PSPC vs Online MILLIONS - which is better value?

In his final analysis, for now, Barry Carter asks what is better, a money added tournament or one with an outlandish guarantee?

online live poker
Added value live vs online MTTs

After looking at the qualification routes and relative softness of the two PokerStars and partypoker mega events, today I wanted to look at the remarkable added value proposition poker players face with both of them.

The PSPC is essentially adding $9 million to the prize pool, in the form of $8 million in freeroll qualifiers and $1 million on top for first place. In contrast partypoker have come out with the most outlandish guarantee you’ll ever see, $20 million for an online event.

So today’s question is, which one is better – added money or a huge guarantee?

Money added + 'dead money' 

PSPC PokerStars

With the PokerStars event it is not a pure $9 million added to the event, there are players filling the seats for which $8 million of that money is contributed to the prize pool. However, it is still $8 million that would never have been added to a $25,000 event before, and I suspect many of the High Rollers are even happier that there will be micro stakes players who have never played live before among the lucky 300+ who qualified. So it’s not just added money, it is also (to use an unpleasant poker phrase that unfortunately makes sense here) ‘dead money’.

The partypoker event is also effectively an added money event in my opinion. To get to the guarantee they would need to get 3,774 entries, which would vastly overshoot the nearest equivalent event, the WCOOP Main Event, which last year got 2,183 entries and its all time high was 2,443 at that price point when Americans could still play on PokerStars. So it would not surprise me if partypoker end up paying around $9 million covering the overlay, which I suspect was the plan all along, in order to make history.

They actually might pay even more and end up with an even bigger overlay, especially because their current method for awarding free seats – a leaderboard and the top 10 of each partypoker LIVE Main Event – will probably award seats to several hundred players who would have otherwise bought in to the event anyway. The event is, however, looking like a re-entry so there is still a chance that they get closer to the guarantee than a skeptic like myself is giving them credit.

Similar prize pools?

partypoker millions

The thing that has astonished me every time I write about these two events is how closely matched they are despite their differences. This holds true for the added value in both of them, I seriously think that the PSPC will get between 700-1,000 runners overall, which if true will put the overall prize pool on a par with the $20 million on offer by partypoker.

On to the more general discussion of big guarantees vs added money. The big difference is potentially the big guaranteed event could create more value but also could have none, whereas the added money event is always added value. The partypoker event you are effectively hoping, as a player, would be a huge failure. If only 1,000 runners played the event the added value would be much more than the PSPC, it would be almost $15 million contributed to the player pool by partypoker. However, the bigger the PSPC gets the better it is for everyone, there is still $9 million in added value whether 500 people play or 1,000 do.

So if you are an optimist the added money events are superior, if you are a pessimist the big guaranteed events are better. Once again, this is a bit like arguing whether a private yacht is better than a private jet. We are very lucky that two major poker rooms are putting their money where their mouth is and adding so much money to two events that will no doubt create headlines well into 2019.

Share this page

Comments (1)

  • SDK1987


    Money added for sure. The guaranteed prize pool will most likely reach on PartyPoker in the end, but time will tell.