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Americas Cardroom Loses $2.6M+ on Flagship MTTs

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Americas Cardroom, on the Winning Poker Network, has concluded 12 weeks of $1,000,001 guaranteed Million Dollar Sunday (MDS) tournaments with buyins of $250 + $15 each. Over the course of these events, ACR has had to cover $1,778,262 in overlays because participation fell short of the initial goals.

The Numbers

Numbers on a Black Background

There have been 12 Million Dollar Sundays with buyins of $250 + $15 since the beginning of 2018. The total money guaranteed across all of them was $12,000,012. However, the network was only able to collect $10,221,750 from the $250 buyins for a shortfall of $1,778,262. Even if we add to this sum the $15 in fees for each entry, we still reach a total of just $10,835,055 paid. Thus, the Winning Poker Network had to kick in almost $1.2 million out of its own pockets to reach the promised prize amounts.

This is great news for two reasons:

Players get improved ROI thanks to the free money kicked in by the Network paying overlays.
America's Cardroom doesn't care about the losses and is going to make Million Dollar Sundays a permanent fixture in their weekly tournament schedule!

Update - May 7: Despite assurances that we had been given by network personnel, the MDS was discontinued with the last tourney running on April 22. The four April Million Dollar tournaments added a whopping $875,504 to the total overlay figures ($688,034 if we deduct fees paid from the overlay amounts). These four-months of MDS games therefore missed the target by an immense $2,653,766. Even if we apply the MTT fees against this sum, it still leaves close to $1.9 million that the WPN had to make good from its own funds.

Weekly Details

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Below, you'll find an overview of participation in the MDS each week thus far in 2018. If you're not interested in these fine details, you can skip below to continue with our analysis of the situation.

MDS Lobby for Jan. 7, 2018

Date: Jan. 7
Entrants: 3,854
Overlay (pre-fees): $36,501
Overlay (less fees): $0

The first Million Dollar Sunday of the year was also the most well-attended. Though there were not enough registrations for the WPN to meet its guarantee and retain all the fees, there were sufficient players that the network covered the guarantee after applying a portion of the fees to the prize pool. “FerrisBuuueller” prevailed, collecting $138,563 following a three-person deal.

MDS Lobby for Jan. 14, 2018

Date: Jan. 14
Entrants: 3,407
Overlay (pre-fees): $148,251
Overlay (less fees): $97,146

There was a considerable drop-off in participation from the first 2018 MDS to the second. Perhaps the novelty of the event wore off once it settled into becoming a regular occurrence “PABS12” secured the win and a $144,128 payday following a three-way deal.

MDS Lobby for Jan. 21, 2018

Date: Jan. 21
Entrants: 3,483
Overlay (pre-fees): $129,251
Overlay (less fees): $77,006

There was a slight improvement in performance from the second to the third MDS, but it wasn't nearly enough to let the site turn a profit on the tournament. Once again, there was a three-handed deal, after which “BossSherman” triumphed and walked away $138,654 richer.

MDS Lobby for Jan. 28, 2018

Date: Jan. 28
Entrants: 3,607
Overlay (pre-fees): $98,251
Overlay (less fees): $44,146

Another bump up in player numbers resulted, auguring well for the future of the Million Dollar Sunday. The victor was “BarryBadrnth” who collected $176,900 for his or her efforts.

MDS Lobby for Feb 4, 2018

Date: Feb. 4
Entrants: 3,256
Overlay (pre-fees): $186,001
Overlay (less fees): $137,161

Super Bowl weekend spelled trouble for the MDS, which saw player numbers drop by more than 300 individuals. Perhaps the prospect of the big game, beer, and hanging out with friends posed a tempting lure away from the poker tables. “I_got_it” wasn't distracted by the football festivities and triumphed to the tune of $179,000.

MDS Lobby for Feb. 11, 2018

Date: Feb. 11
Entrants: 3,334
Overlay (pre-fees): $166,501
Overlay (less fees): $116,491

The next MDS after the Super Bowl attracted more punters to the felt although not even close enough to avoid an overlay. “Cushi0nbed” won $179,000 and was enshrined in the ranks of Million Dollar Sunday winners.

MDS Lobby for Feb. 18, 2018

Date: Feb. 18
Entrants: 3,401
Overlay (pre-fees): $149,751
Overlay (less fees): $98,736

Two weeks of consecutive growth appeared to demonstrate that the Million Dollar Sunday was slowly approaching a sustainable level. “lasixi” beat the field to earn a $179,000 payout.

MDS Lobby for Feb. 25, 2018

Date: Feb. 25
Entrants: 3,275
Overlay (pre-fees): $181,251
Overlay (less fees): $132,126

The number of entrants fell from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25 perhaps as a result of the beginning of the OSS Cub3d series. These events most likely cannibalized a bit of traffic from the MDS. “captainA” picked up $128,267 for winning after a three-handed deal.

MDS Lobby for March 4, 2018

Date: March 4
Entrants: 3,152
Overlay (pre-fees): $212,001
Overlay (less fees): $164,721

This week represented the nadir of Million Dollar Sunday participation and consequently led to a shortfall of $212,001. The continuing OSS series possibly had something to do with this as some users opted to forgo their share of seven figures to play series events instead. First-place finisher “ali23imsirovic” was rewarded with $179,000 for his acumen at the tables.

MDS Lobby for March 11, 2018

Date: March 11
Entrants: 3,333
Overlay (pre-fees): $166,751
Overlay (less fees): $116,756

The number of registrants recovered somewhat in the second week of March. Winner “HellmuthPRO75” made a heads-up deal and wound up with $171,244.

MDS Lobby for March 18, 2018

Date: March 18
Entrants: 3,271
Overlay (pre-fees): $182,251
Overlay (less fees): $133,186

A small drop in MDS player numbers occurred March 18, probably just the result of random fluctuation. “theKKingAA” was the fortunate winner who collected $179,000.

MDS Lobby for March 25, 2018

Date: March 25
Entrants: 3,514
Overlay (pre-fees): $121,501
Overlay (less fees): $68,791

The final of the 12 MDS events scheduled for early this year went off with neither a bang nor a whimper but rather a “meh.” There was a considerable overlay, but it wasn't one of the highest encountered in this run of events. “jewbum123” won the tournament after making a heads-up deal, and he scored $158,885. A Professional Rakeback player, “truthwizard,” took down third for $70,100, and we congratulate him heartily on his performance.

UPDATE - MAY 7: Find below the information for the four Million Dollar Sunday events that took place in April 2018.

MDS Lobby for April 1, 2018

Date: April 1
Entrants: 2,991
Overlay (pre-fees): $252,251
Overlay (less fees): $207,386

Easter Sunday was not a good day for the MDS, and the buyins fell short of the guarantee by more than a quarter million dollars. “The final river” emerged triumphant, picking up $183,000.

MDS Lobby for April 8, 2018

Date: April 8
Entrants: 3,126
Overlay (pre-fees): $218,501
Overlay (less fees): $171,611

Though the number of entrants on April 8 was better than on Easter a week ago, it was still disappointing, and there was an overlay in excess of $200K. “KoffingPowa” earned the first-place prize of $179,000.

MDS Lobby for April 15, 2018

Date: April 15
Entrants: 3,069
Overlay (pre-fees): $232,751
Overlay (less fees): $186,716

There was more bouncing around in Million Dollar Sunday field sizes as the number of players dipped toward the 3,000 mark. Maybe everyone was away doing their taxes? User “jerbi999” won, enriching himself to the tune of $176,900.

MDS Lobby for April 22, 2018

Date: April 22
Entrants: 3,312
Overlay (pre-fees): $172,001
Overlay (less fees): $122,321

The last MDS (at least for now) was a pretty weak showing with the network having to toss about $180K into the pot although it was far from the worst performance in the series. The final victor was “Chopy5” who collected $176,900 for his efforts.

History of the Million Dollar Sunday

Book and Spectacles

In deciding to run $1,000,001 tournaments for three months straight at the beginning of 2018, the WPN didn't just take a blind leap off a cliff. It has an extensive history of offering such tournaments, which informed its decision-making process.

The first Million Dollar Sunday ran with a buyin of $500 + $40 and took place in February 2015 although it was known as the “Winning Millions” at that time. Despite the fact that it didn't naturally produce a prize pool sufficient to cover its guarantee, it became a recurring fixture at the network. It wasn't until the eighth running of the event in April 2016 that it drew in enough entries to surpass the guarantee. From that time on, however, there wasn't an overlay through the end of 2017.

In October 2017, ACR hosted a special, low-priced Million Dollar Sunday with a buyin of $250 + $15: identical to the current pricing. It attracted 4,368 players, creating a prize pool of $1,092,000. This success was probably one of the inspirations for the just-concluded run of 12 of them.

Interestingly, on the same day as the latest MDS (March 25), there was another million dollar guarantee as part of the OSS Cub3ed. The $2,000 + $100 BOSS Main Event promised at least $1,000,000 to the victors, and 564 customers took to their seats, making for a final prize pool of $1,128,000.

The Future of the MDS

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After watching the Winning Network lose more than $1 million in these tourneys, it's reasonable to wonder whether the $250 + $15 Million Dollar Sunday will continue or be discarded as a failed experiment. We've had conversations with Winning Poker Network management, and they've indicated that the Million Dollar Sundays are here to stay at the current cost of $250 + $15.

UPDATE - MAY 7: Everyone expected the MDS events to continue taking place every week for the foreseeable future, but the network decided to pull the plug. After the Million Dollar Sunday held on April 22, a notice appeared on the Americas Cardroom website alerting readers that the final one would occur on April 29. However, the April 29 tourney was cancelled due to problems caused by continued DDoS attacks against the WPN, and so the MDS on April 22 was the last one.

These DDoS strikes combined with recurring weekly overlays probably tipped the scales in favor of terminating the MDS experiment. Also, summer tends to be the slow season for online poker as people go outside and enjoy the weather, so player turnout in the coming months would likely be underwhelming. Another factor to consider is that PokerStars' prestigious SCOOP series just started, and it's likely stealing some traffic from the WPN.

Corporate accountants and financial analysts probably crunched the numbers and realized that it was likely that the WPN would bleed many more millions if it proceeded to make the MDS permanent as originally planned. In our interview with the Winning Poker Network's tournament director, he noted that the site had recently expanded its schedule of guaranteed tourneys and that many of these changes proved to be too optimistic and had to be scaled back. The MDS is an example of this kind of aggressive tournament guarantee targeting, which is wonderful when everything works out but sometimes involves minor setbacks..

Assuming the IT department of the Winning Network can effectively counteract the DDoS incursions that are being made against it, we may see the Million Dollar Sunday return. Perhaps by the end of August, when the weather starts to cool and people spend more time indoors, the WPN may feel it's time to bring this signature seven-figure event back. This is just speculation on our part, but we'd be surprised if the MDS doesn't eventually come back in some form. We'll keep you posted on any news we hear about this subject.

Previous incarnations of the MDS at higher buyin levels have shown the ability to cover their guarantees, and so a possible solution to weekly overlays is to jack up the price a bit. We've been assured that this isn't in the cards. The Winning Poker Network is willing to run the MDS as a loss leader, driving traffic to cash games and other tournaments. Therefore, it wishes to keep the buyin affordable.

We also cannot discount the fact that the network is attempting to make itself a big name in the online tournament scene. The only other site with a comparable weekly tourney is PokerStars with its Sunday Million. PokerStars doesn't operate in Australia, the United States, and several other markets that the Winning Poker Network serves, but 'Stars is a massive force in the areas it does have a presence in. The continuation of the Million Dollar Sunday beyond the first three months of 2018 gives the WPN the opportunity to capture customers from its rival.

New Satellite Roster

Satellite Levels

The Winning Poker Network has announced a new schedule of satellites to the Million Dollar Sunday. These low-cost qualifier tournaments will help boost player counts and cut down on the free cash that the site has to add to the prize pool every Sunday. In total, there are 225 seats available to be won each week in these satties.

The Mega 25 Seats Guaranteed kicks off Fridays at 5:30 p.m. ET for a buyin of $15 + $1.50. At the same time on Saturday, the Mega 50 Seats Guaranteed takes place, and it costs the same amount. On Sunday at noon, you can endeavor to place in the Mega 150 Seats Guaranteed after paying the $40 + $4 entry cost.

There are also a variety of satellites to these Mega satellites spread throughout the week.

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Play the MDS Yourself

If you haven't yet explored the tournament offerings at Americas Cardroom, then there's no reason to delay. You'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus that clears at a 20% rakeback rate when you make a deposit at Americas Cardroom. In addition, ACR will credit your account with a free $50 that's good for whatever games you choose. Use your complimentary $50 freebie to enter the Sunday Mega 150 Seats Guaranteed, and you could score your $265 MDS ticket without investing any of your own money. Read our detailed Americas Cardroom review for further information.

There are several other rooms that work together with ACR to make up the Winning Poker Network. Find out about them in our dedicated review pages: BlackChip Poker review | True Poker review | Ya Poker (non-US) review | PokerHost review.