PokerStars has notched up another industry first by offering online short deck Hold’em tournaments.
Adding to its current selection of 6+ Hold’em cash games, PokerStars is using the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) as a proving ground.
Ahead of the tournament series, the online operator added a new selection of “side events” to the mix. Running in tandem with the main series, the 6+ Hold’em SCOOP events will cost $22, $215 and $2,100.
As well as multi-table tournaments, PokerStars will also be hosting sit & go showdowns with buy-ins starting at $2.50.
Short Deck Fever Takes Hold
The launch of short deck tournaments comes after a recent spate of activity in the live arena. As well as Triton Poker’s tournaments, PokerStars hosted its first 6+ Hold’em tourney at EPT Monte Carlo in April.
With players of all levels now embracing the high-variance format, poker sites have reacted. In addition to PokerStars, Partypoker and the Winning Poker Network have both added their own take on short deck poker.
However, the market leader has struck first and at an opportune time. With SCOOP 2019 kicking off on May 12, the site will be buzzing with activity over the next two weeks.
This year, the guaranteed prizepool is $75 million but the organizers will be hoping for more. With 2018’s festival surpassing its guarantee by $26 million, more than $100 million could be won before May 28.
In fact, after three opening events, expectations have already been beaten. The $22 8-max turbo smashed its $100,000 guarantee by almost 40 percent while the $215 sister event saw its $250,000 prizepool pushed to $339,800.
More Innovations from PokerStars
While PokerStars executives will be focused the success of SCOOP, they’ll also be watching the 6+ MTTs.
In a bid to remain top of the industry, the site has launched a number of innovations over the last 12 months. While some such as 6+ Hold’em and PokerStars VR have stuck, others have fallen by the wayside.
Although flops are a natural part of poker, the market leader is now under pressure from its closest rivals. Indeed, with Partypoker gaining traction, a new range of tournaments could be the boost PokerStars needs to remain the industry’s highest roller.