The Story of Sunday Million – The Most Legendary Poker Tournament Ever
In a world of uncertainly, one thing’s for sure: there are a lot of great poker tournament. Whether you’re on the lookout for Texas No Limit Hold’ Em, Pot Limit Omaha or popular Mixed Games-variants such as H.O.R.S.E, Pineapple or Drawmaha, there are countless of big online poker tournaments playing in various disciplines every week. What’s more, the biggest tournaments means large prize pools, and throughout the years, we’ve seen the lives of many people changing over one night, cashing millions of dollar.
The thrill of big poker tournaments surely are something else. Of course it’s debatable what tournament is the most prestigious one. However, when the topic is discussed, it is hard for poker players then and now, not to think about a certain one that it feels been around for ages. Buckle up, poker players: this is the story of PokerStars’ legendary poker tournament, the Sunday Million.
The Grandfather of Poker Tournaments
PokerStars launched their site in 2001, and since then they have always been a giant on the online poker scene. It was roughly five years later, March 5th 2006, when the first Sunday Million appeared in the PokerStars lobby. Truth to be told, the tournament didn’t go under its recognizable name yet, however, the era of a $215 MTT was officially started. The first tournament attracted 5 893 players and the historic winner going under the alias “aaaaaaaa” claimed the first prize of $173 843,50.
It was not until June 25th the same year the tournament got its name. This edition also saw the Buy-In being raised to $1 050; even though the Buy-Ins sometimes have varied for the Sunday Million, $215 more or less became standard for many years.
Next year, 2007, the Sunday Million celebrated its birthday and boosted the guarantee. This was, obviously, an appreciated move by the players and the birthday parties has been a reoccurring feature since then.
Time went on and February 21st 2010 would be a historic edition of the tournament. On this date, the Sunday Million had a $4M guarantee which was absolutely destroyed, seeing as the starting field of 36 169 players led to the prize pool being well above $7M. “RicheRichZH” emerged on top and won the first ever seven figure prize in the Sunday Million, $1 141 510,31. The guarantees have continued to be shattered, and on PokerStars ten year anniversary, the $10M GTD exceeded to $12,4M.
In the “Sunday Million Hall of Fame”, player Artem “veeea” Vezhenkov for sure deserves a spot. He has won the tournament a whopping three times, a feat he is the only one to have accomplished this far. His last win came in 2018.
2019, PokerStars decided to change the Buy-In from $215 to $109, but decided to keep the typical $1M guarantee. This was of course a very nice gesture to the players, and the average starting field vastly increased.
Fast forward to March 21st, 2021. It’s not an conventional argument to make that the COVID-19 pandemic increased online poker traffic. Maybe this had something to do with the prize pool this date being $13 975 200. The win was claimed by Vanessa “Kade” Niffler who took home $1 514 920, which to this date still is the largest first prize in the Sunday Million.
Of course, the story of this legendary poker tournament could be even longer. The best part is that the tournament still is standing strong and is running on PokerStars. Maybe you will be the next person to write history?