Online poker’s largest tournament series returned on Sunday, September 4th, as the 14th annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) kicked off on PokerStars.
The schedule – which runs through Monday, September 26th – features 82 individual tournaments across almost every poker discipline, including Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), H.O.R.S.E., Razz, Badugi, and of course, No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE).
The buy-ins for the WCOOP range from $109 to $2,100 in most cases, and because PokerStars designs series to be accessible for recreational players as well as professionals, satellite qualifiers are running around the clock to provide discounted entries.
Even better for low-stakes grinders, PokerStars also runs the highly popular Mini-WCOOP series concurrently to the main WCOOP schedule. Every day players can take part in a mirror schedule of the same exact events, which are priced much lower between $1.10 and $11, with a $50 Main Event.
The primary 2016 WCOOP schedule also features a few events with much higher stakes, catering to the high-roller crowd of elite pros and well-heeled amateurs.
On Saturday, September 10th the game’s most proficient heads-up specialists will compete for one of the most coveted WCOOP crowns in Event #23: $10,300 NLHE High-Roller Heads-Up. In this event, players compete one-on-one in a single-elimination bracket, with the field whittled down during each round until only two competitors remain.
Other high-roller WCOOP events at the $10,300 price point include Event #53: NLHE Eight-Handed on Sunday, September 18th, which offers a $2 million guaranteed prize pool, and Event #74: Eight-Game Mix Championship, with a $500,000 guarantee, beginning on Saturday, September 24th.
Another high-roller event offers PLO players a shot at the big bucks, as Event #70: $21,000 PLO Six-Handed with a $500,000 guarantee gets started on Friday, September 23rd.
But the biggest game on the schedule, and indeed, the largest online poker tournament in history, begins on Sunday, September 11th. Event #28 boasts a whopping $102,000 buy-in, making the NLHE Eight-Handed Super High-Roller the most expensive online poker tournament ever held. With a massive $2 million guaranteed prize pool, many of the most accomplished players on the planet have already ponied up six-figures to secure their seat.
The field for the $102,000 Super High-Roller event is a star-studded affair, with 2014 WCOOP Main Event champion and Global Poker Index top-ranked pro Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz joining fellow legends like Jason Mercier, Phil “RaiseOnce” Ivey, Ben “Ben86” Tollerene, Mike “Timex” McDonald, and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.
A pair of PokerStars Team Pros in Mercier and Jason “JCarver” Somerville have announced their intention to live stream their progress in the Super High-Roller event. Both players will have their hole cards exposed, with a brief delay of course, for the public to follow along via their respective Twitch channels.
Along with the novelty of the world’s biggest buy-in online tournament, WCOOP also includes the “holy grail” of the virtual felt. Event #78, the $5,000 NLHE Main Event – which starts on Sunday, September 25th – features a massive $10 million guaranteed prize pool, and at least $1.5 million guaranteed to the eventual champion.
Last year a Belgian player using the screen name “Coenaldinho7” took down top honors as WCOOP Main Event champion, earning $1.3 million for defeating a field of nearly 2,000 players.