Throughout the last few years, the GGPoker Network (GGPN), with its namesake site and flagship operator GGPoker and its Asia largest poker room, Natural8, has become a force to be reckoned with in the online poker industry. GGPN not only threatened the previously unchallenged top spot of PokerStars but even temporarily leaped into the lead in 2021.
Both sites are the dominating forces, and poker players from all over the world profited from the fierce competition thanks to increased marketing efforts and numerous marquee festivals. On Sunday, 20th March 2022, they went toe-to-toe once more and held ambitious anniversary editions with multi-million guarantees.
For the second anniversary of the GGMasters, GGPN increased the guaranteed prize pool ten-fold and aptly named it the Overlay Edition. It was seemingly impossible for the $150 buy-in to reach the $5 million guarantee, especially considering that only a single entry was allowed for each player across the entire network.
Ultimately, the tournament came up short of the goal but a strong turnout cut down a potentially record-setting overlay in the online poker industry significantly. When the registration officially closed, the event drew a total field of 33,806 entries that the fastest growing network could be happy with. While this caused an overlay of $334,772, this was actually swallowed up by the collected rake and thus created a net profit of $70,900 for the platform.
Below are the key details at a glance:
– GTD: $5 million
– Buy-in: $138 + $12
– Entries required: 36,232
– Entries generated: 33,806
– Overlay: $334,772
– Net profit: $70,900
The tournament consisted of three starting days dedicated to different time zones, all of which took place on Sunday, 20th March. On top of the very ambitious seven-figure tag, GGPN also suffered some technical issues, which were solved within a few hours. As expected, the Europe flight had the strongest turnout while the Asia flight generated more than two times as many entries as the America flight.
Asia Flight: 10,481 entries (2,022 survivors)
Europe Flight: 17,964 entries (3,420 survivors)
America Flight: 4,589 entries (885 survivors)
Day 2 direct entries: 772
Prior to kick-off, a direct entry into Day 2 with 10,000 chips was also enabled and 772 players took advantage of this option. With returning blinds of 600-1,200 and an ante of 150, it was certainly not an easy task to make a profit in this tournament this way as just 4,800 players out of 7,097 contenders on Day 2 locked up a min-cash of at least $304.
A finish inside of the top 100 locked up at least $4,147.50 while the final table bubble came with a massive pay jump. Tenth place was rewarded with $18,824.50 while the first casualty among the final nine already secured a payday of $34.356.50. For the winner, a top prize of $343.564 was reserved.
PokerStars Sunday Million 16th Anniversary Edition
Market leader PokerStars was the first to announce the 16th-anniversary edition of its popular weekly Sunday Million, which ran at the same time as the three starting days of the GGMasters Overlay Edition. It offered a slightly more expensive price tag with a different structure, as just a single starting day was available.
Furthermore, all players were allowed to use up to five re-entries during the registration period, which was open until the start of Day 2. The guaranteed prize pool was set for $10,000,000 and that goal was reached and surpassed. Ultimately, the annual special edition attracted 33,847 unique entries and the subsequent 18,273 re-entries pulled the tournament over the finish line.
Below are the key details at a glance:
– GTD: $10 million
– Buy-in: $200 + $15
– Entries required: 50,000
– Entries generated: 52,120 (33,847 + 18,273 re-entries)
– Prize pool: $10,424,000
With levels of 20 and 15 minutes each, the Sunday Million 16th Anniversary Edition offers a deeper structure and concludes throughout three days in total. The top 7,711 spots were guaranteed at least $437.72 and a five-figure payday was reached by the top 71 finishers. En route to the final table, the pay jumps are getting bigger and the top eight will have locked up $120.108.88 for their efforts.
But all of that is overshadowed by the humongous top prize of $1,000,036.70 for the winner. With such a life-changing amount up for grabs with a moderate low buy-in of $215, it can be expected that a deal may be cut when the business end of the tournament has been reached.
One year ago in the 15th Anniversary Edition, that was however not the case. Canadian poker pro Vanessa Kade, who was playing under her moniker of “Niffller”, defeated “Talibenes” in heads-up to take home $1,514,920 for the efforts. Her opponent also walked away as a millionaire and received a consolation prize of $1,035,358.
The conclusion of the 16th Anniversary Edition will unfold on March 22.
GGPoker and PokerStars will certainly be pleased with the turnout of their low-stakes special editions and can hold their heads up high. For GGPN and its Asia’s leading online poker operator, Natural8, the next highlight is just around the corner as the newest edition of the World Series of Poker Spring Circuit has just been announced. For more details on the festival with $100 million in guaranteed prize pools, check back shortly on the Natural8 Poker Blog.