What a year it’s been! Part of our mission has been to “Make It Big,” and in 2016 we did that in several ways. From growing our online events, like the Super XL Series, to hosting some of the best live events in all of poker, 888 continues to leave its mark on poker.
In addition, there have been big winners, new ambassadors, and noteworthy sponsorships, all of which we’ve recapped in our year-end review. Below is a chronological bullet point summary of 888poker in 2016. As you’ll see, there were some special moments, and trust us when we say, there’s even more in store for the New Year.
January Ends on a High with Super XL Series IV
21st -- 2016 kicked off with a bang at 888poker with the launch of the new ‘Live the Game’ campaign, which was a series of commercials broadcast across the UK.
27th – Germany’s Thorsten Facius topped a field of 113 players to win the 888 Poker on Ice Live Austria Main Event at Casino Austria Seefeld for €15,014.
31st -- To say the fourth edition of the 888poker Super XL Series was a major success would be an understatement. Not only were the events huge, but the guaranteed prize pools were also shattered. In fact, all of the tournaments covered their guarantees by an average of 210%.
The 38-event series came to a head with the $1,050 buy-in, $1 million guaranteed Main Event, which drew 1,180 players and created a $1.18 million prize pool.
In the end, Finland's "jnevanli" defeated UK's "carmen.1957" to win the title. However, the two had previously struck a deal that saw "jnevanli" lock up $182,6635, and "Carmen.1957" $168,532.
February Welcomes Kara Scott
13th – Dominik Nitsche won the UKIPT Dublin €2,000 High Roller for $176,177. Two days later, he finished runner-up in the €10,000 High Roller for $156,916. Five days after that, he placed second in the €5,000 Six-Handed Turbo for $41,797.
23rd -- Kara Scott is revealed as the latest 888poker Ambassador.
“Joining the 888poker team is a fantastic milestone for my career, and I feel honoured to be representing such a key player in the poker industry,” said Scott. “I’m also really excited to be a part of their impressive team of ambassadors! I am looking forward to a bright and successful future with 888poker.”
March Partners with Aspers Casino
2nd -- 888 Holdings, the parent company of 888poker, 888casino, and 888sports, announced the appointment of Itai Frieberger as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.
4th -- The poker room at Aspers entered into an agreement with 888poker to deck their spacious 34-table poker room with 888Live branding.
“It’s a twelve-month partnership we’ve agreed to cross-promote live poker with online poker,” said John Scanlon, Head of Poker at Aspers Casino. “Because of how strong 888 are in the UK market, it made sense to do the partnership with them. There are a lot of synergies between Aspers and our mindset in how we see poker developing in the future. “
6th -- 888Live Local London Main Event returned to Aspers Casino in Westfield Stratford for four days of poker. Irishman Ralph Baylor emerged victorious taking home £22,500, the trophy and a Las Vegas experience package worth $2,200. Kara Scott finished third that Main Event for $14,341.
7th – Dominik Nitsche finished 14th in the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star for $41,100.
15th – Brazilian footballer Denílson, who was once the world’s most expensive player, was revealed as a brand ambassador. Denílson enjoyed a highly decorated professional football career between 1994 and 2010, winning numerous trophies including the Brazilian league, Copa America and Copa del Rey in Spain.
“888poker is one of the biggest and best poker platforms in the world, so I am very proud to become an 888poker ambassador,” said Denílson. “I hope it will help develop my own pokers skills as well as encourage new players to get involved in this exciting game.”
28th -- 888poker Club, a new rewards program that replaced the existing rewards plan was introduced. Instead of a rake-based program, 888poker Club reallocated the loyalty budget from the heavy grinders to the masses, making it healthy for the overall poker ecosystem.
The new loyalty program was designed to benefit recreational players by moving away from a rakeback model -- one that previously reset every month -- to one filled with various levels based on challenges and tokens.
31st -- 888poker once again partnered with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) as an official sponsor. The continuation of a 2015 agreement, 888poker once again became the only online site offering exclusive WSOP qualifier satellites and promotions.
April Joins Forces with King’s Casino
13th -- 888poker formed a partnership with Europe’s biggest poker room, King’s Casino Rozvadov, in association with the Deutsche Poker Tour (DPT) and German Championship of Poker (GCOP).
17th -- 888 announced an exclusive partnership with Poker Event & the Swedish Poker Federation (SPF) for the 2016/17 Online Swedish Poker Championships.
May Ushers in Super XL Series V
6th – Players from UK, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Sweden and Australia were invited to participate in 888poker’s brand new WSOP League. The special WSOP League tournaments had buy-ins starting at just 10¢. At the end of the two-week period, the top 27 players in each country’s respective WSOP League leaderboard were awarded tickets to their country’s Grand Final Championship with winners from those events taking home a $3,000 package to 888poker’s official "Crazy Eights" WSOP Event in Las Vegas.
17th – The fifth edition of the 888poker Super XL Series kicked off. The biggest tournament over the weekend, in terms of the prize pool, was Event #5 $250,000 Opening Event, which attracted 1,558 players who accounted for 681 rebuys to surpass the $250,000 guarantee by creating a prize pool of $335,850. Germany's “ncqqqqqq” defeated The Netherlands “InJeBakkes” in heads-up play to win a $56,725.06 first-place prize, the biggest payout awarded over the weekend.
22nd – Manuel Cabello Florensa topped a field of 165 entries to win the 888Live Costa Brava Main Event for €11,000.
24th -- The fifth edition of the 888poker Super XL Series wrapped up. UK's "eat1ngandwin" won the High Roller for $117,261, while in the Main Event – which drew 1,268 players – saw the top three finishers make a deal with first-place finisher, Sweden's "Gr33nApples," taking home $183,869, and "BOLAGET.NU" and "Vocaaas" locking up $159,691.28 and $150,832.46 respectively.
The mini version of the Main Event proved to be an exciting affair as poker superstar, and 888poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche not only made the final table, he defeated some stiff competition while streaming live on Twitch to win the tournament for $36,541.50.
26th – 888poker introduced “Supersize ME” WSOP packages, which offered a spectacular $5,000,000 bonus to the winner of the Main Event if they qualified via the promotion. Unfortunately, none of the qualifiers won the “Big One” and cashed in on the seven-figure bonus.
June Welcomes New Ambassador – Chris Moorman
3rd – Dominik Nitsche finished runner-up to Fedor Holz in ARIA $50,000 Super High Roller 9 for $629,808.
9th-- One year to the day after signing Dominik Nitsche, 888poker welcome Chris Moorman, online poker's most accomplished tournament player, as an official member of Team 888poker.
"888 is doing big things and really is working hard to expand their reach in poker," says Moorman, who plays under the screen name '888moorman.' "Things like sponsoring the WSOP and the Super High Roller Bowl have shown they are committed to their growth of the brand, and I can’t wait to see what they have coming up in the future."
10th – Out of a field of 7,190 entries, 888 Ambassador Sofia Lövgren finished 12th in the 2016 WSOP Millionaire Maker for $75,109, her largest live score to date.
19th – 888 offered players their own free “Personalized Video,” which utilises data – such as biggest pot, how you rank in your country, most frequent winning hand, etc. – to tell a unique poker story.
20th – Chris Moorman finished 13th in the 2016 WSOP Event #33 Summer Solstice for $19,943.
July Brings WSOP Success for Dominik Nitsche
5th – Dominik Nitsche finished fourth in 2016 WSOP Event #59 $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $248,640.
8th – Jeff Gross, who was sporting the 888poker patch over the summer, finished 18th in 2016 WSOP $111,111 One Drop High Roller for $187,576.
22nd – Out of a field of 1,401 entries in the 2016 Brazilian Series of Poker Sao Paulo Main Event, Bruno Kawauti finished runner-up to Rubens Bomtempo for $92,482.
25th – BLAST begins on 888poker on July 25, awarding up to 10,000 times the buy-in in a matter of minutes. BLAST is an exciting four-max super-turbo lottery-style sit-and-go with buy-ins at $0.10, $1, $5, and $30, with the prize pool being determined randomly once all players are registered.
August Highlights a Summer of ChampionChips
11th -- 888poker prepares to run 18-event, $150,000 guaranteed Summer ChampionChips to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
17th – Chris Moorman finished third in the Estrellas Main Event for $271,187.
26th – Estonia’s Urmo Velvelt topped a field of 80 entries to win the 2016 888live Tallinn for €9,000.
28th -- 'lepeno78' hit it big in a $15 BLAST Poker game winning a $90,000 top payout.
"I felt very happy that I won the jackpot and have no particular plans to celebrate. But I will definitely travel when I can, and if possible travel to play in poker tournaments," 'lepeno78' said. "My tip when playing is to be patient and observant."
September Sees the Start of 888Live Festivals
1st – 888poker introduces 888live festivals, a celebration of poker. The festivals are designed to give players a better poker experience with a greater variety of tournaments, longer structures, a wider range of buy-ins, and bigger guarantees.
3rd -- Another top prize pool was hit at a BLAST Poker table. '723bluebell' entered a $30 BLAST game and wound up with a shot at a $180,000 top prize in a $300,000 purse. Just 12 minutes later, he won it after defeating Germany’s “Fekisen” heads up.
20th -- The 888poker Super XL Series kicked off over the weekend with seven events. Players turned out in droves for the $300,000 Super XL Opening Event, and in the end, it was “AcesJoker88” who emerged to win $59,283, the largest payday of the weekend's Super XL tournaments.
22nd – 888poker announced the sponsorship of the 2016 Swedish Poker Championship.
25th – 888poker revealed the sponsorship of two WSOP Circuit International stops. The first was the WSOP Circuit Brazil held at Transamerica Expo Center and the other the WSOP Circuit Rozvadov at King’s Casino.
October Welcomes Natalie Hof to the Team
5th – Natalie Hof is introduced as the latest 888poker Ambassador.
“I'm very thrilled to be part of the 888poker team,” said Hof who will play under the username 888NatalieH. “With such talented pros and a variety of games, it's quite an honour to have the opportunity to play as an 888poker ambassador for a game I love so. I'm very motivated to improve my game and travel a lot playing with amazing teammates. I love that I can join a team with such established pros and hope to learn a lot from them to improve my own game.”
11th – By playing a Trivia Game on 888poker’s Facebook page, poker fans had the chance to qualify for an exclusive tournament. Four VIP packages to the 2016 WSOP November Nine were awarded in the tournament, sending winners and two of their friends on a unique excursion to Las Vegas.
17th – The first-ever 888live Poker Festival kicked off at Aspers London. Svetlin Ivanov took down the 888live London Poker Festival Opening Event for £16,440.
20th – Kara Scott finished 13th in the 888Live Local Festival London Main Event for $3,699, while Ka Him Li took down the tournament for £45,300.
26th – In addition to Griffin Benger and Fernando Pons, Belgium tournament director Kenny Hallaert agreed to sport the 888poker patch at the 2016 WSOP November Nine. Hallaert ended up finishing sixth for $1,464,258.
29th – At the WSOP Circuit Brazil, 888 Ambassador and former November Niner Bruno Politano (AKA Bruno Foster) topped a field of 232 entries to win Event #6 Giant Omaha for his first gold ring and a R$112,000 top prize.
"I have no words to describe what I am feeling right now,” said Politano. “It was a tough tournament, tough final table, tough heads-up. I'm really happy to finally win a WSOP jewellery, and it's even more special because it happened in my backyard.”
November Showcases the $500K Mega Deep
1st – The 2016 WSOP Main Event came to an end. 888poker qualifiers Fernando Pons and Griffin Benger finished in ninth and seventh place for $1 million and $1,250,190 respectively.
5th – Chris Moorman won $350 No-Limit Hold’em SCPC event at the LA Poker Open for $10,800. Two weeks later, he finished runner-up in the $1,650 Main Event for $85,510.
27th – The fifth anniversary of the $215 Mega Deep drew 2,151 entrants, who accounted for 920 rebuys, and surpassed the advertised $500,000 guarantee by creating a $614,200 prize pool. “josef_shvejk” emerged victorious in the tournament to capture a $97,043.60 first-place prize.
December Heads for the Stars with $1M BLAST Games
5th – 888poker formed a partnership with Daniel Märkisch’s FlowEsports Hearthstone team. The FlowEsports team is made up of Hearthstone pro-players Daniel Märkisch (C4mlann), Tobias Graap (TwoBiers), Vetle Stubberud (Xzirez) and Johannes Steindl (JonnyStoneHS). In addition to streaming Hearthstone matches on Twitch every day, the team will also stream a featured poker session once a week.
12th -- A 47-year-old woman from the UK bet £1.50 on the popular slot game Millionaire Genie and hit a massive $4.3 million jackpot.
26th – For a limited time, the possible prize pool on BLAST poker tables is raised to $1,000,000. It’s our way of thanking the millions of registered players in the 888poker community.
It’s been a great year for 888poker, and we’re going to make it even bigger and better in 2017!
Stay tuned to discover what we have in store.