PokerStars to Party in Southern Europe with €15 Million Carnaval Series

PokerStars is looking to reassert its dominance in the Southern European poker market a month after Winamax recently made waves with a record-setting series.

PokerStars Carnaval Series

PokerStars is planning a new, a €15 million Carnaval series exclusively for the Southern European poker market. (Image: Ecotrans)

Liquidity sharing pacts between France, Spain, and Portugal have made Southern Europe a lucrative market in recent years. PokerStars has been the dominant force in the market since connecting the three regions in 2018, but Winamax applied some pressure to its local rival when it hosted a €20 million MTT series in January.

In response, PokerStars is hitting back with a multi-million-Euro event of its own.

Two Series to Cover Southern Europe

The Southern European Carnaval Series will feature a €10 million guarantee and more than 270 MTTs. It’s open to players in France, Spain, and Portugal, and will run from Feb. 21 to March 11.

The highlight of the series will be a €500,000 guaranteed main event that costs €250 to enter. There will also be a number of additional side events starting at €5, and satellites from €0.50.

PokerStars will host a separate Carnaval Series for Italian players. Italy signed the Southern European liquidity sharing agreement in 2017, however, regulators have yet to implement the deal. As such, Italians are unable to compete with players in France, Spain, and Portugal.

A scaled-down version of the Southern European Carnaval Series will run on from Feb. 21 to March 7.

The Italian series will have a €5 million guarantee, 105 MTTs and, a €500,000 main event.

PokerStars Asserting its Dominance

PokerStars is guaranteeing €15 million overall, but it will need to better that number if it wants to beat the record Winamax set in January.

Even if it does manage to pay out more than €20 million, it’s not a fair comparison. Winamax only shares players between France and Spain. In contrast, PokerStars is active in all four markets, and shares players between three of them. Therefore, it has the advantage of being accessible to more players.

However, a prize pool of at least €15 million in a relatively new poker market like Southern Europe is a positive, nonetheless.

Liquidity sharing has allowed the once-isolated and struggling regions to flourish, a point noted by regulators in 2019.

“One year after the materialization of the first poker ring accepting players from more than one of the said jurisdictions, the French, Portuguese and Spanish regulatory authorities convey their general satisfaction on the evolution of this new online shared ecosystem,” reads a 2019 joint regulatory statement.

PokerStars has made full use of the new dynamics and, in the coming weeks, it will look to use them again to get ahead of Winamax.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

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