PokerStars World Cup of Poker Returns, Goes All Online

world cup winners italy
Will Italy snag another World Cup?

It’s once again time for the World Cup of Poker but PokerStars has tweaked the format to make it an all-online affair.

The event will also take place entirely in heads-up No-Limit Hold’em, which should make for some exciting matches between countries.

Also new this year is the switch to play money, which means anyone can log in and support their home nation.

There will be a total of 96 countries divided into eight groups competing in qualifying matches this weekend (Nov. 22-23).

The knockout stages begin on Nov. 29 with the round of 16.

500,000,000 in Added Play Money Chips

Loads of chips.

The World Cup of Poker final on Dec. 20 will cost 100,000 play chips to buy into but will also have 2m in added chips to give players a massive boost to their play-money bankroll.

Even if you don’t make it to the final there will be over 500m in added play money over the duration of the event.

The World Cup of Poker has a storied 10-year history for PokerStars with Costa Rica winning the first two titles in 2004-05. Since then USA, Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, Taiwan and even Peru have all spent time as world champions.

Here's the complete World Cup of Poker X schedule and finally a look at the groups this weekend:

Group A (Asia Pacific): Matches at 04:00 ET

Favourite - Australia

Main contenders - Taiwan (former champions), China, New Zealand

Underdogs - Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Group B (Central Asia): Matches at 08:00 ET

Favourite - Russia (reigning champions)

Main Contenders - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India

Underdogs - Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates

Group C (Europe & Africa 1) - Matches at 12:00 ET

Favourite - Italy (former champions)

Main Contenders - France, Denmark, Hungary

Underdogs - Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Slovenia, Tunisia

Group D (Europe & Africa 2) - Matches at 12:00 ET

Favourite - United Kingdom

Main Contenders - Belgium, Austria, Ukraine

Underdogs - Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyrpus, Ireland, Montenegro, Switzerland, Turkey

Group E (Europe & Africa 3) - Matches at 12:00 ET

Favourite - Germany (former champions)

Main Contenders - Poland (former champions), Romania, Lithuania

Underdogs - Armenia, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia

Group F (Europe & Africa 4) - Matches at 12:00 ET

Favourite - Spain

Main Contenders - Netherlands, Sweden, Norway

Underdogs - Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa

Group G (Americas 1) - Matches at 18:00 ET

Favourite - United States (former champions)

Main Contenders - Costa Rica (2 x former champions), Mexico, Argentina

Underdogs - Bahamas, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela

Group H (Americas 2) - Matches at 18:00 ET

Favourite - Brazil

Main Contenders - Canada, Peru (former champions), Colombia

Underdogs - Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guyana, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago

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