The schedule for the Garden State Super Series II (GSSS 2) has finally been released by New Jersey’s top online poker network, Party Borgata. Managers spent a great deal of time, more than two weeks in fact, consulting with players on the TwoPlusTwo forums to hammer out the details. After all that work, let’s hope the second edition pans out better than the first.
When partners Party Poker and Borgata Poker launched the inaugural version of the online poker series, a black cloud rained down over the servers. A network wide crash resulted in the first GSSS Main Event being cancelled. Players were incensed and, although compensation was offered, it took some time for the sense of resentment to wear off.
Now in its second rendition, GSSS 2 has been slated for January 11-25, 2015. Like the network’s two previous online poker series, it will run parallel to a major live WPT event, the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Truth be told, the Garden State Super Series II looks a whole lot like the original version.
Once more, the online poker series will feature a multitude of events across three buy-in ranges; low, middle and high. This time, however, the number of total events has been increased from 60 (20 per level) to 69 (23 per level). Also equal to the inaugural version, GSSS 2 will present entries scaling from $5 to $1,000, with a wide span of events that will include NLHE, FLHE, PLO, PLO8 and 7 Card Stud.
As for alterations to the GSSS, the additional events have increased the total guaranteed prize pool from a flat $1 million to $1,149,500. The rest of the changes reflect the suggestions of online poker players. And the fact that Party Borgata seems to have taken into account just about every reasonable submission is perhaps the most appreciable change of all.
Each event’s payout structure has been tailored to meet the online poker site’s new tournament payout policy, where buy-ins above $20 pay higher amounts to a smaller percentage of the field (13-15%), and buy-ins of $20 and below are spread across 18-20% of the field. Players from the last online poker series advised that non-Holdem events should be scheduled further apart. That concern was answered by the network as well, scheduling only two such events parallel to one another; Events #7, 7 Card Stud, and #8, PLO8 (numerological coincidence?).
Online poker players begged for a Heads-Up Event (#15), and they got it, along with a Super Bounty (#17) and a fresh format known as Speed Down (#21), where the blind levels gradually speed up as the tournament progresses. Other popular formats are sprinkled throughout the online poker series, including freezeouts, rebuys, 6-max and deepstacks.
Not all of the adaptations will be welcomed by everyone, however. In the first Garden State Super Series, the Main Event (that didn’t actually happen) carried $200k GTD with a minimum $50k going to the winner. GSSS 2 will proffer a lower guarantee of $150k, with $30k reserved for 1st.
A less dramatic but potentially unfavorable modification is in the timing. Due to the direct alignment with the Borgata Winter Poker Open’s Main Event, instead of being placed in the middle of the schedule, the GSSS 2 Main Event will take place at the very end of the series, Sunday, January 25th; the same as Day 1a of the WPT Main Event. Then again, poker pros participating in the WPT event can just as easily register for Day 1b, giving them plenty of free time to participate in the online poker series’ main.
The network is anticipating a continued swell in traffic as the new year approaches. In the last month, Party Borgata has begun widening the gap between itself and nearest rival, WSOP NJ. Admittedly, WSOP has the more attractive promotional campaign, but perhaps taking their member’s complaints seriously and invoking so many transformations to the tournaments of late has finally raised the bar, giving Party Poker the go ahead to rise above the competition in New Jersey’s online poker market.