PokerStars SCOOP Smashes Guarantee, Falls Short of GGPoker’s Spring Festival

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The latest installment of PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker surpassed expectations but, unlike in previous years, it wasn’t the biggest event in town.

PokerStars SCOOP
PokerStars’ SCOOP surpassed expectations this year, but it still wasn’t the biggest event in April. (Image: PokerStars)

COVID-19 restrictions put live poker on lockdown last year, which meant SCOOP 2020 broke all records after paying out $185 million in prize money.

Although this year’s spring festival wasn’t as lucrative, it still beat its $100 million guarantee by more than $37 million.

Positive numbers for PokerStars

The final events of SCOOP 2021 concluded on Wednesday night and, after the numbers were crunched, PokerStars proved, once again that it’s a force in the MTT world.

Over the course of 306 tournaments, the world’s largest poker site paid out $137,085,201 in prize money. That prize pool was the result of attracting 1,721,556 entries across the entire series.

All six main events, three Hold’em and three Omaha, beat their guarantees. From those tournaments, kZhh became the biggest winner of the series by taking down the $10,300 Main Event for $878,781.

In addition to paying out $19.1 million from six main events, PokerStars recorded many more highlights between April 4 and 28:

  • Benny Glaser, aka ‘RunGodlike,’ won his sixth SCOOP title, and his third in three years, after winning a $215 PLO Progressive Knockout event for $29,549
  • ‘Zapahzamazki’ was crowned Player of the Series after Patrick Leonard graciously spotted a tabulation error that would have given him the title
  • Brazilians were the top performers across the series with players from the South American hotspot picking up 50 titles

For all of this year’s success, SCOOP 2021 couldn’t surpass last spring’s record-breaking festival. And, perhaps more significantly, it wasn’t the biggest event in April.

SCOOP still hot, but no longer top dog

GGPoker’s Spring Festival also beat its $150 million guarantee, paying out more than $176 million in April. By that measure, it has every right to call itself the top dog in tournament poker.

PokerStars would routinely dominate the online tournament schedule in spring. That’s no longer the case. GGPoker and, to a lesser extent, Partypoker have challenged that dominance in the last two years.

However, the gap between this year’s SCOOP and other events may not be as significant as it may appear. Even though the series paid out $40 million less than GGPoker’s equivalent, and almost $50 million less than SCOOP 2020, the dynamics are different.

SCOOP 2020 took place during the height of the pandemic and featured 65 MTTs more than this year’s series. Similarly, GGPoker’s Spring Festival featured 29 more MTTs than did SCOOP.

In this regard, the discrepancy isn’t as great as it seems. Having said that, GGPoker did pay out more per tournament, on average, than did PokerStars. When you divide the Spring Festival’s $176,724,946 prize pool by 335 MTTs, you get an average payout of $527,537.

Perform the same calculation for PokerStars’ SCOOP ($137,085,201/306) and the average payout is $447,990 per tournament.

On this occasion, GGPoker came out on top. However, SCOOP 2021 was another successful event for PokerStars and further confirmation that online poker is in a strong place.

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