The Stairway to Millions is back at PokerGO, but returns with a twist. The unique series now shifts to the Venetian Resort Las Vegas in September for a 12-event series and $2.2 million in total guaranteed prize money.
The festival, which runs Sept. 8-19, features a group of poker tournaments with escalating buy-ins starting at $460 and finishing with a $52,000 finale. All players cashing at a specific buy-in level win a seat into the next buy-in level, thus the “stairway” moniker. In essence, a satellite aspect is built into each tournament.
The new partnership with Venetian may also signal a new strategy for PokerGO. The streaming platform and tournament operator looks to be moving toward appealing more toward recreational players and those with some lower bankrolls as well as high rollers. Company officials note that other PokerGO brands may also be heading to other venues around the world.
“The Venetian remains an incredible partner of PokerGO and the PokerGO Tour, and we are excited to expand our offering with the upcoming Stairway To Millions series,” PokerGO President Mori Eskandani said in a news release. “With a new twist that allows players finishing in the top three to skip a buy-in level, we’re looking to offer an even greater opportunity for players to progress up the stakes and compete at the highest levels.”
What to expect from Stairway to Millions
Stairway brings something unique to average Joe players. The lower price point in the initial events offers players a chance at some major cash the further they progress in the series.
Players can parlay a small buy-in into a high roller tournament entry and compete at the game’s top levels. The series debuted in January with Chance Kornuth and Nick Petraneglo both winning two titles. Petraneglo won the final two events, featuring the series’ largest buy-ins and prize pools, for a total of $1.6 million.
Buy-ins for the initial series started at $1,100, but PokerGO has more than halved that to appeal to more players. As Eskandani noted, also new is the top three finishers in a tournament able to leapfrog an entire buy-in level.
Additionally, the final four events, all priced at $10,000 and higher, qualify for the PokerGO Tour (PGT) points. In December, the top 21 players on the leaderboard compete in the season-ending PGT Championship for a $500,000 winner-take-all prize.
Stairway tournament details
PokerGO outlined what players can expect from each tournament. All are in No Limit Hold’em with the first two events priced at $460 and the next two at $900. A player could technically advance to the final $52,000 tournament by cashing in every event.
All are two-day events with unlimited re-entry in the first eight tournaments. Events 9-12 allow for double re-entry. Poker “shot clocks” are also put into play beginning with the fifth event.
Venetian officials are pleased to add the Stairway to Millions concept to the property’s tournament scene.
“Bringing our players new and exciting experiences is one of our top priorities,” tournament director Tommy LaRosa said. “Having this one-of-a-kind event for our players provides a unique opportunity for a player to ladder up from a small buy-in to a high roller tournament.”
Unlike the first Stairway series, this festival won’t be streamed. Here’s a look at the complete schedule.
PokerGO expands distribution offerings
In other PokerGO news, this week the company announced a deal with Frequency, a cloud-based video platform. Frequency will deliver the streamer’s VOD (video on demand) library in addition to powering its live content on Pluto TV. PokerGO’s VOD portfolio High Stakes Poker and 40 years of World Series of Poker content.
“PokerGO is proud to work in partnership with Frequency as we continue to expand our reach through significant growth opportunities,” Eskandani said. “It’s no secret that poker is loved globally. As the industry’s leading content provider, PokerGO strives to grow the game by reaching more and more audiences, and Frequency further allows us to do so through its frictionless distribution of content.”
Last February, PokerGO launched on Pluto, offering 24/7 access to tournaments, documentaries and more. Poker fans can check out content like Friday Night Poker, Poker After Dark, and other action.
The Frequency deal allows PokerGO to better repurpose its VOD library and broadcast live tournament action as well. Frequency helps content providers to create channels, distribute, and monetize content.
The platform delivers channels to over 250 million connected TVs worldwide, enabling companies to distribute content on platforms like the Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, and more.
“PokerGO has established itself as the leading provider of poker content in the world,” Frequency Senior Vice President of business development and distribution Jon Cohen said. “We’re pleased they tapped Frequency to take their linear channel to the next level.”
* Images courtesy PokerGO