Well over half a billion dollars in prize money was guaranteed across some two dozen online tournament series in various jurisdictions in the last three months, figures compiled by PRO reveal.
Almost all of these guarantees were easily exceeded. Records were shattered across the board.
Practically every major online poker operator awarded their biggest-ever prize money in their respective online tournament series. In total, an extraordinary $800 million was paid out in dedicated online poker series between March and today.
Over the last two months, the industry has witnessed a mini-boom following the outbreak of coronavirus, with global lockdown and stay-at-home orders leading to a surge of interest. As a result, traffic skyrocketed to six-year highs.
To accommodate new and reactivated players, online poker operators scheduled their largest-ever and longest-running online tournament series. It was a period without precedent, and with traffic levels starting to return to normality it may never be repeated again.
First, there was partypoker’s flagship Powerfest series, which was extended multiple times; then came GGPoker’s jaw-dropper $100 million WSOP Super Circuit Series; PokerStars responded quickly, raising SCOOP guarantees to $135 million from the original $85 million, setting a new record.
Each of the three smashed their guarantees, paying out nearly half a billion in prize money across these alone.
Smaller rooms succeeded in their own ways: Unibet’s doubled-size Online Series ended up paying close to €1.5 million, surpassing its series guarantee comfortably. 888poker’s XL Inferno in May was its biggest series in over a year.
“The recent boom aside, it is very obvious which sites are losing market share and which sites are gaining it,” said David Lappin, Unibet Ambassador, to PRO. “Unibet Poker has been on a relentless upward trajectory since its migration to its own standalone client and this hugely successful UOS tells the story that a poker site with a healthy ecosystem and a community ethos can achieve big things.”