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All hands on deck: the Million VI cruise is back. The world’s best poker cruise starts this weekend with a mouth-watering prize pool of around $1.2 million.

For anyone not familiar with our flagship tournament, the Million has always been one of the big highlights of the poker calendar. Players of all levels from across the globe are invited to qualify for their seat on board a luxury liner and compete for a fortune alongside those who have bought in directly.


The MSC Poesia – home of PartyPoker Million VI 

While the glittering event has grown every year, culminating in this year’s tournament on the Mediterranean, it’s worth looking back and understanding the impact our cruise has had on the world of poker.

The debut Million in 2002 went down in history for a number of firsts that it created. It was the first Hold’em tournament to offer a $1 million first prize, it was the first tournament to combine direct buy-ins with online qualifiers – and it was first to hold its finals on a cruise ship.

The result threw up an important first, too, with Kathy Liebert making waves as the first female player to win a major tournament.


Kathy Liebert wins in 2002 

Back then, the field consisted of 139 players with 100 of those being online qualifiers from The backdrop was the enticing Mexican Riviera.

One year later and the location of Million II moved to the Caribbean. It also became an event on the World Poker Tour. This time 130 online qualifiers were on board along with 43 big-money spenders who bought in directly. Just as 12 months before, a well-known name in Howard Lederer took the $1 million prize and an online qualifier took the runners-up spot.

Erick Lindgren took the Million III title and the top prize. With other top finishers sharing $650,000, the total prize pool made this event the WPT tournament with the largest prize pool in history – and was said to be the largest Texas Hold’em tournament ever held.

If anything, it showed just how massive the Million had become. In 2005 the winner and runner up both collected $1 million payouts: Michael Gracz receiving $1.5 million and second-placed David Minto pocketing $1 million. In 2005 more than 730 players made the cut to compete for a prize pool in excess of $7.4 million.

Before a hiatus in 2007, the last cruise carnival was in the Million V in 2006 where we got our youngest-ever winner of the series so far, 21-year-old Mike Schneider.


2006 winner Mike Schneider

There’ll be more about this year’s event later in the week but to whet your appetite we can reveal that one of the star players who will be on board is Canada’s Mike McDonald. Mike, aka TIMEX, is one of the stars of next-generation poker and also one of the most feared
online players.

For the rest of the field, Mike’s in top form right now, having won $1.3 million by claiming the EPT Dortmund event just a couple of months ago. He’s definitely one to watch.

* The PartyPoker Blog will be covering all the action from the PartyPoker Million VI from this weekend.


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