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The Winning Poker Network (WPN) recently announced a plan to host five $1 million guaranteed tournaments this fall – one in September and four in October.

Known as Million Dollar Sundays, the tournaments offer the largest prize pools available to U.S. players, as WPN remains one of a handful of poker rooms or networks that continue to accept Americans. Except, of course, players located in the regulated states of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, and a few other states that include Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Washington.

The announcement followed a Million Dollar Sunday event on August 2 – the third one this year – that saw 1,939 entries pony up $540 to total $1,047,060. But $40 of each buy-in was intended to go to WPN as rake, so the guarantee fell a wee bit short at $969,500. The network kicked in the rest due to the guarantee and ended up with a profit of $47,060.

In addition to guaranteeing a prize pool of $1 million, WPN’s Million Dollar Sunday tournaments promise $200,000 to the winner. That’s a life-changing sum of money to most, and a player named ‘Ra1syDa1sy’ took the honors earlier this month.

Supporting Regulation

Online poker tournaments that offer massive prize pools are generally good for poker, especially considering that a number of entrants won their seats to the event in satellites. But in the case of WPN, the Million Dollar Sunday events may be doing more harm than good.

Players located within the U.S. are well aware that the push is on to regulate online poker under the state-by-state scheme, with the goal that one day those states will all come together as one to create a larger pool of players and greater liquidity. While the going has been painfully slow with regard to much-needed regulation that will provide security to players, the fact that online poker remains available at unregulated sites to much of the country hinders progress somewhat.

The more voices that are heard on behalf of the push for regulation by way of citizens notifying their state representatives of their desire to see ipoker regulated in their home state, the quicker regulation may spread. But as long as players in 43 states can play online poker that includes huge tournaments such as those on the schedule at WPN, it keeps players from joining the cause for regulation.

The Poker Players Alliance has been constantly prompting players to get involved and show their support. That support can’t reach its potential and effect change when thousands of players continue to support unregulated online poker sites instead.

As a U.S. resident in a non-regulated state, I’ve been part of the problem. It’s much easier to play at the unregulated sites available than to make the effort to join the crowd in favor of regulation. How many of you can admit as much as well, realizing that regulation can perhaps move quicker by getting involved rather than continuing to patronize WPN and other unregulated poker rooms?

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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.