Sunday, May 06, 2012

PokerStars’ 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker Starts Today

Spring Championship of Online PokerAs evidenced by all of the excited tweets in my timeline this morning, PokerStars’ 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker kicks off in just a couple of hours.

Am recalling that feeling back in early September 2011 when the first World Championship of Online Poker (the WCOOP) without Americans got going on PokerStars. Feeling a little bit of the same there’s-a-party-happening-and-we’re-not-invited vibe, I guess, although not as strongly as before.

The SCOOP, of course, is the one with three separate tournaments -- “low,” “medium,” and “high” stakes -- for each event. Event No. 1, a six-handed no-limit hold’em event, starts in about an hour with $22, $215, and $2,100 buy-ins. A little later today comes Event No. 2, a full-ring NLHE event, featuring the same buy-ins.

There are a total of 40 events scheduled, meaning 120 tournaments altogether, culminating in the big Main Event on May 20. Several of the tourneys are scheduled as two-day tournaments, and even the one-day tourneys look as though they’ll be attracting big fields and thus go on for many, many hours.

The overall guaranteed prize pool for the all of the 2012 SCOOP events totals $30 million. The 2011 series -- which happened just a few weeks after Black Friday -- had 114 total tourneys the prize pools for which added up to $43,165,800.

The 2011 SCOOP did feel the hit of Black Friday somewhat, as the previous year saw $63,802,405 in prize money awarded in 114 tourneys. The series began in 2009 when just 22 events (66 tourneys) were played with the prize pools adding up to $38,324,830.

A little over half of the SCOOP events are no-limit hold’em only, but all other games are in the mix as well, including stud, stud/8, Omaha/8, PLO, PLO/8, triple draw 2-7, razz, five-card draw, Badugi, and the mixed events (8-game, H.O.R.S.E.).

For a lot of non-Americans -- as well as those “expats” currently living abroad in order to play at PokerStars -- the SCOOP has become not just an important part of the online poker tourney calendar, but a meaningful warm-up for the World Series of Poker, too.

The WSOP continues to distinguish itself by including so many non-hold’em tourneys on the schedule, and for a lot of players getting to jump into some large field non-hold’em events with big prize pools during SCOOP provides a needed tune-up in those other games.

Can’t play myself, of course, although I’ll be following a lot of what happens with SCOOP over the next couple of weeks. I’m guessing those guarantees will probably be exceeded in most if not all 120 of the events this time around. Will be doing a bit of reporting on SCOOP here and there as well. Kind of a tune-up of my own, I suppose, as the plan is for me to be back in Vegas and reporting from the World Series of Poker this summer (more on that to come).

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