Poker News

PartyPoker is going to come out of the gates swinging in the year 2012.  Starting at the stroke of midnight (ET) on New Year’s Day and running through the month of January, the top-three online poker room will make all of its multi-table tournaments rake free.

We would say that this is unprecedented, but we said that in July when PartyPoker ran a similar promotion during the summer.  The poker room did not offer up many details this time, simply saying, “…100% of your money will go straight into the prize pool, with no fees to pay across the whole multi-table tournament schedule. Play for more cash, at no extra cost.”

This summer, PartyPoker used different methods for erasing tournament fees based on the buy-in.  Tournaments with buy-ins greater than $6 had their fees dropped.  For example, a $20 + $2 tournament turned into a $20 + $0 tournament.  The prize pools were the same; players simply got to play for free.  In tournaments with buy-ins under $6, the fees were rolled into the buy-in.  A $5 + $0.50 tournament, for example, morphed into a $5.50 + $0 tournament.  Thus, the overall price remained constant but the prize pool was increased.

Let’s look at the example we used back in July to see how this would affect the prize payouts:

Before the promotion, a 1,000 player $5 + $0.50 tournament would have a $5,000 prize pool (1,000 players times $5).  According to PartyPoker’s payout schedule, first place in a tournament of this size wins 23.5 percent of the prize pool, or $1,175, while second place would receive 13 percent, or $650.  Now, because the tournament is $5.50 + $0, the prize pool grows to $5,500 without any more money coming out of the players’ pockets.  As such, the first and second prizes will now be $1,292.50 and $715, respectively.  Essentially, PartyPoker has added extra money to the prize pool.

Of course, for tournaments with buy-ins greater than $6, the prize pool and payouts remain unchanged since the tournament fee is just removed, rather than added to the buy-in.

PartyPoker has been in a heated battle with the iPoker Network for the title of second largest online poker room or network in the world for several years now (it was actually a battle for third before Full Tilt Poker went under).  As it stands currently, online poker traffic monitoring site lists iPoker in second place with an average of 3,850 cash game players over the past seven days.  PartyPoker is nipping on iPoker’s heels with 3,800 players.

While an increase in multi-table tournament players will not directly affect those rankings, since they are for cash games, they may boost PartyPoker’s numbers indirectly as players come for the tournaments and stay online to try the cash games.

PartyPoker has not posted anything about how January’s rake free tournaments will affect how players earn PartyPoints, but it is probably safe to assume that since there will be no fees, there will be no PartyPoints.

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