SCOOP 2021 is dead, long live the SCOOP 2021 Afterparty.
PokerStars’ blog describes its Afterparty series as being “not a full-on festival.” They also characterize it almost as a kind of methadone for SCOOP addicts. “For the aficionados, it might do the trick as a low-key cool-down period,” they write. “Albeit with a lot of money to be won.”
But despite all the managed expectations, Stars is still putting on an impressive spread. For two weeks, between today and May 18, PokerStars has scheduled 60 events. Each of those events will have a high, middle, and low version for a total of 180 separate tournaments.
Plus, Stars is running daily freerolls with $250,000 worth of tickets to various events as the prize pool.
The series will have one main event — with three separate tourneys at three buy-in levels. All three tourneys will have seven-figure guarantees. The buy-ins for the high, medium, and low Main Events are $5,200, $530, and $55 respectively. The lowest buy-in events of the series will be $2.20, so players of all bankroll sizes should be able to find something that works for them.
PokerStars tweeted about the event with a simple graphic and the caption, “Introducing the #SCOOP Afterparty.”
GGPoker no sooner finished its Spring Series than it launched into the WSOP Spring Online Super Circuit event. This Afterparty has the feel of having been cobbled together in response. Partypoker is holding a WPT Online Series this month. But although satellites are up and running, Party still hasn’t finalized the schedule at the time of writing. This wild, haphazard, and extemporized response is actually pretty positive.
Clearly, no one in the industry thought 2020’s poker boom was going to last amid the mix of warm weather in the Northern hemisphere and live poker’s return. Stars, GG, and Party just went head to head for butts in digital seats. The week after everyone flopped back exhausted into their ergonomic gaming chairs, all three sites still feel confident that there’s minimal risk in putting up another stack of million-dollar guarantees.
This feels like 2003 all over again. Maybe it won’t be as sustainable as the Moneymaker effect, but catching COVID seems to have given online poker’s immune system a boost.
PokerStars seems a little more cautious for the Afterparty than Party and GGPoker are. The Afterparty has only three guarantees of $1 million or more (the three main events have $1M GTD for the low, and $1.5 GTD for the medium and high tourneys).
There’s also much less variety of events than were available during SCOOP proper . Most events are no-limit hold ’em or pot-limit Omaha. For example, there are just two HORSE events (six tourneys), one stud event (three tourneys), and zero draw events (zero tourneys). Stars is sticking close to the most popular formats.
But who could have predicted that online players would still have this many tourneys, the month after the three biggest names in poker threw everything they had at the wall. Somehow there is still enough room to throw some more and to expect plenty of it to stick.
That’s very good news for the game. Certainly good enough to justify an afterparty to celebrate.
Featured image source: Twitter