PokerStars to Award Cash Prizes in 85 Billionth Hand Promotion

PokerStars’ “Road to 100 Billion Hands” promotion is set to deal its 85 billionth hand. The winning hand is expected come sometime on Tuesday morning. The fortunate player who wins the hand can expect a jackpot payout in excess of $20k.

On the way there are 300 milestone hands which offer cash payouts to all players involved in the hand. Every player dealt into a milestone hand will receive a base $20 plus $60 for each VIP Player Point (VPP) earned during the previous 50 hands. The winner of the hand will then see his or her payout doubled. The 85 billionth winning hand awards a base $10k plus $1k for each VPP.

Only hands dealt at non-Zoom cash game tables qualify for the promotion.

Last year, the success of the 70 billionth milestone hand promotion was briefly overshadowed by the controversial manner in which the main prize was won. Two players from Germany played heads-up on 24 tables while open folding every hand in hopes to be dealt the winning hand. When their strategy proved to be a winning one, other players objected but PokerStars stood by its decision to award the German players the top prize claiming that though the actions of the winning players were outside of the spirit of the promotion they did “not violate the rules and regulations of the promotion.”

As a result, PokerStars has since modified the way rewards have been distributed. The VPP multiplier currently used to determine the size of the prizes awarded were put in place to reduce the susceptibility of abuse in the promotion.

Back in the 1990s “the internet changes everything” became a mantra. It has come true for online poker. Pre-internet, poker players could only play a single table and about 30 hands an hour. Internet speed has led us to fast poker variants where 240 hands an hour is possible on multiple tables. Even so, 85 billion is a huge number and a considerable achievement for PokerStars.

To put the number of hands in context, if you started a home poker game with friends playing eight hours a day and tried to play 85 billion hands, you would need to play for 9.7 million years to get there.