New look Sunday Million. Half the buy-in, more than double the starting field.

A small piece of poker history went to 555AU this weekend. The Ukrainian player won the Sunday Million yesterday – the first to be played with a new $109 buy-in.

That meant a first prize of $136,892.99, from a prize pool that easily topped the unchanged $1 million guarantee. When entry closed, the total figure was $1,555,000.


The Sunday Million had a buy-in of $109 for the first time yesterday. More than 12,400 players took a shot at a prize pool of more than $1.5 million


Other numbers that stood out:

Winner: 555AU (Ukraine)
First prize: $136,892.99
Total entries: 15,550 (12,458 unique, 3,092 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,555,000
Places paid: 2,798
Min-cash: $178.82

There were 12,458 players, which with more than 3,000 re-entries, added up to a field of 15,550.

Check out the satellites for next week’s Sunday Million

That’s more than double the number that played the event last week, won by PokerDave476, the last to feature the $215 buy-in.

This much bigger field had one more effect, which became noticeable at 03:10 ET (8:10am UK). It had all lasted about an hour longer than average. So not too much of a dent in the winner’s hourly rate.

The plan behind the new buy-in was to make what is the flagship event of the Sunday Majors more accessible. The lower buy-in appealed to lower stakes players, as well as those looking to win their seat in satellites, for as little as $0.11.

PokerStars Ambassadors were among those taking part in the new-look event.

Lex Veldhuis, who had a big Sunday himself, winning the Sunday Warm-Up, had this to say:

“It was really great to see the kick-off edition of the $109 Sunday Million smash the guarantee. The fact the prize-pool got up to $1.5m shows the reach is much bigger now and it’s easier for a lot of people to register.

“Every time I was moved to a different table I had 5 or 6 people at the table I’ve never played with before. I hope this trend continues and it’s exciting to see where this goes.”


Team Pros gave their verdict on the new look Sunday Million (clockwise from top left: Lex Veldhuis, Fintan Hand, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov)


Liv Boeree was also in the field:

“I’m a big fan of this new structure because it maintains the enormous payouts for the final tablists but gives more people the opportunity to play this iconic tournament more regularly.”

So too Fintan Hand:

“I know a lot of the people in my community took a shot now that buy in was reduced and hopefully there is many more people in the same spot. Feel everybody wins with more people getting to play the Sunday million for possibly the first time.”

Igor Kurganov was ready with the high roller perspective:

“Personally I prefer buy-ins to get bigger, but it’s hard to argue with an event that keeps the first prize where it was and in return gives 2-3x the people the opportunity to get it. 109$ looks to be the sweetspot for the Sunday Million.”

In all 2,798 places were paid, with a min-cash worth $178.82.

That represents a significant return for some, especially those among the 2,798 players who won their seat in satellites.

That figure – 22% of the field – also goes some way to explain the success of this first week.

Check out the satellites for next week’s Sunday Million.

A good start to the new-look Sunday Million, and congratulations to 555AU. Read all the news from the weekend on PokerStars in our review of the weekend. And if you want to play next weekend’s Sunday Million, for less than the new $109 buy in, you’ll find satellite information in the PokerStars lobby.

 

Stephen Bartley started reporting on EPT events in 2005, joining the PokerStars Blog during Season 4. Since then he has covered various live PokerStars events using irreverence and awkwardness to tell the stories that emerge from each tournament and ask questions of the characters that play them. He lives with his family in Whitstable, Kent.

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