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PokerStars Drops Buy-in of Iconic Sunday Million Tournament to $109

Sunday Million $109
PokerStars

Arguably the most famous online poker tournament in history is getting its buy-in chopped by 50 percent.

PokerStars announced this week it will be permanently lowering the buy-in of the venerable Sunday Million from $215 to $109.

It’s a massive change for what many consider to be the crown jewel of the online poker world. The Sunday Million has been running pretty much every week since it started in March of 2006 and has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to players over the years.The tournament regularly offers a first-place prize in excess of $100,000.

The new lowered buy-in brings the Sunday Million more in line with many of the other popular big guaranteed tournaments on competing sites and follows an overall trend in the poker industry of lower buy-in events.

Sunday Million Remains Only Weekly $1m-GTD Event

The PokerStars Sunday Million stands alone in the online poker world as the only weekly $1m-GTD event.

As such, it holds a special place in the hearts of serious grinders and recreational players who dream of recording a life-changing score.

Outside of the lower buy-in, the rest of the Sunday Million will remain the same. It’s a single re-entry No-Limit Hold’em tournament with a starting stack of 10,000 chips and 12-minute levels.

PokerStars runs a diverse qualifying schedule for the Sunday Million so there are many players who avoid having to pay the direct buy-in. It’s possible to satellite into the massive tournament for as little as $1.

With a smaller buy-in, the Sunday Million will need to draw some huge numbers to meet the $1m-GTD on the tournament. In fact the Sunday Million will need to draw at least 10,000 entries every week so that PokerStars can avoid handing out an overlay.

The Sunday Million has always been the top dog in the online multi-table tournament world with the biggest fields and prize pools.

Over the years PokerStars has increased the guarantee of the Sunday Million for special anniversary events and recorded some of the biggest online tournaments ever (especially prior to online poker’s so-called Black Friday in 2011).

Here’s a look at the top five biggest Sunday Million events in the tournament’s history of 12-plus years:

DateEntrantsPrize PoolWinnerFirst Prize
12/18/201162,116$12,423,200First-Eagle$1,146,574
06/03/201159,128$11,825,600Bdbeatslayer$844,209
04/24/201856,310$11,262,000Daenarys T$1,000,043
04/02/201755,835$11,167,000Xavi666$1,093,204
02/05/201843,975$10,000,000Hulk9950$960,000

The Biggest Regularly Scheduled Online Tournaments

The new lower buy-in Sunday Million on PokerStars will likely bring in more players than ever but that doesn’t mean it’s the only game in town.

Nearly every major online poker site offers at least a handful of big, guaranteed tournaments with tens of thousands of dollars up for grabs.

Partypoker is the only other operator that offers a regularly scheduled $1-million guaranteed tournament but that event only runs once a month. It also has a $5,000 buy-in, which runs in phases.

Meanwhile 888poker offers the $200,000-GTD Whale every fourth Sunday but it has a considerable buy-in of $530. Bovada.lv has a $100,000-GTD tournament that runs every Sunday with a slightly more manageable buy-in of $162.

Operators are always looking for a new price point to entice players to their major Sunday events but for the time being it appears that lower buy-in tournaments seem to be gaining in popularity. Of course every online poker site tends to run a number of qualifiers for major tournaments, which gives players the ability to satellite in for far less than the actual direct buy-in.

Here’s a look at five of the biggest guaranteed-prize pool tournaments with notes on how often they run:

TournamentFrequencyGuaranteeBuy-inPoker Site
Sunday MillionEvery Sunday$1,000,000.00$109.00PokerStars
The Big GameLast Sunday of Every Month$1,000,000.00$5,200.00partypoker
The WhaleFourth Sunday of Every Month$200,000.00$530.00888poker
$100K GuaranteedEvery Sunday$100,000.00$162.00Bovada.lv
Sunday Second ChanceEvery Sunday$40,000.00$109.00Betonline.ag