PokerStars' World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) hit the jackpot this month, surpassing all previous online tournament records and securing itself a spot as one of this year's top 3 international poker tournament events.
Boasting a player turnout from over 80 countries and offering up close to $13 million in cash prizes, the 2005 WCOOP lasted just 2 weeks. A total of 19,727 players logged in from across the globe to compete in 15 different events, making the fourth annual WCOOP the most international series in the poker world and provoking some to label it the "Olympics of Poker".
The main event boasted the biggest prize pool in the history of online poker, with the series itself exceeding its $8 million guarantee by almost 60%; Upon the conclusion of the WCOOP, the total prize pool was counted at $12,783,900. Indeed, only the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have offered larger prize pools in the past.
A variety of events were offered in the 2005 WCOOP, including Pot-Limit Omaha with re-buys, heads-up No-Limit Hold'em, short-handed Pot-Limit Hold'em, No-Limit Hold'em shootout, Limit Hold'em, and Seven-Card Stud. Close to 2,000 players were paid out, with many of them having won their seats through satellites or used PokerStars' "Frequent Player Points" to enter an event. In total it is estimated that PokerStars awarded close to $1 million in free entries to the WCOOP. And while the tournament boasted a mainly amateur playing field, famous poker pros could be found among the competitors, including Mark Seif, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moneymaker and Grey Raymer.
The entire WCOOP tournament series was broadcast live on the Internet, allowing poker enthusiasts to log on to PokerStars and view each game as well as listen to live radio commentary from top poker pros, including Greenstein, Moneymaker and 1983 WSOP Main Event champion Tom McEvoy.
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