PokerStars Announces First $1 Million Freeroll of 2016



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After poker players boycotted PokerStars for the first time at the beginning of December 2015, Amaya Inc.’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser posted on the PokerStars blog, apologizing for some of the missteps in communicating the VIP program changes (against which the players were protesting), but saying the company wasn’t going to reverse any decisions it had made. One note of encouragement Hollreiser tried to put out there was that there would be four $1 million freerolls in 2016, which would “surely create buzz and generate excitement among players at all skill and experience levels.”

One of those freerolls has now been scheduled. PokerStars announced Monday that the first of the $1 million prize pool freerolls is set for Saturday, March 19th, at 13:04 ET.

PokerStars says that qualifying for the freeroll is “easy,” but yeah, it’s really not. Players only have two tries at it; this isn’t some generic freeroll in which everybody on the site can register. Players do have to qualify by performing well in 90-player Sit-and-Go satellites. The top nine finishers in each satellite will receive an entry into the $1 million freeroll.

Those satellites require tickets, as well, and this is where the two tries come into play. To nab the first ticket, players must login to their Challenges window and opt-in to the promotion (I mean, come on, PokerStars isn’t going to just GIVE you a ticket without making you jump through at least one “click this button” hoop!). After that, players need to play one real money hand or tournament to release the satellite ticket into their account. That ticket can then be used to enter any 90-person Sit-and-Go satellite for the $1 million freeroll. They are running constantly, so they shouldn’t be difficult to find.

As stated, the top nine players in the satellite advance to the $1 million freeroll. So, if making the final table of a 90-player tournament is “easy,” then maybe PokerStars is correct in its evaluation.

Those that do not pass that first test can receive one more satellite ticket by making a deposit of at least $20 and using the bonus code “MILLION1.” But then that’s it. If a player fails to make the $1 million freeroll with that second ticket, he is out of luck. Tickets are non-transferable, so there is no way to get another.

As for the big freeroll itself, it has a maximum capacity of 100,000 players. Satellites will stop running if that number has been met. If the tournament doesn’t fill up, the last chance to use a satellite ticket is 11:04 ET on March 19th, two hours before the start of the freeroll. The winner of the freeroll is guaranteed $20,000; PokerStars expects somewhere from 30,000 to 50,000 players to make the money, so it appears that the payout structure will be generous in terms of the percentage of the field that will be paid.

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