PokerStars Festival New Jersey Marred By Low Attendance

After a five-year absence from the US, PokerStars relaunched in New Jersey’s online poker market on March 21, 2016 having first agreed a partnership deal with the Resorts Casino Hotel. Between October 29th and November 6th, the brand subsequently took its collaboration to a whole new level by hosting a week-long series of live tournaments called the PokerStars Festival.
While the event was hailed as a success in terms of appealing to recreational players and giving them the opportunity to meet some of the game’s most talented stars, one area in which the PokerStars Festival New Jersey was found wanting was in the number of attendees. The $230 Turbo NLHE event, for instance, only got 19 players, while a number of tournaments had to be cancelled including the $340 freezeout, a $5k event, and a $3k single re-entry event.
Even the $1,100 Main Event drew a field of just 208 players, with Jason Acosta eventually winning the tournament for $38,220. Commenting on the situation, Neil Johnson, PokerStars Department Head of live Poker Operations, explained that given the brand’s extended absence from the US the low attendance level was understandable. Elaborating further, he stated:
“..the market has evolved drastically in the United States. We’re not cannon-balling into the pool; we’re stepping into the pool. We want to make sure we’re meshing with the DGE and make sure we’re meshing with Resorts.”
Despite getting off to a slow start, the PokerStars Festival has provided a glimpse as to the potentially top-notch product it will become once PokerStars refines its marketing efforts. In the meantime, the PokerStars team will be learning from their mistakes in time for the next festival that is scheduled to take place at the start of 2017 in London. Furthermore, England’s capital city has a population of more than 8.5 million people, making it well-placed to satisfy the brand’s aim of creating a regionally based “action-packed poker vacation”.


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