Hits and Misses: First BetMGM Poker MI Online Series Awards $360K

Written By Martin Harris on April 26, 2021
BetMGM Online Series April 2021

The first major tournament series at BetMGM Poker Michigan concluded Sunday, with the BetMGM Online Series ultimately producing mixed results.

Guaranteed prize pools for the 10 tournaments totaled $300,000, and in the end, players won just more than $360,000. That said, although half the tournament exceeded their guarantees, half came up short. In another caveat, those that were short had relatively small overlays.

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Slow start, fast finish for first BetMGM Poker Online Series in MI

Overall, the series started slowly but ended well. The eight-day schedule was bookended by contrasting Sundays. The first Sunday was lackluster, but turnouts on the final Sunday helped the series rebound overall.

The first Sunday, April 18, saw the series begin with an overlay. The $215 Sunday Special event attracted 339 total entries, 36 shy of what was needed to hit the event’s $75,000 guarantee. The resulting $7,200 overlay was the largest of the series.

Meanwhile, the three events on the final Sunday, April 25, all exceeded their guarantees.

The $20 “Mini” drew 519 entries, pushing the prize pool just over $9,600 and nearly doubling the $5,000 guarantee. The $109 Sunday 1/2 Price did similarly well, attracting 501 entries for a $50,100 prize pool. That total was two-and-a-half times the $20,000 guarantee.

The series finale, another Sunday Special, featured both the largest buy-in and largest prize pool of the series. With a $535 price tag, the 217 total entries meant a $108,500 prize pool, thereby eclipsing the $100,000 guarantee.

That series-climaxing last event came just shy of equaling the largest tournament in BetMGM Poker MI’s short history.

The $109 BetMGM Grand Online Main Event held earlier this month attracted 1,130 entries, creating a $113,000 prize pool.

Here’s a look at the turnouts and prize pools in all 10 events.

Event Buy-in Guarantee Entries Prize Pool Overlay    
1: NLH Sunday Special 8-Max $215 $75,000 339 $67,800 $7,200
2: NLH PKO 8-Max Bounty $215 $20,000 91 $18,200 $1,800
3: PLO 6-Max $109 $10,000 143 $14,300 n/a
4: NLH 8-Max $215 $25,000 133 $26,600 n/a
5: NLH 40 Stack 8-Max $215 $20,000 92 $18,400 $1,600
6: NLH PKO 8-Max Bounty $320 $25,000 80 $24,000 $1,000
7: NLH 6-Max $215 $25,000 114 $22,800 $2,200
8: NLH 8-Max Mini $20 $5,000 519 $9,601.50 n/a
9: NLH Sunday 1/2 Price 8-Max $109 $20,000 501 $50,100 n/a
10: NLH Sunday Special 8-Max $535 $75,000 217 $108,500 n/a
TOTALS $300,000 2,229 $360,302 $13,800

Expectations met, but BetMGM Poker still behind PokerStars

Although it mostly met expectations, BetMGM Poker MI’s first online series couldn’t match the ambition and scope of PokerStars MI‘s first major tournament series, the Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP).

Running just a few weeks after PokerStars MI went live in late January, that series featured 60 events, with guarantees originally totaling $1 million before PokerStars increased later events’ guarantees in response to huge turnouts. Ultimately, players won more than $2.2 million in MICOOP.

BetMGM Poker MI has only just begun its second month dealing virtual hands. Thus, PokerStars MI had a two-month head start and right now enjoys the lion’s share of Michigan’s fledgling online poker market.

With more tournament series to come, the BetMGM Poker lion will no doubt continue to roar as it endeavors to challenge PokerStars’ kingly status in MI.

Martin Harris Avatar
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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. In 2019, his book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books.

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