BetMGM Poker Throws Its Hat in the State Championship Ring

There’s no such thing as an undisputed champion in poker. Considering international live poker, for instance, the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and PokerStars all claim to crown a champion each year.

But if you just wanted to be the online poker champion of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, it used to be that you could win the sole claim to that. Not anymore.

PokerStars’ state Championships of Online Poker (NJCOOP, PACOOP and MICOOP) are all running again this year at their usual time in September. This year, though, they won’t be the only championships in town.

Today, BetMGM Poker announced that it will debut its Online Championships this year, across the same trio of states.

Editor’s Note (09/15): At the time of publication, BetMGM was calling the new series the BetMGM Poker State Championships. It has since changed the name to BetMGM Poker Online Championships, and we’ve amended the article accordingly.

The BetMGM Poker Online Championships will run from September 15 to 25. Combined guarantees for all three states will total $2 million. The New Jersey series has the biggest guarantees, with $250,000 for its titular Championship on the final day. The Michigan Championship guarantees $200,000, and Pennsylvania’s $150,000.

Although it’s a smaller series, the BetMGM Championships coincide almost exactly with the September 9 to 26 date range for the PokerStars COOPs.

In fact, all three US operators will be running concurrent series in late September. is also hosting WSOP Online 2022 from September 10 to October 18. And although the name of the series doesn’t include the word “Championship,” it will culminate in a multi-day Championship event for each state with Day 1 on October 16.

Differences in Pacing

Players who are interested in all three series needn’t worried about getting overwhelmed. Despite their overlapping dates, the pacing is quite different at each site.

PokerStars hasn’t announced the exact schedule for its COOPs yet. However, it traditionally takes a maximalist approach. Last year, it had 120 events or more in each state, with many running each day.

WSOP is at the opposite end of the spectrum, at least for its standalone states. In New Jersey, where it is the market leader thanks to interstate traffic-sharing with Nevada, it will hand out 33 bracelets. However, the Pennsylvania and Michigan series each consist of just 6 events, one each week.

BetMGM splits the difference with its Championships. Each state has the same schedule, with one event per day, and two on Sundays. In addition, there is a Phased event with one starting flight each day and two on the final day. That makes for a total of 14 events per state.

The full BetMGM State Championship schedule is available at the bottom of this article.

Big Buy-ins, Big Prizes

Although scheduling time to play all three series shouldn’t be a problem, budgeting might be.

PokerStars is likely to be the best option for players on a budget. In past years, PokerStars COOPs have catered to a variety of bankrolls, with buy-ins ranging from $10 all the way up to $1,000. 

On the other hand, WSOP bracelet events don’t come cheap, with buy-ins starting at $365 and going up to $1,000 in PA and MI, and all the way to $10,000 for the NV/NJ network.

BetMGM’s Championships lean more towards the high end as well. Most of the events cost $250 or $500 to enter, with three $1,000 price tags and a $2,500 sprinkled in. The cheapest option on the menu is the Phased event, at $100 a pop, though that could add up if it takes multiple bullets to make it through to the second phase.

PokerStars Throws Platinum Passes Into the Mix

PokerStars might be getting worried about the intensifying competition this fall. It has just announced a series of leaderboards running from August 30 to December 10, which will award PokerStars Players Championship Platinum Passes.

Details are sparse at the moment, but Bonus has asked for clarification and will update when we get a response.

In the meantime, what we do know is that some of these $30,000 packages will be awarded based on COOP performance. In other words, you can compete to be the online state champion and a world live poker champion all at once.

Six passes will go to the top leaderboard finishers in each state, while the top 1000 get to play in a freeroll on September 27 with an unspecified number of additional passes up for grabs.

Each pass provides entry to the $25,000 live tournament taking place in the Bahamas in January, plus travel, accommodations and spending money worth an additional $5,000.

BetMGM Poker Online Championships Schedule

DateTimeBuy-inTable SizeName/FormatGTE (NJ/PA/MI)
Sep 1519:00$500Full RingKickoff$35k/$25k/$35k
Sep 1619:00$2508-MaxPKO$20k/$15k/$20k
Sep 1718:00$500Full RingNLHE$30k/$20k/$25k
Sep 1719:00$2506-MaxPLO$20k/$20k/$20k
Sep 1819:00$2,500 8-MaxHigh Roller$100k/$50k/$75k
Sep 1919:00$5007-MaxPKO$30k/$20k/$25k
Sep 2019:00$1,000 8-MaxNLHE$50k/$35k/$40k
Sep 2119:00$2506-MaxPKO$20k/$15k/$20k
Sep 2219:00$5008-MaxWarm-Up$50k/$35k/$40k
Sep 2319:00$2507-MaxTurbo$20k/$15k/$20k
Sep 2418:00$250Full RingNLHE$25k/$15k/$20k
Sep 2419:00$1,000 6-MaxPLO High Roller$50k/$25k/$40k
Sep 2518:00$1,000 8-MaxChampionship$250k/$150k/$200k
Sep 15-2420:00$1008-MaxPhase 1Entry to Phase 2
Sep 2516:00$1008-MaxPhase 1Entry to Phase 2
Sep 2517:00$1008-MaxTurbo Phase 1Entry to Phase 2
Sep 2519:00--8-MaxPhase 2$100k/$100k/$100k

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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