Despite the last minute announcement, the new Bounty Builder Series by PokerStars is being heralded as success as it comes to an end with a total prize pool of $29,474,285, exceeding its advertised $20 million by 47%.
Bounty Builder, which ran from October 7 to October 21, was the first online tournament series by PokerStars dedicated exclusively to very popular Progressive Knockout tournaments.
It comes during a period of intense focus on the format across the industry. 888 recently launched the format, partypoker has expanded its weekly schedule of PKOs, and no less than four PKO-exclusive tournament series are scheduled this fall.
Previously, PokerStars had run a couple of “Knockout Weeks” comprising of both PKO tournaments and traditional knockouts. But this time, a total of 140 tournaments, all exclusively PKO, were scheduled over the three weeks. Buy-ins starting as low as $1.10 to a couple of $2100 High Rollers. It was by far the biggest investment in the format since it launched the Knockout rebrand in April 2016.
$20 million was guaranteed, an ambitious target given its late announcement. Its stature ranks alongside the likes of annual staples like Turbo Series and Winter Series. But the operator had no difficulty getting players in seats, with almost all events easily covering their guarantees.
The two-day $530 buy-in Main Event drew 3975 players and 1698 re-entries to amass a prize pool of $2.83 million, easily surpassing its $2 million guarantee by 41.5%. The winner of the Main Event, who took home more than $300,000, streamed all his play live on Twitch. It is perhaps for the first time a player won a tournament series Main Event live in front of thousands of viewers.