The one over on the Merge network of sites, called Poker Maximus, started a couple of days ago and features 70 different events over the next three weeks. A lot of these tournaments have small entry fees which encourage those of us with tiny rolls on the sites to participate.
The first Poker Maximus event happened on Sunday, a $10+$1 no-limit hold’em tourney that had a $15,000 guarantee. A total of 5,055 entered, which meant a prize pool of more than $50K, with the winner earning a cool $7,384.85. Looks like there are about 15 more of these $11 buy-in events, as well as a few with smaller buy-ins, too. Meanwhile, other events go as big as $200+$15, with a $500+$30 one at the end.
I’ve mentioned before I do have a little bit of scratch on two Merge sites, Carbon and Hero, having won my rolls there in freebies last year (post-Black Friday). I continue to toil for pennies and nickels on both sites. Occasionally I’ll hover the cursor over my opponents’ avatars to see what countries they are from, and invariably all or nearly all are United States players. Not surprising, given how Americans looking for where to play poker online have so few options.
I’ll probably risk a few bucks here and there to play in a couple of these Poker Maximus events, although I’ll need to be careful not to risk so much as to find myself out on my gluteus maximus should I bust.
Another series even more squarely aimed at the micros is the one recently announced by PokerStars, the MicroMillions (which, sadly, we Yanks cannot play). That one will feature 100 different events with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $22, including a $0.11 rebuy tourney to kick it off.
The Stars series will run from March 15th through March 25th. Here’s the full schedule, if you’re curious. You know they’ll be attracting some monstrous fields -- way, way bigger than the Merge ones -- meaning some decent prize money despite the low buy-ins. There will also be an ongoing leaderboard with the top 100 performers winning additional goodies, including $109 SCOOP tickets (11th-100th), $1,000 SCOOP tickets (2nd-10th), and a full 2013 PCA package for the 1st-place finisher.
This would be the sort of series I would’ve loved to play if it had come around on PokerStars a year earlier. Indeed, just about all of my multi-table tourney play online has been of the low buy-in, big-field variety, which really is one of the cooler things online poker can provide that makes it different from live poker.
Finally, the eighth annual Grand Series of Poker is happening right now over on Betfair Poker, another site unavailable to us Yanks. This one began last week and will be continuing through March 11, and features 18 different events covering a variety of games and buy-ins.
And for the short-stacked types, there is a parallel "Mini-GSOP" happening at the same time in which the same events are playing out in which all of the buy-ins range from $5.50 to $22. My buddy Matthew Pitt is playing all 18 of the events (in both the regular GSOP and the Mini version) and writing about his experiences over on the Betfair Poker blog.
Meanwhile I will have to settle for a few, carefully chosen shots in the Merge series, though, where we Americans play with those additional, vague worries about cashing out should we win. Not to mention the site remaining open to us, period.