PokerStars Raises Sunday Million Guarantee to $2.5m

  • Second consecutive Sunday Million with increased guarantee
  • PokerStars has seen traffic skyrocket during coronavirus pandemic
  • Largest regular Sunday Million guarantee since before Black Friday
pile of one hundred dollar bills
PokerStars has increased the upcoming Sunday Million guaranteed prize pool to $2.5 million, just a week after raising it to $2 million. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Second straight guarantee boost

For the second time in two weeks, PokerStars has increased the guaranteed prize pool of its flagship Sunday Million tournament. The April 12 edition of the event will have a prize pool of at least $2.5 million.

cash game traffic has soared in recent weeks

The escalation of the guarantee is a direct result of people around the world taking to online gambling while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. PokerStars’ cash game traffic has soared in recent weeks. In mid-March, the poker room averaged about 7,000 cash game players. Now, less than a month later, its seven-day average is 14,000 players.

On April 5, the guarantee for the Sunday Million was upped to $2 million. This marked the first time it had been above $1 million since the buy-in was reduced to $109 a little more than a year ago. It was also a two-day event, indicating that PokerStars expected it to be massive. The tournament drew 31,356 entries (three re-entries were permitted) and generated a $3.135-million prize pool.

The tournament this coming weekend will need to draw 25,000 entries to avoid overlay. Like the April 5 event, it will be a two-day tournament.

Online poker’s tournament standard

The Sunday Million has been the highlight of the weekly online poker calendar for nearly a decade and a half. “aaaaaaaa” won the first Sunday Million on March 5, 2006 and its $173,843 first prize.

The original buy-in was $215, but it was reduced to $109 in January 2019. The $1 million guarantee stayed the same. The upcoming guarantee is the largest for a regular Sunday Million since Black Friday, which was eleven years ago.

With more than 600 Sunday Millions in the books, 16 players have won it twice. The first was Jesper “KipsterDK” Hougaard, who won his second in May 2009. One esteemed player, Artem “veeea” Vezhenkov, has won the Sunday Million three times. He nabbed his third title in October 2018.

Sunday Million just had its 14th anniversary

Counting all the special editions, the greatest prize pool in Sunday Million history occurred just last month in the $215 PokerStars Sunday Million 14th Anniversary tournament. There were 93,016 total entries (unique plus re-entries), generating an $18,602,300 prize pool. That beat the guarantee by more than $6 million. It was the largest prize pool in PokerStars history.

third-largest prize pool in online poker history

It was also the third-largest prize pool in online poker history. The two that eclipsed it were the $5,300 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online, which had a $21,835,000 prize pool, and the $10,300 2019 partypoker MILLIONS Online, whose prize pool hit $21,090,000.

Brazil’s “AAAArthur” won the 14th Anniversary Sunday Million. After a four-way deal, he claimed a $1,192,802 payday.

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