First PokerStars MICOOP in Michigan Sets High Bar

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.”

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.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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