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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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PartyGaming's idea was to play a series of online mini-tournaments with small buy-ins, then whittle down the qualifiers to 100 and put them on a cruise ship in the Caribbean to fight it out for the big money. It was an idea in the best traditions of Vegas itself - make it bigger and brasher than anything else.

"We put 100 people with their partners on a cruise ship to play in a live final," says Bhargava. "We said live, as opposed to online, even though we were an online site, because that was the only way people could really believe that a new company had paid out $1m in first prize. It was good PR and showed the credibility of our company."

It was expensive PR too. Party Gaming lost about $500,000 on the event but the first PartyPokerMillion was the making of the company. "Credibility of online poker rooms in those days was not the highest," admits Bhargava. "So for players to see that a company had put up money when it was obvious that they were losing money on that particular event was a big thing."