World Championship of Online Poker History
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. Here’s a round-up of highlights from every year so far.
The 2016 World Championship of Online Poker was a record-breaking year for poker’s premier online tournament festival. In total, $73,504,875 was awarded across 82 breath-taking events - a record for total WCOOP prize money - and from Dan ‘djk123’ Kelly claiming a fifth WCOOP title, to Daniel Negreanu’s dramatic victory over Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom in the $2,100 HORSE Championship, 2016’s edition excited both players and fans alike. But despite big names finding success, the major headlines belonged to llJaYJaYll. The German defeated more than 2,000 other hopefuls to claim the $10 Million guaranteed Main Event for a hefty $1,517,541, and with it became the 15th player to enter the WCOOP’s most prestigious winners’ circle.
The 2015 edition of the World Championship of Online Poker comprised 70 different events, which between them awarded more than $66,000,000 in prize money - more than any other WCOOP in history. Belgium’s Coenaldinho7 took down the $10,000,000 guaranteed Main Event, pocketing $1,300,000 for the win after a four-way chop at the final table. A strong run across the series, including no fewer than 18 cashes and one tournament victory, saw Shaun ‘shaundeeb’ Deeb reach the top of the series’ leaderboard and claim the Player of the Year honours.
An incredible $61,934,886 was won across 66 events in the 2014 World Championship of Online Poker, smashing the championship’s $40,000,000 guarantee. The highlight of the 22-day tournament schedule was the massive $10,000,000 guaranteed Main Event, which attracted 2,142 players, and created an unforgettable final table. Big names like Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom, and Faraz ‘The-Toilet 0’ Jaka took their seat among the final nine to chase seven-figure scores, but it was Austrian pro Fedor ‘CrownUpGuy’ Holz who ended the two-day event with the winner’s bracelet and $1,300,000 in prize money (reflecting a six-way deal).
A total of $62,362,757 was awarded across 66 scheduled events during the 2013 series. The Main Event was won by Germany’s PlayinWasted, who took $1,493,499 for the win (amount won reflects a three-way deal). Two more players from Germany finished in the top three, with Allanon85 and SwissCantMis both winning more than a million dollars (as part of the three-way deal). Shane ‘shaniac’ Schleger came close to winning the title, eventually busting in 6th for $291,154. Elsewhere, Jason Mercier narrowly missed out on winning his third WCOOP title with a third-place finish in a No Limit Hold’em event for $229,965.
The 2012 series awarded more than $55,522,590 in cash prizes across 65 scheduled events. The Main Event attracted a huge field of 1,825 runners, with 225 of them getting paid. After two days of action it was maratik from Russia who came out on top, bagging an incredible first prize of $1,000,907 (reflecting a six-way chop). Team PokerStars Pro also posted some impressive performances. Highlights included second title wins for Jason Mercier (Event 64: $10,300 8-Game High Roller, for $253,425), George Danzer (Event 10: $320 No Limit Hold’em, for $69,717) and Eugene Katchalov (Event 14: $215 Stud Hi/Lo, for $24,588).
WCOOP 2011 proved to be another huge year for the series, with the overall guarantee of $30,000,000 well and truly smashed over the course of 62 events. The $5,200 Main Event was won by Kallllle from Denmark, who pocketed a life-changing $1,260,018 for taking victory over the 1,627 player field. It was also a big year for Shane ‘shaniac’ Schleger, who won his first bracelet, and Anders ‘Donald’ Hoyer Berg, who won his third. Eugene Katchalov meanwhile came painfully close to winning his second bracelet, eventually finishing as runner-up in the $10,300 8-Game High Roller event. Incredibly, he also cashed in the Main Event, continuing his great run of results in 2011. Elsewhere, the Player of the Series Leader Board honors went to 2FLY2TILT.
Online poker records were smashed as the 2010 World Championship of Online Poker played out as the biggest online tournament series ever staged at that time. With a grand total of 62 events over 23 days, an incredible $63,157,150 in prize money was awarded. There was also a bracelet win for Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, who took victory in a $1,050 No Limit Hold’em event for $435,862. The $5,200 Main Event attracted 2,443 entrants, creating a massive prize pool of $12,215,000, and it was POTTERPOKER who took it down, winning $2,278,097 - one of the biggest prizes ever given for winning a poker tournament. Second and third place finishers joeysweetp and Russian_nuts also both collected over a million dollars each.
The 2009 World Championship of Online Poker was one of the biggest online tournament series ever staged. Players from 140 countries played 45 events over 18 days for a combined prize pool of $51,652,800, and there were an incredible three double bracelet winners. Ryan ‘g0lfa’ D’Angelo won Event 18: $320 8-Game and Event 29: $320 Mixed Event, and Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier took down Event 38: $530 No Limit Hold’em 1R1A and Event 43: $215 No Limit Hold’em. But it was Daniel ‘djk123’ Kelly who was awarded Player of Series, as he combined his two victories with a fourth place finish in the Main Event. It was an incredible performance that won him the Player of the Series trophy, as well as a 2010 PCA Premium Package.
The 2008 World Championship of Online Poker rivalled the World Series, with 33 events and total prize money of $39,958,000 awarded. Two events were played each day, and 22,873 unique players representing 119 countries competed for the ultimate accolade of being a WCOOP champion. The Main Event buy-in was doubled to $5,200, meaning the total prize pool clicked up to a huge $10,925,000. ckingusc took down the big one, winning $1,265,432.23 and the gold bracelet, while Team PokerStars Pro had a strong series, with Chris Moneymaker making two final tables, and French phenom ElkY banking $407,285 across the series.
In 2007 the PokerStars WCOOP consisted of 23 events, and short-handed tournaments appeared for the first time. The combined prize pool smashed the $20,000,000 barrier, coming in at $24,218,600. More than 40,000 players from over 100 countries took part and 2,998 sat down for the Main Event, creating a prize pool of $7,495,000. That tournament took more than 21 hours to complete, but that was time very well spent for ka$ino, who took home the bracelet and the first ever WCOOP million dollar prize - $1,378,330 to be precise - for the win. Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso finished in second place, pocketing $700,782.
The World Championship of Online Poker in 2006 staged 18 events and a combined prize pool of $18,674,300. Notable performances came from spawng, who was the first player to win two WCOOP bracelets, and kwob20, who became the first player to win two bracelets in the same year - a huge achievement. The mixed game HORSE appeared on the schedule for the first time in 2006 with a $5,200 buy-in, and Chad Brown, playing under the name stelladora, took it down. Pro player JC Tran claimed the Main Event, beating a star-studded field to increase his bankroll by $670,194.
The 2005 WCOOP was bigger than ever before, this time awarding $12,000,000 in prizes, doubling the previous year’s total. The schedule featured 15 events and attracted nearly 20,000 players. The series played out in September for the first time, and it has remained at that time of the year ever since. A grand total of 1,494 players contested the Main Event, which produced a prize pool of $3,735,000. Three players made a deal at that final table, each winning more than $500,000, and it was Panella86 from Pennsylvania in the USA who walked away with the bracelet and $577,342 in prize money.
In 2004, the WCOOP schedule featured 12 events, and the No Limit Hold’em Main Event had an increased buy-in of $2,600. The total prize money for the series was over $6,000,000, and over 10,000 players took part, from all 50 US states and 40 countries around the world, making it a truly global event. The 2004 WCOOP was the largest online poker tournament ever held at that time and the Main Event boasted a prize pool of $2,100,000! Six countries were represented at the final table, and it was Ragde, from Oslo in Norway that triumphed, claiming $424,945 and the gold winner’s bracelet.
In 2003 the series consisted of 11 events, with a mixture of Hold’em, Omaha and Stud tournaments. This was the first WCOOP after Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker’s astonishing World Series win, and players flocked to PokerStars to play online poker. A total of 1,358 played Event 4, the $300 No Limit Hold’em, and the entire series awarded a total amount of $2,700,000 in combined prizes, with $891,000 up for grabs in the $1,050 No Limit Hold’em Main Event. That tournament was won by DeeOhGee, who topped the list of 81 names who cashed, taking home $222,750 in first place prize money.
The first ever WCOOP took place in July of 2002 and featured a total of nine events with over $730,000 in combined prizes. The biggest field of 565 players contested the very first event, the $100+9 Limit Hold’em, and the $1,050 No Limit Hold’em Main Event attracted 238 players, creating a prize pool of $238,000. That tournament was won by MultiMarine, from Sweden, who pocketed $65,450 for his efforts. PokerStars also awarded $5,000 in cash to the Best All-Around Player - a title claimed by TheBeat, who cashed in three events across the series.