A recent announcement on the PokerStars Blog regarding dates for the annual Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) in its American-facing markets of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey, caught the attention of poker players.
A stateside SCOOP record of more than $5 million in guarantees is promised across the three sites in the announcement (PokerStars PA, PokerStars MI, and PokerStars NJ). The news of the US tournament series comes amidst the global PokerStars.com SCOOP, which has an eye-popping $100 million guarantee of its own.
PASCOOP 2021 Kicks Off US-SCOOP Season with $2 Million in Guarantees
The 2021 Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) is set to take place from Saturday, April 17, through Monday, May 3. There is a total of $2 million in guaranteed prize money over 120 events.
PokerStars PA looks to follow up on its inaugural PASCOOP 2020 with another big series this spring. Having gone live in November 2019, PokerStars PA has seen large turnouts for all its tournament series since entering the market. Including PASCOOP 2020, which awarded more than $3.2 million in prize money.
This year, PASCOOP 2021 will cater to players in every buy-in level by expanding to three buy-in tiers – low, medium, and high, just like the international-facing PokerStars.com has done for well over a decade. Buy-ins will range from $5 to $1,000, allowing poker players with modest bankrolls to earn a PASCOOP title.
Lastly, the $300 Main Event will run over two days, starting on Sunday, May 2, and featuring a $200,000 guarantee. Neither the buy-in nor the guarantee was raised from PASCOOP 2020, where 1,315 created a $368,200 prize pool.
MISCOOP Looks to Carry the Momentum
Pennsylvania will then pass the torch to the 2021 Michigan Spring Championship of Online Poker (MISCOOP). MISCOOP kicks off Saturday, May 8, and runs through Monday, May 24.
Like in Pennsylvania, PokerStars was the first to enter the Michigan online poker market, with PokerStars MI launching on January 29, 2021. Three weeks later, the Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP) ran with astounding success, seeing its $1 million in guarantees raised more than 40% by series end.
MISCOOP’s first iteration will commence two months exactly from the date the inaugural MICOOP finished. MICOOP’s Main Event mirrored the 2021 PASCOOP Main Event, with a $300 buy-in and $200K guarantee. In it, 1,284 entries surpassed the guarantee by nearly 80%, generating a total prize pool of $359,520, just shy of any COOP record (PASCOOP 2020 Main Event).
The Garden State Mirrors the Mitten
New Jersey’s Spring Championship of Online Poker (NJSCOOP) is the longest-running of the three US series, dating back to 2016 when PokerStars went live in New Jersey. This year’s edition is a bit later than its usual April slot on the schedule, and its dates of Saturday, May 8 to Monday, May 24 are identical to those of the 2021 MISCOOP.
New Jersey’s field sizes have historically been smaller than both Pennsylvania and the newly-launched Michigan platforms. Nonetheless, NJSCOOP 2020 saw $1.2 million in total guarantees across 48 events, both of which were most in NJSCOOP history. In 2020, the series’ $300 Main Event had a $100K guarantee and drew 620 runners for a total prize pool of $173,600.
Can PokerStars Manage $5 Million in Guarantees?
No further details, including total guarantees, have been released for the NJSCOOP and MICOOP. However, PokerStars US has promised “more than” $5 million in guarantees across the three states, and only $2 million of that can be claimed by Pennsylvania. There is also still the possibility (although the chances are close to zero) of an interstate NJ-MI SCOOP for the first time in legal US poker history.
Michigan state law requires operators to do business within the state for just 90 days before potentially seeking interstate arrangements, meaning it could be eligible to do so as soon as the end of April. Suppose Michigan does join the current tri-state agreement between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware (PokerStars only operates in NJ). In that case, PokerStars could combine players in Michigan and New Jersey and allow them to compete in the same tournaments.
Of course, there’s no official word on such news yet, and interstate online poker is as simple as flipping a switch. Even if the two markets remain separate from one another, it’s entirely plausible for NJSCOOP to promise a minimum of $1 million in guarantees and MISCOOP to match Pennsylvania’s $2 million. Either way, field sizes in all SCOOPs are ripe for setting records.
Multi-State Poker Coming Soon to Michigan?
With BetMGM Poker having gone live in Michigan, the clock is now ticking on its 90-day period before potentially expanding into interstate play as well. The partypoker US Network operates in New Jersey already, meaning BetMGM Poker could share pools with New Jersey players in less than three short months. Lastly, there is also still potential for 888poker/WSOP.com to expand into Michigan. 888/WSOP already shares player pools throughout New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. A Midwest counterpart in Michigan would make for some of the most significant regular prize pools on American-facing regulated poker sites.