Who are the Triple Coop contenders?

The world is incomplete without a little history, the records, and the superlative performances. So whenever a 'COOP comes along the question gets asked: Who has the potential to make history and become a Triple Coop winner?

In terms clubs, the Triple Coop Winner's one is perhaps the most exclusive. There's no waiting list, for that would imply mere mortals were permitted entry simply by waiting long enough. It's not about who you know either, no nomination or quiet word with the membership secretary will get you across the threshold. Membership is instead deceptively simple, automatic in fact, with membership card, club tie and a free drinks tab materializing the second the tournament host pops up on screen to say "Congratulations!"

Well, it would be nice to think something like that happened. In reality it's more to do with the quiet satisfaction of achieving one of online poker's most elusive prizes, something that to date has been accomplished by just two players -- Shawn "buck21" Buchanan and James "Andy McLEOD" Obst, the latter having recently added a Super Tuesday title.

But in terms of WCOOP 2014 who are the players who could join them? Could this be the year in which club ties are bought wholesale? We take a look at the five players who are a mere WCOOP win away from some online poker immortality.

Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (Hungary)
Of the five contenders Belabacsi is the only one with three 'COOPs, having earned a first and then a second SCOOP title, as well as a TCOOP win. It's hardly surprising that the 27-year-old also has live form, having won a WSOP bracelet in 2009, becoming the first Hungarian player to do so.

peter_traply_triple_coop.jpgPeter "Belabacsi" Traply

His online form has ensured him six figure earnings for six of the past seven years. Could this be the year he adds WCOOP silverware to his already sparkling resume?

Simon "ministerborg" Ravnsbaek (Denmark)
In much the same way that Belabacsi has had success both live and online, Ravnsbaek also works well on either side of the computer screen. As "ministerborg", Ravnbaek has wins in both SCOOP and TCOOP, while in the live domain he has wins in a €2k side event at EPT Prague in 2012, as well as the Danish national title in 2011.

simon_ravnsbaek_triple_coop_2.jpgSimon "ministerborg" Ravnsbaek

Online, 2012 was a record year for the Dane, winning a SCOOP title and coming second in another a little more than a week later, collecting pay-outs of $344,262 and $417,339 respectively.

Paul "Padjes" Berende (Netherlands)
Berende is the number one rated online player in his native Netherlands, a country that tends to punch above its weight in terms of the number of top pros emerging from such a small nation.

Paul_berende_triple_coop.jpgPaul "Padjes" Berende

Berende has won more than $3.1 million on PokerStars, with SCOOP and TCOOP titles along the way, good enough to put him in the world's top 100.

Like the others mentioned so far his live record could hardly be called shabby, with more than $1.7million in tournament cashes.

Phatlat and Ninototoroko are the less familiar contenders.
Phatlat is among the big winners online, with big years in both 2011 and 2012 when he won SCOOP and TCOOP titles respectively.

Ninototoroko meanwhile has been tearing up the online game for the past two years, racking up SCOOP and TCOOP titles within the space of nine months, with words like "crushing" regularly attached to his name in descriptions of his performances.

With such displays under his belt would anyone really be surprised if he added his name to the Triple Coop register next month?

For more information on this year's WCOOP, including details of events such as the Main Event, which has a $10 million guaranteed prize pool, check out the WCOOP 2014 webpage.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in WCOOP