The Caribbean Poker Party (CPP) from partypoker has almost come to an end and so far the series has turned out to be a great value for players as the operator…

The Caribbean Poker Party (CPP) from partypoker has almost come to an end and so far the series has turned out to be a great value for players as the operator had to bear two massive overlays amounting to nearly $1 million.

This year’s CPP is being held in the Bahamas, for the first time moving away from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic which had previously hosted the series since it made its debut in 2016.

The ten-day festival got underway at the Baha Mar Resort on November 9, offering $22 million in guaranteed cash prizes including two massive $10 million guaranteed tournaments. One tournament that featured a $10 million guaranteed prize pool was the Caribbean Poker Party $5300 Main Event. Last year, the Main Event drew 1061 entries to build a prize pool of $5.3 million. Despite barely surpassing the $5 million guarantee, this year the operator upped the ante by doubling the guarantee that would required at least 2000 entries to avoid the overlay.

Unfortunately for partypoker, the $5300 buy-in Main Event could only attract a total of 1815 entries which is quite impressive, but it still it fell short by 184 entries creating an overlay of $925,000—just shy of a million. In the end, partypoker had to pay $380,500 (not counting the lost tournament fees) from its own pocket.

Another event which fell short of its guarantee was the $25,500 buy-in Millions World. It too had an ambitious eight-figure guarantee but managed to draw 394 entries—falling short by just six entries and hence creating another overlay of $150,000 (although the operator profited $47,000 when accounting for the fees collected).

In addition to two $10 million guaranteed tournaments, CPP also hosted a mammoth $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller Championship as well as $50,000 and $10,000 buy-in high rollers. The $250,000 Super High Roller was added at the last minute and is perhaps the biggest buy-in partypoker ever hosted and certainly one of the biggest buy-ins this year. Unlike other tournaments, the Super High Roller was played as a freezeout and attracted 34 entrants to amass a prize pool of $8.5 million. Steffen Sontheimer from Germany emerged victorious with the title and took home $3.68 million for his first place prize.

The CPP Main Event is still underway and down to just 58 players as of Friday. The final day of play takes place on Saturday and the tournament will pay the top three players a minimum prize of $1 million with the winner taking home $1.5 million.

Although the Main Event missed the guarantee by almost a million, it could have been a lot worse as, by the end of Day 2A with just one flight remaining, the tournament only had 1208 entrants and was still trailing by nearly 800 entrants to cover the guarantee (nearly $4 million in overlay). After a massive campaign on social media of the probable overlay, the final flight saw 607 entrants to bring the overlay amount down to $925,000.

Overlays on a magnitude of this scale happen very rarely. In 2014, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open saw a massive $2.5 million overlay, one of the largest in poker history. The tournament also had a guarantee of $10 million and had an entry of $5300 as well, but it drew only 1499 entrants and missed its guarantee by 501 entrants.

Last year, a PokerStars LIVE event also became a victim of a big overlay. The PokerStars Championship Sochi 2017 Main Event saw an overlay of approximately €400,000 or $450,000. The event with a guaranteed prize pool €2.3 million drew only 387 players. This led to the removal of two employees: Edgar Stuchly (President of PokerStars Live) and Vadim Soloveychik (Director of Global Poker), with speculation that the moves were prompted by the poor performance of PokerStars LIVE events, though this remains unconfirmed.

In the same year, PokerStars also had to bear another massive overlay but this time on the online felt. The $530 PCA Ultra Satellite came way short of its original guarantee of $1.58 million by about $574,000. In this year too, PokerStars’ flagship online tournament Sunday Million, which was commemorating its anniversary, saw a massive overlay of $1.2 million, making it one of the biggest overlay in the history of online poker.

Top Five Biggest Overlays

Year Operator/Organizer Overlay Guarantee Buy-in
2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $2.5M $10M $5300
2018 PokerStars Sunday Million Anniversary Edition $1.2M $10M $215
2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event $925,000 $10M $5300
2012 Partouche Poker Tour €700,000 €5M €8500
2013 International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) €589,060 €3M €3000

With partypoker’s MILLIONS Online just a few days away, partypoker hopes to avoid another overlay. It is slated to be the biggest online tournament in the history with $20 million guaranteed and costing $5300 buy-in which means that it needs 4000 entrants to cover the guarantee. It will run from November 25 through December 4.

Almost 600 players are already registered for the first flight which is about 15% of the 4000 entrants. Last year’s MILLIONS Online, which was the first of its kind, had a $5 million guarantee and ended up just surpassing its guarantee with $5.13 million prize pool.

The winner of this year’s MILLIONS Online will be pocketing $2.5 million, with second, third, and fourth taking home $1.75 million, $1.25 million, and $1 million respectively. No online poker tournament has created four millionaires in a single tournament.

Meanwhile, PokerStars is also gearing up with its $25,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) event in the Bahamas. It will take place in January 2019 and the operator hopes to make it the biggest live tournament outside of the WSOP. PokerStars is giving away 320 players Platinum Passes, worth $30,000 including the tournament buy-in and, travel and hotel expenses.

The recently concluded $25,500 buy-in Millions World by partypoker which attracted close to 400 entrants should give PokerStars the confidence to run its inaugural PSPC event successfully. Given that the majority of the players will be playing a high roller event for the first time, PokerStars is looking for another 500 players in addition to the 320 players which it is already sending. If that happens, it would generate a prize pool of well over $20 million to make it operator’s biggest live tournament.