5 Things: The 2020 partypoker MILLIONS Online Has To Break Records

The 2020 partypoker MILLIONS Online event needs to be a record-breaker.

5 Things is a column, written by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley that covers pressing topics and current events in the poker world.

The 2019 partypoker MILLIONS Online wrapped up with Benjamin ‘frenchsniperrr’ Chalot taking home the winner’s share of the second-largest online poker tournament prize pool in history. It’s easy to call the event a success since the $20 million guarantee was met easily, but the event failed to eclipse the record sent one earlier by partypoker and in many ways, the hype for the 2019 event was lower than its predecessor.

Partypoker has already confirmed that the event is returning in 2020. This edition of 5 Things focuses on five ways partypoker can make the 2020 MILLIONS Online the biggest one yet.

Go Back to the Future with the Buy-In

The 2018 MILLIONS Online had a $5,300 buy-in and drew 4,367 entries to create a record-setting $21,385,000 prize pool. When partypoker announced they were bringing the MILLIONS Online back for 2019, they increased the buy-in to $10,300 to better align the online event with the live MILLIONS events, all of which have a $10,000 buy-in. After obliterating the previous record for the largest online poker tournament ever, partypoker wanted to do that again and upping the buy-in seemed like an obvious play.

It didn’t work. The $20 million guarantee meant the 2019 event was always going to be at least the second-largest online event ever, but raising the buy-in actually went against one of the biggest strengths of online poker: accessibility. The move meant that fewer recreational or aspirational players would be able to qualify for the MILLIONS Online via the robust satellite program partypoker offered (some of which included overlays). Returning the buy-in to $5,300 puts more recreational players into the event and we all know that’s good for everybody.

Bump Up the Bonus Program

One of the more ingenious elements of the 2019 partypoker MILLIONS Online marketing program was the $1 million bonus offered to the Day 1A end-of-day chip leader should they go on to win the event

It accomplished two things. First, it gave people an incentive to play Day 1A even though it was a week earlier than Day 1B. Players who were going to fire multiple bullets at this event were playing 1A anyways, but anybody who was going to wait and see if there was an overlay before jumping in suddenly had a reason – albeit a long shot – to play Day 1A. Second, it created a narrative worth following after Day 1A. When ‘jiggidyjigjohn’ finished with the biggest stack after Day 1A, everybody wanted to know how they did throughout the tournament. Ultimately, ‘jiggidyjigjohnwas eliminated on Day 2 in 42nd place for $52,725, but had they managed to survive to Day 3, the buzz would have been incredible.

Ramp it up for 2020 and aim the bonus program squarely at the players who are working their way through the satellite system. Offer any player who qualifies for the MILLIONS Online via satellite a bonus for bagging a Day 1 chip lead on that bullet. Increase the bonus based on what level of satellite that player started their journey in. There are more opportunities to offer similar bonuses to encourage satellite play and there is very little actual financial downside to them.

Turn the Final Table Stream into an Event

In 2018, Joey Ingram recognized the buzz and hype around the MILLIONS Online event as it was happening and streamed the final table on his own Twitch channel to a rabid audience. Clearly somebody at partypoker saw this and knew they had to own this for 2019. To their credit, partypoker streamed the final day of play with Jamie Staples and Monika Zukowicz providing commentary, but the effort put into promoting the stream clearly could have been better. 

The official partypoker account sent out just three tweets promoting the live stream over the 24 hours prior to the start of the final day. (There was one additional tweet sent from the @partypokerlive account). There were no tweets sent during the final table itself.

The partypoker MILLIONS Online final table is an event worth celebrating and promoting. It represents the first opportunity that partypoker has to build the hype for next year’s event. Create FOMO and make sure that every player who wanted to take a shot at qualifying includes “play the MILLIONS Online” in their 2020 New Year’s resolutions.

The final table stream should be an event in and of itself promoted heavily and frequently on the partypoker social media accounts and the accounts of the 40 members of Team partypoker. 

The first night of Rob Yong’s Home Game on PokerGO was on at the same time as the MILLIONS Online live stream. With the high stakes and line-up that game featured, it became must-see programming and relegated the final table stream to second fiddle. Counter-programming against your own marquee event seems like something that needs to be avoided.

The Chop

A thud. That’s how the 2019 partypoker MILLIONS Online ended. There was no championship moment, no dramatic finish. Following the elimination of ‘nomeansyes’ in third place, the final two players quickly came to an agreement on a chop and ended the tournament without actually playing to a winner. 

It’s not a new problem. It’s an exact replica of how the 2018 MILLIONS Online final table played out. Ingram was left in disbelief watching last year as Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruivo and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ de Goede chopped up $4.6 million. Ingram called it how he saw it on his live stream.

“They’re not even going to play this out! What is this bullshit?”

Having such a historic moment play out in such a manner left those watching at home disappointed. Players have every right to chop up the money and nobody can blame them given the millions of dollars at stake, but if you want to build up the long-term prestige of a tournament like this, you have to have a championship moment. In a lot of cases, deals are facilitated with the understanding that only a certain percentage of the remaining prize pool can be awarded via a chop. That functionality doesn’t exist yet on partypoker. This has to change and Rob Yong knows it.


Over the last three years, partypoker has shown a willingness to take risks and do things that are often in the player’s best interests even if they might go against the company’s best interests. Having already beaten the $20,000,000 guarantee over two consecutive years, the next logical thing for partypoker to do is to increase the guarantee for 2020.

To $25,000,000.

Pushing the envelope is what made this event so special in the first place. Partypoker knows they’ll hit the $20 million guarantee again. Players know they’ll hit the $20 million guarantee again. Still, when the 2020 event is announced, the poker world will undoubtedly be expecting to see that $20 million number once again. If partypoker starts 2020 off with the announcement that they’re upping the guarantee to $25,000,000, it serves notice to the rest of the industry that they’re going to continue to battle for the hearts and minds of online poker players worldwide.