say the company’s first event in Atlantic City in October 2016 was the victim of several converging factors.

These included the lack of a guaranteed prize pool, another poker event happening at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and having only two months to market the event.

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Image credit: James Kirkikis / 
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