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Spring Championship of Online Poker's $91 million prize pool smashes records

ONCHAN, Isle of Man – May 24, 2016 – The 2016 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), held over the past 17 days by PokerStars, an Amaya Inc. (Nasdaq: AYA; TSX: AYA) brand, has scooped a new world record for richest ever online poker series.

The total prize pool of $90,984,283.44 across 56 events (168 tournaments), smashed the previous record of $81,222,158.66, set during SCOOP 2014, by nearly $10 million. The result highlights the strength of PokerStars’ flagship poker championships and the appetite that players from around the world have for the biggest and most prestigious online poker series.  

But the records don’t end there. All three 2016 Main Events, which play to a finish tonight, have surpassed previous participation and prize pool records. The $10,000 Main Event (High) saw 824 entries generate a prize pool of just over $8 million, easily eclipsing last year’s 694 entries that played for a then-record SCOOP Main Event (High) prize pool of $6,940,000.

Meanwhile, the $1,000 Main Event (Med) attracted 5,026 entries and a prize pool of $4,786,661.88, bettering the 4,238 entries and $4,238,000 prize pool from SCOOP 2015. Finally, the $100 Main Event (Low) featured 24,591 entries and a prize pool of $2,255,978.34, which is a big jump from the previous best of SCOOP 2013, when there were a total of 23,045 entries playing for a share of the $2,304,500 prize pool.

“This record-breaking prize pool is testament to the enduring popularity of online poker,” said PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser. “It’s also a result of the talented people and hard work exhibited by everyone at PokerStars, from the poker room tournaments team who put the schedule together, to the customer support teams helping our players get the most out of their experience.”

The final nine players in the $10,000 Main Event (High) are competing later today for a first prize of over $1.4 million, which would be the fifth highest prize ever awarded in an online poker tournament and biggest for a SCOOP event. All nine players will win at least six figures.

Leading the way on 9.8 million chips is UK player ‘raidalot’, with Estonian player ‘markovitsus’ in second on 5.8 million chips, and Scott ‘gunning4you’ Seiver in third on 4.6 million. The $1,000 and $100 Main Events have top prizes of more than $750,000 and $225,000 respectively, and also conclude later today.

Today’s Main Event final tables resume at 14.30 ET (19.30 BST, 20.30 CET), and can be viewed in the PokerStars desktop and mobile clients, as well as the official PokerStars Twitch channel (from 14.45 ET, 19.45 BST, 20.45 CET due to a 15-minute delay), which will be hosted by Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree.

With more than $100,000 in WCOOP tickets and cash prizes available for the top-performing players on the Low, Medium, High and Overall SCOOP Leader Boards, the battle for Player of the Series honours has been one of the most keenly fought in PokerStars history.

Going into the final night, ‘Vichyn88’ leads the ‘Low’, Dzmitry ‘Colisea’ Urbanovich heads up the 'Medium', Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy is in control of the 'High', while Shaun 'shaundeeb' Deeb has top sport on the 'Overall' Leader Board. Team PokerStars Pro, Jason Mercier, who was Player of the Year in 2015, is currently in second. The final positions will be announced tomorrow after the Main Event concludes.

For the first time PokerStars also ran a Team PokerStars SCOOP Leaderboard, with bragging rights up for grabs and a BetStars market available for customers to back the Team Pro who they thought would finish highest. The pre-series favourite Jason Mercier, who was 5/1 initially, has won the battle as none of the challengers are remaining in the Main Event. Mercier finished 90 points ahead of the closest challenger, Team PokerStars Pro Online member Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara. BetStars today revealed that with 90% of the bets being made on Mercier to win, the sportsbook has lost a significant five-figure sum, representing a big win for punters!

Mercier also won his $10,000 heads-up wager with fellow Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer; prior to the start of the series, they bet against each other on who would finish higher on the SCOOP leaderboard.

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About PokerStars
PokerStars operates the world’s most popular online poker sites, serving the global poker community. Since it launched in 2001, PokerStars has become the first choice of players all over the world, with more daily tournaments than anywhere else and with the best online security. More than 150 billion hands have been dealt on PokerStars, which is more than any other site. and operate globally under licenses from the Isle of Man and Malta governments, respectively. PokerStars also holds local licenses or approvals to offer services to players in many jurisdictions, including Italy, France, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, United Kingdom, Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, Ireland, Romania and New Jersey in the United States of America.

PokerStars is the flagship brand of Rational Group, which operates gaming-related businesses and brands, including PokerStars, Full Tilt and the European Poker Tour. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Rational Group companies in the UK and Isle of Man was recognised as one of the top 25 best places to work by the Great Place to Work Institute’s Best Workplaces – Large category ranking. Rational Group entities in Costa Rica and Dublin also achieved the same accolade in their respective local rankings in 2014. PokerStars is ultimately owned by Amaya Inc. (Nasdaq: AYA; TSX: AYA).

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