PokerStars Fighting Back in Southern Europe with €15 Million Carnaval Series

February 15th, 2021 | by Greg Shaun

PokerStars is getting ready to party in Southern Europe with two new festivals offering at least €15 million in prize money.

PokerStars Carnaval Series

PokerStars is bringing the party to Southern Europe’s poker hotspots with a new Carnaval Series. (Image: PokerStars)

The Carnaval Series will feature more than 300 MTTs with buy-ins ranging from €5 to €250.

To ensure players in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy are invited, PokerStars has separated the event into two distinct parts.

Something for Everyone in Southern Europe

The proverbial “main event” will be available in France, Spain, and Portugal. It will run from February 21 to March 11 and feature 270 MTTs.

PokerStars took advantage of Southern Europe’s liquidity sharing agreements and connected the three countries in 2018.

The size of the combined playerpool means that the Carnaval Series will have a total guarantee of €10 million. A €250 Main Event with a €500,000 guarantee will headline the festival and satellites start from €0.50.

Italy is also part of Southern Europe’s liquidity sharing agreement. However, even though regulators agreed to join the pact in 2017, they’ve yet to put the necessary rules in place to make sharing a reality.

As such, PokerStars hasn’t added Italy to its Southern European network. But, in the spirit of equality, it’s offering a separate Carnaval Series for Italians.

By and large, the Italian series mirrors its counterpart in terms of buy-ins and satellites. The main event will also have a €500,000.

However, because it’s a smaller market, the overall guarantee will be €5 million. Moreover, there will be fewer tournaments on offer between February 21 and March 7.

Despite that fact, the Italian Carnaval Series will still have an impressive 105 MTTs available from as little as €5.

PokerStars Making Its Presence Felt

Beyond the main events, both series will offer phased tournaments, something for non-Hold’em players, and a Classic Carnaval Special PKO.

This €10 tournament places a bounty on each player’s head. Each time someone eliminates an opponent, they take that person’s bounty and increases their own.

This means the target on everyone’s back gets larger which, in turn, creates a unique action-filled dynamic.

Executives at PokerStars HQ will be hoping to beat the €15 million guarantee. Why? Because Winamax raised the bar in France and Spain earlier this year with a €20 million series.

Although it’s been the biggest name in France for more than a decade, the Winamax Series came out of left field. Not only did it take everyone by surprise, it set a record for largest poker series in the regulated Southern European market.

PokerStars has been fending off challenges from Partypoker and GGPoker in other markets. It’s also been battling Winamax for the best part of two years.

So, to lose a record in Southern Europe will have provided some extra motivation for the tournament team.

That’s great news for poker players in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy as it means big prizes and plenty of action in the coming weeks.


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