First PokerStars MICOOP in Michigan Sets High Bar
Michigan online poker players waited long enough. The state government took years to agree to legalize and regulate online poker and then agree to interstate liquidity for the games. The latter happened in December 2020. Online poker sites could then launch in early 2021, but no operators indicated that they were ready.
And then…PokerStars made a surprise announcement on the afternoon of Friday, January 29. Along with its land-based partners of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and online partner of FOX Bet, PokerStars launched its online casino, sports betting site, and online poker site.
Online poker players took to the tables in droves, quickly eclipsing the 1000-player mark within 24 hours of the PokerStars MI launch. It didn’t take long for the site to become the largest in any state thus far.
Less than two weeks later, PokerStars announced its first MICOOP, the Michigan Championship of Online Poker.
Boosting Guarantees Twice
The original PokerStars MICOOP schedule offered 60 tournaments running from February 20 through March 8. In all, the guarantees surpassed $1M.
Attendance was so stellar in the first week of action, that PokerStars announced increased guarantees before the second weekend. The first 22 events of the series all exceeded their guarantees, some by significant amounts. On Thursday, February 25 alone, the guarantees set at $48K disappeared under the real prize pools of more than $75K.
The tournaments scheduled for Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28 originally totaled $150,500, but PokerStars boosted then to more than $300K in total. They dubbed that weekend the “Double Up Weekend.”
PokerStars Associate Director of Group Public Relations Rebecca McAdam Willetts commented, “The response in Michigan to our first Championship of Online Poker has been wonderful, so we wanted to celebrate with our players. The poker community has spoken, and we are thrilled to double the value on offer to our players.”
📰 #MICOOP news 🗞️
🥳MICOOP Double Up Weekend 🥳
📆 Sat 27th and Sun 28th
All 1️⃣ 0️⃣ MICOOP games now have double GTD prizes 😮
💵 $300k+ in guaranteed prizes this weekend 💰
The Sunday Special at 5pm on the 28th will be the first MI tournament with $100k GTD 💰 pic.twitter.com/tdOkU8KWoN
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) February 26, 2021
Action continued to far exceed expectations through Monday, March 1. The first nine days of MICOOP had already awarded more than $1.2M, and all but two tournaments exceeded their individual guarantees. A few days before the MICOOP Main Event, PokerStars boosted that guarantee.
The $300 buy-in Main Event — #55 on the schedule – had boasted of a $125K guarantee. PokerStars boosted it to $200K.
McAdam Willetts added, “We are (again) thrilled to increase the value on offer to our players competing in the Main Event.”
Big Series, Big Results
When the chips settled and the first MICOOP ended, the series tallied the prize pools to be more than $2.2M. To be exact:
–Total entries: 28,830
–Total prize pools: $2,208,002.20 (far beyond $1,429,000 GTD)
–Overlays: 4 for $17,232.40
Two tournaments stood out as the highlights of the series.
—Event 55: $300 NLHE Main Event
–Total entries: 1,284 (882 original players, 402 reentries)
–Total prize pool: $359,520 (far beyond $200K GTD)
–Players paid: 179
–Minimum payout: $649
–Winner: smftt for $56,398.35
—Event 56: $50 NLHE Mini Main Event
–Total entries: 1,201 (813 original players, 388 reentries)
–Total prize pool: $54,645.50 (surpassing $50K GTD)
–Players paid: 179
–Minimum payout: $98.64
–Winner: BiggYBlains22 for $8,573.25
Two players took down two victories each. Sexycaitlyn won Events 6 ($200 Sunday Special for $9,567.68) and 11 ($100 4-Max for $5,355.72). Coolriver84 won Events 34 ($100 6-Max for $5,495.38) and 59 ($100 Nightly Stars for $6,629.72).
PokerStars provided a list of all of the tournament entries, prize pools, and winners on its blog.
The first Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP) awarded over $2.2 million in prizes. The Main Event had a prize pool of nearly $360K, with winner "smftt" earning $56K. https://t.co/WRwLTS7IlQ pic.twitter.com/GA9NfvzYeC
— PokerStars Blog (@PokerStarsBlog) March 9, 2021