Coronavirus Lockdown Spikes PokerStars’ Sunday Million Prizepool

March 23rd, 2020 | by Jason Reynolds

PokerStars’ 14th Anniversary Sunday Million has become the latest beneficiary of self-isolation and now stands as one of the largest online MTTs in history.

PokerStars Sunday Million

PokerStars’ 14th Anniversary Sunday Million has exceeded expectations and become one of the richest MTTs in history. (Image: PokerStars)

Even without the new coronavirus forcing people to stay indoors, the special event was already on course make a statement.

To celebrate 14 years of weekly high-stakes action, PokerStars guaranteed a prizepool of $12.5 million. That alone was enough to make it the richest Sunday Million ever but even that figure was eclipsed on Sunday.

New Dynamics Take Sunday Million to New Heights

In a break from the norm, the buy-in for the anniversary event was upped to $215 and registration remained open until the start of Day 2. Those dynamics, in tandem with a bumper guarantee and a global lockdown, helped the prizepool reach $18,603,200.

When registration closed, the total number of entries topped 93,016. Although PokerStars’ 2013 Record Breaker holds the record for most entries in an online MTT with 225,000, the latest Sunday Million is right up there.

What’s more, it now stands as the richest ever event of its kind. In some respects, the tournament could also be seen as a bigger hit than Partypoker’s Millions Online.

Although that tournament still holds the record as richest online MTT ever, Partypoker hosted multiple starting flights. In contrast, the 14th Anniversary Sunday Million had just one and an extended registration period.

Coronavirus Crackdown Creating New Opportunities

With coronavirus causing lockdowns around the world, players have no choice but to play online. Indeed, as casinos close and live events get cancelled, more operators are turning towards the internet.

In the UK, Grosvenor Poker recently moved all of its live events online. The WPT and Irish Open have done the same for players across Europe.

While the coronavirus will, ultimately, have a negative impact on businesses around the world, it may create new opportunities in poker. If entry figures continue to rise, there may be a new market for more live/online hybrids.

This wouldn’t be a new concept in poker. However, once the crisis is over, it could become the norm for major tours. Indeed, both mediums are always looking for ways to grow and the emergence of a new type of tournament format could be beneficial for all.

However, for now at least, PokerStars and its peers can take at least some positives from the coronavirus pandemic.


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