Cheap thrills

Whenever an online poker room announces a big poker tournament or poker tournament series, it always seems to be something geared toward people with more than two nickels to rub together. Sure, there are multi-tiered buy-in series that thrown a bone to the low-rollers, but the real fun is always in the tourneys with huge guarantees. If I could only play on 888poker from where I live. On Sunday, 888poker announced a new tournament called WonderWorld with a measly $1 buy-in, but a very healthy $100,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Now that’s my kind of tournament. Granted, I fully expect the action to be a complete mess, with players tossing around chips like my kids used to under the slide at the playground, but still. A buck? I’d go for it.

With that sort of buy-in and a large guarantee, there is a good chance, especially right now during the coronavirus pandemic, that 888poker could see its largest field ever. What mark it needs to break, I don’t know as that’s not a figure that’s just readily available on Wikipedia, but whatever it is, I would guess it is in trouble.

Three-week phased tournament

Let’s get to the tournament structure. The WonderWorld tournament is a phased event, meaning that it has multiple Day 1s, all of which feed into Day 2, the final day of the tournament. It is very much like what we see in the early stages of the World Series of Poker.

Several Day 1s run every day, giving players ample opportunity to find a good time to sit down and play. Each Day 1 will proceed through Level 12 (levels last 10 minutes each) or until 11 percent of the field for that flight remains. Everybody who has chips at the conclusion of a Day 1 flight advances to Day 2 on June 29.

The min-cash is $10; it is expected that everyone who makes it to Day 2 will make the money.

Every Day 1 phase has unlimited $1 re-buys for the first 60 minutes, provided the player has 4,000 chips or fewer. Players who get knocked out can try again in a subsequent Day 1. Players cannot buy-in directly to Day 2; they must qualify via an opening flight.

For those who really want to make it to Day 2 on the cheap, there are 10-cent satellites, both in Sit-and-Go and multi-table tournament form.

Well on its way

According to the 888poker lobby, 11,900 players have already entered a Day 1 phase and 1,314 players have advanced to Day 2. Starting with 1,000 chips, the leader at this point (Monday night ET) has an eye-popping 103,350 chips. The shortest stack right now has just 70.

With 91 cents of the buy-in going to the prize pool, 888poker needs 109,891 entries, whether by initial buy-in or re-buy, in order to avoid overlay. At the pace the tournament is on, that does not look difficult to achieve.

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