PokerStars' 2017 WCOOP $90.6 Million in Prize Money Breaks Records1 year ago
We've often heard the cry that the glory days are over and that online poker is dying, but don't tell that to PokerStars where the recently completed 2017 World Championship of Online Poker saw records broken in several categories including player participation and prize money paid.
A Stars Group press release revealed the numbers behind this year's WCOOP in which payouts of $90.6 million shattered the $60 million guarantee and notched its place in history as the second largest online poker series ever. The 2017 WCOOP increased 16.5% over the 2016 version that saw $77.8 million in prize money shipped to winners.
Only the 2017 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) paid out more than the 2017 WCOOP with $93 million. While many players, myself included, sometimes come down on PokerStars for its loyalty program changes in recent times, 'Stars remains the premier site for online poker tournaments and festivals.
In addition to the massive prize pool, the 2017 WCOOP lured more than 107,000 players from over 130 countries to buy-in to the series, each one aiming for the final table in hopes of winning a championship. The top winner was Steven van Zadelhoff, who emerged victorious in the $5,200 WCOOP Main Event and added $1.6 million to his growing bankroll.
Not everyone can afford that type of entry fee, which is why PokerStars included low stakes events in this year's WCOOP. Players were able to buy-in for as little as $11, resulting in a large number of entries and roughly $19.5 million in prize money paid out in the low stakes tournaments.
“We’re very pleased to see the reaction at this year’s WCOOP," said Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi. "Over 10% were WCOOP first time players and have only had an online account with us for less than a year.”
It appears the shift to aiming for recreational players is working at PokerStars where the WCOOP played host to 164 events over 25 days. About 677,000 entries participated in those tournaments, with more records broken for entries in a tournament (almost 20,000) and individual players in a tournament (almost 19,000).
WCOOP also benefited society, as The Stars Group donated all player fees raked from one of its high roller events and kicked in $50,000 as well, sending $120,000 to charity. The money went to Raising for Effective Giving (REG), a foundation created by poker pros.
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