Post by Ryan Knuppel on -

This week begins with a bang in the poker scene as three top online poker sites smash their prize pool guarantees thanks to players’ willingness to re-join feature tournaments. The unexpected event shows that online poker is alive and well, contrary to belief.

The end of PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), 888 Poker´s XL Inferno series and Party Poker´s PowerFest, saw over eighteen million up for grabs, and the three leading online Poker sites were able to smash their prize pool guarantees simultaneously. Thousands of players logged in the sites in hopes of having a taste of the lion’s share. Although some events are yet to conclude, most players have managed to have a taste of the cake.

The spring tournament series featured eleven main events across all three sites. The eleven-day events gave the average Joe a chance to compete in high-value events. This was after careful planning, several weeks of no rest and thousands of dollars spent in promotion. Seemingly, the hard work paid as the turnout was exceptional.

PokerStars was the leading act of the day. The site smashed SCOOPs main event guarantees by forty percent. In celebration of their SCOOP tenth anniversary, the world’s largest poker site sent out free tournament entry tickets in large numbers along with special Spin and Go games. An addition to their bag of goodies was the incentive of winning one of 8 Platinum Passes to next year’s January PokerStars Players Championship.

The response was overwhelming as all events were packed full. It is speculated that PokerStars issued out more money than the planned $110 million tournament guarantees. As for Party Poker’s Powerfest series, the turn-out was far beyond expectation. Following the recent backlash received, due to the addition of many Progressive Knock Out (PKO) tournaments in the series schedule, Party Poker was set to expect a low turn-up.

The issued PKOs feature a pay rake on the bounty element of each buy-in. However, as a contentious issue among online poker members, Party Poker decided to increase the amount of bounty rather than reducing the total buy-in. The result was increased cash every time you knock out a contender. Regardless, most players were not bought by the smart move. However, the turn-out of events debunked the theory.

It took much stamina to include PKOs in all five Party Poker’s Powerfest main events. Nevertheless, the gamble paid off as there was a huge turnout in numbers. The third online site to make a name despite being modest among the two was 888 Poker´s XL Inferno series. Much of the success came from the site’s special challenge-based promotions. The promotions that ran up to the series featured a couple of seat giveaways for the main event’s one million dollars guaranteed.

The outcome was beyond expectation, and as a result, there was no need for re-entries to fill up the required number of players. The lesson learned from this week’s play is that as long as online poker sites offer valuable guarantees while backing their events with realistic promotions, online poker is sure to remain alive.