With the imminent return of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), it’s time to take a look at some of the special promotions this year — including the now-traditional Player of the Series leader boards which offer a remarkable $100,000 in added value.It’s only fitting that there’s such a huge sum available in leader board prizes. As you may have read, this is the biggest WCOOP ever held, with 306 tournaments and $100 million guaranteed. The Player of the Series will be the star of the biggest show in town. And that player will get $25,000. They will have earned it.
That $25K will go to the player who accumulates the most leader board points across the entire series, be it in low, medium or high buy-in events. As usual, points are awarded according to a pre-published schedule, full details of which can be found on the official WCOOP Player of the Series page.
The short version is that all tournament winners, in any of the events, earn 100 leader board points. Second place always gets 80 points. Everyone who cashes in any event gets at least five points, but the exact award is determined by the number of players at a table (nine-handed down to heads-up) and the size of the field.
Last year, Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin was Player of the Series, earning 1,265 points through the series. He won 400 points in “high” buy-in tournaments, 520 in “medium” buy-ins and 345 in “low” events. That distribution of points shows what’s necessary to claim these honours: a commitment to playing all levels, and playing them well.Back in 2013, we caught up with Norway’s Yngve “Sykoen” Steen, who won the WCOOP Player of the Series award that year. Steen gave us a candid insight into what it takes to come out on top of this gruelling marathon. “Your life is on hold,” Steen said. “You can’t do anything else. You sleep and play and eat.” Steen had alarms set on his iPhone for the beginning of every event, and had to come from 100 points behind on the final weekend to claim top spot.
The prize in 2013 was a 2014 PCA package, a 2014 TCOOP Main Event ticket, a 2014 SCOOP Main Event ticket and a 2014 WCOOP Main Event ticket, which was worth $25K. These days the prizes are paid in cash.
Don’t think you need to dedicate your entire life to WCOOP in order to win anything, however. There’s more than just the solitary Player of the Series title. Each of the low, medium and high levels have their own leader board, which offer their own set of prizes as follows:
1st — $15,000
2nd — $10,000
3rd — $5,000
1st — $10,000
2nd — $7,500
3rd — $5,000
4th — $2,500
5th — $1,500
6th-10th — $1,000
1st — $5,000
2nd — $2,500
3rd — $1,500
4th — $1,000
5th — $500
6th-10th — $300
11th-20th — $150
Quickly doing the math: that’s $30,000 available in the high leader board, $31,500 in the medium and $13,500 in the low. Add that to the $25,000 prize for the overall champion and we have our $100,000 in added money.
Of course, anyone cashing in an event also gets the money from the regular prize pool. The leader board points are simply in addition to the normal payout. And the Player of the Series isn’t always the player who wins the most titles. Steen didn’t win a single tournament when he locked up Player of the Series in 2013, and neither did the Players of the Series in 2010 (James “Andy McLEOD” Obst) or 2014 (Alan “Mr Negreanu” Gold). The year Shaun Deeb won Player of the Series, he “only” won one of his eight career successes.
This is a race we’ll follow closely throughout the series as it inevitably twists and turns. Lyapin will again be the favourite as he managed to follow up his WCOOP Player of the Series title in 2020 with the same accolade during this year’s Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). That was an incredible achievement, and we know he’ll be aiming to make it three in a row.
The Player of the Series race first featured during the 2009 WCOOOP and has been won by some of the online game’s absolute greats. Here’s the full list, including the number of titles they won in the year they topped the WCOOP leader board. (Note: many of these players have won other titles in other years too.)
There are a number of other promotions running this year offering the chance for you to play WCOOP for far less than the published buy-in.
The $750,000 WCOOP Ticket Machine, for instance, offers all players the chance to win bonus free WCOOP tickets every day from August 23-September 13.
After opting into the promotion, if you play any WCOOP event, your name is put into one of three prize draws, for low, medium and high buy-ins. The draws take place at midnight ET, and the winners receive a ticket into another WCOOP event.
The prizes include two WCOOP Main Event tickets every day.
There are $750,000 worth of free tickets available via the Ticket Machine, awarded entirely at random to eligible players.
WCOOP entries are also on offer in special WCOOP Spin & Go’s, with buy-ins of $4 and $22. As is always the case with Spin & Go’s, you don’t know the prize pool when you sit down, but there could be a very pleasant surprise when the big wheel spins.
Added prizes include $5,200 Main Event entry tickets (at both the $4 and the $22 buy-in games), and tickets worth everything from $11 through to $215. The odds of hitting one of these spins are all published, alongside the T&Cs, on the main WCOOP page.
There’s a further $50,000 in tournament tickets available in the WCOOP Champions Invitational Freeroll — although you need to be a member of a rather exclusive club to have a chance in this one.
All players who won a WCOOP tournament in 2020 are invited to play this exclusive freeroll, with the top 10 finishers getting a $5,200 buy-in to the WCOOP-H Main Event this time around. That’s a pretty sweet deal for anyone who proved their mettle last time around.