Opinion: Where Will The U.S. Poker Open Rank Among The Best High Rollers?

January 29, 2018
Opinion: Where Will The U.S. Poker Open Rank Among The Best High Rollers?


Poker Central is set to launch its latest made-for-live-stream high roller tournament series at the beginning of next month. The eight-event U.S. Poker Open will feature tournaments with buy-ins of $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000.

It may be missing the marquee $100,000 buy-in level event that helped make the debut of Poker Central’s Poker Masters series something special. However, the U.S. Poker Open is still offering something unique that fans of the game might want to pony up the monthly PokerGO subscription fee to watch. It’s called variety.

In the mix

That’s right, the U.S. Poker Open is more than just no limit hold’em. One-trick ponies need not apply as the schedule includes a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event and a $25,000 Mixed Game Championship. The latter is promising to be the largest 8-Game event ever held outside of the World Series of Poker and its $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship. Both follow a similar 8-game format, rotating between poker variants including:

  • 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw
  • Limit Texas Hold’em
  • No-limit Texas Hold’em
  • Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
  • Pot Limit Omaha
  • Razz
  • Seven Card Stud
  • Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better

There’s no doubt this makes the U.S. Poker Open something unique on the seemingly ever-growing list of high roller events and series around the world. But is that enough to make it rank higher on that list than it otherwise would? In other words, will the U.S. Poker Open immediately be considered one of the best high roller series or tournaments on the planet?

Probably not. The size of the total prize pool is probably the largest consideration in making up such a list. After all, people that like watching high rollers like watching them played for big money.

If so, the U.S. Poker Open has some serious work to do to catch the leaders in that category. Even eight events at a time.

Just One Drop in the bucket

Despite the lofty buy-ins, the typical high roller and super high roller events at ARIA Resort & Casino create prize pools that fall under $1 million. Even if the prize pools reach seven figures for all eight events in the U.S. Poker Open, the combined prize pool of all eight events will pale in comparison to some of the biggest single high roller events ever held.

The list of the top 15 biggest poker tournament prize pools of all time includes 13 different WSOP Main Events followed by the two $1 million buy-in WSOP Big One For One Drop high roller events.

The first ever $1 million buy-in One Drop event in 2012 created a $42,666,672 prize pool. In 2014, the One Drop prize pool hit $37,333,338. Two years later, organizer Guy Laliberte moved the event out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and told the pros to stay home, but his Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza still saw a $27,437,564 prize pool created. That makes it 16th on the list of the biggest poker tournament prize pools of all time.

The greatest high roller series of all time

The Big One For One Drop is coming back to the WSOP in 2018. If the prize pool meets anywhere near the average of the first three events, it will certainly cement One Drop’s legacy as the greatest high roller series of all time.

In the meantime, it’s going to take a number of years before the U.S. Poker Open sees One Drop type numbers. In fact, it’ll probably take two years before it reaches the prize pools created by the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop events held at the WSOP the past few years as well. These include:

  • $13,722,150 in 2017
  • $19,316,565 in 2016
  • $14,249,925 in 2015
  • $17,891,148 in 2013

All of this with a sizable chunk of the buy-ins of all One Drop events already taken out for the One Drop charity.

Poker Central versus Poker Central

Poker Central’s own Super High Roller Bowl has also created some massive prize pools over the past few years. Over its eight-event schedule, the U.S. Poker Open is going to have a tough time generating the $21.5 million prize pool the $500,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl did with just one tournament back in 2015.

The buy in has since been dropped to $300,000. However, the Super High Roller bowl still saw prize pools of $15 million and $16.8 million over the past two years. It’s a good bet the total prize pool from the U.S. Poker Open will be looking up at those numbers as well.

Finally, despite having eight events compared to the inaugural Poker Masters’ five, the U.S. Poker Open will still likely have difficulty matching its $13 million total prize pool.

The U.S. Poker Open is going to feature some of the best players on the planet. There’s going to be some big money on the line. Plus, as we mentioned previously, there’s going to be some variety in the type of poker played, which is a rarity in the rarefied air of high roller events.

However, if you’re looking for a high roller series that’s going to be one of the biggest and best ever, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

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