Guaranteed poker tournaments are a big draw among players. Major sites like PokerStars, 888, and partypoker host huge, guaranteed events and hundreds to thousands of players take part. For the most part, an event is created based on demand and the guaranteed prize pool is reached due to the number of players competing. However, sometimes, the guarantee is not hit, and the online poker room must pay the difference. This is known as an overlay. Just this week, PokerStars hosted an event titled The Big Blowout which had a buy-in of $109. Unfortunately for the poker room, the guarantee was missed by more than $1.2 million, setting a new record for the brand.
Short of $5 million
The event had a low buy-in and a large, guaranteed prize pool. PokerStars needed to see at least 50,000 people competing in the event to be able to reach the $5 million in prize money. Only 37,673 players competed in total, which was just over 25,500 unique players with the rest being reentries.
Because the event fell short of the guarantee, PokerStars had to pay $1,232,700 to reach the $5 million. The amount was a new record for the online poker room when it comes to overlays paid. A few years ago, the brand had to pay a big amount, at $1,205,000. However, this time the amount was around $30,000 more than that.
Will This Be a Trend?
The Big Blowout is part of the Blowout Series at PokerStars. This series took the place off the Winter Series and is offering over $60 million in guarantees. PokerStars has three more events scheduled that have large prize pools. These events are called Big Blowouts and each of them has the $5 million guaranteed prize pool.
The $109 event was the first of this set. The Big Blowouts take place each Sunday and will now have buy-ins of $215, $530, and $1,050. If the remaining big events are anything like the first, then the online poker giant might be paying several million in overlays.
Let’s say that each of these events falls short by $1 million. That means that PokerStars would be out $4 million for just these events. They would not make enough in rake to cover this type of loss.
On New Years Day, PokerStars is also hosting another large tournament, the New Year’s Bash. The event has a low buy-in of $11 and has a smaller, but still large, guaranteed prize pool of $2 million. To meet the guarantee, 200,000 players must compete. The event does offer three re-entries per person with late registration set for two hours and 45 minutes. This will help to see more players compete.
We shall see in the next few weeks if PokerStars is able to meet each of these guarantees or if they fall flat again. For their sake, we hope the events get the number of players needed to meet the prize pool requirements! Players will find there is plenty of action left at the site over the next few weeks as the Big Blowout continues as well as other end of the year events.