The Genius of the MicroMillions

March 21, 2012, Posted by rick.dacey

The Genius of the MicroMillions

Over the years PokerStars have done a lot of things right. Few would argue with that. Try it. See, you can’t. What those ‘correct’ things are, however, differs depending on who you speak to. Business or marketing analysts would point to huge market share of some savvy global branding policies, grinders would nod towards the multi-tabling capabilities or the headline Sunday majors.

Personally I'm a big fan of their newest initiative, the MicroMillions. It’s a fantastic way of reengaging with grass roots players because in these post-boom days of rake back warriors it has been too easy for companies to forget about the micro stakes players, but they're potentially the mid-stakes regs of next year. Or possibly sooner.

Poker sites make money through churn, not of players but of money. The more the chips get washed back and forth, the more lint the operators get to collect from the drum. Money, as a general trend, moves up through the limits and it’s carried there by players. You keep liquidity up and high numbers of deposits rolling in, no matter how small, and your site will remain healthy: the money will flow up to bigger games, larger buy-in tournaments and that will attract more players, more deposits, more rake. It’s a poker business 101 lesson.

PokerStars new MicroMillions series is great for this. It’s created a headline festival that is accessible to thousands of players who can win decent money for a tiny outlay and, almost as importantly, feel emotionally invested in taking part. The first event, a $0.11 rebuy brought in 71,420 players and a grand total of 662,860 add-ons and rebuys. Those numbers are hard to get your head around. All those mini-clicks created a prizepool of $72,428… for an 11c entry tournament. It’s insane. The winner, ‘SunTzze’, pocketed $3,800 for his win, an incredible return even if he had notched up 50 rebuys but it’s more likely his total outlay was less than one dollar.

Looking up, looking down

It’s great to have some focus on the nosebleed games, the televised tournaments, and the gimmicks and gadgets but let’s not forget what people really want to do. They want to play, they want to win and have a chance to pocket, if not life-changing money, then perhaps car-changing cash. But what will they if they do actually win or final table? The usual mix of cashing out and spinning up. It’s a great way of creating hundreds of players with new bankrolls, albeit many of them on the meagre side, but still with potential to get more involved.

They’re not the first to trumpet micro-stakes players but to do it on such a level, a ten-day 100 event extravaganza with every tournament getting coverage? It’s commitment to those players lower on the food chain, not just a cursory glance or fey bit of copywriting dressed up about starting your bankroll at the 1c/2c tables.

At times it can feel like poker’s lost a little bit of its soul, the turbo-charged days of the online boom have passed, replaced with a more established landscape, which of course has its pros and cons. Perhaps tapping back into the grassroots is a way to reconnect, it’s not all about the money for everyone. Belgian pro Kenny Hallaert, demonstrating a true passion for the game, jumped straight into the $1 rebuy right after busting out of EPT Madrid in 49th for €9,000. He finished second out of 44,741 to scoop $12,562, more than he won for his €5,000 live tournament. And he certainly received a lot more congratulations. The quality of play may not be the best but if it’s been a while since you’ve played something for a just a couple of dollars then maybe you should sit down and remind yourself why people first get into the game; the chat box chatter, the ignorance of even some of the most basic fundamentals of the game, the 6x opens which call three-bets with ace-rag. And even if you don’t take anything from it, well, it only cost you a couple of bucks.

Have Your Say

Tell us what you think...

(will not be posted)