The New Jersey online poker scene has gone through some dramatic changes in 2018.
WSOP NJ and 888 Poker sites started sharing player pools with sister sites in Nevada and Delaware in May. The results have included online tournament entry and prize pool numbers climbing to new heights.
Before May, the biggest tournaments in the legal and regulated New Jersey online poker market were a part of seasonal tournament series like the PokerStars NJ Championship Of Online Poker, or the Borgata/partypoker/playMGM network’s Garden State Super Series. At the best of times, the winners of the main event in these series might walk away with a top prize just south of $40,000.
The truth is, many NJ poker players have long considered satellites into live events the best NJ online poker tournaments. This goes back to 2015 when New York’s Asher Conniff used a pair of online satellites into Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa live events to help him book more than $1.1 million in winnings and a World Poker Tour World Championship title.
However, now that players on WSOP.com and 888 Poker are playing against others in Nevada and Delaware, the stakes are higher. As a result, any list of the best NJ online poker tournaments looks a whole lot different. There’s even an opportunity to hunt six-figure scores online in New Jersey now.
Here’s a look at an updated list of the top three multi-table tournaments available online in the Garden State, including at least one opportunity for a six-figure payday:
Coast to Coast Classic
After the success of its online bracelet events, WSOP.com ran a $300,000 GTD Player Appreciation Tournament for online players in Nevada and New Jersey. There were multiple freerolls satellite players in the $525 buy-in event. It ultimately drew a field of 572 entries, creating a $406,500 prize pool.
It’s anybody’s guess as to if WSOP.com will do it again. However, the network does appear committed to the new Coast to Coast Classic online tournament series it ran on either side of the 2018 WSOP.
The Coast to Coast Classic main event must now be considered one of the best online tournaments in NJ. The first time around in May, the $320 buy-in event drew 363 entries and 163 re-entries. It smashed its $200,001 guarantee, creating a $245,642 prize pool.
A total of 60 players got paid with winner Pierre “P_aire_146” Deissler walking away with a top prize of $61,411.
WSOP.com upped the buy-in to $500 and the guarantee to $250,000 for the main event in its Coast to Coast Classic II series in August. This time the site took a bath as it had to cover a sizable overlay with just 314 entries recorded.
A player named Loco4coco won it, collecting a $63,750 first-place prize. It looks like WSOP.com will need to tweak the buy-in and guarantee to find the sweet spot. However, the Coast to Coast Classic has proved to be one of the best online tournaments in NJ, and it’s likely to be back sooner rather than later.
The WSOP Circuit
The WSOP Circuit ran a $365 WSOP.com ONLINE Ring Event as a part of its Harrah’s Atlantic City stop in March.
The event was only moderately successful, drawing 181 entries and creating a $59,368 prize pool.
The WSOP Circuit has long been considered poker’s minor leagues, but there was nothing minor about its next effort to go online in NJ.
WSOP.com ran the first ever wholly online WSOPC series at the end of September. It was open to players in Nevada and New Jersey. In the end, its $525 main event drew a healthy field of 682 players, creating a juicy $341,000 prize pool.
California’s Shawn Daniels took down the title and an $83,545 first-place prize.
That many players and that much money on the line helped make the WSOP.com Circuit main event one of the biggest and best online tournaments in NJ. Now, players can’t wait for the WSOPC to try again.
The WSOP.com Online Championship
The $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship was already the biggest tournament in regulated US online poker. This year, New Jersey players were allowed to register for the first time, and it got even bigger.
In fact, the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship drew 1,635 entries this year, creating a $1,553,250 prize pool. It now stands as the biggest online poker tournament in legal and regulated online poker history in New Jersey, Nevada and the entire United States.
The WSOP hosted a total of four online bracelet events in the summer of 2018. Thanks to New Jersey players getting in on the action for the first time, each one broke entry and prize pool records.
A New Jersey player named Matt ‘mendey’ Mendez even managed to win the 2018 WSOP $565 Pot Limit Omaha online bracelet event for $135,077.
However, the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship was the biggest of the bunch. Therefore, it has to be considered among the best NJ online poker tournaments there is.
By the way, Chicago’s Ryan Tosoc won it, collecting a $238,779 first-place prize that also marked the biggest score in legal and regulated US online poker history.
The budding poker star is the same player who won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event in December 2017, a year after finishing runner-up there.
Tosoc will likely defend his title in 2019. However, he’ll most likely have to do it against even more players from New Jersey. Plus, there’s little doubt the biggest tournament in legal and regulated US online poker will get even bigger overall.