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Online Poker Tournaments Reach Massive Scale

February 20, 2006 (written by Haunted Poker)


It wasnít too long ago when I considered a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool for an online poker tournament massive. Just a couple of years back, the list of online poker sites offering 6-figure prize pools was an exclusive and exciting draw for players. Enter 2006 and the ever-increasing popularity of online poker and a society obsessed with excess. At least I donít see any negatives with poker in excess. As of the writing of this article, almost every major online poker room offers a regular massive event and a couple offer tournaments with guaranteed prizes over half a million dollars.

Poker Stars, now the second most popular online poker network in terms of player traffic, offers a weekly tournament that guarantees a $750,000 prize pool. Are you kidding me?! For an online poker tournament?! In fact, sites offering these tournaments usually exceed the guarantee, making it close to a $1,000,000 event. Some live major tournaments donít even reach that status. Several thousand players are attracted to these major events, almost amassing WSOP-like player fields. While youíll have to work your way through huge fields, the positive of these large numbers is that the buy-in stays low. Both this and Party Pokerís $500,000 guaranteed event have a buy-in of just over $200.

While $200 may be more than some small-stakes amateurs can stomach, fortunately online poker rooms are constantly running satellites and supersatellites that award an entry or entries into the weekly big dance. Usually soliciting buy-ins between $1 and $15, these small-stakes single and multi-table tournaments serve as a cheaper path to mega-tournament glory. Even if you can afford the direct buy-in, why not go the satellite route and save yourself some cash if youíre good enough at tournaments? While youíre there try a shot at some of these ridiculously cheat WSOP satellites. You might have to wade through 4 rounds, but can you imagine eventually winning a seat at the Big One for a buck?

Even though the prize payout structure is becoming increasingly thin and punishing for the top 3 finishers, the winner of the biggest online tournaments take home over $100,000 and sometimes close to $200,000. They are becoming such a spectacle that Poker Stars is running virtual replays on the final table action with many players allowing their hole cards to be exposed. With online poker continuing to expand, I donít expect that weíll have to wait much to play in $1,000,000 weekly events. Most sitesí big tourneys take place on Sunday afternoons with satellites running throughout the week.



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