Sunday, September 02, 2012

2012 WCOOP Begins Today at PokerStars

PokerStars' World Championship of Online PokerThe 2012 World Championship of Online Poker begins today on PokerStars. What began as a nine-tournament series back in 2002 has now grown to a massive 65-tournament schedule lasting over three weeks.

I was noting here last September when the WCOOP came around how it marked the first one in which Americans couldn’t participate, and was thus wondering how that might affect the popular online tournament series. Back in 2010 just over a third of the 141,126 entrants were from the U.S., with Americans winning 33 of the 62 events that year. Total prize money for those 62 events in 2010 was more than $63.1 million.

Last year there were again 62 events, and while the total number of entrants and the prize pools were indeed down without the Americans participating, the totals were still staggering. The guarantees were scaled back in anticipation of smaller fields, the series total going from $50 million guaranteed to $30 million. However, the tourneys still drew a total of 119,832 entrants, thus building prize pools exceeding $47.1 million.

In all players from 137 countries cashing in WCOOP events in 2011. Russia and Canada ended up seeing the most players enter, with each country comprising about 11% of the total entrants. And Russia took the most titles with 10, followed by the United Kingdom with eight.

When following some of the major tourneys on PokerStars such as the Super Tuesday or Sunday Million, I’ve noticed that Russia and Canada are being heavily represented in those tournaments, with the U.K., Costa Rica, Ukraine, and Mexico starting to come on as well.

For example, a couple of weeks ago there was a Super Tuesday (a $1,050 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament) which saw four players from Canada make the final table, two each from the U.K. and Costa Rica, and one from Ukraine. Four more from Canada made the Super Tuesday final table last week, too, as did Shaun Deeb playing from Mexico.

PokerStars' World Championship of Online PokerOf course, as Deeb’s example suggests, a lot of those players designated as being from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and elsewhere are in fact U.S. players who have relocated to play on PokerStars. I have been seeing a ton of tweets in my Twitter feed from U.S. players describing how they are traveling out of the country just for September in order to play the WCOOP.

The guarantees for the 2012 WCOOP again total $30 million, even with a few additional events to bring the total to 65. Have to believe that’s being conservative -- i.e., guarantees for most tourneys will surely be met, and the overall numbers will likely end up challenging last year’s totals.

Check the WCOOP site for the full schedule, including information about satellites. They will be running the always-entertaining WCOOP Radio show, too, with shows happening every day at 15:00 ET throughout the series.

Best of luck to those able to play. And for those who can’t (or even if you can), let me invite you to play in the Hard-Boiled Poker Home Game tonight on PokerStars, either in a 6-max NLHE tourney (at 20:00 ET) or a Razz one (at 21:00). It’s free to play -- check the sidebar for info on how to join my Home Game.

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