Last Sunday was massive for online poker in MI. The state’s two online poker providers spread some huge games throughout the course of the day.
It is the first serious head-to-head between the operators since BetMGM Michigan went live in March.
The newcomer ran its biggest event to date, while its sole rival in the state, PokerStars Michigan, ran its usual slate of major Sunday tournaments. However, buy-ins were slashed by 50% in a bid to compete with BetMGM’s showpiece event.
PokerStars.MI offered six half-price majors, with entry fees ranging from $5 to $125. The tournaments had combined guarantees of $126,000.
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All but one of them sailed through their guarantees easily. For example, The slow Sunday Marathon, with its special $50 buy-in, attracted 839 entries to generated a prize pool of $38,100, more than 50% over its $25,000 guarantee.
The best performer was the high roller, which saw its traditional $250 buy-in cut to $125, while the guarantee was held at $25,000. In total, it brought in 355 entries, building a prize pool of over $40,000—more than 60% over.
The biggest tournament on the slate was the $50 Sunday Special NLHE $60K guaranteed. That event attracted 946 players, with 532 re-entries combining to make a total prize pool of $67,249. After nearly nine hours of play, agenetta19 emerged victorious and claimed the $10.2k first place prize.
In comparison, BetMGM ran just the two major tournaments—and ran them simultaneously—but what a pair they were. The Grand Online Main enticed 1130 players to the virtual felt, each chipping in $109 and contributing to a prize pool of $113,000—comfortably the largest in the poker room’s short history.
The tournament was taken down by the aptly named Coolriver84, who pocketed $15.2K in the process.
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Not to be outdone, the $215 Sunday $40K Guaranteed event obliterated that promised figure, generating $92,800 from 464 runners, and was won by Pollan, who left the tables $16.5K richer.
The success is a great shot in the arm for BetMGM MI Poker and the operator will be full of optimism going into its first major tournament series, which commences this coming weekend.
PokerStars Michigan will also be pleased. To keep its numbers up on such a big day for its rival shows that the appetite for poker in the Great Lake State is as high as ever.
But the real winners were Michigan’s poker players. Having had to wait so long for a regulated card room in the state, they now have the choice of two. No doubt many of them were playing on both sites simultaneously last Sunday.
The competition between operators will lead to bigger and better tournaments, and plenty of promotions as they try to attract players. This will only become more apparent when WSOP MI and partypoker MI launch poker rooms in the state. Both are slated to do so in the coming months.
For the time being however, PokerStars and BetMGM will make the most of their duopoly in Michigan. Both have major series lined up for spring. PokerStars’ debut MISCOOP will run from May 8 through 25. A full schedule of events is sure to be unveiled any day now.
BetMGM MI’s inaugural series kicks off on Sunday April 18 and will see ten events played out over the course of eight days. There is $305,000 guaranteed in prize money but the operator will be confident of surpassing this figure after the unqualified success of last weekend’s contests.
Among the standard Hold’em events are two progressive knockout tournaments as well as a Pot Limit Omaha championship. The series finale is the $75K Gtd Sunday Special, with a $535 buy-in, which takes place on Sunday April 25.