PCA Ultra Satellite Miscalculation Creates a $574k Overlay

1 year ago
PCA Ultra Satellite Miscalculation Creates a $574k Overlay
10:33
26 Oct

It’s pretty rare for PokerStars to mess up on a guarantee. With their huge experience marketing thousands of weekly tournaments and their bigger monthly and annual events they tend to know what sized crowd a given offer will pull. Although guarantees are designed to give the illusion of a possible overlay, normally they are guarantees of a particular sized field. One that is at least a little bigger than the guarantee requires. After all, PokerStars wouldn’t do it if most of the time the guarantee didn’t guarantee a profit for them.

The bigger the event the higher the variance and when PokerStars slapped down one hundred packages on their guarantee for the $530 PCA Ultra Satellite they probably thought it was just a nice round number. Unfortunately they overbid.

Each package in the event, which ran on the 15th October, came with $15,855 in value which buys you into the PCA Main Event, gives you $4,000 worth of hotel room and hotel room service and another grand just for walking around money. 

Unfortunately someone got their estimates way, way out and the $1,585,500 worth of packages only attracted 1,620 players. Even with the additional 286 rebuys, the prize pool was short by about $574,000 which PokerStars had to make up out of the petty cash drawer.

While you shed a tear for PokerStars – and whoever in the marketing department who will no doubt be queueing up for bread by the end of the week – it’s hard not to give a little cheer for a little over a third in overlay.



Second Time Lucky

The really exciting part of this story though, if you have a week free next year and $530 burning a hole in your pocket next month is that PokerStars are already booked in to run the same tournament again on the 5th of November.

Whether or not there’ll be quite as much overlay next time is a question to leave for your soothsayer of choice, since there is a good chance that the overlay this time will lure in more players next time.

But, if it turns out that the format is just not that popular it could be worth keeping an eye out for some extra value in that first week of November.


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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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