Gaming | 14 Mar 2018 | By Mark Van Dijk

MonsterJam Poker Tournament is back

‘There’s always been Poker, and there have always been tournaments, but there’s never been a tour like this.’ - Caitlin Fox

If you’d been at Carnival City in early February, you’d have noticed a huge buzz around the casino. The MonsterJam Poker Tour (MJPT) rolled into town for its inaugural event, bringing with it the kind of excitement only generated by a top-level Poker series. At the Main Event’s final table, the remaining four players cut a deal to end play. Jason Strauss bagged the main prize of just over R420 000, with JP Okes (R281 880), Lagen Zackey (R169 128) and Ian Starr (R130 369,50) behind. Zackey’s father Warren, a World Series of Poker pro, was also at the event. MonsterJam is open to anybody, and with the right amount of skill, luck and strategy, anyone can walk away a winner.


The 2018 MonsterJam Poker Tour returns to Sun International for the first time since 2015’s outrageously successful MJPT tournament at Sun City. That tournament had a prize pool of more than R5.3-million. This year’s instalment at Carnival City picked up where it left off three years ago, with R4.5-million paid out at eight events over seven days. But that’s where similarities with its predecessor end: this year, the tour is going national.


‘Taking the MonsterJam Poker Tour nationwide is the natural evolution for this exciting tournament featuring some of South Africa’s top players,’ says Maartin Olckers, Sun International’s Group Manager: Gaming. ‘We are delighted to partner with MonsterJam Poker to take this world-class Poker series to seven of our top South African casinos in 2018.’ After Carnival City the tour heads for Sun City, before taking off around the country, with stops at GrandWest (Cape Town), Wild Coast Sun and the Boardwalk (both Eastern Cape), Sibaya (KwaZulu-Natal) and Time Square South Africa (Gauteng). ‘There’s never been a national Poker tour in South Africa,’ says Fox. ‘There’s always been Poker, and there have always been tournaments, but there’s never been a tour like this. ‘Poker action in South Africa tends to be heavily concentrated around Gauteng, but there are many players in places like PE or Durban who would love to play in tournaments, but who just don’t have the time to travel. So instead, we’re coming to them and giving them a chance to play in a world-class Poker tournament right on their doorstep.’


To add even more excitement, every player at every event at every regional tournament will have their name added to a leaderboard, with the overall winner taking the top accolade of MJPT Player of the Year, and scoring the opportunity to play Poker internationally. ‘The more you play, the more points you earn,’ says MonsterJam’s Caitlin Fox. ‘You don’t only get points for winning. You earn points for entering, for the amount of players you play against, for the position you finish in... All of that goes into an algorithm, which calculates your points for the event.’


Each stop along the tour will feature a number of competitions and events, designed to suit players of varying skill and experience. ‘We try to offer a range of competitions, so that the tour is as inclusive as possible,’ says Fox. ‘We’ll have anything from a satellite tournament, which runs from R500 all the way up to a Grand Slam Hi Roller event, where the buy-in is R40 000 and Super Slam Super Hi Roller events, where the buy-in is even higher at R150 00. The satellite tournaments allow you to win a seat at another tournament. ‘We generally only do these for the Main Event, where you can win entry to a R13 500 tournament for just R1 000. This gives the smaller players a chance to get in on the action.’


With the seven regional tournaments being hosted at Sun International properties, players have seven opportunities to schedule ‘poker vacations’ in 2018. ‘We try to make sure poker is played mainly at night, so competitors also get a chance to enjoy the various attractions at Sun International resorts and properties,’ says Fox.


The entry requirements for the 2018 MonsterJam Poker Tour are pretty simple: you must be older than 18 and you need to be a member of Sun International’s MVG programme. If you’re not yet an MVG, there’s good news for you: registration is free at the MVG Desks at all Sun International casinos in SA.

Where to next?

Look out for MJPT as it pulls into Sun City from 13 to 22 April.

For more information about the tour, including the tournament schedule, go to