Since launching the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) back in 2002, PokerStars saw it's innovative festival grow quickly to become the proving ground for the world's finest online tournament players. Events across a huge range of disciplines gave them a stage on which they could strut their stuff for two weeks. One drawback, however, was that the relatively high buy-ins over a sustained festival of up to two weeks meant WCOOP was out of reach for many casual players. Bankrolls could not sustain it.
Something else would need to happen for those with shallower pockets, and in 2009 it did. This was the arrival of PokerStars' SCOOP, the Spring Championship of Online Poker. At first glance, this might have looked like a clever marketing exercise; taking the success of the September WCOOP and planting it in Spring time to give PokerStars two bites of a cherry.
But it soon became clear this was nothing of the sort. SCOOP had a brilliant twist. Yes, like WCOOP there would be tournaments across all poker disciplines, but uniquely, SCOOP put on three different versions of each tournament: a low, a medium and a high buy-in. Now any player, no matter what size their bankroll was, could experience the thrill of a huge online poker festival without fear of laying out too much cash. And with large fields across all three buy-in ranges, SCOOP generated big prize pools. Tempting? Yes. Successful? Absolutely. PokerStars players fell in love with SCOOP, which runs in April or May, instantly.
In that first 2009 year, Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth had more reason than anyone to love SCOOP. Ainsworth won the high buy-in, two-day Main Event for $963,338. That first year saw over $40 million awarded in cash prizes, with 66 Champions crowned across 22 tournaments.
In 2010, SCOOP grew to cater for 38 events, each again with three buy-in tournaments of high, medium and low, all of which made for total cash prizes of $63 million. Winner of the high main event was player toetagU who picked up a bumper $1,162,350 as a result.
This year's 2011 SCOOP once again had 38 events, each with three buy-in levels. Sami 'Lrslzk' Kelopuro won the main event high bracket, pocketing $504,691.09.
After three years, SCOOP is now cemented firmly in the online poker calendar. For more information, while you prepare for next year's festival, you can read-up on the official SCOOP pages here.
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We are publishing these daily review articles throughout November as PokerStars gears up to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
Slaying the EPT monkey
When two cards just won't do
ElkY, one name says it all
Going live at the PCA
It's a bling thing
Online wizards cast their spell
The EPT circus
Making world champions