The PokerStars World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP) got off to the best possible start last night – smashing all the guaranteed prize funds long before registration closed on the first three events. Possibly concerned about the lack of players from the States following Black Friday, PokerStars had reduced their guaranteed prize funds from those on offer in 2010, but will be delighted by the response from the rest of the world.
WCOOP 1 – 6 Max NL Hold´em
This two day event was guaranteed for $1 million but when registrations closed, 7,500 players had either qualified through online satellites or made the $200.00 + $15.00 buy-in making a total prize pool of $1.5 million. When play resumes today, UK poker player Liv Boeree will be among the 37 players left who will be competing for the $225,000 first prize. Vicky Coren would have given Liv some fearful female competition, but was eliminated in 325th for $585.00, having hit a set of 9s and still coming third in a race – poker can be a cruel game.
WCOOP 2 – High Roller NL Hold´em
200 players paid the $10,000 + $300 entry into the High Rollers event- creating a prize fund of $2 million and smashing the $1.25 million guarantee. Among them were UK poker players JP Kelly (cashed in 18th for $25,000) and John Duthie (fresh from his success at the British Poker Awards), WSOP 2011 bracelet winners Bertrand Grospelier and Max Lykov and well known Canadians Jonathan Duhamel and Daniel Negreanu (now playing under the pseudonym of “Kid Poker (Canada)”.
Ash Mason Wins first WCOOP Bracelet
After 16 hours of play, the three-way final table consisted of UK poker players Ash “DYBYDX” Mason and a $30.00 qualifier, “xraypies”, against American-turned-Canadian poker player – Kevin “ImaLuckSac” MacPhee. With two-thirds of the chips on the table, Mason bossed the other two players – taking out MacPhee first of all to make an all-UK Heads-Up and then capturing the $430,000 first prize and first championship bracelet of the series when his K♠ 4♣ was too good for xraypies´ Q♦ 7♠ on a board which ran J♠ 4♦ 2♣ / 10♣ / J♦.
WCOOP 3 – No Limit Hold´em
Event 3 of the World Championship of Online Poker saw the biggest entry to date. This tournament is also a two day event and saw 10107 enter for the $1.5 million guaranteed championship – creating a prize fund of more than $2 million. After nearly fifteen hours of play, German player “ChiphunterTH” leads the field with 5,003,166 – more than four times the average. Categorised by Poker-Edge as a “blue fish” and not even ranked on P5 or Sharkscope, ChiphunterTH demonstrates that paying for poker tracking software is a complete waste of money!
Future WCOOP Events
The WCOOP continues until the Sunday September 25th, when the $5 million guaranteed Main Event becomes the focal point of the tournament series. The $5,000 buy-in is a big ask for many recreational poker players, but there are still plenty of qualifying tournaments available on the PokerStars web site. You can see the full PokerStars 2011 WCOOP schedule here, and if you do not already have a PokerStars account click here to download the free software and benefit from a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $600.00 PLUS a change to enter the most lucrative online poker tournaments in the world.