While PokerStars has been very active in the live poker community, first with the dearly departed European Poker Tour (a moment of silence, please) and now the PokerStars Championships, partypoker has been relatively quiet. That will change in 2018 as partypoker is upping the ante on their live efforts with the second year of their Party Poker MILLIONS Series.
After testing the waters with smaller live events, partypoker has gone full bore with trying to kickstart their live poker ventures and the MILLIONS franchise. They hired the founder of the EPT, John Duthie, to be the president of Party Poker LIVE (the overseer of the MILLIONS events) earlier in 2017 and followed it up by drawing former World Poker Tour announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton away from the WPT for an executive position with the organization. Those two gentlemen seem to have put the final touches on what promises to be an exciting series come 2018.
Duthie, who has the background from the creation of the EPT in his memory, knows what needs to be done first. “Putting players first is key to ensuring that the partypoker LIVE brand thrives and is well-respected, and it’s been great to be part of this,” Duthie noted during the announcement of the 2018 schedule. “The response to the partypoker MILLIONS series has been incredible, and I think the increased prize pools next year are going to take the events to a whole new level. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Sexton echoed Duthie’s statements, saying, “As partypoker LIVE’s flagship series, partypoker MILLIONS has attracted a huge number of players in its first year and proved a resounding success. The MILLIONS series has brought a great deal of excitement to the live and online poker world and really engaged players with a very competitive environment, so I can’t wait to see the impact of even bigger prize pool guarantees in 2018.”
The newly revealed events will offer a minimum of $5 million in guaranteed prize money at multiple stops around the world. Some of those stops will have a massive $10 million guaranteed prize pool. At the $10 million stops, partypoker is guaranteeing that the top three finishers will walk off with at least a million and that a minimum of 250 players will earn at least $10,000 for their min-cash.
The continuation of the inaugural season will be later this month with the first of the $5 million guaranteed events, the Caribbean Poker Party at The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Beginning on November 20, the first two of four Day One flights will be held with the goal to meet that $5 million guarantee (1000 players). The final table of the event will be played on November 25 (Saturday), where most of the prize pool will be divvied up.
From the sunny climes of the Dominican Republic, the Party Poker MILLIONS will traverse the world, including the cyber world:
MILLIONS Online December 2-6
MILLIONS Germany February 10-18
(end of Season One)
MILLIONS Grand Final – Barcelona April 7-15*
MILLIONS North America – Canada April 21-29**
MILLIONS Russia – Sochi August 4-12
MILLIONS UK – Dusk ‘Til Dawn September 20-October 9
MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party November 10-18*
(* – $5 million guaranteed prize pool)
(** – $10 million Canadian guaranteed prize pool)
The resurgence of partypoker in the live arena comes at an intriguing point in the international poker community. There is already a plethora of live poker events in the world, especially with the PokerStars Championships, the World Poker Tour and even the World Series of Poker Circuit and its ventures into foreign lands. The brain trust behind the Party Poker MILLIONS have cast an eye at the tournament poker calendar in the scheduling of their events, however.
From a look at the schedule, the MILLIONS is avoiding the beginning of the calendar year and the glut of international tournaments that occur just after January begins. In particular, the newly revived PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (back from its one-year experiment as the PokerStars Championships Bahamas) and the Aussie Millions suck up much of the oxygen in the room during the month. By waiting until mid-February for their stop in Germany, the MILLIONS team is giving themselves the best opportunity at success when the calendar is less crowded.
They’ve also utilized their online home as a springboard to get players to the live events. Satellites are running continuously on partypoker for the MILLIONS tournaments and they have been well received by the international poker world. Duthie, obviously remembering how the EPT exploded from online poker satellites, is looking for lightning to strike twice with the MILLIONS series.
Still, the players will be the ones who vote with the most important marker – their money. Many eyes will be cast towards Punta Cana later this month to see if Duthie and Sexton have something going with the MILLIONS. Knowing their history in poker, don’t bet against them.