WCOOP prize pools to hit $1 billion during 2021 series

August 03, 2021inPoker

It’s the 20th edition of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on PokerStars this year, and the series will hit an incredible landmark as it plays out.

At some point during the 2021 series, which begins later this month, total prize pools through 20 years of WCOOP will hit a staggering $1 billion.

After analysing the stats through the first 19 years of WCOOP, it came to light that WCOOP tournaments have so far awarded $972,894,033 in prizes. The guaranteed prize pool for the 2021 series is $100 million, meaning we are certain to pass the $1 billion mark in the early stages of the latest renewal.

The full details of the 2021 schedule will be announced soon. The series is due to run from Sunday August 22 through Wednesday September 15.

The key stats for WCOOP tournaments through the first 19 years are as follows:

Tournaments: 1,433
Entries: 5,194,981
Prize pools: $972,894,032
Winners’ prizes: $149,128,829

Notes: Rebuys are not counted; re-entries are. First-place prizes include bounty payments and/or totals adjusted after player-negotiated deals.

For the first time, the results for all 1,433 tournaments played under the WCOOP banner are now available in the same place. CLICK FOR WCOOP RESULTS 2002-2020


The first edition of WCOOP, held during the infancy of online poker in 2002, featured only nine events and awarded prize pools of $799,150. The series grew steadily through the next 14 years and, by 2016, there were 82 tournaments on the schedule and total prize pools of $68,569,327.

A WCOOP final table from 2005

During this period, tournament buy-ins typically started at $215 and went all the way up to $5,000, marking the series as exclusively for those with a big bankroll, or who could satellite in.

A WCOOP bracelet was seen as the most prestigious prize to be had in the world of online tournament poker.

In 2017, WCOOP expanded to include 82 “low” buy-in versions of most events, opening up the world of WCOOP to players on a smaller budget. The number of entries soared from 122,310 in 2016 to 662,529 one year later, as the series now featured 165 tournaments. Total prize pools hit $91,433,722.

The following year, all WCOOP events (with the exception of the Main Event) had three entry points: low, medium and high, bringing WCOOP in line with its springtime cousin, the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). Entry numbers broke the 1 million mark for the first time, and the number of tournaments has steadily increased since then.

In 2019, total prize pools for a single series eclipsed $100 million for the first time.



Kyle Bowker: One of WCOOP’s earliest stars

In 2006, a player known only as “spawng“, from Canada, became the first player to win a second WCOOP title, adding victory in a $215 No Limit Texas Hold’em Match Play tournament to his or her success in a $530 Pot Limit Omaha event from one year earlier. Not long afterwards, Kyle “kwob20” Bowker, of the United States, became the first person to win two WCOOP titles in the same year, finishing first in the $530 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and the $530 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo.

Since then, 145 players have now won at least two WCOOP titles, and 56 players have won more than one in a single series.

Denis “aDrENalin710” Strebkov stands tall above both these lists. The Russian player’s NINE WCOOP career titles is more than any other player, and his incredible series of 2018, in which he won FIVE tournaments is also a record.

The standout performers are:

Denis Strebkov: WCOOP’s leading light

9 titles: Denis “aDrENalin710” Strebkov — Russia

8: Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb — USA/Mexico

6: Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes — Norway

Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna — Finland
Dzmitry “Colisea” Urbanovich — Latvia/Poland
Dan “djk123” Kelly — USA/Malta/Australia
Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko — Russia
nilsef — Germany

Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos — UK
Noah “Exclusive” Boeken — Netherlands
Joao “Naza114” Vieira — Netherlands/UK
Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins — Brazil
Gleb “Ti0373” Tremzin — Russia

Twenty-one players have three titles; 111 have two.



The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) began when players from the United States were still able to play on PokerStars, and Americans dominated the early series. In fact, of the 65 WCOOP tournaments played through the series’ first five years, Americans won 46 of them.

Shaun Deeb: Started in the USA before moving to Mexico to play

The success of online poker spread rapidly across the world over the next 15 years, even as American players had to head overseas to play, and WCOOP champions have now come from 67 countries, including such diverse locations as the Faroe Islands, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Russia now tops the all-time countries leader board, with 156 titles, ahead of the UK’s 144. Brazil are the leading online tournament nation these days, but there was not a Brazilian WCOOP winner until 2009 and Brazilians only won 12 titles between 2002-2016.

In the four years since then, Brazilians have added a further 102 titles and sit tied fourth on the WCOOP countries leader board, alongside Canada.

Here’s where the titles have headed over the years:

156 titles – Russia
144 – UK
136 – USA
114 – Brazil, Canada
87 – Germany
67 – Netherlands
52 – Sweden
48 – Finland
41 – Austria, Norway
39 – Mexico
33 – Poland
27 – Ukraine
26 – Hungary
22 – Romania
18 – Denmark, Bulgaria
17 – Lithuania
14 – Belgium
13 – Argentina, Australia
12 – Ireland, Malta
11 – Belarus, Greece
10 – Czech Republic
9 – Latvia, Uruguay
8 – Chile, Costa Rica
7 – Croatia, Cyprus
6 – Estonia, France, Switzerland
5 – Japan, Taiwan
4 – China, Lebanon, Slovakia
3 – Georgia, Luxembourg, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand
2 – Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ecuador, Israel, Macau, Moldova, Morocco, Panama, Serbia, Slovenia
1 – Colombia, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Philippines, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE.

Notes: “Country” is defined as the country where a winning player’s account was registered at the time of the victory, rather than the nationality of the player themselves. Players from the United States were eligible until 2010. Players from Spain, France and Portugal also no longer play on .com site.


WCOOP has always been PokerStars’ flagship tournament series, and PokerStars Blog has watched it closely from the outset. To date, and through at least four blog relaunches and redesigns, we have published more than 1,350 articles about WCOOP — all of which you can still read.

To get you started, here’s a full report from the final table of Event #1 in 2005, where “Snow Leopard” of Downey, CA, won his only WCOOP title. After that, explore our FULL ARCHIVE OF WCOOP REPORTS.

We will bring you daily updates from this year’s WCOOP, detailing all the significant results, alongside interviews with the winners.


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