PokerStars Michigan ups the ante with $500,000 guaranteed Michigan Classic

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 03/30/2021

Special event offers the biggest prize pool in the history of regulated poker in Michigan

PokerStars’ ambitious outlook on the Michigan poker economy brought ample tournament opportunities to the Great Lakes State right out of the gate.

Since launching on Jan. 29, PokerStars MI already ran the first-ever Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP). The Michigan version of the trademark PokerStars series offered a combined $1 million prize pool across 60 events, with the actual final combined prize pools topping the $2.2 million mark.

The MICOOP Main Event produced the biggest prize pool in the short history of Michigan’s regulated poker market. The $300 buy-in tournament drew 1,284 entries for a $359,520 prize pool.

PokerStars Michigan introduces an even bigger tournament this weekend. The Michigan Classic plays out as a $300 buy-in event with a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool.

The two-day tournament kicks off Sunday, April 4. Day 1 begins at 5 pm local time, featuring just under eight hours of play on the opening day. The survivors of Day 1 come back Monday, April 5, and play down to a champion.

Aggressive push out of the gate for PokerStars MI

PokerStars Michigan went live as the first regulated poker site to hit the Michigan market. The platform operated as the state’s lone poker site for a few weeks, until the launch of BetMGM Poker on March 22.

The first two months of Michigan operations reveal an aggressive push for state market share from the PokerStars Michigan platform. According to Poker Scout tracking data, PokerStars Michigan produced the highest cash game traffic of any U.S. regulated poker site from March 24 through March 30.

That’s an impressive feat considering that the Poker Scout data compares PokerStars MI to sites in other more established markets. Perhaps the novelty of regulated online poker affects those numbers, but so far, Michigan appears poised as a major online poker market in the U.S.

Regulated online poker launched at an opportune time in the Wolverine State, as most of Michigan’s 16 live poker rooms remain closed due to COVID-19 considerations.

All three Detroit casinos (MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino, Greektown Casino) have live poker up and running, but the majority of the state’s tribal casinos continue to hold off on reopening live poker venues. The COVID-related shutdowns leave players in most areas of the state without convenient access to a live poker room.

PokerStars Michigan is booming, however, and BetMGM Poker could show a similar surge as the site matures. BetMGM Poker Michigan, powered by partypoker software, should eventually unveil special major tournaments and festivals that rival its PokerStars competition.

BetMGM Poker could eventually bring the WPT Main Tour to the online streets in Michigan. The partypoker US Network hosted the WPT Online Poker Open in December, marking the first time the WPT offered a Main Tour Event online.

The WPT Online Poker Open featured a $3,500 buy-in, $1 million guaranteed main event, with the tournament winner reaping the usual spoils associated with winning a WPT title. BetMGM Poker stands a good chance of hosting its own WPT Main Tour event at some point as well, as Michigan projects to play home to one of the most vibrant online poker economies in the U.S.

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