888poker has finally released details of its Fall XL Eclipse Championships. Events begin on Sept. 13 and run through to Sept. 23.
This is a critical time of the year for poker operators. The end of the Summer slump when long sunny days take players away from their screens signals the beginning of the Fall program of tournament series.
Success in attracting players back from their Summer breaks is a major factor in retaining players through the winter months when online poker is most popular. It’s also one of the best times to attract new players, and big money tournament headlines are an important marketing tool in getting poker novices on-board.
The headlines 888poker is offering for the XL Eclipse are nicely targeted. The magic $1 million number is up there not just in the Main Event guarantee, but also as part of a side promotion.
Players can win cash bonuses for winning more than one tournament. Two tournaments merits a $1,000 bonus, three gets $10,000, but win four tournaments and the bonus leaps to $100,000 and hitting five victories secures a jackpot payout of $1 million.
Winning five events is an outside chance for any player, but with 34 events scheduled it’s definitely within the realms of possibility.
Event #32 is the $1,050 buy-in Main Event and it comes with the $1 million guarantee so essential to pull in a large field. The high buy-in is a deterrent to casual players, but there are a vast range of satellites scheduled between now and the event starting.
There is even a mega satellite that begins less than three hours before the Main Event itself. The Main Event Mega Satellite – 50 seats GTD comes with a $215 entry fee and kicks off at 15:05 just in advance of the Main Event start at 18:00 on Sunday, September 23.
The numbers to look for to see if 888 can surpass its performance in 2017 are 1,149 entries, 413 rebuys and a total prize pool of $1,562,000.
All tournament winners get an extra prize
888 is handing out extra prizes to all the top tournament winners. Each winner receives entry to the XL Inferno Champion of Champions Event which offers a WSOP Main Event package for first place. Full prize list is:
- 1st $12,600 WSOP Vegas Main Event package
- 2nd $2,700 Crazy 8s WSOP Side Event package + $1,050 tournament ticket
- 3rd $2,700 Crazy 8s WSOP package
- 4th – 5th $1,050 tournament ticket
- 6th – 9th $215 tournament ticket
- 10th – 34th $55 tournament ticket
As there will be a maximum of 34 entries, less if any players win multiple events in the main series, every player is guaranteed a prize.
XL Eclipse Schedule has lower guarantees but wide choice
In 2017 888 experimented with a schedule that offered lower individual tournament guarantees spread across a larger number of events. This let them offer an XL series with the highest amount in guarantees in its history, $9.2 million.
For 2018, the schedule is more like the 2016 version. The total offered in guarantees is down to $2.8 million but the average guarantee has almost doubled compared to last year.
Writing for the 888 magazine, Chad Holloway explained:
“Last year’s XL Eclipse Series was comprised of 197 events, and while it was a success, players let it be known they prefer quality over quantity.”
The schedule includes events with buy-ins from $5 for the XL Eclipse #15 – $15,000 Mini R&A up to the prestigious $2,600 buy-in XL Eclipse #16 – $200,000 High Roller.
As always, 888’s main competitors have competing tournament series running in September, but both PokerStars and partypoker have set their start dates a little earlier than 888. PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and partypoker’s Powerfest both hold their first events on Sep. 2.