I remember how uneasy I felt this time last year, gearing up for the WCOOP. Even in the last few days leading up to the huge series, I still felt like I was getting my feet wet, returning to online poker after the forced four-month hiatus of Black Friday. Sometimes I return to the tables after just a few days off and feel like I have forgotten how to play. After four months, the prospect of getting back into online poker full time, much less diving headlong into the WCOOP, was rather daunting.
Luckily I seemed to find my groove early in the series, and that first, uncertainty-filled month turned out profitable. I even managed to win one of the smaller WCOOP events, the 2-7 Triple Draw event, which was an accomplishment beyond my wildest dreams before the series.
Now, one long year since relocating, I can't say I am worried about acclimating to the current poker environment, and I am comfortable in my setup in Mexico, confident in my poker game, and looking forward to a steady, enjoyable, and hopefully profitable three-week grind.
The reason why WCOOP is still my favorite (although I could see TCOOP taking its spot in the years to come) is that the buyins are set perfectly to attract a range of tournament regulars, Home Game Heroes, and recreational players alike. Also, the memories of the bloodbaths of SCOOPs 2010 and 2012, with their huge daily buyins, still loom large in my mind.
As much as I am looking forward to it, I'm also aware of the challenging and rigorous nature of the experience ahead: Three weeks is a long time to commit yourself to 10- and 12-plus hour days of tournament grinding, and the overarching challenge is to maintain your focus and calm throughout it, especially to play well if you are running bad.
I also notice that in any championship series, you can find yourself at table draws that are significantly tougher than regularly scheduled events. With each series Stars runs (TCOOP, SCOOP, and now this WCOOP) I notice a new wave of post-Black Friday, first-time relocated players, and the only reason I notice them is because they are world class tournament experts.
I think the influx of former US players who feel compelled to relocate when WCOOP is set to begin speaks more about the momentous, enjoyable nature of the series than anything I could put into print. To me, the fact that it mobilizes players from around the world to sit down and compete for weeks is what now most defines it as one of the premier annual poker championships.