The 2020 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) took place against a backdrop of global uncertainty. Almost every country in the world was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, and major poker events all shifted online. It meant that while live poker was practically non-existent, players were spoilt for choice with respect to the online game, and they never had a greater selection of games in which to invest their bankroll.
Even though it was far from certain how big the fields might be, WCOOP went ahead in its normal slot with its customary enormous guarantees across the series. In all, — totalling close to $82 million — and with $10 million in the prize pool for the $5,200 buy-in Main Event.
All is now done and dusted, and for the most part, the numbers were comparable with most successful poker series of all time. We didn’t quite hit the staggering totals of last year, but we were still looking at a $100 million three weeks.
Here’s a full statistical breakdown of the 2020 WCOOP, including a look at the overachievers, the underachievers and those who did exactly as we thought they might.
There were 75 events in this WCOOP, each comprising tournaments at three buy-in levels – low, medium and high. That meant a total 225 tournaments across WCOOP’s 25 days of play. That’s the most tournaments ever held during WCOOP, and six more than the series in 2019.
The total prize pools for the series came in at $99,945,229.85, just the narrowest whisker below $100 million, but beating the total from 2018 to make this the second biggest WCOOP by prize pool. Only last year’s series, where prizes hit $104,733,898.76, was bigger.
The series was also second-biggest in terms of entries, with the total hitting 1,120,910. That total includes all re-entries; the total of uniques was 958,717.
Here are those key stats, with 2019 and 2018 included for comparison:
Prize pools: $99,945,229.85
First prizes: $14,333,228.19 (inc. bounties)
In-the-money finishers: 158,851
Prize pools: $104,733,898.76
First prizes: $15,765,054.94
In-the-money finishers: 173,364
Prize pools: $99,559,391
First prizes: $15,112,664.08
In-the-money finishers: 150,239
Here are a further few numbers of note:
As always, the biggest prize pool came in the $5,200 Main Event, whose $10 million guarantee made certain that nothing was going to touch it. The number of entries for this one hit 1,977, which meant there was an overlay. However, WCOOP included a “medium” buy-in Main Event, at the $530 price point, for the first time, and its $2.5 million guarantee was obliterated. The $3,552,500 prize pool in that one made it the second biggest tournament of the series.
There were 23 tournaments with a prize pool of $1 million or more. Here are the top five:
$10 million: WCOOP-72-H: $5,200 Main Event
$3,552,500: WCOOP-72-M: $530 Main Event
$2,599,650: WCOOP-25-H: $25,000 NLHE Super High Roller Sunday Slam
$2,153,200: WCOOP-01-H: $215 NLHE Phased
$2 million: WCOOP-02-M: $1,050 NLHE PKO, Sunday Slam
It follows that the biggest prize pools tend to offer the biggest first prizes, and true to form the $5,200 Main Event paid the three players involved in the deal to end the tournament more than $1 million each. They were the three biggest prizes of anybody during the tournament series.
There were 36 tournaments whose winners took home a six-figure score. Here are the five biggest cheques awarded to winners during this WCOOP:
$1,147,270.86 — Andre “PTFisherman23” Marques, WCOOP-72-H: $5,200 Main Event
$543,685.63 — Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos, 25-H: $25,000 Super High Roller
$504,583.85 — 1mSoWeeeaK, WCOOP-72-M: $530 NLHE Main Event
$400,494.59 — Dimitar “KuuL” danchev, WCOOP-02-H: $10,300 PKO Sunday Slam
$283,368.15 — jedimaster82, 73-H: $10,300 PLO Main Event
It’s also customary that the biggest fields during major PokerStars series always accumulate for the “Phased” events, which run from before the series proper starts with multiple starting flights across the entire duration. This year was no exception to the existing rule either and there were a staggering 123,400 entries of $2.20 apiece to the “low” buy-in phase tournament. Here’s the top five events sorted by field size:
123,400 entries — WCOOP-01-L: $2.20 NLHE Phase
50,659 — WCOOP-01-M: $22 NLHE Phase
38,660 — WCOOP-72-L: $55 NLHE 8-Max, NLHE Main Event
28,031 — WCOOP-75-L: $11 NLHE 8-Max, PKO, Series Saver
25,922 — WCOOP-06-L: $5.50 NLHE 6-Max, PKO
Hold’em continues to be the runaway favourite game of most poker players with the top 62 slots, by number of entries, filled by no limit hold’em tournaments. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s all the weirdest variants that tend to appeal to the fewest players. If you want to win a WCOOP title next time, brush up on the following games. It’s where you stand the best chance. Here’s the bottom five events sorted by field size:
48 entries — WCOOP-22-H: $1,050 NL 5-Card Draw
65 — WCOOP-45-H: $1,050 FL Badugi 6-Max
67 — WCOOP-69-H: $10,300 8-Game High Roller
68 — WCOOP-57-H: $2,100 FL 2-7 Triple Draw
74 — WCOOP-09-H: $1,050 NL 2-7 Single Draw
There were no hyper-turbo events on this year’s WCOOP schedule, which meant no repeat of the two-hour blast-a-thons of previous years, where tens of thousands of dollars have been won in the time it took to write that sentence. Instead, the quickest events this year were the Sunday Cooldowns, which were played as turbos. None took less time to complete than Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos’ triumph in WCOOP-28-H, where the Spanish superstar wrapped up a win worth $80,211.93 in four hours and 14 minutes. Here are the quickest five events this time around:
4hrs 14mins: WCOOP-28-H: $2,100 Sunday Cooldown
4hrs 15mins: WCOOP-12-H: $530 NLHE Heads-Up, Progressive Total KO
5hrs 11mins: WCOOP-51-H: $530 NLHE Sunday Cooldown SE
5hrs 11mins: WCOOP-74-H: $1,050 NLHE Sunday Cooldown SE
5hrs 36mins: WCOOP-12-M: $55 NLHE Heads-Up, Progressive Total KO
There are always a decent handful of players who win more than one title during WCOOP, especially so since the series brought in three buy-in levels. We’ve also grown accustomed to one or two players winning more than two. This year, we saw two triple champions — Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins and Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes — but an unprecedented 18 double champions. That kind of thing has never been done before. Here are those multiple champions in full:
Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins
WCOOP-20-H: $1,050 HORSE
WCOOP-48-H: $5,200 NLHE Sunday Slam
WCOOP-09-H: $1,050 NL 2-7 Single Draw
Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes
45-L: $11 FL Badugi 6-Max
49-M: $215 NLO8 6-Max, PKO
09-L: $11 NL 2-7 Single Draw
Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos (UK)
Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna (Finland)
Dante “dantegoyaF” Goya (Brazil)
Noah “Exclusive” Boeken (Netherlands)
Niklas “Lena900” Astedt (Sweden)
Markku “markovitsus” Koplimaa (Estonia)
Murilo “Muka82” Figuiredo (Brazil)
Viktor “papan9_p$” Ustimov (Russia)
Andras “probirs” Nemeth (Hungary)
Rafael “pycadasgalax” Furlanetto (Brazil)
Ricardo “RRagazzo” Ragazzo (Brazil)
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin (Russia)
This year’s Player of the Series race was pretty much a ding-dong battle between two WCOOP superstars: Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins and Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin. Both made their mark on the opening weekend of the series and ended it with five titles between them, and with Lyapin pipping Martins to the overall Player of the Series title. Each of them made seven final tables, which explains just how come they were so dominant. Last year’s Player of the Series Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna also made seven finals this time around and ended up winning the medium level leader board this time. Here are the players who seemed to be always going deep:
Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin
Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna
Mike “SirWatts” Watson
Ludovic “ludovi333” Geilich
Joao “Naza114” Vieira
Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi
Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes
Niklas “Lena900” Astedt
Noah “Exclusive” Boeken
Luke “lb6121” Schwartz
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin was a worthy Player of the Series, even though he “only” won two events. Lyapin also finished runner up in three more, and so was heads-up for a remarkable five titles. Only Denis “aDrENalin710” Strebkov has done that kind of thing before. It’s a good indication of how variance affects even the top players, however, to note that Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara was heads up for three events during this WCOOP. But he won none. Here’s a look at WCOOP’s bridesmaids:
Three-times runner ups (no wins):
Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara
Twice a runner-up (no wins):
Konstantin “krakukra” Maslak (Russia)
Steve “Mr. Tim Caum” O’Dwyer (Ireland)
Mike “SirWatts” Watson (Canada)
Champions who also came second:
(one win and one runner-up unless otherwise stated)
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin (two wins; three runner-ups)
Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins (three wins; one runner up)
Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser
Brunno “botteonpoker” Botteon
Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna (two wins; one runner up
Muka82 (two wins; one runner up)
Brazilians best at coming second too
Our daily updates from WCOOP kept tabs on the race for the best performing country. That particular leader board was won by Brazil, who picked up 35 titles, with the UK and Russia tied in second with 33 apiece. Brazilians were also best at coming second. There were 33 tournaments in which Brazilian players came second, ahead again of Russia (25) and the UK (22).
Last year, Canadians pulled off a rather unhappy record when they won 13 tournaments but came second in a remarkable 30. Sorry to say, the heads-up game hasn’t got much better. This time Canadians won only nine titles, but finished second in 16 tournaments.
The other nation who might want to make bridesmaiding a nation sport is Austria, whose players won five events but finished second in 12.
Number of runner-up finishes:
33 – Brazil
25 – Russia
22 – UK
17 – Germany
16 – Canada
12 – Austria
9 – Finland
8 – Netherlands
7 – Ukraine, Hungary
6 – Romania, Poland
5 – Sweden
4 – Mexico, Malta, Greece
3 – Argentina, Estonia, Japan, Ireland, Latvia
2 – Andorra, Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Serbia, Norway, Lithuania
1 – Armenia, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Vietnam, Slovenia, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Cambodia, Bulgaria.
Additionally: Brazilians pulled off one of only two clean sweeps of the podium places during this WCOOP. Brazilians in fact occupied places one through four in WCOOP-47-L – a $22 freezeout.
The only other 1-2-3 went to the UK in WCOOP-13-H, the $1,050 Midweek Freeze.
Fifty-three tournaments ended in a deal, including twice where five players had to come to an agreement. Here’s a list of how many players were involved when prize money was chopped:
Four-way: Six times
Three-way: 17 times
Heads-up: 28 times
Four bounty tournaments ended in a deal for the main prize pool.