PokerStars’ $27 million December festival concluded last Sunday, putting an exclamation point on another banner year at the world’s leading poker site.
Despite getting shut out of the U.S. marketplace in New Jersey for the time being, a lot went right at PokerStars in 2013. Although the globe’s most popular poker room may not be entering the U.S. space in the near future, it’s likely only a matter of time until U.S. players are one day able to log onto a site operated by PokerStars.
Nobody knows exactly when that day will be, as practically the entire country remains shrouded in uncertainty regarding the spread of online poker throughout the states. It’s coming, but in the absence of federal legislation, the state-by-state patchwork promises to be a slow process.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some PokerStars 2013 highlights. The 100 billionth hand celebration played out in June as PokerStars reached a phenomenal number of hands dealt since flipping on the virtual switch in 2001. A whopping $5 million was given to players in the “Road to 100 Billion” promotion that saw action at the PokerStars cash tables skyrocket as the ultimate milestone hand approached.
It was during this promo that PokerStars broke the Guinness world record for the largest poker tournament ever held. A total of 225,000 players kicked in $1 and competed for a guaranteed $300,000 prize pool, with PokerStars providing the $75,000 overlay. The previous record of 200,000 was set in late 2011 by, you guessed it, PokerStars!
Other online achievements include the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) 2013 taking the crown of richest Internet poker festival by awarding over $75 million in prize money. Fifteen days of outstanding tournament action saw the $40 million guaranteed prize pool nearly double.
While SCOOP set the online record for prize money, PokerStars also set a record for the most popular online poker festival two months earlier. That distinction was earned during MicroMillions 4 when Zoom Poker tournaments were introduced. PokerStars’ fast-fold variant played a huge part in a record 1,527,760 entries during the MTT series.
On the live poker scene, PokerStars launched new poker rooms in Madrid, Macau and London. Strong showings at PokerStars-sponsored Main Event tournaments also were realized in 2013, as 1,099 entries bought in at UKIPT London; 1,315 at the Eureka Poker Tour Prague; 1,798 at ESPT Barcelona; and a PokerStars record of 2,446 entries at the BSOP Millions in Sao Paulo.
Several Team PokerStars Pros also had big years. Daniel Negreanu took home titles at the WSOPE High Roller and the WSOP APAC Main Event. KidPoker also landed at the final table at EPT Grand Final and WPT World Championship events. Negreanu recently tweeted his 2013 overall results that included cashes of $3,203,423 on buy-ins of $1,211,833 for a net profit of $1,963,500. He calculated his hourly rate of pay for the year at $3,200.
Yet another PokerStars Pro, Vanessa Selbst, won the $25k High Roller at the PCA in January to become the highest-earning female player of all-time. Selbst has over $8 million in cashes
So 2013 turned out to be a fine year for PokerStars overall. You can expect more of the same in 2014.