PokerStars Ontario got off with a bang this week as the operator launched its new client in the jurisdiction. As part of the inaugural festivities, the room announced the first province-specific tournament series since the Ontario online poker market went live — the Ontario Platinum Series.
PokerStars Ontario launched in late June 2022 as the fifth operator to release its Ontario-specific client, joining 888poker Ontario and the BetMGM Poker Ontario Network — BetMGM, partypoker, & bwin — serving players in the newly regulated Canadian online poker market.
While there are now three poker networks in the province, PokerStars is the only one to host a tournament series in the market yet, making the Ontario Platinum Series the first series available exclusively to Ontario players.
The Ontario Platinum Series kicked off on Sunday, July 10, with several games, including the CAD $20/CAD $4k guaranteed Series Kickoff game, and the CAD $100/CAD $60k guaranteed Sunday Special SE. There were 15 games on the opening day alone, ranging in price from $5 to $500.
The good news for the players (albeit not as much for the operator) is that eight of the 15 events on the initial day featured an overlay.
This was true for several of the biggest buy-in events on Sunday, but the $100 8-Max Sunday Special stood out in particular. The tournament featured the guarantee of $60,000 but ended up with a total of 492 entries, bringing the overlay to $10,800, even when adding the rake to the equation.
The $75 Progressive KO event fell short of meeting its $18,000 guarantee and the $40K GTD $500 8-max High Roller.
Whether or not this indicates what the rest of the series will look like remains to be seen. Multiple events will run daily, with the action on the series continuing through July 18. There are numerous events daily, totaling 90 tournaments across the 9-day series.
Ontario Platinum Series Details
There are 90 events across the 9-day schedule for the Ontario Platinum Series, with action available for nearly all bankrolls. Tournaments start at just $5, with seven games at that low price. On the other end of the scale, the biggest game of the week comes on July 12 with the $40k guaranteed Super Tuesday SE, featuring the $1,000 buy-in. There is also a $500 Sunday High Roller SE with $40k guaranteed and a $300 Main Event with $200k in guaranteed prizes.
Given the slow start, it will be interesting to see if the Main Event will reach the target guarantee. The tournament will be played in the progressive knockout format, with up to five re-entries available, but it still feels like a stretch.
At the same time, one of the biggest reasons for the Ontario Platinum Series was for PokerStars to increase its visibility in the market, so we could see player numbers improve significantly in the coming days.
One of the biggest draws for PokerStars Ontario, aside from being the most recognizable brand in online poker, is the range of games players have access to. The Ontario Platinum Series will be showcasing that variety.
While No-Limit Hold’em makes up the majority of the 90-game schedule, several other poker variants are on offer across the series, including multiple forms of Omaha, stud games like razz and stud hi/lo, and draw games like deuce-to-seven.
There are more than just mixed games, though — the majority of the games in the series are some variation of the two-card Hold’em game. While mixed-game players will need to pay a minimum of $20 to get into tournaments, Hold’em fans will find games on the schedule for as little as $5.
Much of the schedule is filled with various bounty formats, but regular Hold’em events also get their time in the sun, with one classic freezeout event plus several re-entries and rebuy games. Progressive knockout games make up most of the rest of the schedule, with around 50% of the games in that format.
With CAD $1 million in guarantees across the series, there is plenty of value on the tables for any players getting involved, but, as the name suggests, the Ontario Platinum Series also offers extra value on offer in the form of Platinum Passes
Platinum Passes up for Grabs as Well
Perhaps the biggest news from the series is the chance for players to win a Platinum Pass worth $30,000 (USD) to attend the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC). The Platinum Pass is one of the most coveted tickets in poker, giving players a seat at the table in what was the biggest $25k buy-in event ever run when it was held for the first time in 2019.
In addition to the prize pools on offer throughout the series, there are a few other ways for Ontario online poker players to get a Platinum Pass.
All players who play events during the Ontario Platinum Series will be entered into the PSPC Platinum Series Prize Draw, where one of the prizes will be a Platinum Pass worth $30k USD.
The tournament leaderboard will also track the best players throughout the series, and the winner will receive a Platinum Pass.
Jump onto Ontario’s newest poker client, PokerStars Ontario, and join the first online tournament series in the new market. The Ontario Platinum Series is now underway, awaiting its winners!