PASCOOP Returns For 2021 With A New ‘Mid’ Buy-In Tier

At this time last year, the inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker was halfway through its first week. This year, it’s happening a little later, and PokerStars has just released the schedule.

The sophomore PASCOOP will kick off on Saturday, Apr. 17 and run until May 3. That range of time is the same as last year’s series, but pushed back two weeks. There’s been no word yet about the Spring Championships for New Jersey and Michigan, but it’s probably safe to assume that those schedules will arrive within the next week or two.

Total guarantees for the series amount to just under $2.1 million, almost unchanged from last year. The high tier Main Event is likewise identical, with a $300 buy-in and $200,000 guaranteed. The schedule has expanded slightly in terms of number of events, however, from 100 up to 120, meaning that the average guarantee per event is down a little.

PokerStars first introduced a Spring Championship on its international site in 2009. This year’s SCOOP is already underway as of last weekend and will continue through Apr. 28.

Featuring three tiers for the first time in the US

Originally, the defining feature of SCOOP was its multiple buy-in tiers. That aspect of its design has remained consistent throughout, though it has since been emulated by other operators, and added by PokerStars to the fall World Championship of Online Poker as well.

PokerStars’ US sites are much smaller than its international one however, and don’t have the traffic to justify the same three-tiered structure. NJSCOOP has had only High and Low tiers since its inception in 2016, and the inaugural PASCOOP followed suit. This year, however, PokerStars has added a mid tier in Pennsylvania, and may do likewise in the other states. The 120 tournaments on the schedule are divided into 40 numbered events with three buy-in levels apiece.

It still isn’t quite the same thing as the international SCOOP, however. There, each tier’s buy-in is 10 times the next lowest tier. For the High tier, that means price tags ranging from $530 to $25,000. The US markets simply don’t have the population to draw a reasonable field of players at those nosebleed stakes. The High tier for NJSCOOP and PASCOOP has always been equivalent to the international Mid tier, and that is still the case.

The new Mid tier for the US sites merely splits the difference, with a buy-in roughly three times higher than the Low tier, and one-third the High tier.

In other words, an international event with an $11 Low tier would have a $109 Mid tier and a $1050 High tier. For PASCOOP 2021, the equivalent progression is $10, $30 and $100.

Standard schedule and qualification options

The addition of a third tier is really the only surprise for this year’s series, unless you count the fact that it’s starting mid-month instead of at the beginning of April. The balance of events on the schedule is very similar to last year’s, albeit with a slightly smaller percentage of turbo and knockout events.

As usual, it consists predominantly of vanilla No-Limit Hold’em events, with four Pot-Limit Omaha and a single 5-Card Pot-Limit Omaha thrown in. Players looking for novelty will have to content themselves with the following variety events:

  • PASCOOP-9: NLHE Escalating Antes ($5/$15/$50)
  • PASCOOP-18: NLHE Heads-Up Zoom Turbo Progressive Total KO ($5/$15/$50)
  • PASCOOP-28: 8-Game ($20/$50/$200)
  • PASCOOP-31: HORSE ($10/$30/$100)
  • PASCOOP-32: Win the Button ($10/$50/$100)

That last format is another first for PACOOP, though it’s a staple on the NJSCOOP schedule and has been tried in Pennsylvania before as part of December’s Turbo Week.

PokerStars is likewise sticking to the formula in terms of promotions related to the series. Depositors using code PASCOOP will gain entry to a Main Event Depositor Freeroll awarding 50 tickets to the High tier Main Event, worth $300 apiece. There are also Second Chance Freerolls for players busting any event shy of the money and $3 Spin & Go satellites.

But what about NJ and MI?

Since launching in Pennsylvania, PokerStars has had a bit of a scheduling dilemma with these annual events. It would like for them to be close to the same time in every state for a consistent user experience. At the same time, the most dedicated online players may want to travel between states to play multiple series, which they can’t do if they’re all simultaneous.

PokerStars has tested a few strategies. For last year’s spring series, it started NJSCOOP one week after PASCOOP so that there was significant overlap, yet the two Main Events were not in conflict for traveling players. With this year’s late start and now three series to juggle, running them consecutively would mean running almost into June. Thus, it’s probably safe to assume that we’ll see overlapping series again. That also means the schedule announcements should be coming very soon.

Following last year’s lead would put New Jersey in the middle, starting Apr. 24, and then Michigan getting added to the end, starting May 1. Although PokerStars hasn’t indicated this will be the case, it would make perfect sense for two reasons.

Firstly, PokerStars Michigan only launched in January, and thus had a belated “fall” Championship MICOOP in late February and early March. PokerStars would want to delay MISCOOP as long as possible to space out the series, which might also explain the two week delay for PASCOOP.

Secondly, PokerStars NJ is by far the smallest of the three sites. Burying it in the middle means spreading out the other two series. Indeed, if MISCOOP starts on May 1, players participating in the PASCOOP Main Event would only miss a few days of the Michigan series if they wanted to play both.

PASCOOP 2021 full schedule

Here is the full series schedule showing all three buy-in tiers.

# Date Buy-In (L/M/H) Game Format GTE (L/M/H)
1 Apr 17 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Standard $6k/$15k/$30k
2 Apr 17 $10/$30/$100 NLHE 6-Max Turbo Zoom $4k/$10k/$20k
3 Apr 18 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Marathon $5k/$12.5k/$25k
4 Apr 18 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Standard $10k/$25k/$75k
5 Apr 18 $5/$15/$50 PLO 6-Max PKO $1.5k/$3.5k/$7.5k
6 Apr 18 $5/$15/$50 NLHE Turbo, 1x Re-Entry $2k/$5k/$10k
7 Apr 18 $5/$15/$50 NLHE 6-Max Hyper $1.5k/$3.5k/$7.5k
8 Apr 19 $10/$30/$100 NLHE 6-Max PKO $5k/$15k/$25k
9 Apr 19 $5/$15/$50 NLHE Escalating Antes $2.5k/$7k/$15k
10 Apr 20 $20/$50/$200 NLHE Standard $7.5k/$20k/$35k
11 Apr 21 $200/$500/$2000 NLHE 8-Max High Roller $30k/$50k/$100k
12 Apr 21 $20/$50/$200 NLHE 8-Max Turbo $4k/$10k/$20k
13 Apr 22 $20/$50/$200 NLHE PKO $7.5k/$20k/$35k
14 Apr 23 $5/$15/$50 NLHE Rebuy $4k/$10k/$20k
15 Apr 23 $10/$30/$100 NLHE 4-Max $3k/$7.5k/$15k
16 Apr 24 $20/$50/$200 NLHE 8-Max PKO Deep $7.5k/$15k/$25k
17 Apr 24 $10/$30/$100 5-Cd PLO 6-Max $2k/$5k/$10k
18 Apr 24 $10/$30/$100 NLHE HU Tb. Zoom PKO $2.5k/$7.5k/$15k
19 Apr 25 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Deep $5k/$12.5k/$25k
20 Apr 25 $20/$50/$200 NLHE Standard $12.5k/$35k/$100k
21 Apr 25 $10/$30/$100 PLO 8-Max $2.5k/$7.5k/$12.5k
22 Apr 25 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Turbo, 1x Re-Entry $3k/$10k/$20k
23 Apr 25 $5/$15/$50 NLHE 6-Max Hyper PKO $1.5k/$3.5k/$7.5k
24 Apr 26 $20/$50/$200 NLHE 6-Max PKO $5k/$15k/$25k
25 Apr 26 $10/$30/$100 PLO 6-Max PKO $2k/$5k/$10k
26 Apr 27 $30/$75/$300 NLHE Standard $8k/$25k/$40k
27 Apr 28 $100/$250/$1000 NLHE 6-Max High Roller $20k/$35k/$75k
28 Apr 28 $20/$50/$200 8-Game Standard $3k/$7.5k/$15k
29 Apr 29 $30/$75/$300 NLHE PKO $8k/$25k/$40k
30 Apr 30 $20/$50/$200 NLHE 25% PKO $6.5k/$15k/$25k
31 Apr 30 $10/$30/$100 HORSE 6-Max $1.5k/$4k/$8k
32 May 1 $10/$30/$100 NLHE 6-Max Win the Button $4k/$15k/$25k
33 May 1 $50/$200/$500 NLHE 8-Max Tb. PKO HR $25k/$35k/$50k
34 May 1 $5/$15/$50 NLHE 4-Max Turbo $2k/$5k/$25k
35 May 2 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Deep Marathon $5k/$12.5k/$25k
36 May 2 $30/$75/$300 NLHE Main Event $20k/$40k/$200k
37 May 2 $20/$50/$200 PLO 6-Max $2.5k/$7.5k/$15k
38 May 2 $10/$30/$100 NLHE 6-Max Deep Hyper $2k/$6k/$10k
39 May 3 $10/$30/$100 NLHE Standard $5k/$10k/$25k
40 May 3 $5/$15/$50 NLHE 6-Max Hyper PKO $1.5k/$3k/$7.5k



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