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Monthly Milly $1,000,000 GTD Poker Tournament - March 2021

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This past Sunday, March 21, 2021, we at Professional Rakeback were hard at work updating old pages, searching the forums for interesting news items, and brainstorming ways of improving the site to deliver the high-quality content that you, Dear Reader, deserve and expect from us. Yet, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and so we couldn't resist the allure of the online poker tables especially on the one day of the week that most sites host their weekly major events.

Scanning through the lobbies, we saw some of our old favorites, like the $200,000 Sunday Special on Americas Cardroom and the $60,000 Main Event at SB Poker. But it was a relatively new listing at Bovada that caught our eye: the Monthly Milly, which guarantees $1,000,000 in prizes.

We saw that the tournament had already started and had been running for slightly more than an hour, but late registration was still open, and we opted to enter.

Monthly Milly Social Image

Monthly Milly Basic Introduction

Blue Information Button

The Monthly Milly is a pretty recent addition to the tournament roster at Bovada and its related partner sites, like Ignition and Bodog. Sunday's tournament was only the third occurrence of the Monthly Milly, which as its name suggests, happens only once a month. It takes place on a single designated Sunday each month, and the starting time is 3:00 p.m. ET.

Buyins, Late Registration, Re-Entries

It costs $500 + $35 to register, and it's possible to late reg or re-enter any time till the end of the 19th blind level. The tournament lobby says, “Late registration is available till the 19th blind level,” which might lead you to believe that late reg ends when level 19 begins, but the real policy is that entry is permitted until the end of the 19th level. A single individual can re-enter up to four times, but there are no rebuys or add-ons.

Big-Stacked Play

Blinds start out at 25/50, and each participant receives 20,000 starting chips, so stacks begin at a comfortable 400 bbs. Indeed, when we late registered for the tournament (more than an hour after starting time), the blinds were still only 50/100, so we had a full 200bb to play with.

Monthly Milly LobbyWhen We Entered the Tourney, There Were Only 618 Other Players Registered

The reason for the stacks remaining so big for so long is the relatively long blind level timer (15 minutes per level) along with the fact that the increases in stakes are much less steep than in most tournaments of this nature. For instance, the initial increase is from 25/50 to just 30/60 rather than to 50/100 as is usually the case in most online poker tournaments. To take another example, level 11 was 200/400, which was bumped up to 250/500 for level 12 about three hours after the tourney began.

First Few Blind Levels of Monthly Milly


The Blind Levels of the Monthly Milly Increase Slowly

Strategic Wrinkles

Another unusual aspect to this tourney is that there are antes of 1/10 a big blind from the very beginning of the event. Therefore, an excessively nitty strategy is incorrect. You need to be aggressive enough with your initial raises to collect your share of the chips in the middle yet cautious enough that your aggression doesn't cross over the line into recklessness.

With this structure, talented poker players definitely have a good opportunity to work their skill edge over hours before the relentless march of the blinds renders the contest an all-in fest.

However, the fact that all play at Bovada is anonymous does slightly blunt the edge of savvy card sharks. You won't be able to recognize someone at your table with whom you've previously played in other tourneys because they will be identified solely by a player number determined by the order that they registered for the event.

Monthly Milly Value

Brown Money Bag

In making our decision to jump into this MTT, we were motivated by three key factors:

  • $1 million in total (including more than $100,000 for 1st) is a chunk of change worth fighting over
  • The previous instance of the Monthly Milly (on Feb. 21) overlayed by nearly $200k
  • Lol donkaments, gamb00l, Sunday Funday, BUSTO or ROBUSTO, et cetera

We were unable to avail ourselves of a popular avenue for improving our Return on Investment (ROI) and thus realizing significant value, which would have been by winning our seat in a satellite. This is because we elected to buy in at the last minute (well, last few hours – seriously, this late reg is more than five hours long).

However, there's no need for you to be as lazy and mercurial and procrastinatey (is that a word?) as we were; there are many opportunities to win entry to the Monthly Milly via qualifiers. These satties are offered every single day. Some of them are priced as low as $1.10, but there are others as high as $100 + $5. There's also a set of six-max sit-n-go steps (four levels in all) that start at $0.55 + $0.05 and go up to $90 + $5 for Step 4, which is the one that actually pays out a ticket.

Early Blind Levels

Crowd of Participants

As we mentioned before, the Monthly Milly starts out deep – 400 big blinds deep to be exact. At the same time, players are willing to mix it up preflop with all kinds of holdings. We witnessed many hands going multi-way to the flop.

Multiway Pot in Bovada Monthly MillyMany Pots Were Multiway in the Early to Middle Stages of the Tournament

It may not be wise to join late, as we did, because you'll be losing out on some of this time that you could use to get into pots cheap and attempt to flop a monster. Later on in the tourney, players tended to tighten up a bit as you would expect.

We were able to grow our stack from the initial 20,000 to more than 30,000 in the first few hours by making small preflop moves and then getting paid off postflop on our big hands. You can probably do similar assuming, of course, that you receive your fair share of good cards.

Middle Blind Levels

Gold Coins

A little bit after the four-hour mark, we were fortunate enough to receive pocket JJ. This can be a tricky hand to play deep-stacked or in a cash game. But being in a tournament with only about 30bb remaining, we felt a lot more confident in our jacks.

One opponent min-opened in the CO with about 17bbs, and the button jammed over for 29 bb. We re-raised over the top with our 32bb stack. The original raiser folded, and the three-bettor called with…88. The board changed nothing, and we now had 64bb at the 500/1000 level.

JJ vs 88 HandOur Jacks Prevailed Over 88, Doubling Us Up

As we returned from break during level 19 at 8:00 p.m., there was 10 minutes of late registration left. Only 1560 entries were recorded in the tournament lobby, indicating that unless several hundred more joined in the final few minutes, Bovada would have to kick in a sizable amount from its own coffers to cover the guarantee. 593 individuals were still alive in the MTT, and of that number, 315 would receive a prize.

We thus were more than halfway to the money. Our stack had dwindled back down to 37k by this point, less than 20bb.

Tournament Overlays

Dollar Bills

We checked the lobby again when there were only five minutes of late registration left, and there were still only 1584 entrants. With about one minute to go, the tally was 1637. The final count after late registration closed was just 1,653 total entries.

Milly Lobby After Late Registration EndedWhen Late Registration Ended, the Milly Was Still Undersubscribed

This means that the player-contributed prize pool was only $826,500! Bovada had to put $174,500 into the pot to meet its guaranteed amount. Even if we redo the math to include the $35 fee as being applied toward the prize pool in addition to the $500 buyin, we still only get $884,355 put in by Bovada customers. The poker site was still out more than $100,000 from its own pockets.

The fact that close to 100 hopefuls joined in the final 10 minutes of late registration does indicate that some people were watching the tournament lobby, waiting to pounce when they saw value. Yet, they were by no means sufficient in number to overwhelm the existing field of 590+ players or unduly influence the final results. We were still well away from the bubble when the late entry period ended.

Our Bust Out Hand

Sad Face

All of this overlay talk is pretty pleasing to online poker players, but in order to benefit from any overlay, you have to make it to the money. After level 19 of the tournament, we had just slightly more than 30k chips while the average was higher than 60k.

Our stack was a bit more than 10 big blinds at this point. We had the 388th largest stack out of more than 500 players, and only 333 prizes were going to be distributed. We had to start making some moves and chipping up to avoid being blinded out.

We saw our chance when we received K8o on a 9bb stack and it folded around to our button. There's only one play here – jam it in – but the small blind woke up with pocket AA and snapped us off. The board was no help, and we were booted from the game in 445th place about five and a half hours after the Monthly Milly started.

Tournament Bustout HandWe Were Knocked Out of the Tournament in 445th place

We've also produced a video depicting our last few hands of the tournament. You can watch it to get a better understanding of the software and graphics at Bovada before you jump into the next Milly event:

Gameplay in the Monthly Milly Tournament

Late Tournament Action


The bubble broke around 9:30 p.m. ET, six and a half hours after the tournament began. The remaining 333 players each earned themselves at least $1,100 by surviving this far.

The final table began at 1:15 a.m., and they played down to a winner over the course of about an hour and a half. The payouts for the final table were as follows:

  • 1st: $136,686
  • 2nd: $93,200
  • 3rd: $63,700
  • 4th: $43,500
  • 5th: $29,700
  • 6th: $20,350
  • 7th: $13,900
  • 8th: $9,510
  • 9th: $6,490
Final Tournament Lobby for the Monthly MillyTournament Lobby at the End of the Monthly Milly

Build a Day Around the Monthly Milly


If you're an online poker tournament aficionado, then a single MTT, no matter how lucrative, may not be worth the time and effort of playing at any particular site. However, Bovada has plenty of other events happening at around the same time, so you can certainly boost your hourly rate by partaking in multiple tournaments.

The $150 + $12 $150,000 Guaranteed takes place every Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, so you can hop right into it not too long after the Monthly Milly kicks off. Then there's the $100,000 High Roller, which starts at 6 p.m. and costs $300 + $25 to join.

Whenever there's a series running at Bovada, which is often, you will find additional special events to participate in. Sometimes, the regular $150,000 Guaranteed and the High Roller are beefed up with bigger prize pools as part of the series festivities.

Monthly Milly Mobile Play

Mobile Devices

Even if you don't have a PC accessible when it's time for the Milly, you can still enjoy the fun from your mobile device. The Bovada web platform supports all modern browsers, which basically means any browser that you're likely to have installed on your phone or tablet purchased within the last few years.

Mobile Table at BovadaMobile Milly Table at Bovada

It's not just the Monthly Milly that you can take a seat in from your smart device. All other tournaments as well as cash games, SNGs, and Jackpot games are also included in the Bovada mobile poker room.

The only orientation supported for mobile poker is landscape. If your phone is in portrait mode when attempting to play, you will see a message directing you to rotate it to landscape.

Mobile Lobby at BovadaTournament Lobby on a Smartphone

You don't need to download anything to begin playing at Bovada on mobile systems. You simply need to open your web browser to the website, log in using your normal account credentials, and browse over to the Poker tab.

If you're already logged in on your computer when you attempt to play from a mobile, then you will receive a message on your desktop letting you know that your current session on your PC has ended because of the new logon detected on another device. The same happens in reverse if you've been playing on your phone or tablet and then access the poker room from your computer.

Monthly Milly Conclusion

Black Check Mark

The Monthly Milly tournament at the PaiWangLuo Network of poker rooms is surely worth putting on the schedule of any serious tournament grinder. The long blind levels and large starting stacks mean that your advantage as a competent grinder over your fishy foes is magnified. And the percentage of these donkish players in a tournament of this size is magnified by the numerous satellite winners who are taking their shot at an event that's most likely well above their pay grade.

If these considerations aren't enough to convince you, then look at the terrific overlays that have now occurred two months straight. This tournament is basically handing you an extra 15%+ in ROI before the cards are even dealt. It's hard to fathom how any serious tournament grinder can pass up value like this.

The last time we saw anything similar was when the Winning Poker Network decided to run Million Dollar Sunday events every week. Those tournaments also featured heavy overlays.

The next Monthly Milly MTTs are scheduled for April 11 and May 2, so there's plenty of time to arrange your schedule and/or attempt to get in for less through satellites.

Sign up and Play the Monthly Milly

Mouse Pointer Finger

If you currently lack an account at a PWL Network site, then you cannot play the Monthly Milly, but this is a situation that is easily redressed. Americans can sign up at either Ignition, with a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus, or Bovada, which has only a maximum $500 poker bonus but includes a sportsbook that's absent from Ignition. Australians are welcome at Ignition too while Canadians and Latin Americans can head over to Bodog and grab a similar 100% up to $1,000 bonus.

Read our reviews of these sites to learn how to open a new account and claim the poker welcome bonus:

Did you play the Monthly Milly Tournament?
Tell us about your experience in the comments. We want to celebrate your cashes, hear all about your praises, and forward any suggestions and complaints you have regarding the tournament structure to Pai Wang Luo management!