Partypoker dispelled the notion that poker — and more specifically, online poker — is dead. The internet poker site’s $5,300 Millions Online event on Monday hit its $20 million guarantee, making it the largest single online poker tournament ever.
As Day 1D on Monday progressed and the tournament approached the 4,000 players needed to hit the guarantee, company employees watched the countdown in anticipation. And then when the ticker hit the milestone, a celebration ensued.
You’d think they just landed a rover on Mars, or maybe won the World Cup.
Wow! The #MILLIONSOnline has hit its $20 million guarantee and is now the biggest-ever single online poker tournament in history! We cannot thank you enough for your incredible support! pic.twitter.com/awuT1b487T
— partypoker (@partypoker) December 4, 2018
The winner in this historic event will take home $2.5 million, also one of the largest prizes ever for a single, non-high roller online tournament.
They Said $20M Couldn’t be Done
Naysayers — and there were many of them — didn’t expect the Millions Online to hit the $20 million guarantee. After all, Partypoker doesn’t have near the player base of its main competitor – PokerStars.
Had PokerStars – the world’s largest online poker site – hosted this tournament, more poker players probably would have predicted success. But a strong marketing campaign helped the “smaller” site set the record.
But it wasn’t just CardsChat buzzing. Other poker media outlets told their readers, too, and soon the Millions Online was attracting real attention on social media as the poker community began to recognize that this could be a historic event.
Millions Online surpassed the 2010 PokerStars WCOOP ($12.2 million) for largest internet poker tournament ever. PokerStars holds many iPoker records. That includes the September 2018 WCOOP, which exceeded $100 million in money awarded, making it the biggest overall online poker series in history.
If the eventual Millions Online winner isn’t already wealthy, he or she will be soon. The champion, awarded tomorrow, will receive $2.5 million.
Registration closed on Monday with 4,367 entries. Day Two began on Tuesday and the bubble is expected to burst early.
Some big name pros made Day Two, including Fedor Holz who livestreamed his Day One session on Twitch. The German superstar who also represents Partypoker was an online poker legend before crush the live high-roller scene.
Holz brought a playable stack to Day Two (11.9 million). Philipp Gruissem, another German crusher, had an impressive first session. He finished Day 1B as the overall chip leader (26.7 million).
Gruissem and Holz have combined for nearly $44 million in live tournament winnings. What’s another $2.5 million going to do for them?
In case you’re curious how the Millions Online compares to the largest live poker tournament, it doesn’t. The 2006 WSOP Main Event — won by Jamie Gold for $12 million — had an $82.5 million prize pool.
The $21.78 million prize pool Millions Online, if it were a live event, would rank 21st all-time, just ahead of the 2015 Super High Roller Bowl which paid $21.5 million to the players.