PokerStars WCOOP Starts Strong and Runs to October 3

The summer of online poker is in full swing, providing more opportunities for tournament action than players have seen in many years.

From the World Series of Poker to the World Poker Tour, poker tour operators took their live tours to the online poker space. The WSOP did so with GGPoker and the WPT did it with two series on PartyPoker.

But let’s not forget PokerStars, the longtime top poker operator in the world. PokerStars recently completed its inaugural Stadium Series and launched into its signature series – WCOOP – last week. The World Championship of Online Poker remains a staple in the industry and the standard by which all other sites and tournaments build their series.

Recapping the Stadium Series

PokerStars introduced a new series in July, and that Stadium Series ran through the first weekend in August. The 102-tournament series offered $50 million in guarantees. And further, PokerStars awarded more than $2 million worth of tournament entries.

Every week, players could get in on weekly heats at varying price points, and then they could work their way (or buy in directly) to that Sunday’s finals, which also had three tiers of buy-ins. Each week of the series, the price to play increased. And in the end, it wrapped on August 2 with a $5,200 buy-in Stadium Series Grand Final with a $5 million guarantee on its prize pool.

In the end, despite some overlays, PokerStars dubbed it a success with these numbers:

  • 106 total tournaments (85 with reentries, 21 freezeouts)
  • 706,672 total entries (including 158,169 reentries)
  • $55,424,474.50 total prize money paid (including more than $2 million in overlays)
  • Brazil dominated with 17 wins, Russia with 12, UK with 8, and Canada and Austria at 7 each
  • 3 players earned 2 titles each: Aleks Better, Mike Telker, Parker Talbot

In the end, there were technically three grand finale events.

  • $55 Low = 21,707 entries; $1,060,350 prize pool ($1M GTD); Cheessseburger of Netherlands won $96,029 for first place
  • $530 Medium = 4,234 entries; $2,117,000 prize pool ($2M GTD); Ciao Pessagno of Brazil won $266,066 in first-place cash
  • $5,200 Main Event = 971 entries; $5 million prize pool ($145K overlay); Fernando “fviana” Viana of Brazil won $721,235 for first place

WCOOP 2020 to be Biggest Yet

The World Championship of Online Poker has always offered a wide variety of tournaments and millions in prize pool guarantees. This year, Severin Rasset at PokerStars wanted to do better than ever.

WCOP 2020 was set up with 75 events, though each of them offered three buy-in levels for a range of player buy-in abilities. That put the actual number of tournaments at 225. And across that schedule, PokerStars is guaranteeing $81,637,000 in prize money. (Last year’s series had 192 tournaments and $75 million in guarantees.)

The mixture of poker variations will please almost every player:

  • No Limit Hold’em = 50 events (150 tournaments) (including 22 PKO events and 1 TKO event)
  • Pot Limit Omaha = 5 events (15 tournaments)
  • 8-Game Mix = 2 events (6 tournaments)
  • Pot Limit Omaha-8 = 2 events (6 tournaments)
  • HORSE = 2 events (6 tournaments)
  • 5-Card No Limit Draw = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • 5-Card Pot Limit Omaha = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • 6+ Hold’em = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • 2-7 No Limit Single Draw = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • 2-7 Triple Draw = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Badugi = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Limit Hold’em = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Limit Omaha-8 = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • No Limit Omaha-8 = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Mixed NLHE/PLO = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Razz = 1 event (3 tournaments)
  • Stud Hi-Lo = 1 event (3 tournaments)

Main Events on September 20

The finale of this annual WCOOP series will take place on Sunday, September 20. The highest buy-in will be the Main Event (highlighted below) of the main events, but players do have all of these from which to choose:

  • Event 72-Low: $55 NLHE 8-Max Freezeout Main Event ($1.25M GTD)
  • Event 72-Medium: $530 NLHE 8-Max Freezeout Main Event ($2M GTD)
  • Event 72-High: $5,200 NLHE 8-Max Freezeout Main Event ($10M GTD)
  • Event 73-Low: $109 PLO 6-Max Main Event ($300K GTD)
  • Event 73-Medium: $1,050 PLO 6-Max Main Event ($750K GTD)
  • Event 73-High: $10,300 PLO 6-Max Main Event ($1.25M GTD)

The full schedule for the 2020 WCOOP is on the PokerStars website. Note that Event 1 seems to be missing, but it is, in fact, a Phase tournament. Initial phases are like starting days, and they are already underway and will continue until Phase 2 on September 21. Players can play multiple first phases to obtain a starting stack to take into the second phase.

Watch and Learn

PokerStars is offering a unique opportunity for players and poker fans to see WCOOP final tables with hole cards. The live coverage will be on the PokerStars Twitch channel with hosts James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton.

The daily coverage will feature poker pros like Maria Ho, Sam Grafton, Griffin Benger, and Adam Levy. There will also be 18 final table replays hosted by PokerStars streamers like Mason Pye and Nick Walsh.

One Week Already in the Books

With the action already underway, it is easy to look at early winners to see the caliber of players at the WCOOP tables. PokerStars Ambassador Ben Spragg already picked up a victory, as did Dimitar Danchev, Ankush Mandavia, Ludovic Geilich, Noah Boeken, and Andras Nemeth.

There are a number of players hailing from Canada who claimed titles in the first week. If you know these folks, send them a congratulatory note!

  • Event 7-H: $2,100 PLO-8 6-Max: Juicy_J_93 wins $50,910.06
  • Event 8-H: $1,050 NLHE 8-Max: ilir3 wins $59,071.69
  • Event 12-H: $530 NLHE Heads-Up PTKO: pistons87 wins $40,792.90


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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