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WCOOP: Locked and loaded

Team PokerStars Pro and 2005 World Series of Poker champion Joe Hachem doesn't mince words. He tells you what he thinks, no matter whether he thinks you'll agree. On the subject of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, however, it seems unlikely anyone is going to disagree with the Aussie.

"I have been playing the WCOOP since its inception," he said. "I look forward to these online tournaments on PokerStars," he said.

It's an understatement of Aussie proportions, but it's what just about everybody in the online poker world is thinking tonight.

In less than 24 hours, the 2008 WCOOP will kick off. Friday hosts two events. The first, a $215 No-Limit Hold'em six-handed tournament starts at 14:30 ET and carries a $1 million guarantee. Two hours later at 16:30, PokerStars will host a $215 Pot-Limit Five-Card Draw event with a $100,000 guarantee. Get the full schedule for the 33-tournament series on the PokerStars WCOOP homepage.

"I am psyched!" said 2004 WSOP champ Greg Raymer. "Last year, I had a great run in one event, and came out victorious with a win the $300 w/ rebuy PLO tournament. I am hoping to do so again."

This year is not your average WCOOP. PokerStars is guaranteeing at least $30 million in prize money over the two and half weeks of tournaments. What's more, tournament organizers have added new events this year, including some big high-roller events with event buy-ins as high as $10,000 and $25,000.

"These should be great events," Raymer said, "and even if they're over your budget, they will be a lot of fun to watch."

Included among the new tournaments on the schedule is a brand new 8-Game Mixed extravaganza that has poker purists frothing at the mouth.

"What I like the most is the different kinds of poker," said Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravcheko. "I believe that poker is not only No-Limit Holdem and it’s very important to develop different games."

With the improvements in WCOOP will come improvements in the coverage of the event. The PokerStars Blog will be staffed by more than a dozen of the world's top bloggers and offer beginning to end coverage of every event. PokerStars Live Stream will be offering audio commentary on several big events and PokerStars.tv will have highlights from more than half of the tournaments.

Wanna a taste of what you'll see? This is a recent Sunday Million highlight show.


Watch Pokerstars Sunday Million on PokerStars.tv

Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes, never one to get easily excited, is jumping out of his seat in anticipation. "WCOOP is the time of year when I am really happy that internet exists. All the thrills and pleasures that the WSOP gives us playing live poker are moved to the internet!"

In terms of online poker history, WCOOP has a legacy all its own. For instance, do you know who has the most cashes of any WCOOP player in history? That would be Scott "emptyseat88" Fischman, with 16 WCOOP in-the-money finishes. How about the two players who hold two WCOOP bracelets? That's spawng and kwob20. Want more stats? You can find most all of them at the WCOOP Stats page.

Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson sums it up best. He said:

"The World Championships of Online Poker is the pinnacle of my year in online poker. These tournaments are the year's highlight for every ambitious online poker player. Offering a myriad of games and entry fees, the WCOOP has something for everybody. The WCOOP is really an exciting time. Last year in one of the H.O.R.S.E. events, I was down to something like 143 chips. I went on an unbelievable rush and wound up making the final table! This was the biggest comeback of my careeer. I'm really focused for this year's festival which features some incredible events. Simply put, the WCOOP just can't be missed."

That just about says it all. For everything else, join us back here Friday at 14:30 for the kickoff of the 2008 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker.

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