Get ready for WCOOP with a close analysis of the schedule, picking out many of the series highlights.
No sooner has the record-breaking EPT Barcelona festival concluded than PokerStars players are preparing for another highlight on the calendar: the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), which begins on Sunday, September 4.
As ever, the full schedule (see below) has something on it for everyone: 322 tournaments, to be precise, with buy-ins ranging from $5.50 to $25,000. Players can prepare for the customary three buy-in levels on the regular WCOOP schedule (low, medium and high), as well as 12 World Championship events.
It’s well worth poring over the full schedule in your own time, but here’s a breakdown of what’s on offer, depending on your preferences.
The single most important piece of advice that any poker player should heed is to only ever to play comfortably within your bankroll. You never want to be putting your financial wellbeing at stake in any poker tournament. You always need all your focus to be on making correct decisions, and only solid bankroll management can allow that.That said, if you’re comfortable pulling out high four- or five-figure sums to play tournaments, WCOOP is a great place to do it.
The highest buy-in on the calendar is the $25,000 Super High Roller, a two-day tournament with a $1 million guarantee. The field will be one of the smallest of any event on the schedule, but it will be the place that the fiercest sharks go on the prowl. It’s a no-limit hold’em tournament, with two re-entries permitted.
Seven other events on the schedule have five-figure buy-ins, including the $10,300 WCOOP Main Event, which is the centrepiece of WCOOP’s final weekend. This is the most prestigious tournament on the schedule and its guarantee of $6 million is the biggest of any tournament during WCOOP.
It’s a no limit hold’em tournament, played over four days, and has an excellent structure and a huge field. The best part about it is that there are numerous satellites running throughout the series to allow you to qualify on the cheap, as well as Spin & Gos, with Main Event tickets on offer as prizes.
On the same Sunday as the hold’em Main Event, the $10,300 PLO Main Event begins as well. The buy-in is the same, $10,300, and the guarantee is $1 million — a pretty huge sum for the four-card game. The field will be smaller, and the tournament wraps in three days. It is, without question, the tournament to play if you’re a PLO shark with a point to prove.
There’s also an $10,300 8-Game High Roller on the WCOOP schedule, with a $350,000 guarantee. This is one for the players most confident in their mixed game skills, featuring a rotation of 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, No-Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. You’ll want to be confident in all of those disciplines before sitting down.
The remaining three $10K events are all no limit hold’em tournaments, including a couple branded as Super Tuesday or Thursday Thrill High Rollers. The Thursday Thrill, on September 22, is a PKO tournament.
The full list of $10K+ tournaments in WCOOP is as follows:
Tue, Sept 20, 12.30pm: WCOOP 71-H: $25,000 NLHE Super High Roller, $1m Gtd
Sun, Sept 4, 12.30pm: WCOOP 04-H: $10,300 NLHE [High Roller], $850K Gtd
Tue, Sept 7, 12.30pm: WCOOP 13-H: $10,300 NLHE [Super Tuesday High Roller], $650K Gtd
Tue, Sept 11, 12.30pm: WCOOP 34-H: $10,300 NLHE [High Roller], $850K Gtd
Thu, Sept 15, 1.30pm: WCOOP 51-H: $10,300 8-Game [High Roller], $350K Gtd
Thu, Sep 22, 12.30pm: WCOOP 80-H: $10,300 NLHE [PKO, Thursday Thrill High Roller], $650K Gtd
Sun, Sep 25, 12.30pm: WCOOP 92-H: World Championship of NLHE: $10,300 Main Event, $6M Gtd
Sun, Sep 25, 3.05pm: WCOOP 94-H: World Championship of PLO: $10,300 Main Event, $1M Gtd
The beauty of ‘COOP series on PokerStars — i.e., both WCOOP and SCOOP — is the three-tier buy-in levels on almost all events. It means that although there’s a wide range of buy-ins for players, there’s never really any time during which one player group might feel excluded. In short, you can play at least one tournament per day with a buy-in of $11 or less, and on most occasions you can join the WCOOP action for $5.50.
But what are the best tournaments for low-stakes players to play? Obviously that depends on what you think are your strongest games, but let’s say you had a total budget of $50 for WCOOP, how do you like the look of the following schedule?
WCOOP 01-L: $5.50 NLHE [Phase 2], $500K Gtd
The “Phase” events are always the biggest in terms of numbers, and there’s no other event in which you can play for a guaranteed prize pool of $500K for as little as $5.50. Phase events run on numerous days throughout the main series (and for a few days before, in fact) and you can have unlimited attempts to get into the second day. Let’s budget $10 for two stabs at getting through.
WCOOP 02-L: $5.50 NLHE [WCOOP Kickoff], $50K Gtd
WCOOP 07-L: $5.50 NLHE [Turbo, PKO, Sunday Cooldown], $35K Gtd
There’s always a big turnout on the first weekend of WCOOP, and it’s always great for the confidence levels if you can get find an early score. There are two $5.50 buy-in tournaments on the opening day of WCOOP — the WCOOP kickoff and the Sunday Cooldown, at either ends of the day — so why not dedicate that first Sunday to a long session and build up the bankroll early. If it doesn’t go according to plan, no big deal.
WCOOP 33-L: $5.50 NLHE [PKO, Sunday Warm-Up], $50K Gtd
WCOOP-33 is the Sunday Warm-Up and the low buy-in version is $5.50, with a $50K guarantee. That’s self-explanatory really, except to add that it’s also a PKO. That means you can hope to build up some additional prize money by eliminating opponents, and you could earn some return on investment even if you don’t make the very deepest stages.
WCOOP 47-L: $5.50 NLHE [6-Max], $20K Gtd
Although it’s most common for low-stakes players to build their schedules around the weekend action, there are often some excellent midweek events as well. WCOOP 47 is a prime example. It’s a 6-Max NLHE tournament, which gets going at 3.05pm ET (or 8.05pm BST). The timing is useful, even if you’re working a regular 9-5.
WCOOP 104-L: $5.50 NLHE [7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, PKO, Series Wrap-Up], $40K Gtd
What better way to wave goodbye to WCOOP than with a final-day hyper turbo? It’ll be worth saving $5 of your budget for this — even if it may not last too long. The field will be a fascinating combination of players either celebrating or commiserating their series, and you can be well placed to take advantage of either.
Satellites for Main Event
The tournaments listed above account for $35 of buy-ins (not including either fees or re-entries), which leaves around $15 from our $50 budget. WCOOP comes around only once a year, so it’s probably worth investing the other $15 in qualifier tournaments for the bigger events, in particular the $109 buy-in NLHE Main Event. Although on the face of it $109 is many multiples bigger that your regular game, you will be able to find many opportunities to get in for much cheaper — and if you win a ticket, you can look forward to playing with the liberation of the satellite winner. That permits you to back your instincts knowing you have nothing to lose — and, who knows, the time you’ve spent watching training videos and Twitch streams could suddenly pay off in spades. WCOOP is really an exceptional time to try to parlay tiny amounts into massive scores, so be sure to have a few stabs at getting into the bigger events too.
The major tournament series on PokerStars are always brilliant for mixed-game aficionados. Many of the multiple champions have earned numerous titles in non hold’em games, and this is the best place for new players to try out their skills in mixed games against some of the biggest fields.All of PLO, PLO8, Badugi, Razz and 2-7 Single Draw have championship events during the 2022 WCOOP, as do the major rotations of HORSE and 8-Game. These disciplines all also have regular WCOOP events at the low, medium and high buy-in levels too.
Looking even more closely at the schedule, there are also Stud and Stud Hi/Lo events, as well as 5-Card Draw, 5-Card NLO8, 5-Card PLO8, FLHE, FLO8 and 6+ (short deck) events too.
It’s worth keeping your eyes open for side events being added to the main schedule too. If you’re looking for some of the lesser known variants, these side events can sometimes provide them.
As ever, there are three buy-in levels for everything, catering for newcomers and experts alike.
Here’s the complete list of non NLHE events:
Limit Hold’em: Event 21 – $11, $109, $1,050
PLO: Events 5, 18, 42, 55, 79, 94 & 103
NL Omaha Hi/Lo: Events 63 & 87
PL Omaha Hi/Lo: Events 49 & 70, plus $1,050 World Championship
Limit Omaha Hi/Lo: Event 29 – $11, $109, $1,050
NL 6+ Hold’em: Event 67 – $11, $109, $1,050
PL 5-Card Omaha: Event 35 – $22, $215, $2,100
NL 5-Card Omaha: Event 76 – $22, $215, $2,100
PL 5-Card Omaha: Event 12 – $11, $109, $1,050
Limit Stud: Event 85 – $11, $109, $1,050
Limit Stud Hi/Lo: Event 39 – $11, $109, $1,050
Limit Razz: Event 23 ($11, $109, $1,050), plus $1,050 World Championship
NL 5-Card Draw: Event 57 – $11, $109, $1,050
NL 2-7 Single Draw: Event 14 – $11, $109, $1,050, plus $1,050 World Championship
Limit 2-7 Triple Draw: Event 72 – $22, $215, $2,100
HORSE: Events 9 & 74, plus $1,050 World Championship
NLHE/PLO: Event 100 – $5.50, $55, $530
8-Game: Events 27 & 51, plus $2,100 World Championship
Limit Badugi: Event 46 – $11, $109, $1,050, plus $1,050 World Championship
If you make it to the deep stages of a WCOOP event, your chances of getting a mention in the broad coverage of WCOOP are greatly increased. We’ll be writing a daily round-up of everything on the Blog, and there will also be live coverage of several tournaments on the PokerStars broadcast channels.The broadcast schedule is yet to be confirmed, but it’s safe to assume that the deep stages of at least nine major events will receive the full PokerStars streaming treatment during WCOOP.
So if you want to have your play analysed and critiqued by commentators James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton and Nick Walsh, plus their expert guests (probably) including Maria Ho, Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton, then make a point of playing the more eye-catching events on the schedule. There are always more bragging rights to the players who perform best under the microscope.
The most scrutinised events will include the World Championship events and the high buy-in Main Event. A reminder of those Championships:
Sept 4: $5,200 NLHE PKO Championship
Sept 7: $1,050 HORSE Championship
Sept 8: $1,050 Badugi Championship
Sept 11: $5,200 NLHE 6-Max Championship
Sept 12: $1,050 PLO8 Championship
Sept 13: $5,200 NLHE Heads-Up Championship
Sept 14: $1,050 Razz Championship
Sept 18: $530 Women’s Championship
Sept 19: $2,100 8-Game Championship
Sept 22: $1,050 NL 2-7 Single Draw Championship
Sept 25: $10,300 NLHE Main Event / Championship
Sept 25: $10,300 PLO Main Event / Championship
Note: Some dates/buy-ins have changed since schedule was originally published
Don’t forget, there’s also the Player of the Series Leader Boards to consider. Our daily updates, both on PokerStars Blog and Twitch and YouTube often delve into the Player of the Series races. That’s the other way to get a mention: draw into contention in the Player of the Series hunt.