PokerStars US Players Enjoy Massive Overlays in Million Dollar Weekend PokerStars US Players Enjoy Massive Overlays in Million Dollar Weekend

At the start of April, PokerStars US announced the Million Dollar Weekend — a massive tournament promotion for its US players with huge guarantees. The operator billed April 30 as a “can’t miss” day and “the biggest day of the year” of poker for real money US online poker players.

“I’m excited to compete in what will go down as the most epic tournament day in the history of our emerging market!” expressed David Kaye, PokerStars US ambassador.

Indeed, as the name suggested, the operator had put up a $1 million guarantee for its newly launched shared liquidity US network connecting its MI and NJ player pools and $500,000 for the standalone Pennsylvania network, taking the total prize money to $1.5 million across the two networks.

With buy-ins from just $10 to $1000, the Million Dollar Weekend had something for everyone. The headline event across both networks was the $200 Sunday Special tournament. The MI+NJ shared liquidity network had locked in a record-breaking $500,000 guaranteed prize money for that event — the largest for the operator in the regulated US market — while Pennsylvania online poker players were treated with a $250,000 guaranteed Sunday Special.

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Expensive Promotion as the Tournaments Generated Massive Overlays

That momentous day came to a wrap last Monday, with US players enjoying massive overlays. To say the tournaments just missed their guarantees would be a gigantic understatement. The shortfalls were so significant that the operator had to cough up extra cash to cover the guarantees.

Nearly half of the tournaments on the big day missed their guarantees by extensive margins, meaning massive value for all those players who participated.

In particular, the Sunday Special tournaments with ambitious guarantees caused the biggest hole in the operator’s pocket. The MI+NJ Sunday Special with a buy-in of $200 drew 1989 entrants, missing its half-a-million guarantee by a juicy $130k. Meanwhile, the same tournament in Pennsylvania pulled 1205 entrants, falling short of its $250k guarantee by almost $26k.

Other events also undershot their projected capacity by a significant margin. The Million Dollar Monster in the shared liquidity network, boasting a $100k guarantee for a buy-in of $100, saw $48.5k coming from tournament buy-ins, leaving the operator to make up the remaining $51.5k — over 50% of the total prize pool.

PS MI+NJ Million Dollar Weekend Turnout

Tournament Buy-in Guarantee Entrants Buy-ins Collected Overlay Net Profit or Loss
Marathon $50 $25,000 621 $28,255.50 $2,794.50
Warm Up $25 $15,000 759 $17,267.25 $1,707.75
Phase $50 $100,000 2244 $102,102 $10,098
Monster $10 $100,000 5333 $48,530.30 $51,469.70 -$46,670
Sunday Special $200 $500,000 1989 $369,954 $130,046 -$102,200
Mini Special $50 $50,000 1073 $48,821.50 $1,178.50 $3,650
High Roller $1,000 $150,000 149 $141,550 $8,450 -$1,000
Knockout $100 $20,000 405 $37,179 $3,321
Turbo $25 $15,000 710 $16,152.50 $1,597.50
Adrenaline PKO $50 $15,000 353 $16,591 $1,588.50
total $990,000 13,636 $826,403 $191,144 -$125,113

In the Pennsylvania jurisdiction, the same tournament with five times smaller guarantee had no difficulty breaching its guarantee after 2552 participants registered to amass a prize pool of $23.2k. The High Rollers costing $1000, also missed their targets.

PS PA Million Dollar Weekend Turnout

Tournament Buy-in Guarantee Entrants Buy-ins Collected Overlay Net Profit or Loss
Marathon $50 $15,000 426 $19,383 $1,917
Phase $50 $50,000 1157 $52,643.50 $5,206.50
Monster $10 $20,000 2552 $23,223.20 $2,296.80
Sunday Special $200 $250,000 1205 $224,130 $25,870 -$9,000
Mini Special $50 $35,000 817 $37,173.50 $3,676.50
High Roller $1,000 $100,000 101 $95,950 $4,050 $1,000
Knockout $50 $15,000 408 $18,564 $1,836
Turbo $10 $5,000 429 $3,903.90 $1,096.10 -$710
Adrenalie PKO $50 $10,000 269 $12,643 $1,210.50
total $500,000 7364 $487,614 $31,016 $7,433

This turned out to be an excellent value for players. Not only were players greeted with free money, but they also had to battle through a much smaller field than anticipated.

The shortfalls could either mean that the operator misjudged the guarantees or that they were deliberately set high to induce players to sign up and flock to the tables.

But not every tournament had a shortfall. The Phase tournament with a $100k guarantee in the MI+NJ network saw 2244 entrants across all Day 1s to eclipse its guarantee by just. The Pennsylvania edition gathered 1157 entrants for a total prize pool of $52k.

Nevertheless, it was an eventful Sunday for PokerStars US players. Across the two networks, the tournaments generated $1.53 million in prize pool and attracted 21k entrants. Over $200,000 in prize money came through overlays, leading to a loss of around $120,000 to the operator.

All eyes will now be set on the operator’s upcoming tournament series. The operator may host a Bounty Builder Series or a Summer Stacks Series in the coming weeks. It is possible that the operator could be cautious with setting up the guarantees for the next event, considering the amount of money it had to put from its own pocket.