Since its inception in 2002, the World Championship of Online Poker's numbers have been eye popping. Sure, the $799,050 total prize pool of the nine events making up the inaugural WCOOP doesn't seem all that impressive considering that on Sunday there were two individual events that more than doubled that total sum. However, allow me to pose the question -- where were you when the 2002 WCOOP was running? I was just starting my senior year of high school and couldn't tell you the difference between a full house and a flush.
Fast forward 10 years to the present day and the WCOOP is as strong as ever, all things considered. While it is a long shot that the massive $63,157,150 total prize pool of 2010 will be matched (pre Black Friday), all signs point to the $47,120,800 total prize pool of 2011 being surpassed. There are three extra tournaments on the 2012 docket, yes, but a breakdown of the individual tournament numbers thus far shows more gains than losses in terms of entries.
Among the biggest gains was an event that helped kick things off on Day 1 of the 2012 WCOOP. Event #2, which was essentially the Sunday Million morphed into a WCOOP event, drew 10,608 players. Last year's version of the event attracted 10,107 entrants. With 501 more players registered, an extra $100,200 in prize money compared to last year's numbers was no doubt a good way to get the ball rolling.
Helping out most overall, though, are the bigger buy-in tournaments. Two $1,050 buy-in events have taken place and both have seen bigger numbers than their 2011 counterparts. It's important to note that both events offered a $750,000 guarantee, up from the $600,000 guarantees from last year. Still, the 2011 guarantees were smashed and this year was no different. The first of the $1,050's gained 337 players while the second picked up 276. That's an increase of $612,000 compared to last year.
The bulk of the increase has come from the high-roller events. It started with Event #22, the $10,300 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller. In 2011, this event ran on Day 1 and drew 200 players. This time around it wasn't played until the second weekend, but it gained 97 entries and $970,000 to the prize pool (just about the sum of the first and second-place prizes). The second high-roller event ran this past weekend and was a $10,300 heads-up affair. Last year's field of 32 players was doubled to 64 and $320,000 extra to the prize pool came as a result (again, just shy of the total of first and second place).
Through 44 events, more than $32,243,000 has been awarded in prize money, on pace to top last year's total. Still on the WCOOP agenda during its final week is the $10,300 8-Game High Roller and of course, the $5,200 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event. There is little reason to doubt that both of these events will also see a rise in participation. As the 2012 chapter of the WCOOP nears its end, things are certainly on the uptick.