PokerStars claims to have set a new world record when 225,000 players entered a $1 buy-in tournament on Sunday.
The online poker site attracted the low-stakes players from around the world, to a tournament that was capped at the 225,000 mark and offered a guaranteed prize pool of $300,000 with an assured overlay of $75,000.
The figure beat PokerStars own previous record of 200,000 tournament players by 25,000, which the site set in December 2011, shortly after “black Friday” ended online poker in the US.
Russian competitor SlavaPro beat the competition to capture the first place prize of $25,000. Considering that the buy-in was only $1, that’s a return on investment (ROI) of monolithic proportions. What’s more, many of the players, around 20%, didn’t even put in the $1 amount, as PokerStars ran freerolls prior to the record-setting event, giving away some of the seats in the tournament for free.
Remarkably, considering the massive pool of players, PokerStars reports that it only took SlavaPro a little over four hours to defeat 224,999 opponents to claim the top prize, as the three-minute blind levels forced some fast-paced action.
The record-breaking poker tournament has come two months after US players have once again been given legal permission to play online poker. US online poker was virtually ended after black Friday, in April 2011, when the Department of Justice shut down the biggest poker sites in the country.
The world tournament record also coincided with PokerStars’ “Road to 100 Billion” promotion which saw a player from Greece, Isidora Panagiotopoulou, earn more than $103,800 last Thursday after she won the 100 billionth hand dealt on the site.
Isidora, known as “Microulis69″ on the site, is a married housewife from Thessaloniki, who has been playing on PokerStars for just under a year.
“We had been playing the promotion from day one and felt bad we hadn’t won any sort of prize,” said Isidora. “The feeling was extraordinary when it finally happened… I was with my sister-in-law all together at my husband’s store. We celebrated and called our parents.”
Asked what she plans to do with the money and future poker-playing, she added, “We have lots of financial obligations to settle and this money will help a lot. I would like to use some of it to start playing poker professionally.”
The 100 Billion Hands Celebration continues this week with Golden Sit & Go’s, which begins Monday and runs until Sunday, June 23. The promotion will aim to give away $1 million in cash rewards to Sit & Go players by awarding three different levels of bonuses at random Sit & Go tables.