PokerStars MI’s Michigan Classic Awards $250K, Has Overlay Despite Lower Guarantee

Written By Martin Harris on October 26, 2021

Football fans in Michigan are readying for another installment of the classic rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State. It should be a good one, with both teams currently undefeated and ranked in the top 10.

Speaking of classics, PokerStars Michigan ran its own Michigan Classic on Sunday and Monday. It was the second running of the $300 buy-in, two-day no-limit hold’em tournament and this time sported a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool.

That was half the $500,000 guarantee the Michigan Classic featured back in April. However, like the first time, the event attracted a big field of players despite ultimately sporting an overlay.

Overlay comes despite guaranteed prize pool cut in half

The Michigan Classic drew 808 total entries (499 entries, 309 re-entries). From each buy-in, $280 went to the prize pool. That meant PokerStars MI had to contribute $23,760 to meet the tournament’s $250,000 guarantee.

The top 111 finishers split the prize money. In the end, player “Omarrcomin” took the first prize and a handsome payday of just moe than $42,000. PokerStars MI needed at least 85 more entries to hit the guarantee.

In April, when the tournament featured a $500,000 guarantee, there were 1,551 total entries, nearly twice what the event drew this weekend. That was still 235 entries shy of besting the guarantee, however, meaning the event had an overlay of just over $65,000.

Michigan tourney tops New Jersey, second to Pennsylvania among PokerStars events

The Michigan Classic was one of three tournaments simultaneously staged by PokerStars on its US sites on Oct. 24-25. In Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA hosted another running of Pennsyl-MANIA. Meanwhile in New Jersey, PokerStars NJ ran its own New Jersey Classic.

All three tournaments featured the same $300 buy-in and two-day structure, although each had different guarantees. PokerStars’ US sites are all ring-fenced, meaning players can only compete against others within their own state.

As it happened, neither Pennsyl-MANIA nor the New Jersey Classic met their guarantees, either.

Pennsyl-MANIA had a $350,000 guarantee, and while it drew 1,130 entries, there was still an overlay of about $33,000. For the New Jersey Classic, the guarantee was just $100,000. The 350 entries almost got the event to the guarantee on its own, though there was still a small $2,000 overlay.

It’s reasonable to believe, of course, that the ongoing NFL football season had an overall effect on event interest, particularly with the Detroit Lions playing a late-window game against the Los Angeles Rams and former quarterback Matthew Stafford.

BetMGM Online Series providing some competition for PokerStars MI

In addition, the Michigan Classic did face some competition on Sunday and Monday from the state’s only other online poker site, BetMGM Poker MI.

The October version of the BetMGM Online Series began on Sunday with two events, with the 10-tournament series continuing all week through Oct. 31.

Both of the Sunday events did well for BetMGM Poker MI.

The kickoff $215 buy-in no-limit hold’em event drew 344 entries and had a $68,800 prize pool, well over the $40,000 guarantee. Sunday’s $20 “Mini” NLH event was a big hit, as well, attracting 2,507 entries and featuring a prize pool of more than $45,000, goof for four-and-a-half times the $10,000 guarantee.

The BetMGM Poker MI-PokerStars MI rivalry is hardly as evenly matched as the Wolverines-vs.-Spartans one right now. But underdog BetMGM continues to battle gamely.

Meanwhile, both sites continue to watch for the coming of a third online poker competitor. WSOP Michigan remains on the sidelines for now, but potentially could be entering the game soon.

Photo by Mykhailo Polenok/Dreamstime
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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. In 2019, his book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books.

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