Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Big Money

Utterly fatigued today after sitting up until nearly dawn here on the east coast following the conclusion of the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event on PokerStars. Was a marathon final table lasting more than four hours and finally concluding with three German players -- PlayinWasted (who won), Daniel “Allanon85” Drescher, and SwissCantMis -- chopping at the end, all of whom took away more than a million dollars from the $5,200 buy-in event. Meawhile PokerStars Team Online member and blogger Shane “shaniac” Schleger took sixth in the event to earn a nifty $291K-plus payday.

The WCOOP Main Event has genuinely become one of the most significant poker tourneys during the calendar year, if one considers the attention it receives, the prestige given to those who do well in it, and, of course, the money. The big, big money.

This year 2,133 entered to create a prize pool of $10,665,000. The buy-in for the WCOOP ME has remained steady over the last few years, with the prize pool peaking back in the last pre-Black Friday year of 2010 at $12,215,000 when Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks won an incredible $2,278,097.50 first prize when there was no final table deal.

In 2011 the WCOOP ME prize pool dipped to $8,135,000, then increased to $9,125,000 in 2012. This year it again topped the $10 milly mark, and like most other online tournament series on PokerStars the overall numbers are edging back toward (or even surpassing) the pre-2011 totals when Americans could play on the site.

Over on Wikipedia one can find a list ranking the largest ever poker tournaments (by prize pool). The list looks reasonably well maintained (although I haven’t tried to verify its accuracy).

Of the 30 tournaments listed, the last 10 World Series of Poker Main Events crowd the top part of the list. The 2003 WSOP ME won by Chris Moneymaker doesn’t make the list, as its total prize pool was “only” $7,802,700.

Meanwhile the 2008-2010 WCOOP Main Events sneak into the bottom part of the list. This 2013 WCOOP Main Event should earn a spot on there as well just behind those earlier WCOOP MEs. That’ll make six online events among the top 30 of all time.

How big can the WCOOP Main Event and/or other online tournaments get? It appears their potential for further growth is less limited than that of live events, although it doesn’t seem as though an online tourney could ever reach the heights of the biggest WSOP MEs with prize pools these days usually around $60 million. (The biggest ever in 2006 was $82,512,162.)

Was reading David Schwartz's article a couple of days ago in which he looked back five years to “The Day Wall Street Went Bust” and snuck in a subtle allusion to a Rush song along the way. And so with Rush on the brain -- and big money -- I much more lazily titled this post. Hey... I said I was tired.

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