Debut PokerStars PACOOP Aces the Test

  • PokerStars increased guarantees after high early attendance
  • Guaranteed prize pools eclipsed by over $300,000
  • 'Gyea08' wins $300 Main Event for $31,335.64
  • Five players won two different tournaments
streets on the map around Pennsylvania
The PokerStars Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) ended on Monday with ‘Gyea08’ winning the $300 Main Event. [Image:]

50 tournaments, 17 days

PokerStars’ inaugural Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) concluded on Monday and by all accounts, it was a resounding success.

PACOOP was an ambitious undertaking for PokerStars, as it was announced just a week and a half after the site was launched in the Keystone state. The series began the very same month.

announced just a week and a half after the site was launched in the Keystone state

PACOOP was a 50-tournament series which ran November 30 – December 16 on PokerStars’ Pennsylvania ring-fenced online poker room. Stars guaranteed $1,000,000 in combined prize pools. Buy-ins ranged from $30 to $750, with the $125,000 Main Event costing $300 to enter.

Guarantees shattered

In an unproven market – PokerStars was the first and is still the only poker room to launch in Pennsylvania – such a large tournament series was a risk. But players flocked to it and the total guarantees were easily eclipsed. In all, the prize pools totaled $1,559,767.

Soon after PACOOP began, returns were so positive that PokerStars increased the guarantees. The original guarantee for the Main Event was $100,000; that was upped to $125,000. The total guarantees across all events was boosted to $1,125,000.

In a second wave of prize pool increases, PokerStars added another $100,000 across all remaining tournaments. The total prizes awarded still ended up beating the new combined guarantee by over $300,000.

“Our average guaranteed clearance and overall performance of this first-of-its-kind poker tournament for Pennsylvania players has exceeded our initial expectations,” said FOX Bet President Matt Primeaux at the time of the second round of guarantee increases.

Some tournaments did have overlays, but the overlays only totaled about $20,000 across 10 events.

Impressive individual performances

The $300 Main Event ran Sunday through Monday, the only two-day event on the PACOOP schedule. There were 640 entries, comprised of 420 unique players and 220 re-entries. The prize pool ended up at $179,000.

39 players made it out of Day 1 with chips, with the tournament coming down to ‘lilholdem952’ and ‘Gyea08’. It was ‘Gyea08’ who claimed victory, turning a straight to pocket the $31,335.64 first prize.

‘Gyea08’ was not the only star of PACOOP, though. Five different players each won two events. Of those, one stand-out was ‘RevoltingBlob12’, who won Events 36 and 37 back-to-back after having made back-to-back final tables in Events 10 and 11.

‘NeolithicFarmer’ also won two events in two days, though they were not consecutively numbered. The player also made six other final tables, including one runner-up finish.

PACOOP matches NJCOOP’s success

PACOOP will naturally be compared to NJCOOP, the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, as the states are neighbors and the only two where PokerStars operates.

New Jersey also had a success first COOP in 2016, beating its $1,200,000 in guarantees by more than $200,000. Only a few tournaments had overlays and even then, the overlays were small.

partypoker cited geolocation issues as the culprit for widespread player disconnects.

Most importantly for both PACOOP and NJCOOP, the tournament series went off without any technical difficulties.

That was a significant worry going into the NJCOOP three years ago, as just a week before, partypoker’s Garden State Super Series (GSSS) V Main Event and seven other events in the series were canceled. partypoker cited geolocation issues as the culprit for widespread player disconnects.

GeoComply USA, which supplies geolocation services to the New Jersey poker sites, said it had nothing to do with the problems and neither PokerStars nor had any issues the same day that the GSSS did.

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