The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) starts again this week. It will be the 18th renewal of online poker’s most prestigious and best known tournament series — a festival that pre-dates even Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP victory from 2003. Here’s a quick guide to all you need to know about this year’s event.
This year’s WCOOP features 73 events, almost all of which have three distinct buy-in levels: low, medium and high. It means there will be 219 tournaments in all. PokerStars players of all abilities and bankrolls can therefore enter, with the lowest buy-in set at $2.20 (for WCOOP-1-L, the phased event) all the way up to $25,000 (for WCOOP-25-H NLHE High Roller). There are satellites running for all tournaments, including some freerolls.
Find the WCOOP tournaments in the client by clicking the red WCOOP 2019 tab (see screenshot). Satellites appear in the bar below.
Every tournament has a guaranteed prize-pool. It means that even if players’ combined entries do not reach that figure, PokerStars will add the extra money.
Most events are played over two days, which means around eight hours play on the first day, followed by play to the conclusion the next day. The notable exceptions are WCOOP-1, which is a phased tournament (see below) and WCOOP-70, which is the Main Event and played over three days (for the low buy-in) and four days (for the high buy-in).
Many events allow for a limited number of re-entries, so check the tournament lobby. All the structure information for a specific tournament, including starting chips, payout structure, re-entry details, can be found by clicking the “Structure” tab inside the specific tournament section in the client.
At least one tournament begins every day between September 5-23. Here are some highlights:
Sunday Sept. 22
NLHE Main Event
Buy-ins: $5,200 & $55
High ends Sept 25; Low ends Sept 24
Without question, the highlight of the schedule is the $5,200 Main Event, played over five days and which has a $10 million guaranteed prize pool. The winner will likely win more than $1 million.
Sunday Sept. 8
WCOOP-13-L – Right To Play Charity Event
This mini Sunday Million event benefits PokerStars’ charity partner Right To Play. All rake is donated to the charity, whose mission statement is to: “Protect, educate and empower children to rise above adversity using the power of play.”
Wednesday Sept. 11
WCOOP-25-H – High Roller
Buy-ins: $25,000, $2,100, $215
The high event represents the biggest buy-in of the series, with $25,000 required just to sit down. There are also two optional re-entries possible during the late registration period, so only those with the deepest pockets need apply. For the rest of us, it’s time to sit and watch some of the best in the world do battle.
WCOOP-1 – NLHE Phased
Buy-ins: $2.20, $22, $215
The first event on the schedule actually only plays to its winner on the final weekend. This is a “phased” tournament, permitting multiple entries to various “Phase 1” tournaments earlier in the series, with survivors qualifying for “Phase 2”, which then progresses to a winner as normal. It’s best to think of Phased tournaments like major live events, which have Day 1A, Day 1B, etc., combining for Day 2. The best thing about the WCOOP version is the number of runners, which is always enormous, and the gigantic prize-pools that result. There’s a $2 million guarantee on the $215 high buy-in and a $250,000 guarantee on the $2.20 buy-in event.
Look out for other special announcements due during the course of the series. Sometimes new events are added to the schedule.
Most tournaments are no limit hold’em, but the WCOOP schedule also offers a wide variety of other games. Here’s the breakdown of variants on offer:
No Limit Hold’em: 49 events (146 tournaments)
Pot limit Omaha (PLO): Events #3, #26, #37, #51, #71
No limit Omaha hi/lo: Events #18, #42 & #60
Pot limit Omaha hi/lo: Events #29, #47
Limit HORSE: Events #5 & #58
Limit 8-game: Events #32 & #66
Limit seven card stud hi/lo: Event #35
Limit badugi: Event #45
Limit hold’em: Event #21
Limit Omaha hi/lo: Event #56
Limit razz: Event #23
Limit triple draw 2-7 lowball: Event #49
No limit five-card draw: Event #9
No limit 6+ (short deck): Event #53
No limit single draw 2-7: Event #62
Pot limit five-card Omaha: Event #14
Also check for Progressive Knockout (PKO) events, where the prize pool is split between knockout bounties, earned for eliminating an opponent, and a regular prize pool.
No. of events: 73
No. of tournaments (inc. low, medium & high): 219
Lowest buy-in: $2.20 (WCOOP-1-L: Phase 1 NLHE)
Highest buy-in: $25,000 (WCOOP-25-H: $25,000 NLHE, $2m guaranteed)
Total series buy-in: $199,651
(Based on one entry, every tournament)
Lowest guarantee: $10,000
#45: $11 FL Badugi
#62: $11 NL 2-7 Single Draw
Highest guarantee: $10 million
#70: $5,200 NLHE Main Event
Total guaranteed: $76.375 million
PRIZES AND LEADER BOARDS
In addition to the top prizes on offer from the individual events, there are awards available for the players who perform best across the whole WCOOP series. Every in-the-money finish earns a number of tournament leader board (TLB) points, which accumulate throughout the three weeks.
The overall Player of the Series, who has accumulated the most TLB points across all buy-in levels, wins a WCOOP 2019 Player of the Series trophy and $20,000 cash.
There are also leader boards that determine top performers in Low, Medium and High buy-in events, with the top three finishers receiving prizes as follows:
Low Leader Board:
1st – Trophy, $3,500 cash
2nd – $1,500 cash
3rd – $1,000 cash
Medium Leader Board:
1st – Trophy, $5,000 cash
2nd – $2,500 cash
3rd – $1,500 cash
High Leader Board:
1st – Trophy, $7,500 cash
2nd – $5,000 cash
3rd – $2,500 cash
See the Player of the Year page for details of how TLB points are awarded.
The full WCOOP series has grown from nine events in 2002 to the 73 that are now on the schedule. But there’s always been a Main Event. Here’s a list of the winners of that most prestigious tournament — ie, the 17 previous World Champions of Online Poker. Click player’s name for tournament report of their victory.
|2017||2,183||$10,915,000||Steven “SvZff” van Zadelhoff||Netherlands||$1,624,502|
|2016||2,091||$10,052,879||Jonas “llJaYJaYll” Lauck||Germany||$1,517,541|
|2014||2,142||$10,710,000||Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz||Germany||$1,300,000|
|2012||1,825||$9,125,000||Marat “maratik” Sharafutdinov||Russia||$1,000,907|
|2011||1,627||$8,135,000||Thomas “Kallllle” Pedersen||Denmark||$1,260,018|
|2010||2,443||$12,215,000||Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks||USA||$2,278,097|
|2009||2,144||$10,720,000||Yevgeniy “Jovial Gent” Timoshenko||USA||$1,715,200|
|2008||2,185||$10,925,000||Carter “ckingusc” King||USA||$1,265,432|
|2006||2,510||$6,275,000||J.C. “area23JC” Tran||USA||$670,194|
|2004||843||$2,100,000||Edgar “Ragde” Skjervold||Norway||$424,945|
Main Event buy-in was $1,100 in 2002-03; $2,600 from 2004-07 and $5,300 thereafter.