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partypoker has made it official, their record-breaking online tournament MILLIONS Online will return in 2019 with another $20 million guarantee. The massive online tournament will get underway on Sunday, December 1 and, after multiple starting fights, will reach a conclusion on Tuesday, December 10. While all the details have yet to be released, one major difference is that the buy-in has increased to $10,300, up from the $5,300 buy-in last year. partypoker will also be surrounding the MILLIONS Online tournament with a full slate of side events which they say will feature “tournaments suitable for players of all bankrolls” and each holding major guarantees of their own. A Record Shattered In 2018, partypoker spent the better part of the year promoting and qualifying players in an attempt to shatter the record for the largest online tournament ever held. The record at the time was the 2011 PokerStars $215 Sunday Million 10th Anniversary which, when registration closed, amassed a prize pool of $12,423,200. At the same time, partypoker was looking to push their own platform. They quadrupled the guarantee from the 2017 MILLIONS Online guarantee of $5 million, a tournament that was won by longtime PocketFiver Jon ‘apestles’ Van Fleet for a career-high score of over $1 million. The online site pushed their online satellites aggressively, including a campaign of qualifier that promised up to 350 seats over a 10-day span. In order to avoid overlay, 4000 runners needed to buy or win their way into the event. After a Day 1A surge of players, Day 1B was decidedly less popular causing some, including partypoker’s Managing Director Tom Waters, to wonder if there was going to be a substantial overlay in the record attempt. “I think right now success is hitting [the guarantee]. I think getting 4,000 players in that tournament is a success. I’d think I’d be disappointed with any less, even though it’s not a failure,” Waters said to PocketFives last November. “I think 3,500 players in that tournament is also a success.” Fears began to subside as the remaining flights saw players eager to get involved, knowing that multiple millionaires would be made when all was said in done. At the close of registration on the final starting flight of Day 1E, the final result was 4,367 players posting the $5,300 buy-in for a total prize pool of $21,835,000. It was far and away the largest prize pool online poker had ever seen. The final two players quickly made a heads-up deal and with Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruivo being declared the official winner and taking home $2.72 million for first place. Runner-up Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ de Goede also took home over $2.3 million in the deal. Back For The Challenge partypoker is putting another $20M guarantee is on the line in 2019, however, outside of the buy-in being doubled to $10,300, details of the event - including the number of starting flights, when and how players can qualify - are not yet available. Details of the tournament and the surrounding online festival are expected to be announced in the near future.
The final day of the second-largest online poker tournament ever ended in an anti-climactic and yet completely expected fashion. The final two players in the partypoker MILLIONS Online, 'frenchsniperrr' and 'Lucio' agreed to a deal that saw each of them lock up a minimum of $2.2 million each. Thanks to to having the bigger chip stack, 'frenchsniperrr' banked $2,259,113.58 for first place while 'Lucio' took $2,222,511.43 as the official runner-up. Discussion on a deal actually began with three players remaining but 'nomeansyes' turned down the opportunity. Not long after, with blinds of 8M/16M, 'nomeansyes' moved all in from the small blind for 224,032,356 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="js"] only to have 'frenchsniperrr' call from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"]. The board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7h"][poker card="tc"][poker card="7s"] to eliminate 'nomeansyes' in third place for a $1,370,850 score. That hand was the last one played in the tournament. Within a minute of 'nomeansyes' being eliminated, 'frenchsniperrr' and 'Lucio' agreed to their deal and the tournament was over. 'Rank 1 Global', who began the day as the chip leader with 27 players remaining, finished in fourth place for $1,107,225 while European Poker Tour creator and Team partypoker Pro John Duthie finished in fifth place for $869,962.50. With a $10,300 buy-in, the 2,109-player field created a prize pool of $21,090,000 to make it the second-largest online tournament prize pool ever. The only tournament with a larger prize pool was the 2018 partypoker MILLIONS which awarded $21,835,000 after 4,367 players paid the $5,300 buy-in. Final Table Payouts frenchsniperrr - $2,259,113.58 Lucio - $2,222,511.43 nomeansyes - $1,370,850 Rank 1 Global - $1,107,225 John_Duthie - $869,962.50 Cloudking - $659,062.50 PalPal012015 - $474,525 BillKluka - $316,350
For the next nine days, all eyes will be on 'jiggidyjigjohn' as the $20,000,000 guaranteed partypoker MILLIONS Online plays down to a winner. That's because 'jiggidyjigjohn' finished Day 1A of the event as the chip leader and is now eligible for the $1 million bonus should they go on to win the tournament without making a deal. Finishing Day 1A with 20,120,995 in chips, 'jiggidyjigjohn' narrowly edged out fellow grinder 'Triple Sexy' for the overall chip lead. 'Triple Sexy' ended up with 20,027,055 in chips on the day. No other player crested the 20,000,000 mark. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] There were 709 players on Sunday, the first of four starting flights in the $20,000,000 guaranteed event. In an effort to encourage players to take a shot on Day 1A, partypoker offered a $1 million bonus in the event that the Day 1A chip leader goes on to win the tournament. 115 players made it through Day 1A including notable online pros Kenny 'SpaceyFCB' Hallaert, 'Junglemandan', the current #3-ranked player in the world Johannes 'Greenstone25' Korsar, and Mike 'GoRapsGoEh' Leah. Team partypoker also had a solid showing with Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov finishing inside the top 10 chip counts. He was joined by fellow ambassadors Isaac Haxton and Joni 'JJouhki' Jouhkimainen in advancing to Day 2. Remaining partypoker MILLIONS Schedule Date Time (CET) Name December 8 9:30 pm Day 1B December 9 2:00 pm Day 1C December 9 6:00 pm Day 1D (Turbo) December 9 9:30 pm Day 2 December 10 9:30 pm Final Day To avoid an overlay and hit that massive $20 million figure, partypoker will need to average 431 players per flight through the remaining three starting flights. Players can enter each flight only once and are only able to move one stack forward. The 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online was the largest online poker tournament in history with 4,367 players taking part and generating a $21,835,000 prize pool from the $5,300 buy-in. To break that record with the higher buy-in, partypoker will need to draw another 1,475 players, an average of 492 players over the remaining three flights. Last year there were five starting flights drawing 1,574, 484, 1,112, 707, and 490 players respectively. partypoker MILLIONS Day 1A Leaderboard jiggidyjigjohn 20,120,995 Triple Sexy - 20,027,055 Sharealgor - 17,064.569 aaaaaaaaaaaaa - 15,113,516 greekeye - 14,621,981 NL_Profit - 14,616.878 Langenzersdorf - 13,588,991 Brobizz - 13,455,467 LawyerUp1981 - 11,976290 Madgenius111 - 11,700,523
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. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] 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, 'jiggidyjigjohn' was 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. Raise 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.