After a huge first week for the inaugural Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP), PokerStars MI decided to sweeten the pot. Before the second weekend of the series kicked off, they decided to double the guarantees for all events in the final weekend of February.
After launching online poker in Michigan at the end of January 2021, practically the first thing PokerStars MI did was organize a massive festival with $1 million in guarantees. The 60-event schedule kicked off on February 20, and immediately started posting huge numbers.
With ten events scheduled over the first two days of the series, the operator initially put up $170,000 in total guarantees. By the end of that weekend, the combined prize pools across the weekend were more than $400,000, an increase of more than 135% with more than 6,000 entries being recorded.
That prompted PokerStars MI to up the ante for the second weekend of play. They pledged to double the guarantees events 26 through 35, and residents of the Wolverine state responded in force.
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Initially the ten events on the second weekend were set to guarantee $150,500 between them. After the huge turnout during the first week, the PokerStars doubled that to $301,000 guaranteed.
Players in Michigan rose to the challenge. While the increased guarantees might have looked optimistic going into the weekend, from the other side they seem conservative. When the dust settled on the weekend games, more than $350,000 in prizes were handed out.
MICOOP Weekend Tournaments Guarantees Doubled
|Date||DoW||Event #||Game||Format||Original Guarantee||New Guarantee||Actual Prize Pool|
|Feb-27||Sat||28||NLHE||Turbo Saturday Speedway SE||$10,000||$20,000||$26,300|
|Feb-28||Sun||30||NLHE||Sunday Warm Up SE||$12,500||$25,000||$27,300|
|Feb-28||Sun||31||NLHE||Sunday Special SE||$50,000||$100,000||$107,400|
|Feb-28||Sun||32||NLHE||Sunday Special Mini||$15,000||$30,000||$31,000|
|Feb-28||Sun||35||NLHE||Hyper-Turbo Sunday Supersonic SE||$10,000||$20,000||$20,000|
Players Come Out in Force
Out of the ten events with doubled guarantees, only two of them failed to hit the new numbers. The final tournament of the weekend, MICOOP-35: $75 NLHE Sunday Supersonic SE, was one of the tournaments that missed the guarantee, while MICOOP-33 was the other, but the rest of the weekend schedule more than made up for those shortfalls.
Among the highlights was the first ever mixed game for MICOOP, a HORSE tournament with a $50 buy-in. Initially guaranteed at $3,000, it not only broke the doubled $6,000 guarantee, it ended up more than doubling even the increased amount. An astonishing 278 players jumped into the game, putting the final prize pool at more than $12,000.
Other notable tournaments from the weekend also smashed their revised guarantees:
- MICOOP-27 $50 Rebuy nearly doubled the new guarantee with $37,900 in total prizes.
- MICOOP-31 Sunday Special SE got 461 entries for a total prize pool of $107,400.
- MICOOP-34 had an increased guarantee of $20,000, but hit a total of $29,200 with 319 runners.
Strong Outlook for the Future
The success of the first MICOOP so far bodes well for PokerStars in Michigan. As the only operator licensed to provide real money poker in MI, PokerStars is perfectly poised to capture the market. But even with exclusive market access for the time being, the huge numbers for the first series in Michigan show that there is a hunger for poker in the state.
The 2021 MICOOP continues through the rest of this week. With the huge turnouts so far, players can continue to expect huge prize pools and even bigger guarantees.
In fact, at the time of writing, already some guarantees have been increased for the first events of the week. Event #36 ran yesterday, a 4-max, which was bumped 50% from $10,000 to $15,000. Coming up later today, two Super Tuesday events have also grown in size.
MICOOP: Monday and Tuesday Events with Guarantees Increased
|Date||DoW||Event #||Format||Original Guarantee||New Guarantee|
|Mar-02||Tue||39||Super Tuesday Mini||$20,000||$25,000|
It looks like the operator is doing this on an almost day-by-day basis, so you will need to keep your eyes peeled. It seems very likely that the final weekend events will see bumps as well, with total prize pool guarantees could reach $1.25 million by the whole series is complete.
No matter what happens for the rest of the series, it’s safe to say poker in the Wolverine state will only get bigger, and PokerStars will be there to fill the need for well run, regulated poker into the future.