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Garden State Super Series II Set for January

After a bumpy first run in September, partypoker New Jersey is getting geared up for the Garden State Super Series II, slated to run alongside the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open in January. The GSSS will span two weeks from January 11th through January 25th.

The Series will be comprised of 23 events with three buy-in levels for each for a total of 69 online poker tournaments. Over one million dollars in prize money is guaranteed. Things kick off on January 11th with No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max and No-Limit Hold’em events. The first of these, the $10 “low” buy-in version of the No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max event, will begin at 4:00pm, with each subsequent tourney starting every half-hour.

Monday through Wednesday look to be the lightest days on the schedule with the weekends being the busiest, which should come as no surprise. Buy-ins range from just $5 on up to $1,000 for the GSSS High buy-in Main Event. The “real” Main Event, though, is the mid-level one, with a $200 buy-in, a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool, and $30,000 guaranteed for first place.   Welcome to New Jersey

As one might expect, nj.partypoker.com is running loads of satellites for the events with buy-ins starting from only 25 cents. There are a number of Mega Satellites on the official Garden State Super Series II schedule, as well, each guaranteeing anywhere from 10 to 20 seats into their designated events.

In a press release, partypoker hyped a “significant” change from the first GSSS: steeper payout structures, a result of feedback from players. Thus, the top finishing spots will be more lucrative than they would have been with the previous structure.

Other changes of note include:

•    Super Bounty Event (Event #16) in which half the prize pool goes to regular tournament payouts and half goes to paying bounties.
•    Speed Down (Event #21) – the tournament structure actually slows down as the tourney goes on.
•    No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up Events have been added.

Team partypoker Captain and long-time World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton said that he will be playing in the GSSS events while in New Jersey for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. He added:

With the Garden State Super Series running alongside January’s WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open players have the chance to win big in both the in-person environment and online felt while in New Jersey. There are so many ways to qualify plus a great variety of tournament formats and the three buy-in levels that give anyone a chance to take home their share of over $1 million. We would like to thank the community for their feedback on the schedule with steeper payout structures and the introduction of Heads-Up and Super Bounty events being particularly hot topics.

The first Garden State Super Series, which was held in September, was, to put it bluntly, a mess. When it started, this writer was optimistic, but also a bit wary of partypoker going for the gusto like it did. On another site, I wrote at the time, “It should be interesting to see how the GSSS goes, as there is a fine line between having attractive, yet manageable guarantees and being way too overambitious, especially in a ring fenced market (even if New Jersey is easily the largest of the three states with legalized online poker).”

As it turned out, it wasn’t necessarily the guarantees that bit partypoker in the ass, but rather the massive slate of tournaments. On a Sunday, one of the busiest days for the GSSS, all three buy-in tournaments of the two events that were going on froze. When the technical problem could not be fixed quickly, all of the tournaments were cancelled. This was a terrible look for a site that was looking to establish the first major tournament series in a young market. Jeffrey Haas, bwin.party’s Group Poker Director, took to Two Plus Two to explain what happened:

The system failure was on a key component that manages and schedules tournaments, hence why cash games, fastforward, SNG and casino games were not impacted. The technical teams across partypoker have worked non-stop since it occurred last night to identify and provide a permanent fix for the issue. This has now been deployed today, and the technical teams are confident that we should not experience a recurrence of this very unfortunate event in the future.

He did seem truly apologetic and embarrassed, which was at least refreshing compared to some poker rooms that just refund players’ buy-ins and say, “tough.” Players who were still active in the tournament received the prize money that would have gone to the next player eliminated, per partypoker’s tournament cancellation policy. Half the remaining prize pool was divided equally amongst those same players. The other half was split up based on chip counts. The poker room also added $50,000 to the prize pools of the following Sunday’s tournaments.

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