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Action on the play money tables at PokerStars traveled to another dimension recently…..a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A wondrous journey whose boundaries are those of imagination…..

Oh, snap! I was channeling Rod Serling for a minute there. Play money pots at PokerStars may not have entered the Twilight Zone as of yet, but they have reached a new zone of massive proportions.

PokerStars blog reported that during the last week, five play money pots were so large that all gained a place in the top ten of all-time. And the record biggest play money pot ever was achieved, a whopping 6,471,540,000. That’s 6.4 billion – and over one billion more than the old record of 5,212,320,000.

That largest pot went to ‘viziato1991’ of Italy who pulled out a spade flush on the river, ruining the Queen-high straight of Canada’s ‘MoXpade.’ Poker fans may be interested to know that PokerStars Team Pro and 2003 WSOP Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker was also seated at the table.

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WSOP Main Event Champ Chris Moneymaker; Photo Credit: PokerStars.com

Playing under the ‘Money800’ moniker, Moneymaker wisely folded pre-flop with 5-2 offsuit. As a PokerStars sponsored pro, it appears that Moneymaker is attempting to create a poker boom on the play money tables as he did for real money online poker in 2003.

It may be working, considering that along with the highest play money pot ever, the third-highest (4.9 billion), fourth-highest (4.5 billion), seventh (4,145,580,000) and eighth-highest (4,100,000,000) pots in PokerStars play money history were all reached over the past seven days or so. Incidentally, three of those five massive pots were scooped by ‘viziato1991.’

Why not Real Money?

Real money online poker players are often baffled as to why play money poker is so popular. The option to play for real money is there for the taking worldwide, even in the U.S. if you don’t mind playing at unregulated sites where the safety of funds is questionable.

But studies have shown that the best play money players often have a difficult time even at the low limit real money tables. The game strategies between the two are quite different, as a common complaint among social online poker players is that a majority of play money players never fold and will often ride out the action through to showdown regardless of the strength of their hole cards or hand.

Play that way at real money tables and you’ll make a lot of friends (bum-hunters) who will suddenly be seated at your table whenever you sit down.

Zynga Poker rules the play money industry, averaging 38,500 players, according to up-to-date stats provided by PokerScout.com. PokerStars is a distant second with roughly 1/3 the amount of players at 13,500.

I suppose ruling the roost at play money tables and winning pots of six billion is better than losing at the real money tables.

Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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