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WCOOP Surpases $10 Million Mark

dollar.bmpThe World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP) cash prizes exceeded the guaranteed prize of $10 million with four tournaments remaining, putting the online poker room on pace to hand out nearly $20 million.

More than 23,000 players have competed in the series so far, making it the largest online tournament series ever.

The series has also seen its first repeat winners. Spawng, a 2005 WCOOP bracelet winner, won the 2006 No-Limit Hold’em Match Play Event # 4, while kwob20 won two events this year, grabbing titles in Omaha High-Low and Seven-Card Stud High-Low tournaments.

      WCOOP Series History
2006 – Through 12 Events (18 Total - $10 million guaranteed)
Players: 20,830
Prize Pool: $9,583,000
2005 – 15 Events - $8 million guaranteed
Players: 19,727
Prize Pool: $12,783,900

2004 – 12 Events - $3.9 guaranteed
Players: 10,085
Prize Pool: $6,002,300

2003 – 11 Events – No guarantee
Players: 6,796
Prize Pool: $2,716,100

2002 – 9 Events – No guarantee
Players: 2,452
Prize Pool: $799,050

With four events remaining, including the $3 million guaranteed Main Event, the WCOOP has easily become the premier online series and has participation and prize numbers comparable to the world’s largest live or online tournaments.

“The WCOOP grows every year,” said Poker Stars Director of Communication Nolan Dalla. “A few years ago, the WCOOP was the fourth-largest poker tournament overall in the world (behind only the World Series of Poker, World Poker Open, and LA Poker Classic), and was on the verge of becoming the second-largest in terms of player numbers and prize money. At the end of this year’s event, we will have updated figures and see if the WCOOP is second only to the WSOP. It will be close.”

One unique element of the series and other major online tournaments is the ability to make final table deals. In large live tournaments like the WSOP and the WPT, players battle it out until the end, earning their prizes based solely on how they finish. At the WCOOP, players are allowed to make deals for the final table prize pool with a stipulation that $10,000-to-$20,000 be left on the table for the winner. In 2006, nearly every final table has seen a deal, with one event evenly splitting the pot six-ways.

“We believe that this tournament belongs to the players. It is their money,” Dalla said. “They are free to make their own decisions and make deals. However, we do require that players leave a certain amount of prize money in the pool when competing for first-place. This is necessary to protect the integrity of the WCOOP championships. The winner will have earned the title.”

In addition to the lucrative prize money, event winners receive a 14-Karat gold bracelet. Dalla said the bracelet is the online version of poker’s most prestigious land-based trophy.

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