Online poker site partypoker made history this week with the single biggest online poker tournament ever held.
The site took a substantial risk by placing an unprecedented $20-million prize pool guarantee on the $5,300 buy-in Millions Online. There were plenty of pundits who suggested the site wouldn’t get anywhere near the amount of players to fulfill that guarantee.
By the time the final entry had been counted, the site had attracted a total of 4,367 runners to create a record-destroying prize pool of $21.8 million.
To put things in perspective, the previous biggest online tournament was the 2010 PokerStars WCOOP Main Event, which offered a prize pool of $12.2 million; partypoker nearly doubled that figure.
Sportsbook Locks Up $2.39 Million for 1st place
By the time the dust had settled on Millions Online, Manuel “Sheparentao” Ruivo outlasted all comers in the Millions Online and took home a staggering $2.39 million.
Ruivo wasn’t the only player to take home more than $2 million. There was a heads-up chop and runner-up finisher Pim “ForMatherRussia” de Goede earned $2.3 million for his efforts.
It’s a stunning achievement not just for partypoker but for the entire poker industry. The goalposts have been moved back significantly thanks to Millions Online. It’s not just limited to partypoker either as all poker sites may have to rethink what’s possible after the record-setting event.
Here’s a complete look at the final table payouts (*denotes two-way chop):
|1||Manuel "Sheparentao" Ruivo||Netherlands||$2,329,943*|
|2||Pim "ForMatherRussia" de Goede||Malta||$2,309,994*|
|4||Pedro "Maddonaa" Marques||Netherlands||$1,091,750|
The Journey to $21.8 Million
You can look at the giant $21.8-million prize pool of the Millions Online as the result of months of preparation but the work actually goes back much further than that.
Back in 2017 partypoker hired former EPT founder John Duthie as the president of partypoker LIVE. Duthie had a dramatic new vision for live events for partypoker and relaunched the Millions brand.
The choice proved to be a popular one and recreational players flocked to the site with hopes of landing a seat on the coveted Millions tour.
Eventually the powers that be at partypoker decided that the Millions brand would translate well to the online arena. It made sense but throwing a $20-million guarantee on the tournament was a huge risk and virtually unheard of in the online world.
Partypoker did hedge its bets slightly by offering an immense qualifying schedule to help boost the numbers. The site also gave away numerous seats at Millions Live events throughout the year.
Millions Online didn’t reach its guarantee without a few bumps along the way. The first two starting days of the tournament brought middling numbers and industry experts started to ponder a massive overlay that partypoker would be forced to pay.
In the end the worry was for naught as the final two starting days of the event attracted over 1,000 players.
Here are a few of the notable numbers from the partypoker Millions Online:
|$21,835,000.00||Total prize pool amount|
|$9,600,000.00||Amount more than previous record holder|
|$2,329,943.00||Amount that Sportsbook took home|
|$5,300.00||Direct buy-in to partypoker Millions Online|
|4,367||Total number of entries|
|500||Number of players paid|
|31||Highest finish for a partypoker pro in Millions Online (Fedor Holz)|
|5||Number of starting days for Millions|
|4||Number of newly minted millionaires from the final table|
|2||Players that chopped the remaining prize pool for over $4.6 million|
What’s Next for Online Poker?
It feels like anything is possible with partypoker successfully breaking the $20-million mark.
Overall online poker numbers have been on somewhat of a decline since 2011 but the last few years have started to show signs of a striking resurgence.
Some of the positive signs include record numbers for some of the smaller-stakes poker tours as well as a special focus on recreational players and live promotions.
Nothing has been announced but it seems likely that partypoker’s biggest competitor — PokerStars — will likely strike back with a massive online tournament of its own.
PokerStars has owned nearly every record related to online tournaments over the last decade and it seems unlikely the online gaming giant will rest on its laurels.
For the time being, PokerStars will likely focus on its upcoming PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC), which is set to take place in the Bahamas in January.
The PSPC promises to be the biggest $25,000 buy-in tournament ever held with a massive infusion of recreational players thanks to PokerStars awarding $8,000,000 in free packages to players around the globe.
The tournament promises to be a one-of-a-kind spectacle that will likely draw some comparisons to the ageless $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event.
Once the PSPC is complete, it wouldn’t be surprising to see PokerStars announce a massive online tournament of its own.
The other industry leaders like 888poker and iPoker will likely follow suit.
It’s all incredibly positive for the industry as a whole. Once you add in the recent legislation to legalize online poker in Pennsylvania, it’s hard to be cynical about the future of the game.