The sporting and betting world will be focused on the annual tradition of March Madness in just a few weeks.
However, for New Jersey betting customers, and those in Pennsylvania and Michigan, some of the focus will be on huge in-person and online poker events run by BetMGM.
BetMGM announced Monday the “March Poker Mania” festival from March 20-27.
With nearly $1.3 million in total guarantees (GTDs), the festival will run simultaneously in New Jersey ($472k GTD), Michigan ($397k GTD) and Pennsylvania ($397k GTD).
New Jersey is one of a handful of states with legal real money online casinos, along with Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia.
Online poker is legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Delaware and West Virginia.
Native Son Elias Will Host in New Jersey
All of the online tournaments will be hosted by three of poker’s most well-known personalities.
In the Garden State, players will have the chance to interact with BetMGM Poker brand ambassador and New Jersey native Darren Elias.
Elias, a four-time World Poker Tour champion, will host a BetMGM Sportsbook meet-up at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa on March 24 and the live Spring Rebound Poker Tournament by BetMGM and Borgata Poker – a $1k buy-in, $100k GTD No-Limit Hold’em (NLH) 8-max – on March 25. He also will host his first-ever live stream during March Poker Mania.
"We’re thrilled that March Poker Mania will feature three poker titans, offering BetMGM players multiple new touchpoints with our brand,” Luke Staudenmaier, the director of poker for BetMGM, said in a news release. “It’s the first time that we’ve produced an online poker event in multiple states, and with multiple hosts, simultaneously, and we’re excited to further connect our players and our brand with MGM properties across the country.”
While New Jersey poker players can interact with Elias, the ambassador in Pennsylvania will be Matt Berkey and in Michigan it will be Andrew Neeme.
Ever wonder what it takes to become a professional poker player? Take a look at our guide.
Breaking Down N.J. Schedule
The complete schedule follows:
March Poker Mania (all times are Eastern; guarantees vary by state)
- March 20, 5 p.m.: Warm-up ($535 buy-in)
- March 20, 6 p.m.: Half-price PKO ($109 buy-in)
- March 20, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 20, 8 p.m.: NLH Turbo ($215 buy-in)
- March 21, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 21, 8 p.m.: PLO 6-max ($215 buy-in)
- March 22, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 22, 8 p.m.: NLH Progressive Knockout 6-max ($535 buy-in)
- March 23, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 23, 8 p.m.: NLH 8-max ($320 buy-in)
- March 24, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 24, 8 p.m.: NLH PKO 6-max ($320 buy-in)
- March 25, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 25, 8 p.m.: PLO 6-max ($215 buy-in)
- March 26, 6 p.m.: Heads-up Bracket Battle 32-max ($1,060 buy-in)
- March 26, 7 p.m.: Phase I to Phase II Main Event ($55 buy-in)
- March 27, 5 p.m.: NLH Main Event 8-max ($1,060 buy-in)
- March 27, 6 p.m.: Phase II: Main Event ($535 buy-in)
- March 27, 7 p.m.: NLH Turbo Second Chance ($215 buy-in)
The festival also features two events new to the BetMGM Poker platform.
The $1k buy-in Heads-up Bracket Battle matches 32 players against each other in a single-elimination, tournament-style format with a commitment to add $10k in value to the prize pool in each state.
Also, there will be multiple opportunities for players to win their way into the Phase II Main Event through a continuous $55 buy-in multi-day tournament. A separate game will take place each day and roll directly into a $535 buy-in event on the final day of the festival.
To participate in March Poker Mania, players must be physically located in New Jersey (BetMGM Poker, Borgata Poker, partypoker NJ). For more info, visit poker.betmgm.com.
Momentum Follows Previous Events
March Poker Mania follows three other PokerStars events in New Jersey. Pennsylvania and Michigan.
PokerStars held its annual Winter Series Tournament that began on Jan. 22 thru Jan. 31. The guarantee in New Jersey was $500,000.
During December, PokerStars had a special “25 Days of Tournaments” that ran until Dec. 30. Each day had a surprise tournament for players in each state that wasn’t found on the regular tournament schedule.
In the fall, PokerStars offered a tournament called Fall Fest in New Jersey and similar events in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The fall tournaments ran from Nov. 20-29.