PokerStars’ cleverly titled “Pennsyl-MANIA” tournament — a stand-alone $200 buy-in event that began on Sunday and concludes Monday evening — came with a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000.
On paper, it was a strong contender to surpass the state record $368,200 in payouts awarded last month by the $300 PA SCOOP main event.
As it turned out, Pennsyl-MANIA more than doubled its guarantee and smashed that previous high water mark by more than 40%. The final prize pool came in at $515,964 — just the latest poker record-setter as online action and revenue have surged during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
The $515K prize pool is not a record for all legal U.S. online poker tournaments, as that number has been bested by some WSOP.com events available to the shared player pools of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. And it’s, oh, about $18 million shy of the global record established in March.
Still, it’s a number PokerStars — or at least FOX Bet President Matt Primeaux — is quite proud of.
$515,964 Pennsyl-MANIA final prize pool💥
— Matt Primeaux (@mattprimeaux) May 18, 2020
Nearly $75,000 up top
The tournament, which allowed up to five re-entries, attracted 1,760 players who re-entered a combined 1,014 times.
The top 467 places were to be paid (the min-cash was worth $360.24). At the end of Sunday’s play, after six hours and 40 minutes of competition, 291 players remained, all guaranteed at least $447.03, with the action set to resume at 7 p.m. ET on Monday.
They’re competing for a top prize of $74,891.69, followed by a shade under $53,000 for the runner-up. The top six finishers will each receive five figures, and the top 44 are assured four figures.
The final 291 players possessed an average stack of 142,989 in chips, and the chip leader, “justbuy44,” had nearly triple that amount, at 404,682. That player was the only one in the field who was sitting on more than 100 big blinds when Level 21 ended in the wee hours of Monday morning. And justbuy44 got to that enviable position on a single entry.
If things were going well for justbuy44, the same couldn’t be said early on for Steve McCullough, whose handle “RarelyWinsPA” was proving prophetic:
Lol…10 hands into the Pennsyl-MANIA…. bullet 2 can't possibly be worst right??? pic.twitter.com/CWktTLWrtu
— Steve McCullough (@RarelyWins) May 17, 2020
For what it’s worth, after becoming the sixth player eliminated during the opening level, on his second entry McCullough made the money, cashing for $360.24 to almost break even for the event. “Seanell,” the player who delivered the above set-of-aces-over-set-of-kings cooler, wasn’t able to take advantage of the near double up, busting short of the money —not only with that entry, but with one re-entry as well.