Every year around September, PokerStars hosts the World Championship of Online Poker. It has become the biggest tournament series online with currently over 60 different events that often create record breaking prize pools. Therefore we thought it definitely deserved a spot in our major tournaments list.
The very first World Championship of Online Poker took place in 2002, when the series only had 9 events with a combined prize pool of $730,000. The main event at the time had a buy in of $1,050 and attracted 238 online poker players.
MultiMarine was the very first world champion of online poker and won $65,540. This was just before the internet poker boom lifted off into orbital space and so did the WCOOP.
At the 2004 WCOOP series there were 12 scheduled events with more than 10,000 poker players competing against each other with a combined prize pool of over $6 million. The Buy in for the Main event doubled that year to $2,600 and saw the biggest prize pool for an online tournament for it’s time with $2.1 million in the pot.
Ragde from Norway came out victorious and woke up the next day with $424,945 added to his online poker bankroll, plus a golden bracelet for becoming the world champion of online poker.
The following year in 2005 the WCOOP series got even bigger, attracting nearly 20,000 online poker players with a combined prize pool of $12 million, twice as much as in the 2004 WCOOP. The Main event attracted 1,494 players, who created a prize pool of over $3.7 million. In the end, the 3 remaining players of the final table decided to make a deal and each received over a half a million dollar. The eventual World champion of 2005 was Panella86, a player from Pennsylvania, USA.
In 2007 the growth of online poker was still clearly visible, when over 40,000 online poker players from over 100 countries showed up to play the 23 scheduled WCOOP events creating a combined prize pool of over $24 million dollars. That year the WCOOP Main Event drew 2,998 players, creating a prize pool of $7,495,000, and took over 21 hours to complete. Ka$sino went home with the golden bracelet and the record breaking first prize of $1,378,330.
Around 2008, the WCOOP was starting to look more and more like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), with nearly $40 million in combined prize money and 33 scheduled events. The Main Event buy in of the WCOOP had doubled again to $5,200 and still was able to attract 22,873 players (thanks to the many qualifier tournaments held by PokerStars) creating a giant prize pool of $10,925,000. The winner of the 2008 main event was ckingusc, who took home a whopping $1,2 million and the gold world champion bracelet.
On September 5, 2010 the World Championship of Online Poker kicked off with over 60 events scheduled spread over 23 days and a combined prize pool of $60 million dollars.
To make sure you are part of the next WCOOP, check out the many freerolls and cheap qualifiers offered on PokerStars throughout the entire year.