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The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) has been running since 2002 and has grown to be the biggest and richest online tournament series the world has ever seen. Heat in poker world is just another synonym for the mouth-watering international online buffet, with the WCOOP 2017, which is just around a fortnight away.
The largest, richest and most eagerly anticipated online poker series in the world is finally on our doorsteps with the highs and lows of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) but a fading memory (and green or red number on bankroll ledgers). The series is all set to put the virtual felts on fire and is slated to run between September 3-26.
Last year was a record breaking edition for the series with a total of $73,504,875 being awarded across 82 breath-taking events which was a record for total WCOOP prize money till then.
This year, the online giant decided to introduce a few major changes to the WCOOP. These include:
Get Low Events
The biggest change this year will be the addition of a Low tier which replaces last year's mini-WCOOP. WCOOP Low features buy-ins approximately 1/20th the size of their High counterparts with over $11,000,000 in guaranteed prizes. The addition was made for players whose bankroll may not support playing the High buy-in events.
Must Play Satellite Tickets
One of the biggest changes this year will be that satellites in WCOOP 2017 will be a must-play. This means that if a player wins a satellite for a WCOOP event, he/she will be required to play from the start (if it hasn't started already). Subsequent wins will be credited in Tournament Dollars (T$). Additionally, a few select events will not allow players to win more than one seat.
In SCOOP 2017, PokerStars implemented some changes to their satellites format, typically awarding satellite winners with tournament tickets. A player had an option to unregister from the target tournament, and re-join with a ticket at any point during late registration. According to PokerStars, while they like to offer as much flexibility as possible to players, the system created operational stress and confusion among players.
This year, PokerStars is also trying new formats and will host unique HORSE Phase tournaments in WCOOP. From Monday to Friday, each Phase 1 will be one of the HORSE games: Monday will be Fixed Limit Hold'em, Tuesday will be Fixed Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, and so on. On Saturday, the final Phase 1 will be HORSE, and Phase 2 will begin later that day. To ensure that all players advancing from Phase 1 get a fair shake, each Phase 1 will play down to 10% of the field before ending, meaning the average stack advancing to Phase 2 will be the same for all games.
This year will also see PokerStars opting for brand new structures in WCOOP 2017. Low events will start with 25,000 chips and High events will start with 50,000 chips (except for rebuy tournaments). In order to accommodate the change, a new blind structure have also been created which will provide the same deep play experience as previous *COOP series (*WCOOP, TCOOP & SCOOP), but will have shorter levels with smaller increases.
To treat the players in the best possible manner, WCOOP 2017 will feature the best slate of promotions ever hosted for a series at PokerStars. These include over $700,000 in WCOOP tickets to be won through Stars Rewards chests, awarding players in a new non-NLHE Player of the Series leaderboard, adding a $5,200 seat to a daily satellite along with much more.