When I saw the e-mail from PokerStars on Monday about a new tournament series called the Stadium Series, I raised an eyebrow (let’s pretend I can), intrigued that the poker room was launching a new live tournament event. After all, it’s called the Stadium Series. Thankfully, since we are in the midst of a pandemic, my initial reaction was misplaced, as the Stadium Series is a new online tournament series running for four weeks, from July 5 through August 2.
The Stadium Series will feature triple-tiered buy-in tournaments, just like what we have so often seen at PokerStars. In all, there are 102 tournaments on the schedule: 34 events with three levels of buy-ins each. There are $50 million in guaranteed prize pools throughout the series.
Things will be structured a bit differently than normal, though. Monday through Saturday (Sunday through Saturday the first week) are called Weekly Heat Events. Each is its own tournament with its own prize pool, just like you would expect. The Sunday tournaments, each with a large guarantee, is called, appropriate, the Sunday Final.
PokerStars is adding tickets to the Sunday Finals for the “top finishers” in the Low and Medium tiers of the Weekly Heat Events, thus helping them live up to the “heat” name. How many tickets, PokerStars does not specify; perhapsa “top finishers” means first place. Everyone who reaches the final table of a Sunday Final will receive a $5,200 Grand Final ticket.
In other PokerStars tournament series, different buy-ins are scattered through the weeks of competition. In the Stadium Series, the buy-ins increase each week. The first week, the buy-ins of the Low, Medium, and High tiers are $5.50, $55, and $530, respectively. The second week, they go up to $11, $109, and $1,050. The third week they are $22, $215, and $2,100 and then in the final week, the buy-ins are $55, $530, and $5,200.
There is certainly something for just about everyone, but if you are a low-roller, you’d better get in on the action early.
Going back to the name Stadium Series, it appears that it actually means something. Stadium implies sports, which itself implies fans, and to that end, PokerStars is going to broadcast the final tables as well as the deep stages of the daily heats, the first time it has ever done something like this for an online event.
All cards will be face-up during the broadcast.
As is the case with live events like the World Series of Poker, the action will be streamed on a short delay so that players involved cannot see their opponents’ cards in another window.
It’s all a little convoluted, but just think of it like PokerStars’ other three-tiered event series. Tournaments all week, but the buy-ins go up the next week. Top finishers in the daily heats can win tickets into the Sunday Finals. Final table finishers in the Sunday Finals can win tickets to the $5,200 Grand Final. Of course, any tournament can be bought into directly.