Poker tournaments with big guarantees are a big draw in New Jersey. Major players like PokerStars, partypoker, and 888 often host events with huge guarantees and thousands of players eager to pad their bankrolls.
For the most part, a poker tournament is created based on player demand, and the guaranteed prize pool is reached with the buy-ins from the players participating.
But sometimes, the guaranteed prize pool is not reached, and the online poker website must ante up the difference. That is just what happened last week, when PokerStars hosted The Big Blowout which had a $109 buy-in. Unfortunately for PokerStars, the $5 million guarantees were short by more than $1.2 million, setting a new low for the popular online poker website.
PokerStars Falls Short of the $5 Million Guarantee
With a relatively low buy-in of $109 and a huge, guaranteed prize pool of $5 million, PokerStars needed to have at least 50,000 players buy into the event. Unfortunately, only 37,673 players in total signed up to play, with just over 25,500 unique players, and the remaining being reentries.
Since the guarantee fell short, PokerStars had to pay out $1,232,700 of its own money to reach the guarantee. That amount set a new record for PokerStars when it comes to coming up short. A few years ago, PokerStars had to ante up $1,205,000, $30,000 less than this most recent overlay.
Is This a New Trend?
The Big Blowout that fell short is part of PokerStars’ Blowout Series. The Blowout Series is a follow up to the Winter Series, and is offering more than $60 million in guarantees. PokerStars has three more Blowout events featuring huge prize pools. These are the Big Blowouts and each has a $5 million guaranteed prize pool.
The $109 buy-in event was the first in the series. Big Blowouts take place every Sunday and moving forward, will have buy-ins of $215, $530, and $1,050. If the rest of the Big Blowouts turn out anything like the first, PokerStars might need to pay millions in overlays.
If each of the remaining Big Blowouts falls short by $1 million, that means that PokerStars would need to ante up $4 million to cover the guarantees. The online poker room would be hard-pressed to rake in enough to cover the loss.
PokerStars New Year’s Bash
On New Years Day, PokerStars hosted another big poker tournament, the New Year’s Bash. The event had a low buy-in of $11 and a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million. To meet that guarantee, 200,000 poker players had to buy-in. The event did offer three re-entries per player with a 2 hour and 45-minute late registration.
No word yet if PokerStars was able to meet the New Year’s Bash guarantee or if they fell short again.
Big Winners Despite the Overlay
On January 5, after more than four hours of play, Cosmin “UnHuman3” Voinea of Romania became the biggest high stakes winner so far following the Blowout Series: $215 NLHE, for an extremely generous payout of $456,346 after a six-way deal at the event’s final table.
After the six-way deal was agreed upon, Voinea claimed the $50,000 on top for a total of $456,346 of the $6,371,000 prize pool.
Voinea came into the Big Blowout that day with a big chip lead and while he lost it for a time, in the end, he won it all back and finished like a champion.
Another big winner was “pilaa” of the Netherlands, after winning the Blowout Series: $109 NLHE, for a hefty $381,174.
And a neighbor to the north, Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams of Canada added another victory to his career after winning $167,591 at the Blowout Series 26-H: $5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, High Roller.
Needless to say, the upcoming online poker tournaments are sure to attract thousands of players from around the world. Hopefully, PokerStars will meet any future guarantees, without any overlay.